john grimes grimesj at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue May 5 01:23:28 CDT 1998

>Nanda writes
>And sadly this is where I feel the Westerners are at a disadvantage.
>Since they've not been brought up in the tradition, there's that much
>less conviction and moral, mental support (atleast in the sadhaka
>level). Atleast this is what I felt when I read Robert's post about
>'Vedanta slipping through his fingers'. But Truth, I suppose has it's
>own powers of persuasion!

   Nanda's last line is the heart of the matter, is it not? Truth surely
has its own powers of persuasion and is not a respector of surface
divisions like race, creed, religion, etc. Thus, why ponder whether it is
better to be born in the East or in the West? There are great Indian sages
and there are also Indians (millions upon millions of them) who could care
less about the Atman. There are hedonists in the West (again millions) and
there are also a lot of individuals who care deeply and sincerely about the
Atman. However, an auspicious birth is an auspicious birth and need not be
limited to a particular piece of dirt. Surely, for one individual, being
born in the East is an advantage and to another, being born in the West is
an advantage and vice-versa. From another perspective, being born into a
great tradition surely has its advantages - if only one is fortunate enough
to merit such a birth. And to be born into a great tradition and be in the
presence of a great one is more wonderful still. (There is a sloka for
this). And then, there is the perspective that delcares, "Who is born at
all? There is no advantage nor disadvanage! Vanity, vanity. There is no
birth, there is no death.
    Then again, whenever one thinks a luminous thought, one is immediately,
directly, indubitably "in" a great tradition, "in" a sacred mandir. To
employ a creative etymology - manas + dhir = whenever a thought is
luminous, one is "in" the mandir. Isn't it not wonderful! So many ways to
participate in that which one can never be taken up nor which can ever be
let go of.
    Let us seek the Self, speak of the Self, be immersed in the Self. Ah,
ah, isn't that the abode of bliss unending? What else would one desire?

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