Putting Love In Their Hearts

Putting Love In Their Hearts
Participants pledge to practise some virtue in Walk for Values
TRACEY TONG
METRO OTTAWA
June 01, 2009 5:03 a.m.

Ottawa residents take part in the seventh annual Walk for Values organized by the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Spiritual Centre of Ottawa-Carleton. The non-religious, non-political march, which began at Parliament Hill yesterday, was intended to raise awareness for the practice of human values.

Of the many walks that take place in the Ottawa community, one held downtown Sunday wasn’t looking for any money. But it was asking its participants to make a pledge.

The seventh annual Walk for Values — a non-political and non-religious event held on the city-proclaimed Walk for Values Day — asked its 100 participants to pledge to truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence for a year.

“This walk isn’t about money,” organizer Dipali Arun, who pledged to love and truth. “Money comes and goes. Morality comes and grows. Values are something that that don’t deplete. All you can do is grow them.”

The walk reaffirms the commitment to love, truth and peace, said Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, who attended the event with Councillor Diane Deans.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of positive human values,” said walk spokeswoman Nina Mukerjee.

“Things are getting worse — there are so many problems plaguing us these days — bullying in school, gang wars in the streets. Each person here pledges to practice one value — like patience or optimism for the next year.”

Mukerjee said her pledge is to non-violence.

The walk is one of many that took place across the country Sunday in cities including Toronto and Regina, and in the U.S., Australia, Malaysia and India.

The Sri Sathya Sai Spiritual Centre of Ottawa-Carleton organized the event here, and people from as far as Montreal and Massena, N.Y., attended.

Balwant Bhaneja also pledged to a year of peace and non-violence.

“When you have peace on the outside, you also have peace on the inside,” said Bhaneja. He hopes the walk will help make Ottawa a better place.

Metro News Reference

You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Gandhi often said that he wanted to live till 120 but he died much before that, not due to natural causes but due to assassination. Gandhi preached and practiced non-violence, peace and love; but ironically, he died on account of the anger and hate in the mind of the assassin. Gandhi is remembered for many things but today, we would like to dwell briefly upon a few aspects most important for our times.

If there is anything that stands above everything else in the personality of Gandhi, it is his firm commitment to Sathya and Dharma. Where these two were concerned, Gandhi took no orders from anyone except his Conscience. As Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us, Conscience is our true Master. Even recently, Satya SaiBaba was telling a couple of people from overseas, ‘People worship my Form but that is not enough; God is Inside and they should listen to His voice which is always speaking and giving good advice.’

Getting back to Gandhi, one might ask: ‘We all have Conscience; God is in all of us; then how come we are not able to do what Gandhi did?’ This is a question we really ought to be asking ourselves all the time, especially when Sri Sathya Sai Baba often tells that we are very deficient when it comes to following His teachings. The answer to the question we have posed is simple: Gandhi practiced many of the things that Swami teaches even though he never met Swami and had never even seen Him – remember Gandhi died on 30th January 1948, when very few people in this country knew about Swamiji. We, on the other hand, pride ourselves in listening and reading Swami’s Discourses, but avoid practice.

Gandhi took God seriously, indeed far more seriously than most of us do, and that is what made him so very different. Now what are those things that Gandhi did that gave him such towering Inner strength? Firstly, he was always chanting the Name of the Lord so much so he literally died with God’s Name on his lips. Next, he tried his best to remain true to his Conscience, indeed even in politics. Chanting the Name and being true to one’s Conscience are precisely the things that Swami wants from all of us; yet we consistently deny exactly those two to Swami whereas Gandhi gave just Him that; and that is because he really loved God.

Gandhi was called Mahatma; what does that mean? All of us are embodiments of the Divine Atma, as Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us; but Gandhi made that embodiment come ALIVE, and that is why he was called Mahatma, which means a great Atma. Gandhi was not born a Mahatma but by strictly adhering to the command of God, he became one.

Sathya Sai Baba often talks of bookish knowledge and practical knowledge. Gandhi is a good example of a man who translated bookish knowledge into brilliant practical knowledge. And this is something we should pay careful attention to. Today, if anyone were to say that Sathya and Dharma are very essential in national and international politics, people would dismiss that person as a bloody fool. Gandhi showed, however, that indeed even politics must be pursued keeping in mind all the time, what we call human values.

When Gandhi launched the famous Sathyagraha [non-violent, civil disobedience] movement as a part of the freedom struggle in India, he made it very clear that the struggle would be non-violent. However, some misguided people let their passions run away and burnt a Police Station, which resulted in the death of many Policemen. Gandhi was stunned; he did not expect this. Promptly he suspended the Sathyagraha, publicly declared that he had made a huge mistake – a Himalayan blunder as he called it – and then went on a fast to purify himself.

In August 1947, the British partitioned the subcontinent into two countries, India and Pakistan. All the assets of British India were divided between these two new countries – the railways, the Central Bank [called the Reserve Bank], and so on. It so happened that as a part of this division, India had to pay Pakistan 550 million rupees [or 55 crores as we would say in India]. Immediately after partition, there was an armed conflict between the two countries and on that basis, India withheld the 55 crores. Gandhi criticised that action as being morally incorrect; the word having been given, must be kept, politics or no politics. Such was the respect that Gandhi commanded, that the Government of India yielded and did precisely what Gandhi advised.

Gandhi started off as like most of us, as an ordinary person. He was not a scholar of the scriptures, the Vedas and the Upanishads. But one thing he knew – in life, Truth and Righteousness are always of paramount importance. And he resolved that never would he compromise on these, even if it meant death. That is what firm faith is all about. In other words, Gandhi demonstrated beyond doubt that with firm faith and deep love for God, one can develop so much self-confidence that one can face any adverse situation.

It is no surprise that Gandhi attracted and continues to attract admirers and even followers. Speaking on the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s 85th Birthday, President Clinton said that in politics he admired no one more than Gandhi. Martin Luther King never saw Gandhi but he showed that Gandhi’s principle of non-violence works even in modern times. And, in his own way, Nelson Mandela too demonstrated that non-violence is superior to violence.

These are days when people tend to dismiss Sathya and Dharma rather quickly, claiming that they won’t work in the age of globalisation. This is a myth and it is tragic that such falsehood is being actively peddled amongst the gullible.

If we concede that it is God who has created the Universe of which we are a part, and that God is Sathya, Dharma and Prema, then we too must have those genes of basic values. If we have come from the Creator, how can we not have at least some of the ‘Divine genes’. Under the circumstances, to deny Sathya and Dharma is to deny ourselves as well as God. Nothing could be more foolish. Today’s generation might tend to dismiss Gandhi but, as Einstein said of him, centuries hence people would wonder whether such a man did really walk on earth.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi


When Sathya Sai Baba talks of values like Prema, Ahimsa etc., we nod our heads and clap but later dismiss them as irrelevant for this age. That is not true; as long as there are humans on earth, values are a MUST, and instead of dismissing them because we are too weak to follow them, we must take courage from the shining example of Gandhi and try to emulate him, in at least a small measure, by listening to our Conscience, for example.

Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service

Walk For Values USA begins in Plano

Walk For Values USA begins in Plano
By Kim Nguyen, Staff Writer
(Created: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 3:01 PM CDT)

Mayor Pat Evans will be on hand to kick off the first annual Walk For Values USA in Plano for the Dallas region Saturday morning.

Beginning and ending in Haggard Park in Downtown Plano, Walk for Values USA hopes to bring awareness to the universal human values of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence. The event is unique because unlike other walks, it is not a fundraiser, protest, rally, or demonstration. Instead, it seeks simply to raise awareness, and it is open to the public free of charge.

“We are essentially walking to bring awareness to the five universal human values: peace, love, truth, right conduct and non-violence,” said Srinivas Somisetty, event coordinator.

Based off the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, a highly revered spiritual leader in India, habitually practicing at least one of the five values has a positive effect on humanity. Somisetty used the current economic recession as an example of the negative effects of not practicing the five values.

“We’re all partly responsible for the economy because of our greed,” he said. “Violence, greed and hatred are widespread in our society. There is a lack of these human values and it shouldn’t be like that.”

Participants of Walk for Values USA believe that these human values — peace, love, truth, right conduct and non-violence — are worth walking for and hope to help raise the universal consciousness and awareness about the importance of practicing them in our daily lives. They have also pledged to “adopt a value” that they will practice themselves, to help bring about this awareness. Participants will carry signs and banners with the messages of truth, right conduct, peace, love and nonviolence.

“We’re not fundraising, not enrolling anyone into a church or faith and we’re not soliciting anything,” Somisetty said. “Our pure intent is to bring awareness to these values that are fundamental to humanity and are common across all faiths, religions and cultures.”

Somisetty said about 550 people are registered to participate in Saturday’s, but the success is not tangible.

“Even with just one participant attending, we’ll call it a success,” he said. “Because when they begin practicing one or all of the values habitually, other people will see and mimic, starting a chain reaction to spread the values across the universe.”

Registration for Walk for Values USA will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, followed by an opening ceremony with talks by Patrick Price, pastor at Community Unitarian Universalist Church, Plano; AnilKumar Kamaraju, professor of BioSciences at Sri Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthy, India; and Mayor Pat Evans. Evans will launch Walk For Values at 10 a.m. The Walk will end at Haggard Park at noon with a closing ceremony.

Star Community News Reference

Gandhi on Gandhi

Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

Rajmohan Gandhi, a professor and the grand son of Mahatma Gandhi, will be speaking at the Museum of Civilization today. Photograph by : Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen


Gandhi on Gandhi
Scholar speaks on Hinduism, grandfather
Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a hero, but a committed Hindu and complex human who blundered, sorrowed, and even fell in love, says his grandson and biographer.

Rajmohan Gandhi, author of Gandhi: The Man, His People and The Empire, will talk in Ottawa today on Gandhi and the Hindu Tradition.

“Current Hindu extremism is a grave reality,” Mr. Gandhi said in an interview yesterday. “These attacks on nuns and priests, it’s most disturbing.”

Mr. Gandhi teaches at the University of Illinois, specializing in Southeast East Asia and Middle Eastern studies. He believes comfortable elites incite the lowest in Indian society, the Dalits or untouchables, and the tribal groups.

“They have succeeded in deflecting the anger against high castes, and redirected it to Muslims and Christians. They are told that they will be in the lead defending Hindu society. The elevated position being offered, it feels empowering. Meanwhile, the forces behind the riots and violence stay safe in their homes.

They themselves will not be caught by the arms of the law.”

Although the professor will lecture on Hinduism, the 73-year-old descendent of the Mahatma knows people really want to hear about his grandfather.

“Every person who meets me wants me to relate personal memories. On the other hand, most people have warm feelings about Gandhi and that translates into a cordial feeling towards me.

A brother of mine he used to say if we did something good or even courageous, everyone said, ‘so what, you’re a Gandhi,’ but if you did something bad, it was, ‘how dare you!”’

The professor has spent many years researching his grandfather’s life.

“He was a slave to his conscience … as a result I think he made a remarkable new version of Hinduism. To many Hindus, their religion is just a matter of following certain rules but Gandhi brought the ethical to the foreground.

He liberated Hinduism from mere ritual.”

Still, he was not always as kind to his family as he was to the rest of the world. To his great sorrow, he was estranged from his eldest son after refusing to pay for higher education. He criticized another son who tried to help this estranged brother, dismissing him as “weak.”

Despite his well-known celibacy, when he was about 45 he developed a romantic passion for an accomplished but married woman who was also active with social issues. Various family members intervened and the affair of the heart came to an end.

Mr. Gandhi speaks at 2 p.m. today at the Museum of Civilization 100 Laurier St., in Gatineau. Admission is free.

Reference

Despite Skeptics, Medical Schools Address Spirituality

Mind Body Connection

Mind Body Connection


Despite Skeptics, Medical Schools Address Spirituality
By MANOJ JAIN The Washington Post
July 27, 2008

My patient is an elderly man with end-stage congestive heart failure, kidney failure and now an infected dialysis line, and he is unlikely to live more than six months. The Bible lies on his bedside table next to his hospital breakfast tray and the morning newspaper. I wonder if I should pray with him.

A neurosurgeon I know often prays with his patients before operating on their brains to remove a tumor or on their backs to relieve a herniated disk. In the pre-op holding area, he stands near the gurney and, with the patient’s permission, clasps his or her hand and recites a prayer. He usually concludes the prayer with “in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

My friend the neurosurgeon is unusual in this regard. Although studies show that 40 percent to 60 percent of hospitalized patients want their doctors to pray with them, fewer than 5 percent of doctors say they often or usually pray with patients.

As a doctor, I understand this. Although I am comfortable asking patients about their faith when I question them about their profession and their family or social support structure, I feel awkward, even squeamish, about praying with my patients. That may be because I was never taught how to pray with my patients in medical school, nor did I see my mentors praying with patients. Also, I am of the Jain faith, an Eastern religion based on the principle of nonviolence and the practice of meditation, and most of my patients are of the Christian or Jewish faith. In addition, at times I have seen religious beliefs compromise a patient’s health: One young patient of mine died in my intensive care unit because she refused blood transfusions based on her religious beliefs.

My reluctance to pray with patients comes in the face of growing evidence that spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation might be healthy for us. A study published in 2003 found workers who attended a meditation training session had a more powerful immune response to the influenza vaccine than those who did not meditate. Another study has even shown a sort of dose-response curve – the higher the church attendance, prayer and Bible study, the lower the average diastolic blood pressure – as if religious practices act therapeutically, almost like a blood-pressure pill. Although there’s no solid proof of a causal relationship between religion/spirituality and improved health, researchers such as Harold Koenig, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, are convinced that spiritual practices can help you live longer.

Across medicine and society, there’s increasing interest in the link between religion/spirituality and health. Three-quarters of all U.S. medical schools now offer courses in spirituality and medicine, and academic centers such as the

George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, and the Center for Spirituality and Health at the University of Florida are being established across the nation.

Yet many researchers are skeptical about the union of religion/spirituality and medicine. (Or perhaps I should say “reunion,” because religion/spirituality has been a part of medicine since ancient times: The words “holiness” and “healing” stem from a common root meaning “wholeness.”)

Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, worries that the linkage oversimplifies and trivializes religion by limiting its value to its effect, if any, on health.

In 2007, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality commissioned a research team to evaluate 813 studies on meditation. The group reported mixed evidence from some of these studies; most of the remaining studies had design flaws that made it impossible to assess their conclusions.

I myself was a co-investigator on the largest study on the therapeutic effect of intercessory prayer, an 1,800-patient, six-center, $2.4 million study led by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, now at Harvard Medical School’s affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital.

Our findings, published in 2006 in the American Heart Journal, showed that being prayed for did not improve outcomes, and it seemed to have a negative effect when patients knew they were the subject of prayers from afar.

Even if prayer were shown to improve outcomes, religious differences make it impractical for doctors to make it part of daily patient care.

I asked my neurosurgeon friend how he prays with patients who are Jewish, Muslim or Hindu. Does he end with the phrase about “our Lord, Jesus Christ”? He paused and then told me that it depends on the patient. I suspect that there is a selection bias and that he is more likely to offer prayers to Christian patients than others. He admits he feels uncomfortable offering a prayer in another faith or using the words “Allah,” “Om” or “Shalom” because for him the prayer would not feel authentic.

In the end, this is what prompts my discomfort with praying with patients. If a doctor is using prayer because he feels it will help to heal a patient and not just to improve the doctor-patient relationship, then I believe it is unfair, even discriminatory, for a doctor to offer a Christian prayer with a Christian patient and not offer another prayer to patients of other faiths.

Because the research literature is equivocal on the benefits or drawbacks of prayer and meditation, I explored my own heart and soul for an answer.

Without hesitation, I believe that practices such as prayer and meditation offer benefits in addition to medication and surgery and the doctor-patient relationship. I have seen it myself. On several occasions, I have meditated with my patients.

Once, a young HIV-positive woman complained of shortness of breath after recovering from severe pneumonia. Medically, nothing helped, and no cause was obvious other than anxiety. With some hesitation, I offered to do a session of meditation with her. She agreed and subsequently improved.

Often, I wonder how I can incorporate spiritual practices in my routine therapeutic recommendations, just as I recommend exercise and a nutritious diet. I believe it’s possible. But doing it, I believe, requires understanding two critical concepts.

First, we need to distinguish between religion (an organized institution with social boundaries, rituals and membership) and spirituality (the sense of the sacred within us and our relationship with a greater force). Spirituality may or may not be rooted in religion, but the core of all religions is spirituality. Once we can relate to the spiritual core of each patient, we do not have to agonize about finding the “appropriate” prayer and “politically correct” words for patients of different religions.

I think I could pray (using a generic prayer) or do a meditation exercise at a critical moment with my patient. At times, if this is uncomfortable or if there is not enough time, I could simply encourage the spiritual part of patients’ lives.

This is what I did with my patient suffering from end-stage congestive heart failure. I touched his Bible and said, “Many patients find this very helpful. I am glad you are using it.”

“Couldn’t make it without it, Doc,” he replied with a tone of hope and optimism.

Second, we doctors need to expand beyond medicine’s traditional body-mind focus. Most of my patients see themselves as having a soul and a spirit, and if I, as a doctor and a scientist, wish to treat them in a holistic manner, I need to take this thinking into account.

I was reminded of this recently on morning rounds. I walked into a room, saying, “Hello, Mr. Jones.” My patient was sitting in a chair in the corner, head bowed, lips moving silently.

I realized that I had interrupted his prayer. I bowed my head to join him. He continued. “Lord, I want to thank you for helping me heal and decreasing my pain . . . and now, Lord, I have to cut my prayers short this morning because my doctor is here.”

We both said, “Amen.”

RELIGION AND HEALTH
Research suggests that religion offers health benefits, including longer life spans. Is that because of the healing benefits of prayer or because people of faith enjoy supportive, healthful lifestyles?

Some statistics:
• 83: The life expectancy of people who frequently attended religious services; for infrequent attendees, the estimate was 75.

• 70 percent: The percentage of churches that provide health-care services to their communities, according to a survey of 6,000 congregations.

• 40 percent to 60 percent: The percentage of hospital patients who want their doctors to pray with them. But fewer than 5 percent of doctors say they do so.

• 2,500: Number of Maryland kindergartners exempted from vaccine mandates on religious grounds, up from 1,300 in 2004.

– THE WASHINGTON POST

Reference

Wholeness

Wholeness

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