H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Jagannath and His Gospel of Universal Peace

By Matsyavatara Dasa

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas saints. All glories to Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga.

Peace is a universal value, ever pursued by the human being, who needs it to fulfill his duties with serenity and success, in respect to the environment, to others and to himself.

All authentic spiritual traditions portray the precious value of peace and are based on common principles such as love, fraternity, solidarity, compassion, mercy and charity.

Among the Vaishnava Saints, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, together with His Eternal Associates, is undoubtedly the incarnation of these principles. Lord Jagannath in His turn, links all of the above values, as a symbol of universal and fraternal love, peace, life, empathy and compassion toward every living being. In His fascinating form, Shri Jagannath reveals His nature of Soul of the Universe and Supreme Love, through His big, sympathetic and merciful eyes and His arms that seem to invite to a wrapping hug.

Jagannath is known as the liberator of the fallen souls, as He who gives the four purusha-artha (dharma, artha, kama, moksha), happiness, serenity and harmony, all of which are channeled towards bhakti, Supreme love for God.

God is the source and sustainer of individual, social and universal peace. It is therefore on a spiritual basis that peace, the authentic and lasting one, can be researched, built, developed and maintained.

Peace is the result of coordinated and constant efforts. It is first of all the continuous practice of deep knowledge, which implies an ample vision of all dynamics involved and is therefore an indispensable assumption for the recognition of the proper line of behaviour to be followed in every circumstance. This line enables for the tangible development of peace at all levels: individual, domestic, social, political, economical and so on.

Religious science and traditions of all times agreed in stating that there are universal laws, governing life in the cosmos (the term cosmos in Greek means in fact 'order'). Specific laws regulate and sustain the entire creation and every manifestation of life, from the human being to the microscopic insect. They are expression of an order, defined as 'implicit' by modern quantum sciences, hidden beyond tangible reality, and from which the 'explicit order', the one visible and perceivable in Nature and its phenomena, derives.

In the Vaishnava tradition, this order on which life and unity of the cosmos are founded, is named dharma, from the Sanskrit root dhr, meaning 'to bear, to sustain' or ritam, from the Sanskrit root r, meaning 'to proceed', designating in this case the 'regular flux or trend' of things.

Jagannath, Lord of the Universe, is indeed the origin and the home of this order, thought by Divine intelligence for the well-being of each creature and conceivable in particular by human beings, who have the capability of discernment and, above all, of love towards less developed creatures, fellow men and God.

Being really interested in building peace, means being interested in knowing these universal laws, which are recognized and venerated as the expression of a superior intelligence, Cosmic Conscience or God, by religious men of all times. Peace means synchronizing one's dynamics with the cosmic dynamics, by harmonizing them with each other; or learning to move in harmony with the universal and eternal order, the breach of which causes imbalance, lacerations and conflicts, within and without. Peace is not therefore just a morale necessity, but is indispensable for the survival of mankind, tightly and indissolubly connected to life of the entire creation and of all creatures. In lack of such consciousness, peace is alas destined to remain a very vague concept, subject to be exploited by people, truly pursuing other purposes.

Every authentic religion brings a universal vision, because it teaches, even with diversified terms and ways, that nothing is separated from the rest, that the one is connected with the whole and the whole is connected to the one. The word religion derives from the Latin religere, which means 'to unify, to connect', such as the word Yoga derives from the Sanskrit root yuj, which has the same meaning. Without Yoga, or the reconnection of the individual conscience to Cosmic Conscience, there cannot be true peace, as peace is obtained only by the individual who has acquired a deep consciousness of the unity of everything that exists. He must perceive the common Source that connects everything and be aware that the well-being of one is not separated from the well-being of others. Love for God constitutes the maximum warranty for peace, because loving God means loving all living beings, by considering their common origin and their indissoluble union with Him.

In Bhagavad-gita, (V.29), one of the fundamental texts of the Vaishnava religion, it is explained that peace will be reached by those who, by recognizing God as the final Beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities and Supreme Friend of all living beings, will offer their service and pure devotion to Him. The very essence of Vaishnavism is indeed bhakti or love for God (Vishnu-Krishna), which includes love for the creation and all creatures, as expansions and revelation of the Absolute. This is why in the Vaishnava tradition, the principle of ahimsa or non-violence is not exercised exclusively towards human beings, but towards all living beings because compassion, solidarity and mercy cannot and must not be reserved to only one race or species. Again, in Bhagavad-gita, II.66, Krishna says that if man's intelligence is not connected to the Supreme – with all this statement implies – peace, shanti, will not be reachable, and if peace is not reachable, what to say of happiness (kutah sukham).

Every religion, if authentic and authentically lived, contributes to the restoration of harmony between Creator, creation and creatures, by favoring the evolution and well- being of all living beings, all aiming towards the infinite Love of the same, unique God. Jay Jagannath!

1 comment:

  1. Shri Jagannath, with His stretched arms and His smile just seem to welcome everyone in His divine embrace. As a matter of fact Jagannath dharma or Purushottama cult is a universal cult which can dialogue with Shivaism, Buddhism, Shaktism and many other spiritual ways. I remember the first time we went to Jagannath Puri with our Guru Maharaja, Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu: it was iin 2003 and I will never forget the way I felt in that holy dhama. My life has never been the same. Shri Jagannath ki jay!!!
    Paramatma dasi