Fast and Breakfasting Festival

Fasting and Breakfasting is a practice we find in almost all faith.

The most recent ‘Breakfasting Festival’ we witnessed in many parts of the word is widely known as ‘Eid-al-Fitr’. The day is marked on the 1st day of Shawaal, after a month long Sawm(Fasting) of Ramadan.

What is Eid?     According to dictionaries the meaning of the Arabic word ‘Eid’ is ‘Festival’. The word ‘Eid’ has come from the word ‘awdat’  which means ‘to turn’, ‘to recur’, ‘to come again’ etc.

There are 2 Eid in Muslim tradition: Eid-al-Fitr  and  Eid-al-Adha. The meaning of ‘Fitr’ is ‘Breakfasted’ and ‘Adha’ means ‘Sacrifice’.

Practice of Eid-al-Fitr:  The package of this Eid consists of ‘Fasting and Breakfasting’. Therefore I need to understand first what is ‘Fasting’.

From scriptural  instruction what I understood is it’s about training a person to live a disciplined life by taking control over own nafs (self/ego). In the 1 month( or 40 days or any certain period of time) training one has to use every organ of them in God’s prescribed way. Such as-

  • Be in Remembrance of God
  • Speak truth and nicely
  • Abstain from gossip, slandering and backbiting
  • Abstain from stealing, hurting, adultery
  • Treat humans and other creations with love and compassion
  • Give to the needy (without desiring any return from them)
  • Abstain from eating and drinking only from dawn to dusk, eat in between sundown and dawn (or a variation of controlled eating)  Etc.
  • In short – Do good, See good, Think good, Eat good, and Stay Good. 🙂

My observation of the holy Scriptures tells me that even during the training period except for the ‘Eating and drinking’ there is no mention of resuming/practicing the behaviors like telling lies, speaking in not humble manner, gossiping, backbiting, slandering, hurting people, stealing, and so on right after the evening prayer. My question was then- why do we need to abstain from eating for that certain time? And what are we supposed to accomplish with this act? Many people say, ‘God will bestow upon you many sawab/rewards in return’. From the scriptures and spiritual teachers what I’ve learned says: that practice leads us towards getting control over our eating so that we eat moderately, just as much needed to stay healthy and when we have extra food we can give to the ones who need. The purpose is also to get control over greed.We are prescribed to apply that training the rest of our life. And what about the spiritual practice? 🙂 Aren’t we prescribed to maintain the healthy behavioral, moral and spiritual practice for the rest of our life as well?

This 1 month training is for bringing a balanced Life, by getting the body well tuned with the Soul. See Most of the practices in fasting regards to the spiritual practices with the body and mind. A body without connection to Soul is nothing but dead corpse. No?

God’s design is so Neat and Balanced! Let’s make a self-inquiry at which part of practice are we putting much stress on now-a-days. Body, Soul, or both?

Now, the Festival Day :)- The Festival of Breakfasting. What might it mean? Is it about Breaking all the virtues we learned? Or it might be about celebrating the successful completion of a Great Training on the path of God? So it can be marked as the ‘Beginning’ of a New Life after Training. After all what is a training for! Obviously to develop or upgrade our knowledge or skills to apply in our works and any area of life.

So..why should we observe the ‘Fast’ every year? Why this recurring Training? So that we can keep check on ourselves since we usually tend to slip, more or less.                                It reminds me of the first-aid training at Red-Crescent Society. Every trainee needs to take the training once in every 2 years (if they are interested to serve).

Fasting, Breakfasting Festival and lifelong activities which is prescribed by God. What are some rewards or Purposes for all these?- ‘Paradise! A Place where you will be given what you want’.

So much only for ‘what we want’! Such powerful desire that keeps us driven. What is it that we want? Umm.. there might be many many varieties of answer to this as there are many people on earth.                                                                    But which one is most preferable?According to the holy scriptures of God The Most Desirable in fact the Only Desirable in every world is ‘God’ :).

 

N.B. It would be really interesting to see an assembly of verses on the above topics from different scriptures.Here are some from the verses that I came across while studying-

                                                                         Holy Bible

Joel 2:12   Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

Mathew 6: 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Mark 2:18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

                                                              Srimad  Bhagavad Geeta

 6:15 Thus always keeping the mind balanced, the Yogi, with his mind controlled, attains the Peace abiding in Me, which culminates in nirvana.

6:17 To him who is moderate in eating and recreation, who is moderate in his exertions of actions, who is moderate in sleep and wakefulness, to him accrues Yoga which is destructive of sorrows.

6:6 The self is the friend of himself who has conquered himself by the self. But to him who has not conquered himself, his own self stands in the position of an enemy like the (external) foe.

8:6 Of whatever being thinking at the end a man leaves the body, to him alone,  O son of Kunti, he goes because of his constant thought of that being. 7 Therefore at all times, meditate on Me and fight; with mind and intellect fixed on Me you shall come to Me alone, no doubt.

8:15 Having attained Me, these Mahatmas (great souls) do not again take birth, which is the abode of pain and is not eternal, they having reached the Supreme Goal.

                                                                 Al Quran

2:183  O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).

2:184 (Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need – but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better for you if ye did but know –

33:35 Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember– Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.

More on fasting from Quran.

 

 

Borders!

Year 2002. My attention was first brought to the borders by a friend- how it was separating lands and humans. It took me years to realize those words to a deeper level though.

When I seriously started to think about the borders and their effects i was amazed. Some set of woven metal wires, looks so simple but pierces hearts, society, country, whole human nation!

Powers of Borders:

1. It changes your identity

2. Changes your character

3. Changes your social status

4. Changes your philosophy

5. It is brought by War and Brings potential future war ( If anyone from other side lays even an eye on the land)

6. It increases even few steps distance into bigger distance..few minutes distance into few month’s distance

7. Decreases human rights and eventually leads the human race to not even recognize animal rights

And more..

I humbly gave thought behind the idea of borders. In childhood i learned that we need to set fences around our crop fields or orchards to protect from wild animals. Well when i first visited village i don’t remember seeing any fence around the crop fields though. Anyway.. i also tried to think from the perspective of protecting a land from potential criminals! But then my heart asked- Hmm, so tell me what about the home grown criminals? And if you think you got an effective Government who is successful at controlling the crimes within border then does that wisdom flee away as soon as the borders are lifted? I would admit this one question convinced me to never feel supportive about borders between lands. I believe without those borders this world would experience more spread developments.

Look at the irony- you can not stop an animal from migrating to another lands with those borders..the migratory birds are one big example:). Who do we consider as the wild animals then? We were taught to respect our border guards as they are working days and nights only to protect the borders (to protect the country). I am not saying there should not be any guards to protect laws and safeguard the citizens. But can’t that purpose be served by having those guards working the way they would do for protecting people from internal criminals? Borders brought security but increased insecurity feeling. Increased ethnicity clashes. Increased nationality crisis, Increased refugees, Increased Sighs…

I am hopeful about humanity. People today through many incidents, soft or harsh, are discovering and realizing that all humans are but one nation. On this note i would like to share a holy quote –

The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.

~ Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah

Hopefully we will bring our faith and realization into action and the borders will be lifted. I do understand there might be some thoughts -1. i like this idea but who will accept it?

2. So many borders all over the world and so many minds. It won’t be easy!

3. It will take too much time and we won’t probably even live to see that day!

I don’t know which country will come forward or which person will … but consider asking some questions to thyself- do i believe in it in the first place? Do i consider my neighbor country people as one nation no matter how low or how high their status might be? Do i let my faith travel beyond borders? We may or may not live to see that united nation in action but God sure has gifted us with this Present to take initiative towards that reality. If we sow a seed of a plant it will grow with proper care even if we don’t live until it starts bearing fruits. That really doesn’t make us looser nor any less significant. It may not be easy but it is not impossible :). I would like to share an encouraging quote again-

That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. ~Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah

 

Border , Realize

A New Book for any place anytime

I haven’t read ‘The Divine Comedy’ of Dante, nor did I get a chance to read any  literary work of Petrarch (founder of Humanism) or Boccaccio. The three famous fountains of European Renaissance. What I learned about them is through their significant works they extended the line of Humanity which was somehow on the verge of its loss during that time in and around Europe.

Reading the book “Unueco Partio: Creating a Single World Currency” gave me a feeling this is one of the books for this Present Time to extend the line of Humanity once again.

From the name of the book one might think it is all about Economics but reading it I discovered its core passion towards world humanity and its Unity. What I love about this book is it’s acknowledgement of the Creator of Humanity and that how circling around Him humankind can discover its Greater unity and a Better world of equality:) .

 

 

I am pleased to announce the release of the first Unueco Partio book. Book Description Using principles from the world’s faiths and sciences, values shared by individuals and families, and the desire to constantly innovate and improve, Unueco Partio makes the argument for creating a single world currency. To support this, a framework of ideas […]

via Unueco Partio: Creating a Single World Currency — Unueco Partio

Living Words

Today when i saw the word ‘expert’ the person who first came to my mind is ‘Jesus’. The reason might be I was thinking of Him before i read that word.

What was he expert at? At Loving, being compassionate, wise, forgiving, understanding… at being an Ideal human, at being an ideal delegate of God! What was the driving force behind his expertise? I see ‘Love’. Actually now that I am saying he was expert my heart is saying -nah! those virtues are actually beyond the feel of the word expertise or skills. He was more than that. If i say he practiced ‘Love’ then it feels less softer than ‘Love’. But yeah Love itself got revealed through him. He let Love flow through..To the extent that there remained no barrier between Him and Love. Therefore whomever received him received Love. He let forgiveness flow within to the extent that there remained no barrier between him and Forgiveness. Thus whomever received him received Forgiveness.

🙂 He not only taught to love ,he became love. He lived the words he spoke. He himself was living words. Living Holy Book. He and all whom God sent as His Messenger. All of them are the Living Words of God.

 

Expert

Discover connections

IMG_20160610_130316

I believe one picture may evoke many different thoughts or emotions in different persons. When I was producing this art work I had some thoughts and some realizations. Even i sometimes get a different feelings when I look at these works later. Does it happen to you too?

I would like you to share whatever thoughts or feelings evoked inside you as you are seeing this art work. I really would like to discover our interconnected thoughts and their flow.

Thanks 🙂
Clouds
Tourist Water

Poverty

Poverty has been playing a dangerous role behind rising crimes and accepting crimes for a long time. The crimes ranges from petty stealing to even killing the mass people.

I would say one of the many reasons behind ‘rising extremist groups’ is ‘poverty’.  Extremist or Opportunist Oppressive leaders have been using this as a tool to lure the poor ones, from children to adults, to commit a crime for their purpose in exchange of money. During the strikes they would give money to some poor who may not even have any direct connection to any political party and ask them to go burn down vehicles, cut down the trees to block roads, bang someone’s head, throw cocktails or such explosives etc. They would target needy people even from middle class or seemingly rich family who probably got into some crisis and are needing urgent help. They would give them money as loan or even free. And bind them in a circle of liability ,gratitude as a price for the taken help. What do they want in return? They want them as their slave now to perform all the tasks they need to get done for establishing fear among the people and establish ‘Power’ over others. I would admit ‘greed’ also plays a lead key in this scenario.

But there are genuine poverty too. There are people whose even very basic needs are not met. There are people who get education and have good skills too but then they face crisis of work. Either because they don’t have a higher pricey degree or because they don’t have enough money to give as a bribe, or because they don’t have early work experience (Man, where do i get experience from if you don’t give me a job in the first place? :p ) or because they don’t look smart enough etc. etc. There are also many people with many good skills even if they don’t necessarily have higher degrees. But how often are they considered to be hired? Not very often. Especially in a poor country job with a good salary for such people is almost like water in the middle of desert and in  a developing country you will have to keep good watch. Farming, Carpentry, Plumbing, Cleaning etc. are pretty significant works but yet if you look from the perspective of those countries you will see how even a respectful work looses its appeal due to the money you earn against it. Imagine a farmer in south Asia. Rice is a very popular agricultural product in those countries. But how much does a farmer earn. Let alone money a farmer doesn’t even get a respectful look at them often. When someone from city goes to visit villages and they smile at a farmer i wonder how often do they feel like that man is equal even to the man who might be a boss in his office. Can we imagine if all the farmers, all the road cleaners, all those workers whose work looks low to us stopped working in those sectors who would do those chores? Either the rich ones or since they r not skilled at those works may b we all go starving, enjoy garbage all around etc.

Anyway.. So when people receives neither just portion against their labor nor even respect they eventually get frustrated. And these frustrations sometimes lead to small crimes to potential big crimes. Obviously there are strong people too who wouldn’t fall in the traps of crime to get money. But their strength doesn’t make them unworthy of getting proper price for their works!

To what extent can a family’s poverty go that even a mother takes drastic step to sell her daughter/s. To which extent poverty has reached that mans are falling in the traps of human trafficking. Sometimes some people would knowingly sell themselves to crime just because the hunger for food, the need of some clothes to cover the body, the need of a roof over head is pretty heavy.

Where has this poverty come from? Why there are people going without foods day after day when in their neighborhood many are sleeping on pricey beds, eating extra pricey foods or more foods than needed or even more foods than they can handle and who even own more than one car. How did all this happen. Why ,how and from where did we start the trend of deciding which work would get more salary and which would get low to lower? Do you think our present system got a Just distribution of economy among all the people on earth?

I believe in law enforcement to prevent crimes. But laws can’t be enough when people are starving unjustly or are being treated with discrimination. And above all I also feel the need of spiritual education for people to promote ‘understanding of Oneness’, ‘Love’ and ‘Unity’.

I wonder what could be a good applicable solution to this ‘Poverty’ and unjust distribution issue. This is definitely needed to be taken seriously even if those issues cease to provoke crimes. And other playing reasons behind crimes should be taken care of too.

 

Perfection

Perfection

This word prompted me to share a quote here –

God is busy with the completion of your work,

both outwardly and inwardly.

He is fully occupied with you.

Every human being is a work in progress

that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection.

We are each an unfinished work of art

both waiting and striving to be completed.

God deals with each of us separately

because humanity is a fine art of skilled penmanship

where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

~ Shams-i-Tabriz

 

Minority and Majority

What is minority?

When a set of people are different (in their ethnicity, faith, color, wealth, gender, sexual orientation etc.) in relation to the rest of the population of a country they are considered minority within the boundary of that country.

It intrigues me to observe that one land’s minority is another land’s majority. And yet Minority Issue is a burning issue of our world. Since when? Ever since men started to –

  • set borders and create own territory leaving others to need permission to enter their territories.
  • fear.
  • nurture superior feelings.
  • fight each other over different opinions, different ability to earn a day’s living, different ability to protect ownself.
  • deem it justified to offense or attack whoever seemed easy to dominate!

I have been observing some news and people reaction to minority issues. Some recent issues regarding the killing of people of minority group evoked concern among the minority groups and they came out to the street to speak loud for justice. But i haven’t seen them doing so before when people of majority groups were killed unjustly too.

In few days when on the other side of earth a group of another minority group was attacked some people from anther side of earth immediately got concerned whether their relatives around that neighborhood is safe or not. Once they knew they are safe they felt safer.

When a person from majority group is oppressed by men of the majority group it is taken as normal injustice issue. You will hardly see any mention of religion in such cases. But if this man was killed by someone from minority group or if someone from minority group was killed by man from majority group then it immediately sparks fire of ‘Religious love’ and general people alongside the media will name it a religious enmity issue! Why? Isn’t killing an universally recognized crime? I admit there are some people who use the name of faith and their desired interpretations to feel justified about their killings. But do we too somehow feel less justified to speak for justice unless we can add the label of religion to it? Do we secretly recognize it that it is religion which teaches justice so we can expect justice through it? Whatever thoughts are running in our head at that moment those are a mix of our dark and light sides. No?

For the reason i haven’t mentioned the name of the minority groups nor of the majority groups is these are common phenomenon from dynamic perspectives.

So we usually move our bodies to speak for justice only when our countrymen or whom we consider of our type are involved? Think how would it be if we knew we all are in reality of one family and one country. Let’s at least consider to ponder upon it. At this point i would like to share a quote of a messenger of God –

The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.~Gleanings from the writings of Baha’u’llah

It is sad when we want tolerance and justice towards all faith when we play ‘minority’ in a country but when we play ‘majority’ in another country or land  we are oppressive. Thankfully not all are like this and that is where the hope is shining. The bright side is the majority of the people of a country do not support oppression over the minorities. Yesterday just from the responses to one word prompt of ‘understanding’ the way everyone spoke out for the lost lives i strongly believe together we all can rebuild humanity and the country named ‘Earth’ without borders. Please tell me under the Umbrella of One God, our Maker, our Creator, who is minority and who is majority? I see neither but a great Oneness, One big family.
Rebuild
Hope
Earth

Understanding

Understanding

This word mostly used to bring to mind an act of understanding others. But in recent years i have realized the importance of ‘understanding my self’. Understanding comes from knowing. Knowing comes from curiosity and seeking and discovering.

Knowing to understand and realize has always been prescribed by the Great Thinkers, Philosophers, Prophets, Great men since very ancient times. Most of us are pretty familiar with the quote of Socrates, ‘Know Thyself’. Even the holy scriptures point to the importance of knowing one’s own self. Those say the one who knows himself knows the God. Profound!

Several years ago i came across some events which lead me to this thought – ‘Something is missing! It seems i really don’t know my self.’ Then i took the task of looking into my self seriously to know my self. I won’t say i have discovered it all . But i would like to share that in the process i started to understand my self and it lead me to transform into a changed person who started to understand others better than before. When i fearlessly faced my both dark and light sides i understood others too. When i saw how i improve from a less good act to better then i also believe in the same for others. The understandings of my self led me to love my self more as well as others regardless of their sex, nationality, colors, faith etc. The understanding of my self led me to understand the visible and invisible connections with all creations. The understanding led me to be more compassionate towards other animals and creatures in the nature and be more respectful to them.

How good would you feel to be offended or be attacked only because you don’t have lots of weapons in the house or you look polite enough to not hit back or you too look somewhat angry (although you haven’t posed any threat yet) or you just have the potential to attack or because you look simply Different! It seems MisUnderstanding or Non Understanding can even promote ‘Wars’. No? Not understanding and not preserving the rights of other animals lead to the current deforestation issues and wild animal extinctions. Not understanding is leading some parts of earth cutting down the big trees while not planting at least 2 to replace the cut one. When you go in the scorching sun how much care do you take for your self –

  • cover your head with a veil at least
  • use sunscreen lotions
  • use umbrella
  • use sunglasses
  • drink lots of water etc.

What about the earth? God has provided Big Trees as source of foods and also as the umbrella upon earth. The earth which we literally feed on what are we providing for it? If earth becomes sick isn’t it a simple math that we’ll get sick too? If we care for it wouldn’t it mean to care for our selves too?

In many cultures it is taught that humans are superior to other animals. But how superior are humans’ actions? What does the sun take from us and yet sheds light upon whole earth without asking who is what color and what faith. The trees give us shades and even its fruits. How often does it ask for something in return, does it even ask which part of earth was i born so it knows if i m native to it or not so it can decide whether to provide me the shade or not? I have a feeling the trees can feel the touch of same Maker on it and us. So the nature world treat all equally. We have a lot to understand from them and apply in our lives.

Remember the story of  Abel (Habil) and Cain(Qabil) – how God taught men to bury the dead by sending two crows? Animals had been appointed even as teachers for humans since such ancient time. Intriguing!  This is my understanding. 🙂

 

Image credit: Wikipedia

Connected

Connected
We all are connected. By the word ‘We’ i mean all Humans( regardless of their sex, age, faith, color etc.), all Animals, all the Plants and Trees, all Elements everything in nature and beyond. What is the connection between all of us? We all are creations of One Creator. We may call This Supreme Power with different names but He remains the Same One. We are a creation family. Although we have produced some separating factors like- birth location, colors, language, faith, physical appearance etc. But how rational is this act of us? Think within a family if 2 siblings were born in 2 different locations would/ do you consider each other ‘not family’?

Just like in a family each member plays different roles the same way, look at this big creation family, we all play different roles. Our different roles are not to separate us but to fulfill our collective needs. My favorite example to understand this unity is ‘human figure’. Look at every part of you. How diverse are they in appearance, their locations in your body, and their actions. Yet each are connected by bones, muscles, veins etc. We consider them collectively as one human body.  The whole creation is connected the same way through visible and invisible threads. Therefore when we hurt other creatures we somehow hurt ourselves. Sometimes we understand it ,sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we feel it sometimes we don’t. But I believe we all actually do understand and feel. We discover the feelings and understandings at different times may be but we all do after all. It is kinda inevitable. Because we all are connected.