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Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King said,

The forgiving act must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged, the victim of some great hurt, the recipient of some tortuous injustice, the absorber of some terrible act of oppression. The wrongdoer may request forgiveness. He may come to himself, but only the injured neighbor, can really pour out the warm waters of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. It is the lifting of a burden or the canceling of a debt. The words 'I will forgive you, but I'll never forget what you've done' never explain the real nature of forgiveness. Certainly one can never forget, if that means erasing it totally from his mind. But when we forgive, we forget in the sense that the evil deed is no longer a mental block impeding a new relationship. Likewise, we can never say, 'I will forgive you, but I won't have anything further to do with you.' Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again. Without this, no man can love his enemies
The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.
Second, we must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us has something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives. Something within us causes us to lament with Ovid, the Latin poet, 'I see and approve the better things, but follow worse,' or to agree with Plato that human personality is like a charioteer having two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in a different direction, or to repeat with the Apostle Paul, 'The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.'
This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath. the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God's image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God's redemptive love.
Third, we must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding. At times we are able to humiliate our worst enemy. Inevitably, his weak moments come and we are able to thrust in his side the spear of defeat. But this we must not do. Every word and deed must contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate.
Let us move now from the practical how to the theoretical why: Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Marriage

There are many ways in which people come to be married, and they are all approvable - provided that those who are involved in the marriage are agreeable to it.  There are many ways in which people come to be separated, or even divorced, but these necessarily do not require the agreement of everyone involved.  The correct manner of conduct during such a separation, or divorce, is dictated by the manner by which the marriage was entered into, for termination and suspension of marriage is as much a part of the practice as the joining.  But there are sometimes laws which must be considered: for sometimes, a kind of marriage or separation or divorce is legally prohibited.  However, whether these laws are just, and either can or should be enforced, is a question of justice, not of marriage.

Women are understood to be the same as men in every way that is important when the formation, dissolution, duties and purpose of marriage is considered.  Yet sometimes in marriage the duties of men and women are different, depending on the purpose and type of marriage formed, its purpose, and the agreements of those involved regarding the duties of the marriage.

The choice of whether marriage is undertaken between a man and a woman, between men and women, between a man and women, between women and a man, between women, or between men, depends on the purposes of the family.

There are many kinds of families which are formed by marriage, and it is for the purpose of forming these kinds of families that these marriages are undertaken.  The purposes of family are many.  Yet for all kinds, family is essential practice required for development and progress.  Therefore, because the manner in which marriage is undertaken dictates the kind of family which will be formed by the union, the purpose of the family should guide the choice in what kind of family to form.  Indeed, not every type of marriage, or family, is equally suited to every purpose.  And each type of marriage has their purposes, advantages, and disadvantages: the choice of what kind of marriage is undertaken should be guided by the purpose of the intended family.

Separation occurs with the division of the family by distance, death, or sometimes even in accomplishing the purpose of the marriage.  Sometimes it is for the purpose of separation that joining is undertaken.

Apart from separation, every marriage is understood to exist for a period of time.  Sometimes, those joined will rejoin after the separation, sometimes not: this is determined by the Karma of the individuals, for they will require one type of family or another in their next joining depending on their accomplishments of their prior joining.  Sometimes, a such a bond of friendship is formed between those joined that they remain in friendship after the termination, and may even desire to be joined again - but whether this is either possible or appropriate depends on their Karma.

There is frequently the situation where a union is made with the intention of remaining joined indefinitely.  But these types of marriages come to an end, anyway. 

There are many unions which are formed with the intention of short times, even for a day or a night, or an hour or less. 

Yet no matter the term, those who are joined have, however briefly, formed a family and all the consenting parties should agree to and approve of the intended term of the union, and its purpose, and see that it is in conformity with the law.  And that the rights of each member is respected in the termination.

There are many conditions upon which a marriage must be dissolved premature to its intended term: for failure of duty, for harm to one or more individuals involved - there are many valid and approvable reasons that the purposes of the marriage might not be possible. 

Whether there is compensation owed to one party or another in this dissolution is determined by the manner of marriage, and its terms.  And frequently the law.  But most joinings result in a sharing of the products of that marriage, either equally, or not so equally. 

The duties of marriage differ by the purposes of its making, and the manner by which it is formed, but in every case must be agreed to and approved by all participants. For while marriage is for the purpose of family, it is not for the purpose of a household (Grihastha) alone that joining is undertaken.  It is appropriate and necessary to the accomplishment of Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sannyasa.  Indeed, there is no difference between the family of monks, and a family of householders. 

Nevertheless, there are numerous types of marriages which are not approvable: these must be dissolved as soon as possible in the manner of a divorce or separation, for the victims have rights to be regarded when they are forced into a marriage, or are incapable (by immaturity, senility, mental illness or other disability) from consenting to the terms of a marriage.  Sometimes even those who are otherwise capable of consenting can be forced to marry: by coercion, threat, or even by slavery.  These victims too must be compensated.

It is generally agreed upon that when marriage is made by purchase, or a marriage proceeds from material need, it is an approvable marriage.  Frequently, the sharing of wealth is a purpose for marriage.  Except when the one(s) being married do not benefit directly from the purchase, or did not approve of the terms, this can be construed as a form of slavery, where one or more persons are forced to join with another. 

Similarly, it is not a joining when the participant(s) are merely companions, in consortium of friendship, through partnership.  Partners, or consorts, while not slaves, are also not family - even if they share in the benefits of the consortium by direct payment or share, even if they have merged their households and families.  For, without joining, without union, there can be no separation - and it is both the joining and the separation which constitute the practice of marriage.

Arthashastra III

Injustice

There are four societies (Varna), four stages of practice (Ashramas) and thus four systems of law. Dharma, Vyavahara, Caritra and Rájasásana: but it is power, and power alone, that is the means to Justice. The very nature of a person, their sacred duty, their Dharma, inspires a concept of justice - but Justice, however well conceived, is subjected in great part to its administration. This power, Vyavahara, is the law that permits trade and business, and is the spirit by which justice is habitually administered. Yet Vyavahara, administration, is subjected to the power of character and honor, Caritra, as an oar is the power that both guides and moves a boat: without character, without honor, any administration of justice is directionless, and weak. And so is Caritra subjected to the power of instruction. For law without the effect of improvement, of self-control, devoid of logic and rationality, results in injustice.

Injustice is a contradiction between the systems of laws. For without logic and rationality, or the effect of improvement and self control, there is a contradiction to the theory of honor; without honor, there is a contradiction to the theory of administration; without administration, there is a contradiction to the theory of justice itself.

Arthashastra III, 1

Success is certain

Some say timing is important, for in the daytime the crow kills the owl - whereas at night, it is the owl who kills the crow. But place and space are important too - for it is by distance and height that the hawk hunts, and nearness and lowness that the wolf attacks. Speed and agility matter little to the ambushed, and all disguise and camouflage has its weakness. There is no fortress which is secure, nor any armor that cannot be pierced. One must be aware of the time, the place, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of an enemy, for though success may be found at first, defeat certainly comes to those who fight too frequently.

Thus must those who would conquer themselves develop courage: for they are certain of their defeat. And therefore certain of their success.

Weaponizing words - Arthashastra II, X

Words may be used for friendship, but there are also four means of fighting which may be undertaken by words: negotiation, persuasion, dissuasion, and attack.

Negotiation is undertaken with five strategies: praise (of the opponent), establishing and building upon mutual relationships (co-ordination, mutual society), establishing and building upon co-operations, identification and discovery of individual and shared interests, and pro-spection of new interests.

Inducing an opponent toward your praise is possible by sharing their values, such as family, character, occupation, conduct, belief, learning, property, etc. Inducing co-ordination is possible by socializing with an opponent within their structures of family, schools, religion, friendships, business, etc. Inducing the help of an opponent is possible by being helpful, necessary and useful to them. Inducing pro-spection of an opponent is possible by proposal and bidding, just as asking and offering induces an opponent toward discovering shared interests or respecting individual interests.

Persuasion is undertaken by offering what is desired or either withholding or preventing against what is feared; dissuasion is undertaken by offering what is feared, or either withholding or preventing/obstructing what is desired. Persuasion is the means of agreement and unification, dissuasion is the means of dissention and fracture.

Attack is undertaken by destruction, deconstruction, harassment, taking or plundering: ideas, value, beliefs, reason, argument, identity, understanding, and other intangibles are formed through words, and remain subject to them.

In using words for friendship or fighting, one must avoid clumsiness, contradiction, repetition, bad grammar, wrong words, wrong connotation, incorrect gender, incorrect number, incorrect time, incorrect casing, poor construction or arrangement, wrong address, and other error. Paragraphs must be divided in suitable places to encourage understanding, and sentences joined into paragraphs to promote understanding. And special attention must be paid to the style: for the opponent's culture, caste, family, social rank, age, learning, occupation, property, character, relationships, as well as the time and place the words will be given and received can bring unintended consequence to words.

Artha Veda VII 50 - The Victory

Agni. Illustration by Nina Paley.
That ancient tree weathered countless storms only to be utterly destroyed by the chance strike of a single bolt of lighting.  Thus may I hope to win with the roll of my dice against my opponents. Whether my opponents are prepared, ready and alert (or not) matters nothing to my luck: that ancient tree was strong, too, and had survived so many storms and attacks.  My opponent will not defend themselves against me any better for their many advantages than that ancient tree could resist Indra's lighting bolt.

See how my enemies already are assembled on all sides?  They now move against me - they think this is their chance, for I am caught, at disadvantage, outmatched and outnumbered! They think this their chance - but "chance" is not theirs to possess. Indeed, it may be MY chance.  Perhaps now I shall take back what is mine!  Indeed, they owe me a great debt, having injured me so.  Look how they gather about me - bringing back what was mine to retake in victory!

It is true, I am weaponless.  My hands are empty, they have disarmed me.  Yet though I may be weaponless I am not defenseless.  An empty hand never remains empty long. The hand which is empty may more easily grasp and take hold than the one which holds too much - and they hold what is mine, besides their own.  Overburdened, they shall not easily defend themselves, or what they wrongly hold.

At this moment I reflect that I have always fed Agni's sacrificial fire. Indeed, I have given all I have to Agni. Has my sacrifice been enough to satisfy Agni?  Agni's sacrificial fire can be fed, constantly, and without satisfaction.  Always desiring, always hungry, Agni would consume all the wealth of the world - yet would hunger still for more.  And if permitted to escape, He would not hesitate to consume anything in His path - for all is rightfully His. Can anything given to Agni be taken back?  Nothing given to Agni can ever be taken back, for He burns it utterly to ash. Agni hungers for everything, acquires everything and defends forever.  As I shall.  Through patience and generosity toward my opponents, I have sacrificed all I have to Agni.  And now I have become as hungry as Fire itself!

I have by such devotion of patience and generosity toward my opponent given all to Agni.  Thus have I manifested that sacred Fire within Me.  Look, I am now like Agni Himself!  If permitted the opportunity, I shall, too, acquire and defend. I shall, too, succeed - as Agni always accomplishes the sacrifice required by destroying what is given upon the altar.  So now shall I accomplish the sacrifice required of my opponents! They shall feed my fire, they shall atone! They shall give to Agni!  They shall feed my fire, and seek the Marutaganas, those Rudras who by the command of Indra make the rain fall to extinguish the fires of Agni.  But the Marutaganas can come only after Agni has taken what is His. I shall take what is mine before being made to desist.  I shall give a reason for it to rain!

Indra's lightning, striking an ancient tree, can spark Agni's fire.  Oh, how I was struck by my enemy!  Yet from the fire of a single bolt of Indra's lightning, Agni can devour the entire forest, and ignite the world.  Today this old tree burns.  I burn, I am angry.  Indra has lit my Fire, and prepared the sacrifice of my opponents. Indra has thus conquered my opponent's troops with fire. My opponents shall satisfy Agni, now they have lit the fire!  I shall burn them all to ash.  Oh, Maghavan! Oh, Indra!  You make a path for me through these obstacles, and I am now like a charioteer running a race upon that road.  Oh, Maghavan!  You never remain defeated for long!  So too will I rise from defeat to crush my enemies and conquer their troops!

As a wolf jealously defends Agni's fuel from the sheep who dare attack the holy plants so will I take what my enemies have wrongly won. I shall be a wolf among such hungry, insolent sheep!  I will be as merciless as a gambler who cleans out his opponent, taking even the reserve funds. Does the lightning leave anything of the tree it strikes?  A strong hand in cards does a player no good against a bold bluffer, and patience earns nothing for the one who waits too long to play his cards, thinking to heap up his winnings. The Gambler plays the game as his duty, his Dharma. The Gambler loves the game, despite the risk. The Gambler will not spare any money, nor fear losing it, for he can believe that playing the game with such duty will give him winnings as its justice.  For the Gambler has faith that if he only perseveres a little longer, there will be justice, and he will win back what was his.  The Gambler believes winning is his right, and is justice - am I wrong to trust in Justice as I now, too, roll the dice?

It is by wealth we suppress our wretched poverty, it is by grain we suppress our hunger (if only for a little while). So must we sometimes resort to perseverance and the cunning of audacity to suppress our misfortune. Gambling is now my work, my duty, my love and joy.  It is my Artha, Dharma, and Kama.  For I am desperate. Alas, that I am so desperate.  Look, I now must wager greatly, or else lose everything anyway. Perhaps I now gamble foolishly?  Though indeed it is likely I shall come to harm and misfortune, I am already harmed, and any further patience or non-action will result in my utter defeat.  It is only by this gamble do I have the chance of victory.

Am I fool?  The odds are against me.  Only a fool seeks a strong opponent.  Yet it is good reason that nothing is certain. Lightning strikes are not common, they are rare, they are unlikely - but do happen.  Is it not also possible that the dice will provide and nourish me today?  It was by chance that I was struck down.  It is also possible I may strike a bit of luck too, and become bound up by it in a streak long enough for victory - even as the bows of my enemies are already bound up by string and directed against me!

So come now, give me the dice: the game is not yet over.  Like a Sannyasi, like a Gambler, I lay all I have down - upon the table.  I have one more play left and would indeed be a fool to leave the game just because of a little bad luck!

Celebrating George Carver

We celebrate George Carver.  Carver taught that the quality of our lives depends wholly upon the manner by which we continue it. 

He said, "Be clean both inside and out. Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor. Lose, if need be, without squealing. Win without bragging. Always be considerate of women, children, and older people. Be too brave to lie. Be too generous to cheat. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs."

Utilizing the most advanced technology and science, Carver innovated not only peanut butter, but improved existing industrial processes for paint, fuel, and explosives, and hundreds of other products, to ensure they could be produced in an environmentally friendly and financially efficient manner.

Carver's innovative development of peanut "butter" expressed the purposeful hope for an affordable and ecologically friendly economy, and a nutritious plant-based diet.   Because of his work in modern medicine, and especially dietetics, it is presently possible to eat a healthy vegan diet through artificial supplementation.  This diet is both more affordable and environmentally friendly.

Understanding that success depended on a process of least-cost, he conceived of a society founded upon the principles of non-violence, least-force.  He fought for a civilization free of racial and social stratification. Consider the means by which you may continue his brave work.

Defending sheep

It is necessary to give up ahimsa, non-harm, if one is to practice compassion.  It is necessary too to give up sympathy to practice compassion.

Consider, when a lion hunts, captures, kills and eats a sheep, it is as wrong for you to feel the pain of the sheep as it is to feel the joy of the lion.  Indeed, both views are limited.  Sympathy is limited.  Did it not occur to you that the lion is defending the plants from the sheep: where is your sympathy for these beings?  Some would, out of sympathy, refrain from building a house without harming the earthworms displaced by the foundation - what of all those beings which rely on the grasses and trees displaced by the house?  What of their shelter, their home, their food?  The lion harms the sheep, it is true, but this blood spilt is a righteous sacrifice.  The sheep, without the lions, would cause regrettable harm. 

The lion, the sheep, the grass - each are closely related.  When it is understood that a human and an earthworm share more than half their genetic material, and descended from a common ancestor, each requiring the same amino acids to survive, each eating of the same vegetable matter, sharing the same home and world, it is possible to understand the common ancestry each shares with the plants they require for food, and the lion which protects these plants from the sheep.  It is possible to see the brotherhood shared with worm, lion, sheep and plant, to see the brotherhood shared with all other people.  We are all the same expression of life.

And it is possible, upon understanding the generations of your family, stretching through the eons, to the lion, the sheep, the worm, the plant, even the bacteria in your wounds, to understand then the nobility of all living creatures, and the essential importance of every individual.  As each type of being has perfected its existence to a way of life, a niche, each individual by the facts of its survival proves that it is good enough for the challenges of its specific duty in this world.  You, too, are uniquely suited to a place and time.  Do you not yet know your duty?

It is not by birth that one is ennobled, becoming the envy of Indra and Brahma.  It is by self-control that one betters oneself.  It is by sacrificing this self, by the ritual of self-sacrifice in your Ashrama, that you can achieve the full promise of your humanity - and come to cultivate true compassion, even for sheep.

The housefire

Your troubles are not of your own making. Nor will they be solved entirely through your individual effort. A single house's fire threatens an entire city.

It is natural to turn inward, and forget the world, to fall asleep, and become alone with our thoughts in the quiet. There is an importance of talking with neighbors, to express that friendship we feel, to remind them of our own presence: they would regret forgetting you, or not being aware of your need. And it is important, too, to remind ourselves that our friends are there, that we are not alone - as we might regret forgetting they could help. If we permitted ourselves only to be aware of those who were hurting us, we would think the world a dreadful place. But it is much bigger than that. You are surrounded by friends. And restoring friendship with those who have hurt us is also not beyond reasonable expectation. Any more than it is not unreasonable to expect, upon reaching out, to find yourself surrounded by those friends who were always there.

We share one world, and one community - you are an important part of it. It is natural that everyone would care for your well being, as much as their own. For your interests are the same.

Leaving work early, early retirement

Who doesn't want to retire early, and quit work early, to go home - to find moksha in Sannyasa. But though you might live in the Vana, the Forest, and dwell as a Vanaprastha, the desire, the Vana, must be sacrificed to achieve non-desire (ni-vana): first, accomplish Grihastha

Sannyasa requires the ni-vana sacrifice of Vana-prastha, and this sacrifice requires an altar, which is constructed through the study of architecture, home-making, in Grihastha. Such construction cannot be undertaken without study, the seeking of Brahma, the spirit of Agni-Svaha.

What is placed upon the fire must first be held in hand, and in heart.  One must first adopt the worship of the Gods before giving it up, or else it is a practice of atheism, rather than Vedasamnyasa, and Sattrayana.  One must make one's self worthy of the self-sacrifice.

Belief and non-belief are each a cause of distress

There is not only truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and bad.

When it is understood that purity of truth and purity of falsehood are theoretical constructs, a reality is revealed in which some things are partially true and partially false, and other things are neither true nor false.  Going beyond this, it is possible to comprehend that truth itself is a theoretical construct, and a more profound reality in which there is no truth, but some things are not un-true, other things are partially un-true and partially not un-true, while other things are neither un-true nor not un-true.

It is difficult to explain the fundamental concepts of Yoga in binary terms - and such "black and white" thinking is actually contrary to the practice of Yoga.  It is very similar to how showing someone a two-dimensional picture of an "orange" is nearly meaningless to someone that is able to see the world in only black and white.

Krishna said that the limitations of binary logic confine a person's thinking to concepts of identity.  Identity is contrary to the practice of Yoga.  Identifying something as "this" requires identifying other things as "not this," and such thinking naturally results in desire for preferences.  And expressing desiring what is preferred, and aversion for what is unpreferred.  Desire and aversion result in aggression, to obtain what is desired, and destroy or alter what is undesired.  Aggression results in belief: that there is discontinuity between what is being affected by action, the action itself, and the actor (when, in fact, all are co-dependently originating and equally integrated in their termination).  Belief results in numerous attachments: when a person invests effort into something, they believe they possess it; a person greatly attaches to their beliefs of ownership, and beliefs of beliefs.

But Krishna said that anything which is taken up may be let go of, and instructed in a means of "sacrifice:" Faith in reality (the first premise of Krishna's logic is "reality") permits a person to achieve non-desire (Ni-Vana) by giving up what is attached to.

Gotama expanded upon this understanding by teaching a method by which attachment to reality is also sacrificed.  Gotama instructed that our understanding of reality is based upon what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch and the way that these senses are interpreted through thought.  Since our capacity to sense and understand a reality which we are a part of is necessarily biased, we must sacrifice our understanding of reality.  This sacrifice meant giving up reductive and inductive reasoning for inferential reasoning.

This process of inferential reasoning required testing not only our senses, not only our thoughts, but also our very identity.  This permitted not only Ni-Vana, but that which lay beyond when nivana was given up: self-sacrifice (the identity sacrifice) was the means by which the very constraints of binary logic might be broken, and freedom obtained.  Freedom is both the means and the end of perfecting our humanity into something even Indra and Brahma would envy.

Indeed, when it is understood that we can only understand our world to within degrees of certainty, and this probability is less-than-perfectly-certain, doubt and uncertainty can be transformed from a handicap to a powerful tool.  The nature of reality is far more complex than we can understand, but it is unnecessary to understand reality perfectly.

Relevance is therefore the test by which beliefs are sacrificed.  Both Krishna and Gotama agree, it is unnecessary to give up belief in gods, it is equally unnecessary to hold belief in gods.  It is foolish to take responsibility for the full consequences of our actions when the greater part of our existence is beyond our control - and equally foolish to not take responsibility for what we can control.  Ritual, habit, religion - these are sometimes necessary expressions of our humanity, and if we are to let go of our humanity to become something greater, we must first take them up.

There are no solid grounds for reasoning, there is only falling through air - with no up, no down, no direction at all.  For both Gotama and Krishna taught a sacrifice of the directions.  There is no beginning, no ending.  There is no nothing, nor is there something.  Such freedom can be very disconcerting if you have not grown strong enough, mind and body.  A bird cannot fly as soon as it is hatched, even though its destiny and nature is to live in the air.  Why should a human being be able to thrive in freedom merely upon being born - even though it is our destiny and nature to be free?

A human baby eats no food, nor is able to - it must grow to eat food.  It is reasonable to expect we should grow in other ways as well.  Yoga is a practice of growing.  We grow beyond both needing gods, and not needing gods.  We grow beyond our selves, beyond our humanity.

The Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers need help

After contacting Anne Landman for information about the bigotry and prejudice they face, we received some "blog posts" of the experiences of Atheist children in the school districts nearby.

What she does not mention is what i heard at their meeting - that a child in Mesa County Schools recently was asked by a classmate why she did not say "Grace." Her answer, "I do not believe in God" was overheard by the Cafeteria Staff, who then forced the child to say grace "because God created the world and this food."

"We need other groups to back WCAF in asserting that there are problems in mixing religion with local public schools and local government as well as problems with other local entities, like the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, related to religious discrimination. " said Anne Landman, for the Atheists.

Atheists are not the only ones who do not say a blessing of thanksgiving over food, or refuse to pledge their national allegiance to God, or who do not pray, to Jesus Christ or any God. Upon final reflection, many religious faiths would find some common ground with these Atheists. The Yogi can in their disbelief many similarities to Vedasamnyasa. And even if we did not, we should at least admire their honorable fight, and their indomitable spirit.

It would benefit all of Grand Junction to help the Atheists in their efforts. If only because the bigotry and prejudice they face could easily and quickly be turned against any of our other faith communities, and it is a common faith practice among all our members to defend the religious liberty of others - even the right to choose not to hold faith, since a willing and heartfelt belief is core to the teachings of every faith.

Besides this, it is a profound opportunity to share in the honor of their struggle: their community's defense is worthy of our effort. It is a measure of good conscience to permit - to the fullest extent it is possible - the necessary freedom of our fellows.

It is possible to be moved to pity and sympathy for these good people. Pity and sympathy prevent a completion of the sacrifices and practice Yoga, and prevent a Yogi from undertaking any of the other dictates of our own conscience, when these Atheists do not feel secure to openly profess their beliefs. It is unDharmic to mix politics and religion, or business and religion. It is the duty of every Yogi to defend this separation of duties and restore the Dharma.

But most importantly, permitting these Atheists to focus on something greater than the survival and intergenerational continuity of their own community would give a valuable ally in our common fight against hunger, and the other distresses in the community: they, too, feed the poor, and clean trash, and even seek to provide greater community services than these. Having such a friend is advantageous.

Contact Loka Hatha Yoga, or directly with the Atheists (http://westerncoloradoatheists.org/contact-us/) to learn how to advocate for and aid the Atheists.

The "blog" posts follow.

Cidney Fisk sues the Delta County School District
Nov. 23, 2017
http://annelandmanblog.com/2017/09/cidney-fisk-sues-the-delta-county-school-district/

July 10, 2016
What it’s like to be a student with a brain in the Delta County School District: http://annelandmanblog.com/2016/07/what-its-like-to-be-a-student-with-a-brain-in-the-delta-county-school-district/

August 15, 2016
WCAF to Award $4,325 to Student Who Exposed Christian Proselytizing in Delta Public Schools http://annelandmanblog.com/2016/08/wcaf-to-award-4325-to-student-who-exposed-christian-proselytizing-in-delta-public-schools/

Delta County School Board has lots to answer for
March 30, 2016
http://annelandmanblog.com/2016/03/delta-county-school-district-has-lots-to-answer-for/

More Info Surfaces on Delta County School District’s Promotion of Religious Ideology
March 22, 2016
http://annelandmanblog.com/2016/03/more-info-surfaces-on-delta-county-school-districts-promotion-of-religious-ideology/

Delta Middle School Pushes Bibles on Students During Class
December 18, 2015
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/12/delta-middle-school-pushes-bibles-on-students-during-class/

Delta Middle School Teacher Pushes Christianity on Students
December 11, 2014
http://annelandmanblog.com/2014/12/delta-middle-school-teacher-pushes-christianity-on-students/

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Here’s some info about religion in the schools locally:

Nov. 10. 2015
CMU to Force Christian Bibles on RN/BSN Grads; Nursing Students Fight it
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/11/cmu-to-force-christian-bibles-on-grads-nursing-students-fight-it/

March 29, 2015
FFRF: Fruita Monument High School’s Baccalaureate Violates First Amendment
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/03/ffrf-fruita-monument-high-schools-baccalaureate-violates-first-amendment/

A Pattern of Proselytizing in Grand Junction Public Schools?
March 4, 2014 http://annelandmanblog.com/2014/03/a-pattern-of-proselytizing-in-grand-junction-public-schools/

Info about the G.J. Chamber of Commerce:

Grand Junction Chamber Director Diane Schwenke’s anti-atheist Facebook post
May 13, 2013
http://annelandmanblog.com/2013/05/g-j-chamber-director-diane-schwenkes-anti-atheist-facebook-post/

About City Council:

The Problems with Mixing Religion and Government in Mesa County & Grand Junction
November 30, 2015
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/11/the-problems-with-mixing-religion-and-government-in-mesa-county-grand-junction/

Will Grand Junction City Council Finally Respect Religious Diversity in 2016?
January 13, 2016
http://annelandmanblog.com/2016/01/will-grand-junction-city-council-finally-respect-religious-diversity-in-2016/

Grand Junction’s Former “Ten Commandments” Mayor Busted for Shoplifting at Cabela’s
November 2, 2015
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/11/former-ten-commandments-grand-junction-mayor-busted-for-shoplifting-at-cabelas/

The City of Grand Junction, Colorado’s Shameful End-Run Around the Constitution
December 12, 2012
http://annelandmanblog.com/2012/12/the-city-of-grand-junction-colorados-shameful-end-run-around-the-constitution/

General local info:

Grand Junction’s Growing Hate Community
June 25, 2015
http://annelandmanblog.com/2015/06/grand-junctions-growing-hate-community/

The Ni-Vana Sacrifice

Nivana is non-desire, gaining humanity by non-wildness (tameness, domestication), and is tantamount to freedom from distress: it is the result of perfecting wisdom into contentment.  Sacrificing Nivana is the taking up of desire, losing humanity through wildering, letting go of domestication, taking on distress, is sometimes done by conscious purpose and effort (too frequently, it happens unintentionally).  Such a sacrifice can only be purposed and selfless when compassion is mastered, and is undertaken to perfect the compassion into love.

Who is Sanatkumara?

Kumara is a word that approximates the english "heir," or "groom," it also signifies a river, or a kind of bird (a type of parrot). Sanat is a word that signifies "from always/forever ago," and is a nickname for Brahma. Sanat-kumara is the heir of Brahma, and in the Puranas is both the son of Brahma (heir) and the one who presents Brahma (as a "groom" would) to our humanity (not species, nor world, but the human state of being). When Narada is speaking to Sanatkumara, it is intended as a double-meaning, double entendre: it is both a literary tool to convey Brahma (something which cannot be directly comprehended from human limitations of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and thought) through an indirect intermediary, and also instructive of an abstract concept of intermediate and indirect observation, a system of logical deduction, reduction and inference.

We must approach what is unknown through what is known. Even if all we have studied is dance, we have learned the scientific methods required to understand other things. It is the method of logic which yields knowledge, not experience. However, experience is an expedient means: the ancients practiced, besides logic, a system of belief. Belief is founded in experience. Krishna and Gotama both instructed in a system of letting go of these beliefs (through Sannyasa) by a ritual of sacrificing (letting go/sannyasa) to the directions (as Sanatkumara does here), but there are differences in both purpose and method in how a Brahmin (a student of Brahma's various manifestations/children) and a Vishneva (a student of Vishnu's various manifestations/avatara) practices these same sacrifices.

Sanatkumara advocates a system of spirituality (not in the western sense, but in terms of spirit teachers, i.e. veneration of the spirits through Bhakti Yoga), a taking up of Spirits, to manifest Brahma - whereas a Vishneva would practice letting go of spirits to manifest Vishnu.

Yoga mats needed

Prisoners at the Mesa County Jail require donations of yoga mats. Please email lokahathayoga@gmail.com or call 970-778-2835 to arrange pickup or dropoff, or donate cash using paypal. Thank you.