Are we not all equal before God?

Iskcon temple Juhu Mumbai

“The true seer is one who sees the supreme lord seated equally in all beings- the Imperishable within the perishable” – The Bhagavad Gita

I am grateful for what I have learnt from the day that was given to me today…. The first thing is that I am observing Mumbai from the privileged position of being paid to be there, being relatively well off and staying in a comfortable old colonial hotel near the sea front with all my needs catered for. Not so different from the millionaire Mumbai residents with their army of cooks, servants, gardeners and drivers…indeed while I am here I have a driver myself….and for those privileged enough to afford it who wouldn’t at $20 per day?

My first lesson of the day came from a lunchtime visit to the Hare Krishna temple in the suburb of Juhu. Since my driver is a Krishna devotee I invited him to accompany me into the temple and to have some lunch, a simple vegetarian affair costing $3 for 2 of us at the temple rather than doing the expected thing of waiting outside. He seemed comfortable with this departure from the traditional custom so we went in….

One of the monks came over and was talking to me about Krishna Consciousness and enlightenment, and ignoring the driver…he then invited me on a tour of the temple and the quarters of the presiding Deity, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. I mentioned that I was with someone who may also be interested in this tour, to which the monk replied “But he must be your driver, he does not understand these things, he should wait outside” The young well-meaning Monk seemed rather bemused when I asked him if we were not all equal before God….?

So sadly it still seems that even though in the wondrous words of The Bhagavad Gita or the The Song of the Bhagavan (a text of which I only have a little knowledge) “The true seer is one who sees the supreme lord seated equally in all beings” and that it seems there is still a poverty of real ‘seeing’ in our world today. After all this young monk, who is himself probably privileged was simply struggling with what we all struggle with, and that is to transcend what we believe we were born into and to simply be the divine beings that we are; Krishna consciousness, Christ consciousness or whatever ones own word for selfless love. His difficulty is understandable, born in Mumbai, a city of contrasts so stark that the millionaire residents are surely numbed by the constant exposure to poverty and oblivious to the inequality of it. It is estimated that 54 percent live in slums. Apply internationally accepted definition of a slum and the percentage shoots over 60. My work takes me to both extremes of the economic scale but from the privileged position of outside observation rather than direct personal experience.

The second gift that was given to me today was a chance encounter with the Art of Living book store, a book store devoted to the teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I bought a copy of his book ‘Timeless Wisdom’, the book of all religions. This volume, gives examples of how Every major tradition has made a unique contribution towards human evolution. Shri Shri Ravi Shankar shows it is not wise to see one tradition as better than another and that all the religions of the world belongs to everyone and that each religion advocates the basic human values of truth, peace and service.

According to Sri Sri,: When attention is given to the spiritual aspect of one’s life it breaks down the boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality. This is the only way that wars can be eliminated and human rights restored in the world today.

Very wise words indeed….

A few words about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

‘A call for Humanity to move from:

-Tolerance to Love, Self centered success to selfless service, being exclusive to all inclusive.

As a young child Sri Shri Ravi Shanker was found in peaceful meditation. At the age of four, His parents discovered Him reciting verses from the Bhagavad Gita. Today, Sri Sri travels & teaches internationally, reminding us that the great spiritual traditions have common goals and values. His simple message of love, practical wisdom, and compassion continues to inspire people from all walks of life, and He encourages everyone to follow their chosen religious or spiritual path while honoring the path of others. Sri Sri is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values.

Here is Sri Sri Ravi Shankers You Tube channel for guided meditations, talks and other useful stuff Art of Living TV