Beating the monster with nine heads
My dearest spiritual fellows,
When we gathered for the first time in 1998 in Vilnius, it was not clear at all:
· what our task would be
· which aims we had in mind,
· and how we had to work together to get results.
Now, seven years later, it is as if the world has changed and confronted us with our biggest challenge ever: globalisation and superficiality. Although the terrorist actions and their political consequences cant be the issue here, we cant deny that there are forces at hand that push society in a specific direction through agitation, lobbying and displacing pieces on the chess board of the world. In fact, we have to face these events in a traditional religious way:
the whole battlefield - be it a spiritual or a materialistic one, in fact you cant separate them is like a finely woven cloth. When you pull one single thread from it, every other part of the cloth will move also. So, when one piece of the chess board is replaced, the whole board is affected by the new situation and the player will have to reconsider every place of every piece on the board. In other words: as a religious movement, the World Congress of Ethnic Religions & Traditions has to reconsider todays situation in relation to the new political, cultural, socio-economic, and spiritual events. From there on, we can reposition and adopt a new stand point on how we are going to interact with the recent and ancient historical facts.
Lets have a look at what has happened these last few years and how events have affected the whole discussion concerning the place and the function of religion in our society. To understand this fully, we have to make a little historical journey first. There are a lot of tendencies in this world that influence the playground of society. On one hand, there is todays Western point of view. Modern Western countries depart from a purely socio-economic vision as a means to achieve stability and security. They consider religion merely as a relic of times gone by, a pre-logical stage of explaining nature, mankind and unknown phenomena. Since the Age of Enlightenment they believe in science and evolution and in a new kind of religion, the religion of Reason. This new kind of religion only accepts that what is traceable, that what is sensible, that what can be put into graphics and numbers (not numbers as in the Pythagorean teachings numbers that stand for spiritual and metaphysical realities but numbers purely seen as quantities). This misunderstanding of reality a reality that from then on was seen only as a quantity, a mass of atoms gave rise to the systematic withdrawing of quality, quality that can be considered the fundament of stability and uniqueness, and its replacement by mass and by reproduction, the fundament of change and, therefore, of instability. On the spiritual level, the uniqueness of the Metaphysical Universal Principles was replaced by universalistic rights during the French Revolution the so called human rights. Whereas the Metaphysical Universal Principles can only be achieved through a difficult and sometimes painful spiritual practice that provokes a metamorphosis, universalistic rights on the other hand were freely granted to everyone, even to those who damage society constantly. Furthermore, the metaphysical principles were rejected as fiction, as a world of fantasy created by man. Here lies the origin of humanism: in the rejection of that which surpasses mankind and which could be considered the Origin or Principle of all that exists.
Against the technicality of the Age of Reason, against the mechanistic view and the disenchantment of the world, the 19th century witnessed a revolt that would come to be known as Romanticism. Although the romantic movement returned, in a certain way, to an animistic feeling, to a rehabilitation of a nature full of wonders, it too had problems accepting metaphysics and the supernatural aspects of religion. God was, or the Gods were, cut down to the size of nature. Maybe God was not explicitly reduced to the tangible aspects of nature only, but he was still seen as nature nonetheless. On the other hand, the invisible became the playground of occultists, spiritualists and phantasists or charlatans. They confused initiation in the old mysteries with, as they called it, gaining paranormal powers, with magic and experimental séances conducted to contact the dead, and with 19th century modernistic and literally interpreted theories on reincarnations ad infinitum. From the 17th century onwards, people overemphasized the emotional part of man, in the same way as the late Christian church had done, and so, by the 20th century, religion had been reduced to morality, or even worse: religion was regarded as a primitive or childish variety of the Freudian and Jungian theories of psychology.
You will surely understand my friends, that there was, in fact, nothing left from the traditional concept of religion:
- Every metaphysical aspect was denied; in other words: religion couldnt be but purely human, an invention of the human mind
- God was equated with nature; we had to deal with a pantheistic view
- Religion was supposed to be based on sentimentalism, on changeable feelings and consequently it lost its stability, a stability that had once been firmly rooted in the mythical and ritual doctrine of transcending the purely worldly aspects of life and regaining the divine status
- The teachings of religion were turned into some sort of psychology that was focused on the reduction of man to his unconscious part, instead of the traditional point of view that aimed at elevating mankind to its higher, transcendental Self.
It is clear to everyone, I believe, that in such circumstances religion can be swept away easily or pushed back to the private sphere and labeled as a superstitious or childish remnant of the past. The void that was created by reducing the role of religion in our society has been filled up with the usual trivial aspects of life: food and games. Should we be surprised then, that political systems that are based on religious thoughts and principles, consider this way of life as sacrilegious and unworthy of mankind? We have to be honest, Brothers and Sisters. Is it that what we want? Can we blame those people who resort to violence as a means of resistance to such a way of life, to such a purely materialistic ideology that has organised the global world on a socio-economic basis in the name of freedom?
Please, do not misunderstand me I, for one, do not accept the violent way they react, but neither do I accept that kind of Doctrine of Salvation that aims at saving the entire world and ruling it through a theocratic system. In fact, both visions the modernistic Western vision and the vision of those I would like to call the Salvation armies push us in a very uncomfortable situation, a situation that can only be described as a purely one-dimensional world. Let me explain how I gradually came to this opinion while I was studying the religions of the Middle East. During my investigations, I came across a conclusion of Mircea Eliade on the religion of the Jews. Eliade pointed out that for the Jews, not the mythical event was the fundament of their religion, but a Divine History. The Jews believe they have a significant and divine role to play in history and this role found its expression in their Religion of Salvation: the people of Israel would be saved from their bonds and be free again. But up till then, I believed this concerned only the people of Israel. Later on, I read the studies of Georges Dumézil, an important French Scholar, who concluded that, as we survey the religious landscape from the East to the West, we can perceive a very peculiar devolution: what is known as myths in Eastern religions becomes ever more a history of men when we move from east to west. Indian myths can be traced in the epic stories of the Greek, and these heroic stories can be found once again, with the same structure, in Rome, but now told as historical events. We observe a certain humanisation of religion: Gods become heroes, heroes become men. Some Parsi and Indian myths can be found not fully, but partially in Jewish religion also, not as myths but as structural ingredients of their Sacred History. Wheras myths are multileveled examples for mankind lets say guides to transcend oneself gradually and regain the divine status the Sacred History, on the contrary, is a rather aggressive form of a local variety of a historical myth that elevates the Jewish people to the status of Chosen Ones, while all other peoples are seen as goyim, as barbarians, and are treated with disrespect and contempt. A real problem arises when such historically interpreted myth is universalised, in other words: becomes applicable to every man on earth. Then it is no longer only aggressive, but turns belligerent. It wants the people of God to fight the Lord of Evil who reigns this world and to regain the whole world in this fashion. But, even with this imperialistic religious ideology we mustnt despair. Because, even if such religions Christianity and Islam, to name them conquer people with other habits and other traditions, they can only succeed if they keep in touch with the soul of the people they conquer. So a plurality of interpretations is needed before a foreign religion can be rooted in the soul of a nation. Although we can perceive these pluralistic tendencies throughout European history, we also see that several reform movements have tried to return to the fundament of the historical and universalistic myth of the invasive religion. These reform movements protestant or other are never a good opportunity to us. They always stray from the mythical aspect and overemphasize the literal part, lets say the supposed history itself. In this way, by pretending to return to the fundament therefore we call them fundamentalists by pretending to return to the historical root or radix hence we call them radicals the multi-dimensional aspect of the myth becomes reduced to a one-dimensional, historical or exclusively literally interpreted vision. They get cut off from Sanâtana Dharma and claim to deliver the one and only Truth. And thats in fact what is happening nowadays within Islam worldwide and within Christianity in the U.S.of A.
So I warn you, my friends, dont be naïve and do not minimise the impact of these dangerous movements. They do not only pose a threat towards peace in certain regions of the world or even in the whole world itself, but also towards the peace of heart of every honest friend of the Gods or the Divine. On the other hand, I urge you not to generalise and to be careful with criticism always. Not every Christian or Muslim is a terrorist or an intolerant person. Even not every Christian or Islamic leader is a terrorist or an intolerant person. The problem doesnt lie in the person, but in the message that is infected and that accompanies the person. So, if we criticize, lets focus on those aspects that cause the problems. As a matter of fact, these two religions are infected by a poison that will kill them both eventually, through lack of wisdom and through a dogmatic attitude. And even while they are blind to this reality, their pride will precipitate their fall in the same way as the pride of rationality will lead to catastrophic situations on the political, the cultural, the ecosophical and the religious levels. We can fairly question ourselves: How much time do we have before new forms of totalitarianism will be installed?
To conclude, I would like now to concentrate on the possible solutions for the forementioned problems.
First of all, if our society wants to refrain from turning into a purely consumeristic and materialistic mass a mass that can be manipulated easily beacuse of a lack of higher consciousness and of metaphysical principles then it must accept that beneath the tangible world, there is also a supernatural level. This level is known by the ancient Greek as the seat of the Egemonikon, Sovereignty itself. Only by controlling existence from that level upwards, that is beyond Time and Space, the Wheel of Fortune could become the turning wheel of our golden chariot that brings us back to the Sun. In other words: by taking the fixed pivot of the metaphysical principles as our guide, we can re-orientate our environment to the essence, to what we really are, to Being instead of undergoing continual change.
Secondly, if we agree on the forementioned point, on this conditio sine qua non, in order to regain stability and truthfulness in our lives, we must request from our political authorities that at least they should seek and accept advice from the religious side for all their important decisions, the decisions that affect the whole of society. Its not by rejecting the separation between Religion and State, as I do, that only the possibility of chosing for a theocratic government should remain. No, as was the case in every traditional society: the King reigns, but he takes advice from the priests. He was not obliged to follow the advice of the clergy but at least he had to listen to them. If, because of his denial of the counsel, he made a mistake, the Gods would withdraw from him the threefold power by which he had earned his reign. From that moment onwards, he would be a mortal as everyone else.
So, we must emphasize that the authorities ought to heed the advice given freely by those men that take the Divine Principles as their guides. This is not a plea for the monopoly of one religion or other within governmental business, but for interaction between all religions that have a direct or indirect relationship with the people, cultures and traditions of the region on the one hand, and the authorities that represent that region on the other hand.
Furthermore, we have to take a clear stand against every form of invasive one-dimensional logic, whether it be socio-economic, political or pseudo-religious, since it poses a serious threat to the richness of wisdom. Only out of multi-leveled visions, careful and responsible actions can be taken towards unforeseen and unwanted situations. Accepting diversity is the only way to safeguard peace and to sprinkle life in our minds and in our environment. Do not reduce the other to yourself and dont make copies of yourself all over the world. Unity is to be found only in Diversity. It may seem paradoxical, but by sweeping away all diversity, one cannot create unity. You can only destroy it.
We propose to present the following resolutions to the official authorities:
We, the World Congress of Ethnic Religions and Traditions,
- Considering that todays authorities rely almost exclusively upon socio-economic premises to make political decisions
- Considering that the modern Western attitude apparently reduces the whole of creation to its sensible manifestation
- Considering that the same mentality has infected some religions by reducing their teachings to historical, literally interpreted facts
- Considering that (due to the forementioned literal interpretation) both the Western secularised vision and the religious historical stand point force people from other cultures to accept the alien, one-dimensional way of experiencing both the world and the Divine, and to abandon their own traditional, diverse and multileveled religious views
- Considering that the same materialistic vision has affected the organisation of the Western states and the government of the Western countries by separating Religion and State and by pushing Religion completely into the private sphere
- Considering that the diversity of peoples, cultures, languages and spiritual traditions constitutes the genuine richness of our existence
- Considering that attempts have been made to force people to adopt new identities so as to better suit the political objectives of states or the universalistic aims of specific religions
Therefore, by the present Covenant, the participating religions and traditions, through the undersigned Representatives, urge from the UNO, from the EU, from the Government
Since the world has its origin in the Divine, therefore the world should be orientated towards its divine essence and not solely towards its socio-economic, political, or military aspects
Since the Divine expresses itself in a multileveled system of appearances, experiences, and knowledge, therefore the authorities should safeguard the diversity and richness of cultures and traditions which are, themselves, the various expressions of the Divine in its most complete way
Since the Divine has both a manifested and an unmanifested aspect, and since the manifested expression of the Divine contains both sensible as well as spiritual realities, consequently all these realities are necessarily interconnected with each other within the Divine itself.
Similarly, it is not possible to separate the sensible from the spiritual, nor the organisation of the State from Religion. Both State and Religion belong to the human reality and are interconnected with each other.
Since State and Religion cannot be separated, and since Religion is a pluriform phenomenon, so the State should seek religious advice, in all possible diversity, from the various religions that are connected to the land, the people, the culture and/or the history of that State.
Since the unmanifested presides over the manifested, and since the spiritual presides over the sensible, so in decisions also ethical attitudes based on metaphysical principles should prevail upon socio-economic, political or military grounds.
Since diversity safeguards the richness of our planet, and since spiritual diversity guarantees the richness of our minds, so authorities should firmly condemn every form of proselytism, every form of imperialism (be it in a historical, cultural, political, or religious sphere) and every form of forced totalitarianism.
Since spiritual diversity guarantees the richness of our minds, and since the spiritual presides over the sensible and therefore safeguards the diversity of the tangible reality, so authorities should reinforce that diversity by supporting the traditional and ethnic religions and cultures.
FEDERAZIONE PAGANA - Tutti i diritti riservati