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East and West

Sat Nam Dear Family,

People ask me, "What’s the difference between religions of the West and religions of the East?" The answer isn’t just this or that. The answer contains two different techniques when pursuing a spiritual path. Please, let me explain further. 

Right off the bat there’s a problem. Religions in the East are not religions at all. Sometimes they are called religions or philosophies, sometimes metaphysics, sometimes Indic. But what they are and should be called is lifestyles, lifestyles of the seeker in the experience of the truth. And here is why. 

Religions in the West require faith as a precursor to spiritual growth. The aspirant must put his faith, belief, in the a creed, a structure, a teaching, a teacher, a priest, or anyone or anything which purportedly directs the aspirant towards spiritual advancement. So, in the West, belief is the technique. It’s a wonderful technique.

The lifestyles (not religion) of the East are about seeking the experience of growth towards totality. Sure, belief and faith are also a part, a big part. Everyone has a belief in something, even if it’s nothing. Nevertheless, the primary focus, the preponderant one-pointedness, is on seeking the experience of the truth and knowing it in reality. 

The question arises, how do we know if we’re following a lifestyle which is truthful, or, at least, pointing in the right direction? 

There are several tests. If your lifestyle doesn’t promote compassion as a necessity, that’s not truthful in God’s court. When an aspirant follows a time honored true process verified by many who practice it, it’s real. If your well-being, your correct experience, increases with the practice of your focus, it’s real. At it’s apex, when the teachings include love, love for ALL, it’s more than real, it’s totality.  ALL is love. God is pure love. Reflecting God’s Will is reflecting pure love to ALL. This is true now; has always been true; and will be true forever (Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai Bhee Sach, Nanak Hosee Bhee Sach).

Great religions and teachings from the West, as well as the East, may qualify as real. Not all do, or represent themselves as they are supposed to, but there IS Infinite truth in the good ones. There is truth in many places. 

The final truth is that there is only ONE God. the God of ALL, The creator of ALL, the Master of ALL. Even the science of quantum mechanics is beginning to understand this truth. Because God is ALL, He must also be the God of ALL. Therefore, everyone’s journey to God is in seeking the same truth, the same God. There is no difference between you and me, I and thou.  

The Eastern way is to seek the experience of God, not just the belief. Eastern journeys are a journey into the true aphorism, "God and me, me and God, are One." We say it. We truly want to believe it. And, that’s great. We on the Eastern path seek the experience of knowing that "God and me, me and God, are One." For us, knowing through experiencing adds to just believing. Knowing is where the experience of love and unity lies, Knowing is what belief becomes. Knowing that God is our side because we’re on His, brings a confidence which can’t be matched. Simply stated, it is the experience of the depth of God, the journey of devotion, the service to the One in which we merge. 

This is the way of a Sikh, a lifestyle from the East. A lifestyle which comes from the oldest civilization on earth - the Indus Valley.

And, here’s the best part. The experience of living the truth never ends and it always gets better and better. That’s why we’re Sikhs, seeking His, Guru ji’s, truth. His teachings are straight from the heavens. They are the path for those who stand for not letting themselves get in the way of continuing to seek. 

We have a mantra which is as American as apple pie, but it works. Simply stated, it’s "Keep-up." It means that when things are down and darkest, that’s when we stand tallest. We keep-up, no matter what. We don’t judge, we tolerate. Our first American Yogi and Sikh mantra is: "We are the people, the people of love. Let us people love today." Were Sikhs because Sikhs are real. That’s our experience.

The truth is beyond anyone’s opinion, especially any of ours and starting with me. The truth is that we are tolerant, intuitive, grateful, understanding, dependable, patient, forgiving, dutiful, faithful, compassionate, loving, learned and wise, students of God and Guru. 

I share this in the prayer that others will seek the experience of reality, and do so in whatever way they see fit. I share this in the prayer that we’re able to convey the necessity and beauty of the spiritual journey. May God be with you no matter where you find Him.

Stay Tuned.

Your Friend,

Hari Jiwan