1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

How Leo Tolstoy influenced Gandhi’s passisve resistance fight against the British September 11, 2014

Leo Tostoy is widely known as a great writer, Mahatma Gandhi is widely known as a great freedom fighter, the only one so far who could inspire people for the non-violence fights and made them win.

Little is known however about the connection between the two. Let me show you the missing link!

leo-tolstoy-painting-1  Gandhi

A couple of years before the death of Leo Tostoy, there was a highly interesting letter exchange between the two, please read here.

Gandhi mentioned several times in his life that Tolstoy was his true inspiration for the nonviolence fight.

A detailed text on relationship between Tostoy and Gandhi is here.

Further quoting the article “Tolstoy and Gandhi’s Law of Love” By Thomas Weber

When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi started to practice law in South Africa as a young barrister in the 1890s, he was confronted with glaring racial discrimination as well as various other injustices. It was then that he began to develop his satyagraha philosophy of nonviolence, through which he would later lead India to independence. Perhaps the most profound influence on Gandhi at this time were the ideas and living example of the Russian author Leo Tolstoy who, in the last year of his life, became Gandhi’s mentor on nonviolence.

During an interview in London with Evelyn Wrench, the editor of The Spectator, Gandhi was asked, “Did any book ever affect you supremely and was there any turning point in your life?” Gandhi replied that he changed the whole plan of his life after reading Ruskin’s Unto This Last, adding that “Tolstoy I had read much earlier. He affected the inner being.” Gandhi’s chief biographer and secretary in later life, Pyarelal, claims that so deeply was Gandhi’s thinking “impregnated with Tolstoy’s that the changes that took place in his way of life and thinking in the years that followed [his reading of Tolstoy] can be correctly understood and appreciated only in the context of the master’s life and philosophy.”

When, late in his life, his inner conflicts became unbearable, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, the great Russian novelist, gave his estate to his family, disposed of much of his personal belongings and attempted to live the life of a poor and celibate peasant. In this attempt to put his personal philosophy into practice, he denounced authority and all violence, and became a vegetarian. His Christian anarchist life and moral and religious writings were to influence many people–not least of whom was the young Gandhi. (more…)

 

I’ve got the answer on Willpower! May 21, 2012

The question about the nature and meaning of Willpower kept me busy for some time. I even posted about it already twice, but still I could not understand what is the mystery behind. The other day I talked to an old friend about some private issues and suddenly he dropped a sentence that “The willpower is there to overcome the negativity/circumstances/destiny and thus to make another step in the personal evolution”. That’s it, I thought!

For instanse people who had problematic parents and difficult childhood – now they are comfortable in the victim position and say  “you know I have so many problems because of my childhood”. But why not overcome it? The Will Power will serve greatly if one takes to it.

Indeed, what is the fine border between a destiny and willpower? All great spiritual Masters talked about both, that a lot is already predestined and Divine Plan does exist. At the same time a human being has the Free Will, which makes us different from animals. If we use this Free Will we evolve further. Thus, at some point the Free will becomes the Will Power, the force that makes many great things happen.

Obviously today the question of Willpower is not popular. I remember in the Soviet Union we were brought up on the ideals of heroic people – not like Superman, but real heroes, existing people,  people who showed wonders of Will Power in their personal achievements or their work for others… Either in the industrialisation period, or during the Second World War or even after. I find it’s pity that today’s children miss that kind of upbringing. Today they only learn the ego-boosting.

I made my personal experiences with Willpower – not many but still some. I know what it feels like and I know how much courage it demands. And finally it’s a great mixture of thrill and discipline. A strange mixture that makes every personal journey worth tryting.

LOVE

axinia

 

The amazing Guru of two religions November 17, 2010

This post is dedicated to the upcoming birthday (21. Nov) of a great Master, Guru Nanak.

 Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in Talwandi, Pakistan and was called a father or what was later called Sikhism. This movement was begun by the Guru Nanak as a challenge to a medieval world dominated by Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus upheld caste law, separating people according to social class. Meanwhile, the Muslims worshipped Allah with little room for tolerance of non-Muslims. Even more important to Nanak than social reform was his belief that his god should be worshiped not through ritual, but through continual prayers to the “True Name.” Nanak believed he could reconcile both Hindus and Muslims to a better path of worshipping the true god who could never be named.

Guru Nanak

By all accounts, 1496 was the year of his enlightenment when he started on his mission. His first statement after his prophetic communion with God was “There is no Hindu, nor any Mussalman.” This is an announcement of supreme significance it declared not only the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God, but also his clear and primary interest not in any metaphysical doctrine but only in man and his fate.

So he began his missionary tours. Apart from conveying his message and rendering help to the weak, he forcefully preached, both by precept and practice, against caste distinctions ritualism, idol worship and the pseudo-religious beliefs that had no spiritual content. He chose to mix with all. He dined and lived with men of the lowest castes and classes Considering the then prevailing cultural practices and traditions, this was something socially and religiously unheard of in those days of rigid Hindu caste system sanctioned by the scriptures and the religiously approved notions of untouchability and pollution.

He spent twenty five years of his life preaching from place to place. Many of his hymns were composed during this period. They represent answers to the major religious and social problems of the day and cogent responses to the situations and incidents that he came across. Some of the hymns convey dialogues with Yogis in the Punjab and elsewhere. He denounced their methods of living and their religious views. During these tours he studied other religious systems like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. At the same time, he preached the doctrines of his new religion and mission at the places and centres he visited. Since his mystic system almost completely reversed the trends, principles and practices of the then prevailing religions, he criticised and rejected virtually all the old beliefs, rituals and harmful practices existing in the country. This explains the necessity of his long and arduous tours and the variety and profusion of his hymns on all the religious, social, political and theological issues, practices and institutions of his period.

Guru Nanak’s gospel was for all men. He proclaimed their equality in all respects. In his system, the householder’s life became the primary forum of religious activity. Human life was not a burden but a privilege. His was not a concession to the laity. In fact, the normal life became the medium of spiritual training and expression. The entire discipline and institutions of the Gurus can be appreciated only if one understands that, by the very logic of Guru Nanak’s system, the householder’s life became essential for the seeker. The primacy of the householder’s life was maintained. Everyone of the Gurus, excepting Guru Harkishan who died at an early age, was a married person who maintained a family. (more…)

 

The phenomenon of Russian spirituality and Seraphim of Sarov April 19, 2010

Russians are proud to be spiritual people, spirituality is a popular word in there and is being often misused even by politicians. After the communism-era, which I believe itself was in a way very spiritual (because people were motivated by high ideals), the traditional Russian values are back with even more power. Spirituality has been obviously a mass phenomenon in Russia unlike in many other parts of the world. 

Despite this fact, I find it highly interesting that Russia is not famous for its spiritual leaders, the more so there has been not a single world-famous spiritual leader in Russia (let’s say of a great caliber of Zarathustra, Lao Tse, Moses, Mohammad). Apparently there have been several quite powerful saints, but none of them had a nation-wide impact. I wonder where od the roots of Russian spirituality are emerging from? What makes people so desperately seeking for the highest, go beyond materialism, being ready to sacrifice a lot for the truth?… 

Whatever the reason is, Russia gave birth to quite a number of saints that are not well known but yet have been an enlightening example of spirituality. One of the most famous and loved one is Seraphim of Sarov. 

 

 Saint Seraphim of Sarov (Russian: Серафим Саровский) (1759 – 1833),  is one of the most renowned Russian monks and mystics in the Orthodox Church. He is generally considered the greatest of the 19th century startsy (elders) and, arguably, the first. He is remembered for extending the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson, and taught that the purpose of the Christian life was to acquire the Holy Spirit 

Seraphim (born Moshnin) was born in 1759 to a merchant family in Kursk. At the age of 10, he became seriously ill. During the course of his illness, he saw the Mother of God in his sleep, who promised to heal him. Several days later there was a religious procession in Kursk with the locally revered miracle-working icon of the Mother of God. Due to bad weather, the procession took an abbreviated route past the house of the Moshnin family. After his mother put Seraphim up to the miracle-working image, he recovered rapidly. While at a young age, he needed to help his parents with their shop, but business had little appeal for him. Young Seraphim loved to read the lives of the saints, to attend church and to withdraw into seclusion for prayer.

At the age of 18, Seraphim firmly decided to become a monk. His mother blessed him with a large copper crucifix, which he wore over his clothing all his life. After this, he entered the Sarov monastery as a novice. From day one in the monastery, exceptional abstinence from food and slumber were the distinguishing features of his life. He ate once a day, and little. On Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. After asking the blessing of his starets (i.e., a spiritual elder), he began to withdraw often into the forest for prayer and religious contemplation. He became severely ill again soon after, and was forced to spend most of the course of the next three years lying down.

St. Seraphim was once again healed by the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Who appeared to him accompanied by several saints. Pointing to the venerable Seraphim, The Holy Virgin said to the apostle John the Theologian: “He is of our lineage.” Then, by touching his side with Her staff, She healed him. 

(more…)

 

The vision: The Rose of the World as a new global social system February 25, 2010

There exists an entity that for many centuries has proclaimed itself the lone, steadfast unifier of all people, shielding them from the danger of all-out warfare and social chaos. That entity is the state. Since the end of the tribal period, the state has been of vital necessity at every historical stage. Even hierocracies, which attempted to replace it with religious rule, simply became variations of the selfsame state. The state bonded society together on the principle of coercion, and the level of moral development necessary to bond society together on some other principle was beyond reach. Of course, it has been beyond reach even until now, and the state has remained the only proven means against social chaos. But the existence of a higher order of moral principles is now becoming evident, principles capable not only of maintaining but also of increasing social harmony. More important, methods for accelerating the internalization of such principles are now taking shape.

In the political history of modern times, one can distinguish two international movements diametrically opposed to one another. One of them aims for the hypertrophy of state power and an increase in the individual’s dependence on the state. To be more exact, this movement seeks to bestow ever greater power on the person or organization in whose hands the state apparatus lies: the Party, the Army, the Leader. Fascist and national socialist states are the most obvious examples of such movements.
The other movement, which appeared at least as far back as the eighteenth century, is the humanist. Its origins and major stages are English parliamentarianism, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, German social democracy, and in our days, the struggle for liberation from colonialism. The long-range goal of the movement is to weaken the bonding principle of coercion in the life of the people and transform what is largely a police state defending race or class interests into a system based on overall economic equilibrium and a guarantee of individual rights…
History has also witnessed examples of novel political arrangements that might appear to be hybrids of the two movements. Remaining in essence phenomena of the first type, they alter their appearance to the extent expedient for the achievement of their set goal. This is a tactic, a deception, but nothing more.
Nevertheless, despite the polarity of these movements, they are linked by one trait characteristic of the twentieth century: global ambitions. The ostensible motivation of the various twentieth century movements can be found in their political blueprints, but the underlying motivation in modern history is the instinctive pursuit of global dominion….

Taking advantage of that fact, despotic regimes systematically actualize the principle of extreme coercion or partly camouflage it with a cunning blend of methods. The tempo of life is accelerating. Monolithic states are emerging that earlier would have taken centuries to erect. Each is predatory by nature, each strives to subjugate humanity to its sole rule. The military and technological power of these states boggles the mind. They have already more than once plunged the world into war and tyranny. Where is the guarantee that they will not do so again in the future? In the end, the strongest will conquer the globe, even at the cost of turning a third of the world’s surface into a moonscape. The cycle of wars will then come to an end, but only to be replaced by the greatest of evils: a single dictatorship over the surviving twothirds of the world. At first it will perhaps be an oligarchy. But, as often happens, eventually a single Leader will emerge. The threat of a global dictatorship—this is the deadliest of all threats hanging over humanity… (more…)

 

One unknown book by Leo Tolstoy which he himself valued the highest of all his writings January 15, 2010

No, it is not War and Peace; Anna Karenina or Resurrection…This is an almost unknown book by Leo Tolstoy of exceptional value and beauty which, despite author’s great want, has not made it to a bestseller by now.

 

Unfortunately, Leo Tolstoy is less known for his numerous religious writings, which present a challenging and original point of view.These works have been obviously undervalued.

Путь Жизни (Path of Lifeor also translated as A Calendar of Wisdom),  by Leo Tolstoy is considered to be his most important contribution to humanity, the work of his life’s last years. Widely read in prerevolutionary Russia, banned and forgotten under Communism; and recently rediscovered to great excitement, A Calendar of Wisdom is a day-by-day guide that illuminates the path of a life worth living with a brightness undimmed by time. Unjustly censored for nearly a century, it deserves to be placed with the few books in our history that will never cease teaching us the essence of what is important in this world.

The reader will notice that Tolstoy anticipated many of the ideas presented in contemporary books on spirituality, such as the observation that our thoughts determine our lives. Tolstoy began to write this book in 1910, the last year of his life, when he was 82 years old. Given that he began the book in January and completed it in October of the same year, one would think the writing went quickly; but it only seems that way. Tolstoy actually had been developing the themes presented in Path of Life for the last thirty years of his life.

In Path of Life Tolstoy defines how to find continuous happiness in life and how to die without fear. In presenting his views, he cites his own ideas and includes many quotations from an eclectic collection of ancient and modern philosophers and religious figures. The choice of quotations is a unique reflection of Tolstoy’s view of life reached through his ‘dialogue’ with the world’s best religious minds. Tolstoy deliberately marshals a chorus of religious thinkers who voice similar religious insights. By identifying religious themes that are consistent over time and from country to country, Tolstoy seeks to prove their eternal verity. (more…)

 

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Russia December 10, 2009

Filed under: society,Travel — axinia @ 1:27 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Russia

  • St. Cyril did not create the Cyrillic Alphabet
  • Every Russian Tsar named Peter died a hard and painful death
  • The first Russian Olympic gold medalist was in skating; the first Soviet gold medalist was in discus
  • A Russian invented the helicopter
  • The Russian language is spoken by 278 million Earthlings (fifth most of all languages)
  • A fox is the most famous trickster in Russian folk tales
  • 22% of the world’s forests are in Russia
  • Never step over small children, you might stunt their growth
  • Tchaikovsky (yes, Pyotr Ilyich, of 1812 Overture fame), was actually trained as a lawyer
  • Russia has more Muslims than any “European” country
  •  

    a lazy post :)

    axinia

     

     
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