Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Britain & Hinduism 10: Soul Science

“The worlds to which a man goes by sacrificing barren cows are surely without blessings,” says the teenager at the sacrifice his father is conducting to win heavenly fortune.

Shamed and angered, the father commits all he has to the sacrifice.

The boy thinks himself included in that offering, and asks, “Dear Father, to whom are you giving me?”

Three times, he asks, until his enraged father bursts out, “I give you to Yama!”

Yama is not at home when the boy arrives in the underworld, and for three days he waits in the house of Death without the least hospitality, not even water.

When Yama returns, he apologizes for that treatment and offers a boon to compensate for each day of waiting.

The boy asks, first, that his father be no longer angry with him.

Then he asks to be taught the Fire Sacrifice that transports one to heaven where there is no fear of death.

For the third, he wants to know what happens to a person after death.

Yama grants the first two wishes but is reluctant with the third. “On this point even the gods are in doubt,” he says; “it is not easy to understand. That subject is subtle. Choose another boon!”

The boy insists. “Surely no other boon is like this, with you as the teacher on a matter the gods themselves doubt!”

“Choose sons and grandsons who live a hundred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold, and horses,” pleads Death. “Live yourself as many harvests as you want. Be king of the wide earth, enjoy all you desire, fair maidens, chariots, music, anything ... but do not ask me about dying.”

The boy remains adamant. “All these things last till tomorrow, O Death, for they wear out the vigor of all the senses. Life is short. Keep thou thy horses, keep dance and song for thyself. No man can be made happy by wealth. What shall we possess when we see thee? Shall we live, as long as you rule? What mortal, slowly decaying here below would delight in a long life, after pondering the pleasures from beauty and love? O Death, I do not choose another boon but that which enters into the hidden world.”

Thus begins the Katha Upanishad (with some tweaking on my part to clarify the initial the father-son interaction.)

The story of Naciketas, the boy who pried out Death's secret, has gripped the Indian imagination for many millenniums; it continues with Yama acceding to the third boon.

He begins by praising Naciketas for so firmly rejecting all objects of desire.

The paths of knowledge and desire begin in the same human heart but diverge enormously, he says.

Those who pursue their desires have no escape from the endless cycle of births and deaths.

“The path to truth is as difficult to cross as a razor’s edge, but one who travels it discovers the Self within, the Soul that never dies.”

When death takes the body, the magical Self lives on, "smaller than small, greater than great, hidden in the heart of every creature." Those aware of it can sit still yet travel far, be lying down but go everywhere. "Knowing the Self to be bodiless within bodies, changeless amidst transformations, great and omnipresent,” they do not grieve at death

“Knowledge of the Self cannot be gained from the Veda, nor by understanding, nor by much learning; it comes only to to those who have turned away from wickedness, possess a tranquil mind, and are chosen by the Universal Self.”

The solemn reality Yama unfolds is the polar opposite of the mechanistic world of Science. It is a Universe imbued with divine will and moral purpose, actively supportive of the powers of regeneration, growth and good.

During the colonial era Europeans came to look down on that Indian sense of reality as irrational, other-worldly and superstitious. Many still do, for they have not adjusted to two sets of scientific advances in the 20th Century that quietly validated the greater part of the Hindu perspective.

If we take those advances into account the immortal soul and its governing concept of karma become entirely rational and undeniable.

The Two Advances

The first scientific advance began with the laboratory observation that light exists simultaneously as both wave and particle. It led to the conclusion that energy and matter meld into each other at the sub-atomic level and, more surprisingly, that neither can be destroyed: they can only be turned into each other. (Hence Einstein's E=MC2.)

The second advance led to the discovery of the genetic code, the blueprint imprinted on the nucleus of the first cell at the moment of conception that determines the mature person in physical detail and potential.

Put these discoveries in the same frame and we can define the soul as an indestructible piece of unique code that determines identity.

When a person dies, his or her material body deteriorates, but the indestructible energy version of the code – the soul – floats free.

Just as a radio wave carrying the human voice can reproduce it at an antenna tuned to the right frequency, so the “soul wave” carries the imprint of the whole being to a new body at the moment of conception.

The Implications

Scientists have not focused on any of this as yet. When they do, it is only a matter of time before they find out the logistics for the transmission of the soul; and once that happens, it will clarify how karma works.

We can surmise that Karma has the same role as radio frequency in determining which new body will be able to receive a particular incoming soul. It makes a moral match between the new and old life form.

It will not be easy to adjust to the idea of one’s immortal soul as a scientific fact rather than a religious concept. For one thing, it will extend each thinking person's time-horizon far beyond his/her individual life, shriveling many petty considerations that might now loom large. On the other hand, people will be forced to take themselves very seriously indeed when considering the ever present choice: to ascend morally, enjoy the ride down, or coast and be at the mercy of others.

If most people determine to be actively good, it will transform society.

Consider the impact if large numbers of Indians begin spontaneously to take care of problems around them.

This is what Gandhi meant when he said “Be the change,” and it offers the only sure and swift way out of the current Kali Yuga.

We are at a critical juncture in our national and global development, and the positive engagement of ordinary people will be decisive in shaping the future.

That will be the focus of Part 11.

********
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Create a Commonwealth Truth Commission!


As host and incoming chair of the Commonwealth summit Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse should establish a Commonwealth Truth Commission to build on the British bid to focus attention on the bloody end of the Tamil Tigers.

It should be empowered to look at the post colonial experience of deadly insurrection in every one of Britain's former colonies.

Most African and Asian members have experienced such subversion and should welcome the initiative; and London can hardly object after doing so much to draw international attention to the atrocities that occurred in Sri Lanka.

Of course, an impartial investigation would reveal much more than one of London's low-budget propaganda films; in the case of the Tamil Tigers, it would be impossible to hide Britain’s sinister role from the beginning to end.

Anton Balasingham, who became the power behind Tamil Tigers supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, was an employee of the British High Commission in Colombo, and for three decades he was the key figure in everything the organization did.

First in Sri Lanka and then from London, Balasingham was billed as the Tigers’ “ideologue;” but clearly, he was in control of much more. With his Australian wife (who headed the feared Women’s Wing of the Tigers), he traveled the world on a British passport and took care of business while Prabhakaran served as the taciturn bogeyman in his jungle hideouts.

In 1999, when the Sri Lankan military first took the Tiger stronghold of Jaffna, Balasingham and wife relocated to London despite strenuous objections from Colombo. He died there in 2006 of cancer, and the obituary in The Times noted his importance:

“His influence over Prabhakaran was embarrassingly obvious at a packed press conference in Sri Lanka during the 2002 peace process.” Balasingham “was doubtless responsible for the image makeover of the Tigers leader. Eschewing his customary military fatigues and sidearm Prabhakaran attended the press conference in a safari suit and had even shaved off his moustache. After almost every question he would lean towards Balasingham to be primed with the reply, and for the most part Balasingham would do the replying for him. Which led one commentator to ask: So who is the real leader of the Tamil Tigers?”

Without Balasingham to guide MI 6 controllers, the Tiger command structure soon fell apart, and with the Sri Lankan government passing into the hands of the most ruthless of the island’s political groupings, the bloody end was predictable.

However, in acknowledging the lack of mercy on the government side, we must also recognize that there was no bloodthirsty “crime against humanity” decision to slaughter civilians at the end. According to Indian and Sri Lankan reporters, as well as NGO representatives in the area, the Tigers entered the agreed upon fire-free zones and used civilians as living shields.

The grim video footage the British have propagandized to tar the Sri Lankan government shows what followed. It is heart-rending and terrible, but the responsibility for what happened cannot be narrowly located. London is as covered in blood as anyone else, and perhaps more so because of its longstanding support for a terrorist organization.

As a reporter at the UN, I used to get a first hand account of the unbending attitudes in the British capital from Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, a Tamil who paid with his life for trying to make peace. Marksmen staked out a building under construction overlooking his villa in Colombo and shot the 71-year old statesman as he was doing laps in his swimming pool.  

If President Rajapakse facilitates the creation of a Commonwealth Truth Commission to study Britain's murderously exploitative role in its former colonies, he will go down in history as a key figure in the transition out of the colonial era.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Financial Secrecy Index Pulls Punches


London-based Tax Justice Network has pulled its punches in the first edition of a global Financial Secrecy Index that lists countries/territories managing some $32 trillion in black money and other assets.

You have to read the footnotes to know that “the United Kingdom with its satellite secrecy jurisdictions would be ranked first in the FSI by a large margin” if counted as a unit.

The FSI scores of Britain’s “overseas territories” and “crown dependencies” add up to “2162 or 3170,” compared to 1765 for Switzerland, which tops the list.

As the list stands, Britain is 21st.

Not only is Switzerland ahead of it, so are the United States (6), Germany (8), Japan (10), Canada (17), and Austria (18).

The share of black money that Britain actually manages is likely to be much larger than the report estimates, for the country’s bankers dominate in over half the listed areas and have key roles in every country, including all the majors. (India, at #32, is certainly one of them, for despite our well-developed banking industry the criminal element is concentrated in Brit institutions.)

The TJN report received very little media attention, especially in Britain, where its dramatic reminder of reality slid quickly into oblivion. (I heard about it first on Russian TV a strange hybrid of British-accented presenters and American paranoiacs, more engaged in running down the USA than in boosting Russia. Even there it got hardly any play.)

Since my last post, some parts of the British media seem to trying to explain the fire sale of national assets to the Chinese as a deep laid plan to keep London the world's financial centre.

A 9 November piece in The Express headlined "The Chinese Give the British Economy a Boost" began: "They already own Weetabix, Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes and stakes in Heathrow Airport and Thames Water but that represents a mere trickle compared with the wave of money the Chinese are about to unleash on the UK."

The paper reported that the "property sector has become the bridgehead through which money has started to pour in, not just from China but from other wealthy parts of Asia too in anticipation of a boom in banking and foreign exchange."It drew a rosy picture of what is to come.

As media graduate from ignoring elite criminality to actively lying about it, the British government is hurrying to adopt a draconian new law that will make "public nuisance" punishable with up to two years in prison and "unlimited fines."

The draft bill says it will apply to children as young as ten, and cover such things as loud swearing.

Public expressions of rambunctious joy at all the "boost" the Chinese are about to deliver to the economy would definitely be covered.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Journalism in the Age of Snowden


Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Intelligence, was on CNN deploring Edward Snowden’s decision to flee abroad with his revelations of the NSA’s massive spying program; she said he should have come to the US Congress with the information.

I wonder if she thinks anyone other than junior high-school kids will agree, and perhaps not even them, for most have probably seen the Will Smith Gene Hackman starrer Enemy of the State, in which the NSA bad guy not only lies to Congress but murders one of its members. There are also the Bourne series of movies in which lying to Congress is standard procedure for the CIA bad guys.   

The current Head of the NSA has been caught lying to Congress and there have been no repercussions as yet. That is par for the course. The history of the post-WW II era -- especially the Iran-Contra affair -- has made it clear that the constitutional structures of the United States have been powerless to control those pursuing the interests of the military-industrial complex.(Video of President Eisenhower's famous speech.)

As far as I can see, Snowden took the only honorable option he had as someone sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Feinstein at 80 is the oldest member of Congress, and a Liberal Democrat from California; she would have risked nothing by calling for public hearings and getting the NSA to clean house.   

Instead, she has framed a bill to “reform” the NSA that the Electronic Frontier Foundation says will merely codify the worst abuses and extend the mass surveillance of Americans. Typically, Feinstein’s Committee negotiated the bill behind closed doors and has not responded to critics.

All this indicates the strength of the body of lies that has come to be accepted as reality over the past 60 years; but as I have been reporting, its underpinnings are now disintegrating..

How the current situation develops will depend on where the American media Establishment locates its loyalties. If it acknowledges that the unconstitutional power nexus created in Washington by the Ismay-Churchill coup is coming apart at the seams, we could be looking at a transatlantic version of Soviet de-Stalinization.

If United States media begin telling the truth about the British role in subverting American democracy, the effect across the Atlantic will be profound. The British elite will be forced to abandon its elaborate self-aggrandizing fictions and admit that its criminal policies have driven the country into an unprecedented crisis.

As strong pressure from German and American bank regulators has made the international movement of illicit money increasingly difficult, the elite British custodians of the global black market have been obliged to guarantee the trillions under their management by offering up concrete national assets. Unbeknownst to the British people, large chunks of their country have passed into the hands of foreign owners, many of them drug lords and mafiosi masquerading as nebulous corporations.

That process is set to become much more obtrusive under recently announced initiatives ostensibly aimed at facilitating Chinese and Arab investment in Britain. As The Guardian reported on 17 October, Britain faces the prospect that under a recently announced agreement with Beijing, “Chinese entities will hold important stakes in water in the UK, airports, IT infrastructure and now nuclear power generation, all without a serious national debate on any potential risks such involvement might bring.”

Ironically, the paper did not note the reason why this is happening, for silence about Britain’s criminal involvement in the international economy continues to be the cost of survival in the British journalistic Establishment.

Truth telling will also revolutionize American politics.

If American journalists examine how Britain undermined constitutional rule in the world's most powerful country they will bring into the light the treachery of many who chose to promote their own interests over those of their country. The "religious Right," a long-standing pawn of and supporter of the military-industrial nexus, will lose much energy. The Bush wing of the Republican Party could be decimated.

The logistics of such change remain to be worked out, but the atmospherics indicate that it is only a matter of time. Consider what Adam Gopnik had to say in The New Yorker last week about the forthcoming 50th anniversary of Jack Kennedy’s assassination.

The murder marked the beginning of “the postmodern suspicion that the more we see, the less we know;” it highlighted an overlay of two truths. “The first truth is that the evidence that the American security services gathered, within the first hours and weeks and months, to persuade the world of the sole guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald remains formidable: ballistics evidence, eyewitness evidence, ear-witness evidence, fingerprint evidence, firearms evidence, circumstantial evidence, fibre evidence. The second truth of the assassination, just as inarguable, is that the security services collecting that evidence were themselves up to their armpits in sinister behavior, even conspiring with some of the worst people in the world to kill the Presidents of other countries. The accepted division of American life into two orders—an official one of rectitude, a seedy lower order of crime—collapses under scrutiny, like the alibi in a classic film noir.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

China: Another Massive Photoshop Failure

Tealeaf Nation, a group of bloggers on China, has posted a new story that will make you laugh out loud.

It is here

Kerry Mocks Churchill, Marking New Reality

As artful speeches go, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks at the unveiling of Winston Churchill’s bust in the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall was not as eloquent as “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!”

Where Shakespeare’s Mark Antony turned his audience into an angry mob that drove the Conspirators from Rome, Kerry merely signaled to his international audience the effective end of a British conspiracy that had hobbled Washington for over six decades.

Anyone unfamiliar with that history could easily mistake the speech for one of familial transatlantic bonhomie; but to the finely tuned political antenna of the audience present, Kerry’s message was as clear as if he had whipped out his schlong and peed all over Churchill’s newly installed bust.

“This man was an original in every respect,” Kerry said of Churchill. “When he was invited to the White House to stay for a week, he stayed for months. He felt free to use President Roosevelt’s bathtub, but no need to wear his bathrobe or any bathrobe when he was done. He really wrote the book on marching to the tune of your own beat, your own drummer.” (This probably happened during Harry Truman's term in office, when Churchill was not in power in Britain. This is the first reference I have seen to such an extended stay by Churchill in Washington, and its implications are stunning. If he did indeed usurp the functions of the presidency after the outbreak of the Cold War, that would explain why he is the only foreigner ever to be made an "honorary citizen.")

“Leadership in times of crisis – that was Winston Churchill, a call to a great cause – among all things, above all things, parochial.” (Wait, did that mean Churchill was above all things parochial? Indeed, he was parochial, in a High Noon of Empire "God must be an Englishman" kind of way.)

His “defining characteristic was, of course, the courage to lead so many through so much.”(That unfinished construct can be completed by victims of British imperialism in any number of uncomplimentary ways. Through so much ... racist savagery/unnecessary conflict/misogyny/etc.)

From his subterranean war office, Churchill “presided over Great Britain’s finest hour … a man who understood the nightly bombing raids and summoned in fresh words … repeated and remembered by so many – to never, never, never give up.”  (He "understood" the bombing! Kerry is honing in on Churchill's bloated reputation for political perspicacity; the next sentence underlines what a mess Churchill actually made of almost everything he touched.)

He “didn’t just commend those words to others; he lived them himself. … When demoted for his role in Gallipoli in World War I, he picked himself up, taking a new leadership role on the Western Front. … when he was defeated as Prime Minister, knocked down with his party in a crushing political defeat … he managed to dust himself off and wait for history to call again.” (Churchill was a loser, man. If the US hadn't intervened he would have lost WW II as well. )

It was “fitting that in the shadows of World War II, and in the dawn of the Cold War, when some at home hoped the United States would turn inward, Churchill … spoke of America’s awe-inspiring accountability to the future. With so many challenges … struggles to be won, pandemics to be defeated, history yet to be defined, Churchill can be heard once again, with this bust, asking all of us to define our time here not in shutdowns or showdowns but in a manner befitting of a country that still stands, as he said then, at the pinnacle of power.” (Yeah, we’re still #1, and no thanks to the Brit-Tea Party effort to force a default and destroy the US$ as the world's reserve currency!)

“Cynics” might consider it an improbable aspiration for America to help “meet the world’s challenges,” Kerry said. But “what could have seemed more improbable” than that in “Statuary Hall, a building British troops tried to burn down,” there would be the bust of a one-time “Secretary of State for the Colonies … alongside the statue of Samuel Adams, the founder of the Sons of Liberty?”

If that isn’t a battle-cry for the 2014 Congressional elections, I don’t know what is.