Hello Aunty K: I got the message that you left a comment, but found no comment to read!? Hope you and all at Amma's Ashram are well. Since my health is still questionable, I may have to reconsider the fast at the present time. As it looks like the debate on health care reform will, as usual, take some more time than previously hoped, I will hopefully have the time to recover before a fast is reconsidered. I hope this finds you well....Namaste..
Hi Auntie K:
I am out of hospital but still feeling very poorly. The Dr's are "mystified", as usual. I basically have to keep myself asleep with painkillers to mititgate the pain at all. This may affect the possibility of the fast, but I will weigh things very carefully as the battle unfolds. I thank all of you for your prayers. Unfortunately, I have no photos of myself to send. Please have Amma bless these animals here instead. If something happens to me, they will need more blessings than I. Namaste.
From my own experience and observation, Mr. Gatto has it right;
the problems of labeling and exclusion that occur within both the academic system in the form of standardized testing and in the social arena that values athletic ability and physical appearance over intellectual development, is difficult to escape and has long-term effects on self-image, that in my opinion are as damaging as outright racism.
I listened with interest to a story on National Public Radio about a Primary School teacher who addressed the issue of differences and exclusion by instituting a new rule in her class of 8 & 9 year-old children: "You cannot say, 'You cannot play!' " and over the course of a single year noticed the shift in attitude in those children from a mean-spirited clique-oriented social pyramid into an accepting and caring group who were openly relieved to have that restrictive, exclusive environment forbidden.
The student in the current system, especially at the primary and secondary levels is left seeking one thing above all: acceptance. Not knowledge. It's more important to be able to parrot the 'right' answer, to 'fit in' , than to risk embarrassment, stigmatization and exclusion by appearing 'different' either in thought or even worse, appearance. God forbid you should develop at a different rate than those around you.
The result is a society based on exclusion rather than inclusion, populated by people who are largely unable to think critically or independently, who are easily lead, unnecessarily cruel and concerned largely with the immediate and superficial; a disposable society, in pain and seeking escape through medication and consumerism.
Mr. Gatto's observation that students are actively discouraged from exploring intellectually, from 'taking' an education and pursuing independent study by the restrictive cirriculum imposed by the state and the mandates of 'the numbers' that out-come based education demands, rings true in my own experience.
Far from providing me or others a palette with which to work on the portrait of who we might become, or ideas of what our possible contribution to society might be, the focus was narrowed to selecting a track(college prep or industrial arts) staying within the defined track and to the almighty test scores; not real-world skills. This attempt to homogenize, label and pigeon hole the population denies our uniqueness, discourages our inquisitive nature and perpetuates the idea that 'different' is unacceptable, inferior, or outright evil, and that one must 'have' in order to 'be'. One has only to look at the current 'back to school' ads to recognize this. The 'right' shirt, pants, shoes, cell-phone...are you rock, jock, hip-hop or skater...what's your label, what's your group...
I look forward to reading Mr. Vinoba Bhave's book.
Thank you for the recommendation!
Thank you for including me in your circle of friends, Aunty ; I am honored.
I would be interested in your views of John Taylor Gatto's critique of compulsory education in industrialized countries( The Underground History of American Education; Weapons of Mass Instruction; Dumbing Us Down), and it's contribution to the creation of the Western consumer society and role in our current environmental crisis.
Anni is beautiful. I need more time to read the excerpts as you are truly a profound and prolific writer. Thanks for suggesting I look at amritapuri.org. I don't think I've ever looked at this site, always going to the other one. Take care. I'll be in touch.
Hello dear friend; Yes, the fast is a terrifying weapon. The thought occured one night while I had been awake for unknown reasons. I mulled it for two days before deciding it may be a way to bring moral law to the Senate and House. They are so busy worrying and politicking for their mid-term elections, while hundres of thousands contiue to sicken and die due to lack of health care coverage. Please do send the FAST article to: email@example.com.
Thank you for your quick response that I was hoping would be available when I logged on. I feel that I have found a real friend based on our mutual journey to improve our spiritual self. I am blessed to be meeting you (I'm sure our gurus have a hand in this (smile).
I'm pleased that Clay Carson began this network (he's my old boss and friend), as through it we can meet and share ideas that will hopefully broaden our awareness of so many things, if we are open to the possibilities.
I certainly don't think I could take the path you have chosen in the ashram, but in my early days I did seriously consider such a life as a cloistered nun, but ultimately chose a different path in life.
I'm interested in learning what you do in your professional life. Are you married with children? If so, is it difficult living the communal life with a family?
I "met" Master on Good Friday,1985, when a friend from work invited me to attend a meditation service in an office building nearby. A group of devotees were meditating during their lunch hour. It was lovely and uplifting. Even though I had read part of the Autobiography of a Yogi in college for a religious studies class, the reading hadn't resonated with me at the time. But you never know when a life-changing event will occur. Over the years my spiritual eye has become more focused, and I was lucky to meet a man who is a beautiful spiritual soul, whom I married in 1992. In early July of this year, we spent an afternoon at the SRF Mother Center in Los Angeles (his 2nd visit, my 4th), just walking the grounds where Master once lived and feeling his presence. It was a gloriously beautiful, sunny day. I felt ultimate joy! If you're interested, I'd like to share a few photos taken that day. Let me know, and I'll post them to this site.
When I read that you are from Kerala, the first thing I wondered was whether you have met "Ma" or not...now that I've read that you actually live in the Ashram, the question no longer exists. Welcome to the community! I was an original of the King Papers Project at Stanford (1985-86), and have met Mother several times during her early journey's to California. Her pictures adorn our house (for many years) and my husband considers himself a devotee of "Ma." I am a devotee of Yogananda. I am very curious about what it is like to live at the ashram? Do you work outside of the ashram?
I went to "Ma's" ashram in California in the early days (1989) (before she became a "superstar" in the US), and had the good fortune of being in the kitchen while she assisted in preparing lunch. It was a relatively small group of people then. Those days are gone, and the opportunity to be so close to her is only a sweet memory. I also saw her when she visited a church in Palo Alto, around the same time (1990?), and again in Berkeley, CA. When she walked down the aisle toward the front of the Congregational Church, I impulsively reached out and touched her arm when she passed by to let her know we were there (by that time, I felt like we were old friends). She smiled as she walked by. I immediately realized that I shouldn't have done that, but I just couldn't help myself.
After she became a mega star, I stopped going to see her when she came to the U.S. There were too many handlers and it was impossible to regain the familiar interaction of the early days. I'm grateful that we met her during her first visits to the U.S. and had her blessings and darshan as often as we did.
Blessings be upon you. I look forward to your reply.
P.S. I am an educator as well, and work with special needs middle school and high school students. I teach reading and English.