“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible
With Liberty and Justice for all”
Throughout all of elementary and middle school, I would blindly recite these words at the beginning of class everyday just because I had to. I never understood the meaning but it was just what everyone had to do everyday before classes began….
It wasn’t until September 11, 2001, that I made sense of what I had been saying every morning of every day. Following the events that took place, I saw a country act as one and come together in ways that my adolescent mind had never seen. There was a very powerful sense of unity and there was no way that any group or force could ever divide that.
On this anniversary, I would like to share a piece written by our own Dr. Manohar. The beautifully written document attached below, labeled Satyam Eva Jayate or Truth Ever Triumphs, connects multiple excerpts from many different sources under the themes of truth and victory.
SATYAM EVA JAYATE
TRUTH EVER TRIUMPHS
09 11 13
Distinguished Life Fellow, Am. Psychiatric Association
The Mundaka Upanishad teaches us, “Victory (Jayam) is ever aligned with the Truth (Satyam), never with Untruth. The (Sadhana) Path to the Divine is through the Truth. The sages with desires quenched walk on that path to reach the Supreme Essence (Sat)”
The CT. VALLEY HINDU TEMPLE community wishes to reach out to the literally thousands of victims of the horror perpetrated on September 11 2001 and offer what solace and support we can to ameliorate their personal suffering and assuage the grief of their bereavement through our prayers and words of hope and encouragement. We cannot ever hope to erase the pain and horror experienced by the families and friends of the passengers of the four hijacked planes or the thousands who died in New York City, in a Pennsylvania farm and the Pentagon. We hope, trust and pray that God will grant them a way to handle their grievous losses.
These shattering experiences in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania which imbue fear generate grief and sow the seeds of rage and vengeance behoove us to step back and reflect on these uplifting words from America made more poignant by the events of September 11, 2001:
“O beautiful for patriots dream,
That sees beyond the years,
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears
God mend Thy every flaw,
Confirm Thy Soul in self-control
Thy liberty in Law.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words capture the poignant suffering of those who were loved and are now lost in many different ways to their loved ones.
“The South wind brings, Life, Sunshine and Desire
And on every mount and meadow, breathes aromatic fire,
But over the dead he has no power, the Lost, the Lost he can’t restore.
And looking over the hills I still mourn,
The Darling who shalt not ever return.” Threnody.
Many emotions besides sadness are evoked by the diabolical and evil acts of war perpetrated by Purveyors of Terror against America, a free, generous and secular society that is our home sweet home. Fear is one of the most prevalent. A great patriot of the non-violent Indian Independence movement Sri Subrahmaniya Bharatiyar wrote these words,
“Let men attack me arrayed in regiments, and armed with deadly weapons, Let the Heavens break loose and fall on my head. There is no fear in my heart, for what is there for me to fear.”
In another song he expresses his experience of the struggle over evil,
“Victory is certain, O Mind, Away with false fear,
Devotion bears its Fruits. Shoulders we have,
Broad and strong and Intelligence (clear and sharp).
We can gather what we work for (Law of karma)
Our efforts unflagging.
Away then with fear and despondency!”
Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore has left us with this prayer to enable us to transcend the pangs of fear and doubt.
“From fear into Thy fearlessness, O give me new life,
From poverty to eternal wealth,
From doubt to the Temple of Truth
From passivity to life anew, O give me new life.
From my desire O Lord, to Thy desire,
From my cause O Lord, to Thy auspicious service,
From the legion of the unison of One, from pleasure and pain
To the Lap of Peace –
From me O Lord, to Thee, give me a new life.
In this moving poem the great Visionary Rabindranath Tagore pleads with his beloved God just as we appeal for Gods mercy and grace in the midst of this catastrophe that has overtaken us.
“Priyatamo he! Jago, Jago, Jago! (O Dearest awake, awake, awake)
Bring forth music in my life,
Make not the message of Thy Veena mute –
Priyatamo he! Jago, Jago, Jago!
With Thy eyes shall I unite mine,
With this hand of mine, Thy right hand be in Unison,
Priyatamo he! Jago, Jago, Jago!
The cup of my heart will be filled in drink
And darkness will tremble in the sound of deep light-
Priyatamo he! Jago, Jago, Jago! (O Dearest, awake, awake, awake)
The taproot of fearlessness in the face of stupendous threats to our existence is anchored in our Soul. These verses (6 and 7) of Isavasya Upanishad teach us, “Who sees beings in his own self and his own soul in all beings he hates no one. When the Knower realizes that all beings are one with himself – what sorrow or what illusion can there be?” The Katha Upanishad I-ii-23 and 24 declares “Enlightenment comes of itself when one’s self intensely yearns for Self-Realization, but not unless the mind has turned away from evil and has learned to control itself and be at peace with the world.”
The seminal Buddhist Scripture the Dhammapada teaches us,
“In the midst of those who hate us let us live free from hatred.”
In the Immortal Sermon on the Mount, Lord Jesus Christ emphatically enjoins us to live by very high but attainable standards that are sine qua non for the preservation of a cultured and civilized society as well as the advancement of Spiritual development.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Exult and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” (Gospel of St. Matthew 5 verses 11). Lord Jesus continues in His teaching, “Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto thee, Love thine enemies, bless them that curse thee, do good to them that hate thee, and pray for them which spitefully use thee and persecute thee. Let thy light so shine before people, that they may see thy good works, and glorify your Father, who is in Heaven. (Gospel of St. Matthew 5, v43 and 5, v16) The Incandescent standards and noble attributes in the Sermon on the Mount are inculcated in the verses that describe the hall marks of a Stithaprajna (an integrated and well balanced person) in Discourse II and resonate in the verses that elucidate Universal values in Discourse XIII of the Bhagvad Gita by Lord Sri Krishna.
This next poem of Rabindranath Tagore offers an understanding of the empathetic emotional responses we have been experiencing in the presence of the tremendous burdens shouldered by the brave men and women of the Fire and Police Departments of NYC, all the brave volunteers and all the anguished survivors. This beautiful poem highlights the common humanity that bring all of us together as children of one God that the dastardly acts of frightful horror sought to deny and rend us asunder.
“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day,
Runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same Joy that shoots through the dust of the earth,
In numberless blades of grass and breaks
Into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean cradle
Of birth and death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch
Of this world of life. And my pride is from the Life throb
Of Ages dancing in my blood this moment.”
While it may be possible to offer and achieve a certain measure of understanding of the common bonds of humanity that bind us together in one community based on Faith and Grace, which is referred to as the Vasudaiva Kutumbakkam, it is impossible to interpret the inscrutable ways of our Creator as we scan His works through the prism of our passions and attachments. This hymn by William Cowper (pronounced as Cooper. 1731-1800) introduces us to the touchstones of faith that may ease our discomfort with ambiguity.
“God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the Sea,
And rides upon the Storm.
Judge not the Lord with feeble sense
But trust Him for His Grace.
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain.
God is His own Interpreter
And He will make it plain.”
The visionary poet Rabindranath Tagore offered this insight about Faith:
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the night is still dark”
We wish to especially remember in our prayers and in our hearts the valiant and honored dead who wear the uniforms of the Fire and Police departments of NYC who gave their last full measure of devotion to the cause they believed in namely to protect and serve the people who lived or worked in New York city. At some time in the future when an appropriate memorial can be raised (perhaps July 4, 2002) this verse of the Concord hymn sung on July 4, 1837 may be considered as a part of the memorial. Ralph Waldo Emerson who was a Unitarian minister and a scholar who delved into the Upanishads wrote this patriotic anthem.
“Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To Die, and leave their Children Free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and Thee.”
I conclude with these words of prayer of the enlightened 14th C Poet Dante Aligheri in Canto XXXIII of the Paradiso domain of the Divine comedy that may inform and illumine our spirit as each of us make decisions on how best we may ease the suffering of our neighbors and serve our nation to further advance the cause of Liberty, Justice and Peace.
“O Supreme Light, that so high uplifts Thyself from moral conceptions, re-lend to my mind a little of what Thou didst appear and make my tongue so powerful that it may be able to leave one single spark of Thy glory for folks to come; for, by returning what to my memory and by sounding a little in these verses, more of Thy Triumph shall be conceived”
Om Asato ma Sadgamaya
Tamaso ma Jyotirgamaya
Mrityor ma Amritam gamaya.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.
BRIHAD ARANYAKA UPANISHAD (1, 3, 38)
O Lord from that which is Unreal, not of the Essence lead Thou me to that which is of the Essence (Sat=Truth); From the darkness caused by the impenetrable shroud of Ignorance to the Illumination of Self Realization; From the death of desires and attachments to identification with the Immortal Self. May Peace pervade in the three regions.
As we band together as brothers and sisters and children of One God to revive the spirit of hope and restore the sense of community we can find strength, solace and sustenance in these stirring words of Rev Daniel Crane Roberts hymn “God of our Fathers”:
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day
Fill all our lives with Love and Grace divine
And Glory, Laud and Praise be ever Thine
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay
Thy word our Law, and Thy paths our chosen way.”
Jayatu, Jayatu, Prithvi bara naso Mukunda!” (Mukunda Mala- prayer offered by Raja Kulasekhara) (Victory, Victory to Thee. O Mukunda -Lord Sri Krishna by your grace please remove the burdens that weigh down a suffering humanity.)
OM TAT SAT SRI KRISHNA ARPANAM ASTU.
(I have reflected on these statements and affirm these and offer all of this Lord Sri Krishna.)
09 11 11. This is an auspicious time to renew our Pledge of Allegiance on this Tenth Anniversary on the day that is seared into the very Soul of the United States of America.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.”
May God bless the Armed forces and all those who are defending our freedom and May God bless the United States of America.