In Good Company
The way that I live life nowadays is very different from how it was just five years ago. Facebook memories that pop up each morning have been a reminder of this, and not always pleasant to see and read through, but beneficial in the journey I am on.
I was raised in the Christian/Episcopal faith for many years, but I am now a devout devotee of Sanatan Dharma/Hinduism. The beautiful thing about this is having an understanding of the unity between various religions, and the essence of their teachings and basic tenants because of how I was raised and taught.
In Sanatan Dharma/Hinduism, there is an emphasis on what is called 'Satsang', which is basically being in good association with like-minded others. So twice a week I participate in satsang with my Guru and other devotees. We study the holy scriptures together, such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasistha, and learn about God and how these scriptures apply to our daily life. In Satsang, you get to know others and in a way, they become your family, you can turn to them for discussions or advice on challenges you may be facing or even to just enjoy talking about the beauty of God. We learn to detach from worldly things and attach to God, how to develop virtuous qualities and work on eradicating our non-virtuous qualities, to have love and compassion for all living things, to respect others' choices in religion or faith and how they express it, the unity of everything in this world, how to face struggles or challenges we may have in daily life such as in the workplace or with family at home... When these qualities blossom, they help to inspire others that we may come across and it has a positive impact on humanity. By keeping in good company with others we are able to avoid clinging to the non-virtuous qualities which are very common in the world; lusting after others or what they may have, jealousy, envy, hatred, gossiping conversations, obsessions over wealth or fame, harming others, etc.
"Offering the results of all activities to God, karm yogis attain everlasting peace. Whereas those who, being impelled by their desires, work with a selfish motive become entangled because they are attached to the fruits of their actions." Bhagavad Gita 5.12
In Christianity (as well as other religions) it is very similar. You go to church services regularly and are in the company of like-minded individuals while you hear the word of God and study the holy scriptures such as the Bible. These are people you can turn to during the good times and challenging times in life. They become your church family. You learn to be Christ-like and develop virtuous qualities such as what Jesus displayed to the people He interacted with. Loving others, showing compassion, having respect for others, how we can handle the hurdles in life, etc. When you are in good company with members of a church, they become beneficial in supporting you on your journey of developing these virtuous qualities and working on eradicating the non-virtuous qualities.
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers." Psalms 1; 1-3
Finding my faith again, and spending time in good association (Satsang) has been a blessing to my life and has turned it around for the better. Being in the company of others who are also developing virtuous qualities and working on changing their non-virtuous qualities has led to me being a better spouse, a better sister, a better daughter, a better mother, and a better friend. We become who we associate ourselves with. If we are hanging around people who constantly gossip or talk badly about others, have a focus on worldly gains at the expense of others, participate in harmful activities, etc., then that is what we end up doing also. But when we find ourselves in good company where people are showing compassion towards others, focused on helping others and being supportive, not spending time in idle gossiping, etc., then we become a light in the darkness of the world, and who we are benefits the people around us and humanity as a whole. We become examples of righteousness and goodness, just as the holy scriptures guide us to do. Whatever path you are on, let it be one of goodness. May we all be divinely blessed and unite with God, in all the beautiful ways it is expressed in the world.
Om Tat Sat,
Yogini Urmila Devi
COMPARATIVE SAYINGS FROM 12 RELIGIONS
By: Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India)
(Collected by Professor R.F. Piper, Ph.D., New York)
Hinduism: This is the high religion which wise men esteem; the life-giving breaths of other creatures are as dear to them as the breaths of one's own self. Men gifted with intelligence and purified souls should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated. (Mahabharata)
The Hebrew Faith: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Leviticus)
Zoroastrianism: Him who is less than thee consider as an equal, and an equal as a superior, and a greater than him as a chieftain. (Sacred Books of the East)
Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and regard your neighbor's loss as your own loss. (Tai-Shang Kan-Ying Pie)
Jainism: Indifferent to worldly objects, a man should wander about treating all creatures in the world as himself would be treated. (Sacred Books of the East)
Buddhism: In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and familiars: by generosity, courtesy and benevolence, by treating them as he treats himself, and by being as good as his words. (Sacred Books of the Buddhists)
Confucianism: Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life? The Master said, "Is not reciprocity (sympathy, consideration) such word? What you do not want to be done to yourself, do not do to others." (Analects)
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law of the Prophets. (St. Mathew)
Islam: No one is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. (An-nawavi)
Sikhism: As thou deemest thyself, so deem others; then shalt thou become a partner in heaven. (The Sikh Religion)
Tenrikyo Shinto: Irrespective of their nationality, language, manners and cultures, men should give mutual aid and enjoy reciprocal, peaceful pleasure, by showing in their conduct that they are brethren. (Tenrikyo Doctrine)
Bahai Faith: If thou lookest toward justice, choose thou for others what thou choosest for thyself. Blessed is he who prefers his brother before himself. (Bahai World Faith)
Primitivism: The good man never harms any self, either his own or another's. (Theodore P. Fabiyi)