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All the letters on this blog are directly related with the teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji Baba.To communicate with the editors of this forum or receive postings of this blog, email us at: anandamargauniversal@earthlink.net

Baba


Namaskar,


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Original Ananda Vanii for New Year's Day

'

Baba

== ORIGINAL A'NANDA VA'N'II FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY ==

Namaskar,

This is a beautiful message for this New Year's Day.

"Marching ahead from cimmerian darkness to the stratum divine is the true spirit of life. Staticism, superstition and narrowness stand for cimmerian darkness. Ensconcing oneself in the Cosmic Soul is the life divine. Striving ahead, together with the entire universe, along the path of spirituality is verily the greatest task for humanity. I hope, in the fresh dawn of the New Year’s day, you will all ponder anew this eternal and sacred Truth." (A'nanda Va'n'ii #32)

Namaskar,
Paresh


-

Gradually All Will be in Jail

Date: Thu 30 Dec 2010 06:38:25 -0000 (GMT)
From: Pradiip Bauer
Subject: Gradually All Will be in Jail
To: am-global@earthlink.net

Baba

Introduction to PS #2327: In the following song Baba is lovingly guiding
one disciple who is confused and totally immersed in materialism.

"Cora'ba'lir pa'r'e keno gar'e ya'o ghar..." - P.S. 2327

Purport:

Why are you building castles in quicksand. Have you never examined the
matter carefully. That structure is shaking profusely because of the
soft foundation. Since ages you have been wasting your time in
constructing that castle on quicksand. You have invested huge energy
along with blood, sweat & your own hard labour to build it. All the
while you were indulging in your own dreamland-- foolishly thinking that
this "thing" will give you permanent satiation. You were never ready to
admit that this is temporary and ephemeral...

Note: In the above song quicksand means materialism and castle means
building one's life.


      == GRADUALLY ALL COUNTRIES WILL BE IN JAIL ==

Namaskar,
Security checkpoints, I.D. requests, curfews in cities, bodyguards,
metal detectors in schools, police barricades...

Terrorist attacks, pirate ships, car bombs, explosions in the market,
hotels under siege, open gunfire at crowds...

Luxury mansions, corporate profits, exploitation of resources, 1st World
vs 3rd World, starving villagers, disease-plagued communities, 1
dollar-a-day sweat-house factories...

So long as this grossly materialistic vaeshyan era is in vogue, the more
our global family will be held in check, until finally literally
everyone will be living in jail, not even able to go out to buy food or
get a drink of water without being frisked, questioned, ID checked, and
watched.


                     MATERIALISM BRINGS FEAR


There are finite, limited resources on this earth. And capitalists are
gobbling them all up. Whether it be oil, bananas, land, diamonds, coal,
timber, or whatever, capitalist enterprises are fast identifying and
swallowing up every perceivable resource-- whether that resource exists
in their own backyard or not.

We are fast reaching that point where 99% of the world's resources are
owned by 0.1% of the world's people. With each and every passing day, we
move closer and closer to strangling the common citizens for the last
bit of wealth on this planet.

This is what is happening in this abhorrently materialistic era where
humanity's infinite longing is sidetracked into the pitfalls of limited
worldly wealth.

Baba says, "Human beings have unquenchable, infinite physical longings
and out of these physical longings capitalism came into existence."
('Talks on Prout')

Baba says, "Capitalism must be forced to abandon its ferocious hunger by
taking strong measures." (POD #2)

So when a few are gobbling up all the resources and wealth to satisfy
their misguided longing for material gain...

...In that case, there is bound to be a backlash. There is bound to be a
reaction. That is why those top capitalists are ever more fearful about
such a retaliation and increase security in every conceivable corner of
social life.

The United States employs hundreds of thousands in their intelligence
operations. Because they know well that when the US has taken all the
world's resources then other people are not going to be happy about it
and will retaliate, sooner or later. We have now reached that point in
human history.


                       CAMPING TRIP EXAMPLE

Today's global climate can be likened to one camping trip where a small
group of people embark on an outing to a small place where there are
limited resources. Then if one or two persons were to quickly hoard all
the resources on that island or hilltop, and the rest of the people had
little or no means to live, then naturally those common campers would
strike back at those who had snatched up all the resources. This is
human nature. Even people who would not normally fight or seek revenge
will rise up if a few are stealing all the wealth and forcing the rest
to live as paupers.


             TERRORISTS ARE NOT THE ROOT CAUSE


So while terrorism cannot be espoused in any way, shape, or form, it
would also be foolish to deny the fact that today's global terrorism was
born more out of capitalist exploitation than by Muslim extremism.

No doubt the Muslim religion is dogmatic and misguided in its ways, but
the current terrorist attacks did not suddenly appear out of thin air.
They are a response to a certain set of conditions: Capitalists stealing
all the world's wealth and then legalising that process.

Thus whether they be pirates from Somalia, car bombers from Pakistan, or
hijackers from Egypt, all such terrorist attacks are a secondary
problem. The main cause is extreme capitalism where all the wealth has
been sucked up by a few. And then to retain that wealth, millions and
billions are spent on security, surveillance, and the like.

In which case, everyday citizens are forced to both (a) live in the
danger of a terrorist attack at any moment, as well as (b) be looked
upon as suspects by those greedy, fearful capitalists.

Before the rise of extreme capitalism, political leaders would casually
roam the streets without any fear or problem. But now even low-grade
politicians move around with a small army of security guards. The ripple
effect of that fear is that everyday citizens must show their ID card at
every street corner - or nearabouts.


        YOUTH FEEL THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE


When certain countries have snagged all the wealth-- and it is visible
for all to see on the internet-- then innocent youth in far distant
lands take a vow. They think, 'Why should I live surrounded by flies in
these slums when those people from afar have stolen our resources and
exploited our people for labor'. When such youths realise that despite
their best efforts they will never be able to become part of the
well-to-do, they reason that they have nothing to lose.

In that way, they join street gangs, or get involved in guerrilla
warfare, or sign-up in a terrorist training camp. They think this is the
only way for me to get ahead, otherwise those capitalists will just suck
me dry, just like they did to the rest of the people in my community or
country.

With this 'nothing-to-lose' attitude, youths take to the streets, and
today we are seeing the results.


                           BABA'S BLESSING

So long as capitalism is the leading system, then people's minds will be
diverted to material gain and exploitation will be the theme of the day.
A few will have everything and the rest will have next to nothing. That
is the capitalist dream. To date, they have gotten success. And their
success has given birth to terrorism and this age where our airports and
streets are turning into maximum security prisons. This problem will
only increase with the continued rise of capitalism. By Baba's grace we
must usher in that era of spirituality and Prout and rid the world of
the noose of capitalism.

Baba says, "These capitalists are the unworthy sons and daughters of the
Cosmic Father because they go against the principle of cosmic
inheritance. They should be cured of their ailments. To fight capitalism
is therefore within your goal." ('Talks on Prout')

Baba says, "We have to divert physical longings to psychic and spiritual longings to
avoid a fratricidal war, and thereby safeguard human rights." (PNS-15)

Namaskar,
Pradiip


                 ***************************************
                       Uniqueness of Ta'raka Brahma

Baba says, "A Maha'kaola is one who makes others kaola by his infallible
spiritual guidance. But Ta'raka Brahma is a different Entity, a unique
Entity for He is the spiritual preceptor, social preceptor, Kaola, and
Maha'kaola, all in one. He is also something more: He acts as a compass
in every stratum of society." (NKS, '97 Edn, p.50)
                   ***************************************

Are Your Clothes Killing Others?

From: "Marc Pele"
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Are Your Clothes Killing Others?
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2010 08:11:48 +0000

Baba

                       == ARE YOUR CLOTHES KILLING OTHERS? ==

Namaskar,
This article reviews one particular fashion that is wreaking havoc and causing the illness and death of thousands of people.

It has been the fashion to wear faded and worn looking blue jeans. Consumers in the US and Europe pay top dollar for such products. Tragically, what many do not know is that in order to make such jeans, low-paid workers in countries like Turkey, Bangladesh and elsewhere work 12hr shifts, day after day, exposing their lungs to noxious dust and poisons.

By this harmful process, countless workers have contracted a ghastly lung disease (silicosis) with no known cure. This leads to their imminent death.

This industry, which produces 5 billion pairs of jeans a year, has ruined the lives of countless young people in distressed "third-world" areas. Read below how capitalists in the denim industry have exploited so many in order to turn a big profit.

Our duty is two-fold:
1. We must not use such products and logically convince others to also abandon or boycott these types of jeans.
2. We must spread this message around by forwarding all reports on this topic.


                                  BABA'S PROUTISTIC GUIDELINES

Before reading the below article, "Fashion Victims", we should keep in mind Baba's noted Proutistic guidelines:

1. Psycho-Economic Exploitation: In this mode, capitalists create a market for goods that the public does not need. But in their blindness and naiveté, the common people get duped by this capitalist trick. By using some or more of the below mentioned strategies, ruling capitalists have made sand-blasted jeans a big-ticket item with consumers around the globe. Well-to-do consumers buying these sandblasted jeans have plenty of clothing, but  buy sandblasted pants because they are the fashion of the day.

Baba says, "Psycho-economic exploitation is the latest form of dangerous and all-devouring capitalist exploitation. It is a special type of exploitation which first weakens and paralyses people psychologically in various ways, and then exploits them economically. Some of the methods of psycho-economic exploitation include...the extensive propagation of pseudo-culture [like crude sandblasted jeans]." (AFPS-9)

In this above chapter - "Capitalism in the Three Spheres" - Baba describes further how these capitalists carry out their agenda of psycho-economic exploitation. But certainly one of the ways is introducing pseudo-culture and marketing items like stylish sandblasted jeans.

In our Proutistic model, there is no scope of psycho-economic exploitation whereas capitalism thrives on it.

2. Profit motive not service motive: Those capitalists driving the fashion industry are neither involved in the welfare of their workers nor in the welfare of the public; their only interest is to make money. Such an approach is at the utmost in the jean industry.

Baba says, "In capitalism the psychology of the acquisition of material wealth, be it land, money, metal or other property, strongly predominates. Such crude psychic urges and psychic pabula remain unchecked and unbridled in capitalism and turn into a hungry profit motive in the market system. As a result, traders, industrialists and business people suffer from the psychic disease of accumulating more and more wealth by any means, even to the point of depriving other human beings of their basic requirements." (AFPS-8)

Baba says,  "Capitalists start industries only where the following factors are available: (1) capital; (2) labour; (3) favourable [economic] climate; and (4) a ready market for sales. They always try to lessen the cost of production...In the collective economic structure [i.e. Prout] the profit motive has no place – here industry is for consumption." (PNS-4)

Thus in Prout, all industries are developed based on the needs and use of society - in service to the public - not on one's own greedy tendency. Those manufacturers of sandblasted jeans operate 100% on the capitalist motive.

3. Maximum Utilization: Prout stands for the greatest use of every object of this universe, so ruining jeans by sandblasting them before they are even sold diminishes the use of those items. So many in this world are in need of proper clothing, yet greedy capitalists are intentionally destroying new clothes because they have made selling worn-out clothing a fashion statement.

Baba says, "These four parts of the economy should be integrated and adjusted according to Neo-Humanistic principles to ensure the maximum utilization and rational distribution of all resources, and to harmonize human progress with all creation." (AFPS-7)

Just as we would deem that person as crazy who builds a beautiful house and then ruins it in order to try and sell it at a costly price, and just as we would deem that person who builds a great car and then ruins it in order to sell it at a high price, similarly we can only think those who ruin good clothing via sandblasting to make a big profit are also crazy.

4. Unethical Jobs: Baba points out that money-lenders etc have no place in society as their occupation is just based on greed. Similarly those capitalists hiring sandblasters to make designer clothing are just involved in unethical work. They exploit the workers, the resources and the public to satisfy their greedy interest. There is no place for this type of occupation in the Proutistic model. Their only aim is to exploit others - just like moneylenders.

Baba says, "People should also not earn their livelihood by lending money and taking interest. Such persons want to lend more and more money to gain more and more interest, and they do not want the borrowers to refund the capital. The scriptures stipulate that people should not accept food from such people, because their occupations are despicable." (SS-11)


                                                  SOLUTIONS

We should apply the principles of Prout to create healthy fashions in the garment industry and make maximal use of the materials and resources of this cosmos.

Unfortunately, those not understanding the ways of psycho-economic exploitation get trapped by today's fashion tycoons. Hence education is necessary. Otherwise more and more will get cheated by their propaganda; that is how the fashion industry operates. They dupe 99% of the population with their schemes and tricks and the general people chase after those fashions like ants rushing towards juicy, dead bugs.

By Baba's grace as we will successfully educate people about the ways of Prout - then harmful & exploitative practices like sandblasting jeans will become a thing of the past. Thousands of innocent workers will be spared from contracting harmful and deadly lung diseases and the resources of this universe will be properly utilized.

Now kindly read the below article and see what is going on.

Namaskar,
Mahendra

                                                 FASHION VICTIMS
                                                   By Jacob Resneck
   
How the denim industry’s downward price pressure exposes Bangladesh’s garment workers to lung disease.
  
About 24 kilometres from the centre of Dhaka, in the gritty industrial suburb of Savar Upazila, down a narrow path, a small sign reads ‘Latest Washing and Blasting Industries.’ It’s not much more than a large corrugated metal shack with room for three young men, who work shoulder-to-shoulder. In the centre of the shed is a waist-high mound of white sand from the nearby Jamuna River. The young men are armed with pneumatic guns that shoot the sand onto the denim jeans, their hands protected by heavy gloves. A few spurts on each side are all that’s necessary to give the denim that worn, softer look that the fashionistas crave.

There’s no ventilation, save for bullet-sized holes in the metal roof where rays of sunshine look like tangible cylinders from the fine dust and sand in the air. As the men work, there is a cacophony of noise and dust and it’s nearly impossible to breathe—with or without a flimsy cotton face mask that is supposed to provide protection to visitors.

The men who blast this river sand onto the denim jeans have even less protection: their faces are shrouded in cotton cloths, nothing more. Nearby, a boy a few years shy of puberty carries buckets of sand to feed the machines as men in their 20s blast away at the garments, only their eyes visible between strips of colourful cloth wound tightly around their heads.

Going through 2,200 cubic feet of sand per month and employing about 30 workers, Latest Washing and Blasting is a medium-sized operation, says manager Mohammed Toiubur Rahman. On the days there aren’t power cuts, it runs 24 hours a day in three shifts. Rahman says there are about 100 factories of similar size in the country. They turn out 150,000 pieces per month.

Rahman says his workers are paid 6,000 to 7,000 taka (4,000 to 4,700 rupees) per month, a decent salary for what he admits are uncomfortable working conditions. “This is hard work, so I give them more money,” he says.

It’s hard to say where these jeans will land. In Rahman’s office, at the far end of the shack where the blasting can still be heard, he offers a business card that boasts: 100% Export Oriented Garments Sand Blasting Industries. There are stacks of denim jeans with labels of no-name brands, but Rahman claims he sandblasts jeans bound for Wal-Mart stores and branded for Gap, H&M, Liberty and Primark.

This is where it gets tricky. Most of these brands deny their jeans are handled by subcontractors (ie. small operations like Rahman’s) pointing out that this explicitly contravenes their codes of conduct. Rahman could be boasting of associations that don’t exist or brands may have less control over their supply chain than they’ll admit. It’s nearly impossible to verify.

But what is undeniable is that the sandblasting of jeans with silica-rich sand is toxic. And the practice that takes place in this metal shack on the outskirts of Dhaka is exposing young men and boys to highly dangerous conditions. The workers here seem unaware of the hazard. “We just have our mask and that’s enough for our protection,” says 20-year-old Mohammad Masud Rana, who’s worked here since he was 18 and lives nearby with his shift-workers in Savar. He seems reluctant to speak further.

Even Rahman, who seems sincere, earnest and perhaps even flattered to have foreign visitors to his workshop, says the process is safe. “There’s no chemicals, only sand,” he says. “They take two bandannas and that’s all they need. It’s not harmful.”

But this isn’t true. For years, the process of pre-fading jeans for the export market was outsourced to Turkey. But political agitation led by doctors, artists and trade unions eventually forced the hand of the Turkish government, which banned silica abrasives in sandblasting in March 2009. For good reason. The sand used in the machines— natural sand from the beach—contains silica. One of the most common minerals in the earth’s crust, when inhaled it does irreparable damage to the lungs. This causes a disease called silicosis. There have been 600 confirmed cases of garment-industry silicosis in Turkey, with as many as 44 deaths in the past decade.

For years, silicosis was unheard of among textile workers. It’s an occupational disease mostly found among labourers digging in the ground or crushing rocks. In India, silicosis is prevalent among workers who grind and polish gemstones. The Ancient Greeks were known to have identified silicosis among quarry workers, but it took a largescale industrial disaster involving Union Carbide to bring the disease to the fore.

In 1927, about 3,000 labourers in the US state of West Virginia were working on a tunnel to divert a river in a hydroelectric project. When the workers encountered a high deposit of silica, they were asked to mine it for Union Carbide. No masks were provided and the workers breathed the silica dust as they crushed the mineral. Subsequent hearings by the US government caused the first laws against silica-exposure to be put in place.

IN THE EARLY 1990s Turkey was emerging as a booming centre for textile exports. This success lured thousands of young men from impoverished areas—ethnic Kurds in the southeast as well as migrants from former Soviet republics like Georgia and Azerbaijan.

“I was a kid when I started in this sector,” recalls Abdulhalim Demir, a 29-year-old ethnic Kurd who at the age of 15 was one of thousands from his predominately Kurdish Bingöl province in eastern Turkey to work in the garment industry. He found work in a shop sandblasting denims to give the pants the worn, slightly distressed look coveted by trendy consumers. “It was easy—they let me sandblast for an hour and then take a 20-minute break.”

Demir did not realise the dangers to which he was exposed. “There is no specific treatment; there is no cure,” says Doctor Zeki Kilicaslan, a professor of pulmonary medicine at Istanbul University and leading activist for afflicted textile workers.

Demir says he worked almost five years as a sandblaster and foreman in shops finishing jeans destined for the international market. He’s since lost half his lung capacity. His condition has stabilised but his doctors say a new infection could be fatal for the father of three.

Now activists in Turkey charge that international brands have taken their business east, where health and safety laws are even weaker. “It’s typical behaviour of a multinational— just jump, jump, jump,” says Engin Sedat Kaya, a trade union leader in Istanbul. “This technique has been strongly banned in market countries. Maybe this is legal but it’s not ethical.”

ONE OF THE FEW ECONOMIC SUCCESS STORIES to come out of Bangladesh, one of the world’s most densely populated countries, is a garment industry that has grown phenomenally over the past 25 years. Last year garments made up about 80 percent of the country’s 15.5 billion dollars in exports.

Major international brands such as Levi Strauss, H&M, Gap and Wal-Mart have shifted more production to a nation where labour is cheap yet has been able to produce quality products. With legions of unemployed men and women desperate for jobs, garment workers have not seen a rise in the minimum wage since 2006, when, after eight years, it was raised from 930 taka (611 rupees) to 1,662 taka (1,092 rupees) per month. Most now agree that this isn’t enough to survive on—and many opt to work excruciatingly long shifts in order to earn overtime. Outbreaks of violence over pay are not uncommon, which have led the government to agree to form a commission to consider a rise in minimum wage.

Most international brands deny using suppliers that sandblast with silica. Heightened awareness—at least in Turkey and Europe—successfully led to agitation that put brands on the spot. The Gap says it has prohibited the use of silica sand since 2006.

“We’ve not placed any denim orders requiring (silica) sandblasting since 2006,” says Daniel Rubin, a Gap spokesman, via phone from the company headquarters in San Francisco. Other brands take a similar line. “Sandblasting material must contain less than one percent crystalline silica due to health reasons,” H&M spokeswoman Andreas Roos wrote in an email from the company’s headquarters in Sweden.

Rather than use silica-rich natural sand, many brands require aluminium oxide grit be used as an alternative. According to H&M’s own reports, in 2007 three quarters of its suppliers in South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan) were found to be using silica-rich sand. Its follow up report claims that this figure dropped to 18 percent in 2008. Even when aluminium oxide grit is used, some workers are offered no protection at all. But even the more dangerous silica-rich sandblasting continues in Bangladesh and verifying the claims of suppliers and international brands is extremely difficult. “I think it’s a real challenge, monitoring the supply chain,” admits Rubin, the Gap spokesman.

“We require and check that manufacturers take the appropriate steps to avoid silicosis. We apply the same requirements regardless of country of manufacture,” insists Roos, the H&M spokeswoman.

Primark, a budget brand popular in the UK and Ireland, released a statement through a public relations firm in London. It doesn’t deny that its suppliers may use abrasives with silica but rather used the rationale that it follows industry norms. “In general, more than 95 percent of factories that supply Primark also supply other high street/international retail brands,” the statement reads.

In the statement Primark further claims to have invested in a number of measures, including warning signs in factories so that workers are aware of the dangers of exposure to crystalline silica dust. But there is a caveat in the statement: “while third-party suppliers may be aware of the dangers, and have put in place mechanisms to protect workers, these are not sufficient in every case.”

We go to one of the washing plants where the denim jeans are finished before they are ready to ship. Latest Washing and Blasting contracts with about a half-dozen of these washing plants. One of them is S-Bright, just down the road.

Kamal Hossain is the washing plant’s owner and he says “100 percent” of his garments are for export.

Business may be booming but price pressures from brands and larger suppliers further up the chain are causing him grief. “We struggle with price,” he admits. “Buyers, they force it down.” He rattles off figures. Sandblasting, once about 5 dollars per dozen, is now about half that. Washing was once 1.5 dollars per dozen but has dropped to less than a third of that. He complains that only the big players, who control the politically connected Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, are benefiting from Bangladesh’s garment industry miracle. “The BGMEA are getting big money from the brands, but it’s not coming down to me.”

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM has a devastating effect on the rights of Bangladesh’s garment workers. Babul Akhter, president of the National Garment Workers Federation of Bangladesh, which claims 12,000 members in 20 different factories, says, “In
Bangladesh, there are a lot of unemployed workers so we cannot really bargain with the owners.”

Less than one percent of Bangladesh’s garment factories are unionised, according to the United States Agency for International Development. This is despite the existence of more than 40 labour unions and around ten labour federations. “The trade union movement in readymade garments has traditionally been very weak,” says Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, a Dhaka-based think-tank. Some of the trade unions are even created by the entrepreneurs in order to give a semblance of an organised workforce.

Khorshed Alam heads the Alternative Movement for Resources and Freedom Society, a non-governmental organisation that—among other things—keeps tabs on other NGOs. “This country is flooded with NGOs,” he says. “It’d be better to open a grocery store than another NGO.” He complains of corruption and incompetence among labour unions that often fight with each other rather than organise workers. “It looks like the unions are pushing for [higher wages] but I saw how the unions were playing a very negative role, joining hands with the owners, taking bribes.”

Getting trade unions to work toward a common cause has also been challenging, agrees Gagan Lal Rajbhandari, deputy director of the International Labour Organization’s mission in Bangladesh. “As in some countries—especially developing countries—there is multiplicity in the trade unions so we are working on ways to bring them together,” Rajbhandari says. “One might say there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

This is evidenced by speaking with ZM Kamrul Anam, the president of Bangladesh Textile and Garment Workers League, which claims a membership roll of 52,000 textile workers. Sandblasting or silicosis aren’t even on his radar. “In Bangladesh we have not yet heard anything of this because people are unaware of these safety issues,” he admits.

A DINGY HIGH-RISE IN THE COMMERCIAL CENTRE of Dhaka, the Ministry of Labour’s Inspectorate of Factories has few computers or signs of recent investment. Stacks of papers in binders are piled high among desks, only some showing signs of being used. Shafiqul Islam, a statistician in the department, prints out the roster of workers in the department.

In March of this year, it showed that the factory inspector division had 37 vacancies out of a total of 65 jobs.

“It’s a government policy,” he says with a simple shrug to explain the empty chairs. But that’s not all. “Our main problem is logistical support,” he says, explaining that the department has no vehicles and inspectors are required to ride crowded public buses to visit work sites. “If we had our own transportation we could easily go there.” But instead inspectors are wary of spending half their day sitting in traffic as the clogged buses inch their way through traffic. He relates anecdotes of inspectors falling prey to pickpockets on the bus and being “completely helpless” in garment centres like Gazipur, a two-hour drive from the headquarters in Dhaka.

But factory-level activists seem even more fearful of authorities here. “Not only my phone, all the people’s phones are monitored,” says Nazma Akhter of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation. As an 18-year-old she began organising in a t-shirt factory where she’d worked alongside her mother since the age of 11. “We were blacklisted, sacked, beaten by police and the management was bringing [in] the goons.”

Three members of Bangladesh’s Special Branch—the intelligence wing of the nation’s police—even pay me a visit while reporting this piece. Akbar Doulat and his two silent colleagues arrive promptly at 9 am in the hotel lobby. They wear ironed shirts, pressed slacks and expensive mobile phones are holstered on gleaming leather belts. They gently question me over coffee. “Garments here is a lot of money,” the policeman says, fingering his yellow collared shirt to emphasise his point. “It’s made here so cheaply and sold out there for so much.”

Being a visitor on a tourist visa, admitting my interest in health and safety in the garment industry would be tantamount to signing my own deportation order. After about an hour, the inspector releases me with a warning. “You are welcome here as a tourist,” says Doulat, his gaze steady. “Stay away from NGOs.” The police have an army of informants, he adds, who would report back on my movements.

GETTING INSIDE A GARMENT FACTORY isn’t easy. Plants are constantly the site of unrest over late payments of wages or worker safety. Unless you’re there to do business, the gates are often highly secured. Economic Development Zones—sprawling industrial areas like Savar Upazila on the outskirts of the major cities of Dhaka and Chittagong—produce for
international brands with household names.

Getting access to the factories, unless pre-planned and scripted, is even more difficult for doctors. “Even we can’t enter—they don’t allow sometimes,” complains Dr SK Akhtar Ahmad, director of the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine in Dhaka. “Normally, they don’t allow visitors. If they allow [inspectors] it’s a visit with very limited access.”

It was Turkish doctors that sounded the alarm over silicosis amongst sandblasters. A published study in 2008 found that of 145 former sandblasters examined, 83 percent had respiratory problems and more than half had developed silicosis—evident from chest x-rays. “Considering the high prevalence of silicosis in such workplaces, further problems are inevitable in the future unless effective measures are taken,” wrote lead researcher Dr Metin Akgun at Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey.

But medical professionals in Bangladesh have yet to make any connections between lung patients and sandblasting. Dr Mohammad Abul Faiz is a former Director General of Health Services, the office responsible for overseeing the country’s health. He listens intently to a description of the hazards workers blasting jeans are exposed to and admits to being ignorant of the practice but says he’d like to learn more. Clothing manufacturers are often shielded by the government. “The garment industry is a big source of foreign currency for Bangladesh,” he says. “Occupational health is always not addressed appropriately for a variety of reasons.” Faiz says regulations and protections exist but are not always possible to enforce, a point heard again and again in this country.

Whether garment workers have fallen ill from silicosis is a question that remains unanswered. Doctors, nurses and even labour advocates have little to no awareness of the risks and it seems unlikely that an impoverished garment worker could reach a lung specialist even if he were to fall ill. “We on the medical side cannot know the technical data because of the lack of studies,” admits Dr Mohammed Shahedur Rahman Khan, assistant professor at the National Institute of Chest Disease and Hospital. An impromptu tour of his hospital’s wards, the second largest in the country, fails to turn up a single former sandblaster, though some had worked around sandblasting and were familiar with the practise.

“I saw with my own eyes that from river sand they treated jeans and other things,” recalls 28-year-old Mohammed Abul Kalam, a patient who had been admitted a week earlier for coughing up blood. “The guys that worked there, the company did not supply them with masks and some could not afford them.”

Most shops we saw had at least paper masks but fell far short of the expensive respiratory masks required when working with silica-rich natural sand. “It’s inadequate,” agrees Dr Mirza Mohammad Hiron, head of the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital. “Those paper masks give no protection.” But the only silicosis victims he’s encountered have been stoneworkers.

Yet diagnosing silicosis is difficult, as it shows common symptoms found in other respiratory diseases like asthma or even tuberculosis. “We receive patients with respiratory distress but we often treat it as asthma,” says Dr Ahmedul Kabir, an assistant professor at Dhaka Medical College.

And it’s telling that Dr Mohammad Nazibur Rahman Khan, who runs the largest health clinic in the area and sees many garment workers, says that “in Savar, [in February] there were 95 confirmed cases of tuberculosis.”

(Page 3 of 3)

WITH AN EMASCULATED LABOUR MINISTRY and ineffectual and corrupt labour sector, policing the health and safety of garment workers has largely been left to the international brands themselves who are most concerned with seeming like
good corporate citizens.

Consumer pressure is the only weapon they have to force brands like H&M to protect worker safety. “The power is held in our country, where our companies are inflicting this on the rest of the world,” says British activist Anna McMullen at Labour Behind the Label, a rights group based in England. Around the corner from her office in the English port city of Bristol, the shops advertise brand new fashion jeans for as little as 15 pounds (1,015 rupees) a pair. The downward pressure on consumer prices translates into more pressure on suppliers to produce quickly and cheaply.

McMullen argues that this kind of cheap fashion has a high human cost. This was illustrated in Dhaka when a garment factory under contract with H&M caught fire last March. Workers were locked inside, fire escapes were blocked and 21 people perished while another 50 were seriously injured.

Recriminations flew and the brand was immediately the target of international condemnation. Like its competitors, H&M has a robust Corporate Social Responsibility department (CSR). These are offices on the ground meant to ensure suppliers comply with minimum health and safety requirements lest the sweatshops become an ethical liability for the brands that they supply.

CSR staffers don’t usually talk to the press. But outside business hours in the cafeteria of Dhaka University, a former student turned CSR officer agrees to speak to me, as long as I don’t reveal his name. He’s since abandoned campus radicalism and gone to work for Wal-Mart.

Since 2002, he says he’s visited about 60 washing plants that use sandblasting and very few are outfitted with proper safety masks. As an industry inspector for Wal-Mart, suppliers have no choice but to open their doors to him, and he’s seen workers in sandblasting shops exposed to deadly hazards.

“I know in some countries it’s already banned—like in Turkey,” he says. “Now they practice it in different washing plants and they’re just using paper and cotton masks.”

The audit teams hired by international brands are honestly trying to prevent lapses in health and safety, even when the business office is focused on the bottom line. “Brands are mostly concerned with quality and punctual delivery,” he says.

Brands have gone to great lengths to clean up their image, translating into grandiose corporate social responsibility reports, factory auditors and, in the case of Bangladesh, even a letter to the prime minister urging the government to raise the minimum wage in the interests of social stability.

“Unrest among the workers in this sector is seen as a risk among our companies and could cause damage to the reputation of Bangladesh as a reliable sourcing market,” reads the letter signed by a dozen brands, including Levi’s, Wal- Mart, H&M and Gap. “It is a discomforting fact that the current minimum wage level in Bangladesh is below the poverty line calculated by the World Bank and thus does not meet the basic needs of the workers and their families.”

LEVI'S AND WAL-MART were both signatories to this letter. Levi’s began supplying Wal-Mart in 2002; by early 2004, they’d closed the last of their US factories and moved all their production offshore. To be fair, the Levi’s facilities in Bangladesh were some of the safer ones. At Opex Apparel in Dhaka’s Narayanganj District, workers were observed using
sandblasting guns that sprayed aluminium oxide grit rather than the cheaper silica- rich natural sand. They were even outfitted with respiratory masks with air being pumped into them. Resembling astronauts, they were fully protected from the clouds of metallic grit that ground the jeans. The only apparent lapse was that the workers sorting pairs of jeans alongside them wore no protection.

After contacting Levi’s to report that not everyone was wearing their masks, the company responded within 72 hours to say it had conducted a surprise audit on the factory.

“We confirmed your reporting, that not all workers in the area were wearing masks,” wrote company spokeswoman Kelley Benander in an email to The Caravan. She said the team had told the factory to draw up a health and safety plan that meets the company’s standards. “We will continue to assess Opex on a regular basis to ensure that this corrective action plan has been implemented.”

If only all suppliers were under so much scrutiny. But they aren’t. Many suppliers subcontract their work to make things cheaper and faster, even though they risk losing lucrative supply contracts if they’re caught. “Sometimes the front office, the front factory, is compliant and you know they can’t supply that much product,” explains Mustafizur Rahman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. “But they are supplying from subcontracts and those subcontracts may not comply.”

But the bottom line remains the bottom line. Rahman says there’s a disconnect between a brand’s inspector and the in-house buyers whose mission is to keep production costs down. On a pragmatic level, brands would like to see higher wages to stave off the industrial unrest that has been known to explode among dissatisfied garment workers.

“If there is some commotion or turmoil in our industrial belt there is not a single entity that can really control the agitation or sit on behalf of the workers,” he warns. Brands realise that this does not bode well for stability in the sector, he says. Past statements from the garment sector’s industry group, the BGMEA, have often tried to lay the blame on foreign agitators bent on destroying Bangladesh’s lucrative industry. But few take this claim seriously.

What is clear is that as long as consumers seek the cheapest garments and brands race to the bottom in prices, there will continue to be a system that will perpetuate deplorable working conditions in places like Bangladesh.

International brands, on many levels, do try to stabilise the situation by pressuring for better workplace conditions. But they, like their customers, are loath to pay the extra premium for safety. “When they are sourcing they go for the cheapest source,” Rahman says. “So there is what we call a hypocrisy between ethical buying and ethical sourcing.”


Solution: "See The Bright Side"

From: Satiish K Bhatia"
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject:  Solution: "See The Bright Side"
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 06:53:33 +0530

Baba

"Toma'r a'sa'-ja'oya' hoy na' kabhu, prabhu ekatha' jeneo na' ja'ni..."  -
P.S. 274

Purport:

 Baba, You always remain with me & with everyone eternally; that is why
it is said that Your arrival and departure never happens. I am aware about
this eternal truth, but even then I do not know and I remain forgetful. I
know this very thing but also I do not know.   
  Your welcoming and Your farewell are not possible because You are
eternally present. This is such a mysterious thing that I know and even
then I do not know. I do not like to believe. Sometimes I think You are
near and sometimes I think You are far. That is my misunderstanding.   
  Baba, You have created this world in such a way that when anything is
flourishing or blooming that very time the seed of destruction is hidden
within. In due course it perishes. This type of divine play is going on in
this cosmic cycle, eternally.   
   On the one side with Your two eyes You saturate everyone with Your love,
and on the other side from Your third eye the flame of fire is coming which
burns everything. In this creation of Yours the sweetness of effulgence is
always accompanied by the black shadow of death which falls gradually. But
in this entire divine play You are the black shadow and You are also the
effulgence; You are everything. Baba Your welcoming and farewell never
happens because You are omnipresent...


            == SOLUTION: "SEE THE BRIGHT SIDE" ==

Namaskar,
With 2010 drawing to a close and our organisation now riddled by problems
for 2 long decades, as a family we must critically understand what we must
do to right our ship. This letter offers some thoughts: "We must see the
bright side."

Every Ananda Margii is aware that Baba guides us to "see the bright side of
everything" (See Note 1). And while the phrase seems to be quite simple,
still there remains some basic misunderstanding about this by a few persons.
Let me explain further.


                       SEEING THE BRIGHT SIDE MEANS

                       ROOTING OUT ALL DOGMAS

In dharmic fashion Baba sets the tone that in our AM we are to see the
bright side of everything and side by side oppose all sorts of dogmas,
exploitation and wrongdoings in order to guide the society on the proper
path. However a few people in their confused & superficial way cannot grasp
how this is all working together. So instead they foolishly reason that
seeing the bright side means not pointing out the negativity in society, or
not fighting against injustice. But this is just their daydream.

For greater clarity then we should see Baba's practical working style and
other related examples to best understand the inner sense of "see the
bright side". And we must learn that by this very system we can clean
the organisation as well - ridding it from dogmas and groupism. That
is the need of the hour as 2011 is now upon us.


                  EXAMPLE OF RAISING CHILDREN

In one regard it is just like how parents view their children. Proper
parents always see the bright side with regards to their children's growth
and development. With love and affection they see everything; they never
overlook the lesser qualities. And by this way they are seeing the bright
side and watching out for their child's welfare.

For example a mother may think, 'Okay my child has 80% very good things but
to help them improve and make them more bright certain aspects of their
life need correction.' So the mother lovingly tells her child, "Don't be
lazy. Study more. Go and prepare your lessons." All those things she tells.
By this way she identifies and addresses the defective behaviours of the
child. All done with the benevolent motive to correct those wrong habits
and thus increase the brightness of her child. Means this is seeing the
bright side.

Whereas 'seeing the negative side' means if anybody does not want to make
someone else better, then they will only abuse others with the intention to
put them down. Many persons do like that. But this is very bad and this is
not at all working hand in hand with seeing the bright side. (See Note 2)

That's why Baba guides us that we should have a sympathetic opinion
regarding the person to whom we are dealing. And then find out their
mistake, and remove that.


          SEEING THE BRIGHT SIDE MEANS RECTIFICATION

The whole spirit then behind "seeing the bright side" is to rectify the
defects in order to build up a seamless and vibrant society. And who is not
aware that the present humanity is suffering from many ailments. So in
dharmic fashion Baba exposes all the various problems and ailments that
are present in the society. Such as dogma, negativity, exploitation by
capitalism, crudity of communism, and many more things. Baba is
highlighting the fact in bold letters that now society has very little on
the good side. To rectify the situation, Baba guides us to think in a
pointed way and remove the disparities and exploitation. Then society's
brightness will come and shine more and more.

Hence by seeing the bright side the main intention is to fix the problem.
To make others aware about the defect and address and repair it. And make
the situation better and better. So in AM our aim is to fix society's
various problems. And toward that end Baba has also graciously given the
solution to each and every problem as well. So ours is the practical approach.

In contrast, those who just criticize and abuse others without ever
offering any solution-- that approach is negative (See Note 3). And no
well-intentioned person will do like this.

For example, a mother doesn't only criticize her child. Rather the mother
instructs, "Don't be lethargic and negligent about your health & hygiene.
Go and take bath." So here the mother's basic point is: 'don't be lazy on
the point of cleanliness'. So this is not mere criticism. Because
immediately following comes the direction to go and take a bath. And by
that way the child will be clean. So the intention of the mother is to
improve the child's condition. This is seeing the bright side.

Similarly if someone says that "My neighbor often gets himself drunk and
may one day hurt himself. We should help him." Out of a feeling of concern
if someone talks this way about their neighbor, then that is not a negative
action. Rather, it is positive. Because the person wants to make their
neighbor better-- he wants to see his brightness more shining. And in that
way a solution has been given to help him.

Likewise people wash their clothes with the same positive motive-- to
remove the stain and make their clothes more fresh. So finding out the
stain does not mean one is seeing the negative side or indulging in
anything detrimental. Rather by taking the time to remove the dirt one is
making everything brighter and more clean.


                  BABA DURING DHARMA SAMIIKSA

And of course the top example of all is Baba's role during Dharma Samiiksa.
There, in historic fashion, Baba goaded so many sadhakas unto the path of
supreme beatitude by lovingly pointing out their defects and mistakes.
And in this way those devotees moved ahead with increasing speed toward
their cherished Goal.


        DONE WITH BENEVOLENCE, NOT LIKE COMMUNIST APPROACH

So in this process of "Seeing the bright side", the benevolent motive is
the main factor. Whereas those seeing the dark side criticize without the
intent to help. That is where their approach is wrong and completely
poisonous.

For example, take the case of the communist's approach (See Note 3).
Communists always try to blacken the name of the capitalists by telling
about their negative qualities like greed etc. But the communists' approach
is completely wrong. These communists are a prime example of those who see
only the dark side. They see the negativity, abuse the capitalists, but
they don't have any solution. They don't have any solution or positive way
to fix the problem and elevate the standard of society. Just out of their
self-interest they are tall talking about other's black spots. By this way
those who do not understand get befooled by those communists.

A related approach happens with political parties in the democratic system
as well. In the US, mostly Republicans but Democrats as well, such party
leaders only aim is to sabetage the other party's programs to make them look
bad. This manner has nothing to do with "seeing the bright side."

Likewise, nowadays the various group camps in the organisation are endlessly
involved in underming and and mudslinging one another. The reason their
manner is mudslinging and not "see the bright side" is because heir only intention
is to put the other group down and gain the power. Righting the organisation by
following ideology is not their way.


             OUR AM APPROACH IS TOTALLY POSITIVE

Whereas our true approach in AM - Baba's example - is not like that and the
directive 'See the bright side' works in a completely different way.

Regarding the defects of capitalism Baba outrightly exposes the
short-sighted, materialistic, and selfish nature of capitalism. And side by
side He provides the Prout-- which is the perfect solution. Because by
implementing Prout everybody will become healthy, and everybody's face will
be shining with joy. Because step by step the physical problems will
vanish, the psychic ailments will be identified and solved, and by this
will people will be able to advance in the field of spirituality. And thus
build up a strong and healthy God-centered society.

So all around, Ananda Marga's teaching is ensconced in the motive of
welfare: By pointing out the injustices and negativity, fixing the problem,
and leading the whole society along the path together to the final
desideratum.

And that is what we must do in order to rid our Marga from groupism: Identify
the problem and solve it by implementing Baba's neo-humanistic teachings.


                        BABA'S BLESSING

Hence the supreme spirit of "See the Bright Side" is imbibed in each and
every moment of Baba's working style and is embedded within the entire AM
ideology.

Thus as Ananda Margiis we are living in the world, and our duty is that we
should help clean the society and make it better. Likewise we are living in
this organization (AMPS) so our duty is to not overlook the wrongdoings.

Rather, we should find out the problems and fix them. If something is not
going according to Baba's teaching then we should rectify that. By this way
our organization will be better and better.

By properly following the inner spirit of Baba's divine guideline of "See
the bright side" that is the only way to move ahead and build up a healthy
and vibrant society free from exploitation.

Namaskar,
Satiish


NOTE 1:              SEE THE BRIGHT SIDE

During countless DMC gatherings and on other auspicious occasions
Baba graciously recites the following Sanskrit shloka in giving His
blessing-- the central idea being: "See the bright side of everything".

       "Sarve'tra sukhinah bhavantu sarve santu nira'maya'h;
      Sarve bhadra'n'i pashyantu na kashcid duhkhama'pnuya't.
             Onm' sha'ntih onm' sha'ntih onm' shantih
."


NOTE 2:           BENEVEOLENT INTENTION IS A MUST

Here below Baba points out that if someone only indulges in
pointing out the negativity in others without any benevolent intention to
build up their character then that is very harmful and wrong. That is 100%
against the spirit of seeing the bright side. Please read the below examples.

Baba says, "In many cases the behaviour of teachers is far more despicable.
Even after studying volumes of books on psychology teachers deliberately
hurt the sentiments of their students with offensive remarks. Instead of
trying to reform the bad habits of their students, they assail their minds
with caustic language." (HS-1, p.8)

Baba says, "There are many teachers who wound the sentiments of a student
by ridiculing either his caste or his father's profession saying, "The
plough suits you better than the pen, my boy," or "You had better join your
father at the potters wheel." Even today such utterances come out of the
mouths of many teachers." (HS-1, p.8)

Baba says, "If a student is ugly there are teachers who will grimace and
say, "Your intelligence is like your appearance." In addition to all these
offensive remarks, many teachers adopt other methods of torture and
intimidation while presenting their lessons." (HS-1, p.8)

So in these above examples those misguided teachers are not acting
according to  the spirit of welfare. Hence their ways have nothing to do
with seeing the bright side.


NOTE 3:         NEGATIVE LEFTIST APPROACH

We have seen how communists only indulge criticism after criticism
without any practical intention to remedy the situation.

Baba says, "Those who are leftists in the world are even more
dangerous...they are deliberately seeking out the dark and dirty aspects
of life and, like flies, growing fat on the secretions of society's
festering sores. It must be remembered that flies do not heal sores--
rather they exacerbate them, because the very puss of these sores provides
them with their vital juice. So the filthy aspects of society are the only
wealth on which these [leftists] subsist." (PNS-10, p. 24)


        ***************************************
             Uniqueness of Ta'raka Brahma

Baba says, "A Maha'kaola is one who makes others kaola by his infallible
spiritual guidance. But Ta'raka Brahma is a different Entity, a unique
Entity for He is the spiritual preceptor, social preceptor, Kaola, and
Maha'kaola, all in one. He is also something more: He acts as a compass in
every stratum of society." (NKS, '97 Edn, p.50)                 
       ***************************************

Cause of Terrorism

To: AM-GLOBAL
From: "Phoenix Chapman"
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2010 14:35:28 -0700
Subject: Cause of Terrorism

Baba

"Tumi bha'lor bha'lo saba'r mukh ceye..."   - P.S. 3392

Purport:

 Baba, among all the beauties You are the most beautiful. Baba, You look
after and care for everyone. You have lovingly brought the divine
effulgence-- taking trouble to cross the cimmerian darkness to reach here.
Baba, smiling blissfully in the rhythm and tune and showering Your divine
love, You go on fighting against innumerable obstacles in order to save the
devotees. Baba, You saturate everyone's heart with Your divine love.
Baba, everyone is Your very close and intimate relation; no one is alien
for You. Everyone is most dear to You; everyone is the jewel of Your eyes.
Baba, by Your grace, You go on thinking and caring about one and all. Baba,
keeping everyone along with You, You go on moving forward on Your divine
path.

Baba You are ever-present with everyone. You saturate everything and
everyone with Your divine love and grace. Whether it be on those sadhakas
who are calling out to You while undergoing penance on the dark amavasya
night of the nil moon, or on those suppressed people undergoing untold
suffering that was never spoken about. You fill everyone's heart with the
soothing balm. Baba, You have graciously lifted & lovingly placed those
downtrodden people-- who were lying in the dust-- on Your divine lap.
Baba You are most beautiful and You grace everyone immensely. Baba, Your
glory cannot be explained...


                              == CAUSE OF TERRORISM ==

Namaskar,
These days more and more efforts are being made to stop terrorism: body
scanners at airports, more ID checks, and so much snooping, spying, prying
and peeking.

The million dollar question, in the minds of many people around the globe,
is: How to put at end to terrorism. From Saudi Arabia to France, and from
Afghanistan to Washington DC, the burning question is, 'What makes these
terrorists tick?', 'How to end the war on terror?'.

And certainly the answer or solution is quite straight forward. It is not
at all difficult. Baba has made it plain as day. Yet it remains elusive to
those "most adamantly involved" in seemingly wanting to end the war on
terror-- such the various leaders of the so-called free world.

Here then we should address the matter at the very root. Why do people
become 'terrorists', and how do we put an end to their terrorist activities.
And indeed everyone should write in with their thoughts and ideas on this
burning topic which, at this point in time, so wholly consumes our planet.


                        NOT JUST MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS

Many think that terrorism is a matter of faith. They think that in order to
be a terrorist one must be of the Islamic religion. However, this just is
not so. Certainly, the Muslim faith has its faults & defects and surely we
all know that Islam is the home to some of the world's most sought after
terrorists, even then it has to be recognised that in and of itself, the
Muslim faith is not the root cause of today's terrorism. Islam is not the
source of people's terrorist leanings.


         TERRORISM IS A BROAD TERM CARRIED OUT BY MANY PEOPLE

To understand the situation better, we have to recognise that terrorism
exists on many levels and to varying degrees. At this point in time, on the
most global & destructive level, team Bin Laden exerts its terror on the
most well-known monuments and edifices around the world. But that is not
the only plane in which terrorism exists.

For example, in Los Angeles, NYC, or any major American city, there are
gangs comprised predominantly of black Americans or Hispanics that create
terror on the streets-- senselessly harming, robbing, and killing others
and making otherwise good neighborhoods totally unsafe.

Similarly, in India, there are numerous villagers and townspeople who at
any moment may wantonly burn a loaded passenger train down to the ground or
ruin any number of public properties, thereby threatening the welfare of
innocent people.

Another case in point is in France, where angry youths, who are French-born
but of Algerian or Moroccan descent, engage in car burning and other gross
acts of vandalism on a nightly basis.

And certainly we have all heard the horrific tales of what senseless
destruction and hostile attacks go on in South Africa, Honduras, Iran,
Turkey, Israel, and so many other countries around the globe.

By this wide-angle view, it becomes quite clear that terrorism and its
subsidiary categories of extreme vandalism, heated rebellion, and even
non-cooperation, are not confined to the Muslim world alone.


                  WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF TERRORISM

In each and every human being there is a desire to express. People want to
share their smiles and joys with those around them and communicate the
various ideas that blossom in the seed vessels of their mind. People have
an inherent desire to share their finer qualities with those around them in
a nice manner. In essence, everyone wants to live on this earth in a
benevolent way.

Baba says, "By nature human beings are peace-loving, not war-loving." (PNS-17)

Thus people are genuinely good and wish to share their human quality with
others.

So then what is the problem? Why is that terrorism exists-- in one form or
another-- on every continent and in every country around the globe?

It happens when people's basic human rights are taken away. When people
feel repressed, constricted, fed-up, and suffocated by the ruling parties
of the day, and when there seemingly is no recourse to be taken, and there
is nowhere else to turn, that is when even good humans are led onto the
path of terrorism.

That is why the blacks and Hispanics in America resort to gang warfare;
that is why the Algerians in France do the same; and that is why various
people from Muslims to village folk have adopted such radical means.
Knowingly or unknowingly, all done to express their anguish about their
existential existence and lack of human rights and respect.

So it is not just a question of economics per se; rather, it is more a
matter of human rights and dignity-- and the lack thereof. First and
foremost, that is where terrorism takes root.

And if we look around the world today there are any number of cases where
this is going on. In some places certain citizens are deprived the right to
vote; in other places whole sections of the population are deprived of the
right to an education; in some lands some are deprived the right to make a
decent living; in some regions needy people are deprived of such basic
necessities as food or medical care; and in so many countries, people are
unjustly jailed or attacked for voicing their opinion. Around the globe
there is a rampant disregard for human rights by the leaders of today.

And when any community feels that it has gone too far and there is no other
way out, then the easiest and most accessible avenue is to vent their anger
and frustration through terrorist activities. By that way they can send a
clear-cut message to the world that, 'Me and my people are not pleased with
the way things are going on'. Justified or not, this is what the terrorists
do.

So as long as such conditions exist where people are deprived of their
human rights, then we can expect to live side by side with terrorism.
Unfortunately, this fact the present day leaders do not understand or do
not want to understand. And instead they try to root out terrorism by
malicious and forceful means, but that does not work. Rather it only
heightens or escalates the terrorist activities.


      PRESENT DAY SYSTEMS DO NOT RECOGNISE HUMAN RIGHTS

At the start of this 21st century, the ruling governments only give lip
service to upholding and honouring the rights of the people. Either in the
form of capitalism, communism, fascism, or military dictatorships, the
common people suffer at the hands of such leaders.

Baba says, "These systems have created suppression, repression and
oppression in the minds of the people." (PNS-17)

In such a state, where there is rampant frustration, angst, mistrust, and
suffocation, then there is going to be a backlash. That backlash may result
in the smashing of a school window, the blasting of a firebomb in a crowded
market, or the flying of airplanes into the world's tallest office
building. Such tragic outcomes are bound to happen when people's human
rights are not recognised.

Here again, Baba sends out a message to the ruling parties of today.

Baba says, "In all human actions the tender touch of humanity should be
present. ...The economic structures in the world today, however, are not
based on human rights." (POD #12)

Thus in such a void of humane leadership, the seeds of terrorism are sown.


                     TERRORISM BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE

Even then, it should not be considered and concluded that terrorism is a
natural and justified response. It is not. And certainly there are some
inherently cruel people who jump on the terrorism bandwagon to indulge in
violence for violence sake.

Yet at the same time terrorism cannot be wholly condemned or eradicated if
we fail to understand that underlying cause. If the very causes of
terrorism are not addressed then we would be foolish to think we can put an
end to terrorism. That is one part of the problem.

On the other side of the coin, it should also be understood those who
indulge in destructive means like terrorism make it their way of life. That
is, they do not just use violence against their oppressors but against
anyone-- even their own people etc.

For example, the various Islamic terrorist teams do not just fight against
the US capitalist machinery but they also engage in terrorist warfare
amongst themselves. So even though a rival Islamic tribe may not be
infringing on their human rights, but even then at the least bit of
provocation the scene will escalate into a full fledge terrorist feud.
That is because, resorting to wonton destruction and senseless harm is an
easy outlet and it becomes one's habit. In that case, it just expresses
anywhere and everywhere. Even if such a simple thing as a baker not making
one's bread according to their exact liking, then a mafia man or a
terrorist may blow that baker's head off. Such becomes their crude way of
dealing and their debased frame of mind.

So once started, terrorism breeds more terrorism.


                         PARENT-CHILD EXAMPLE...

In one way we can look at this entire situation of world-wide terrorism and
its cause with the following analogy.

In a household where the parents fight and beat one another, then it is
readily seen that the children resort to the same measures, either in their
childhood or adult lives, or both.


             ...APPLYING THAT TO THE WORLD ARENA

Similarly, in a political environment where the world leaders do anything
and everything in order get their economic goals and political agendas
met-- such as invading another country for its oil or imposing suppressive
tactics on whole sectors of the population-- then it is a sure thing that
similar ploys will be adopted by the people. And such defiant persons will
become terrorists.

Without making a judgment on the terrorists themselves, there is no
question that the very penchant for terrorism stems from the exploitative
way in which the world leaders operate. But instead of changing their ways,
those repressive leaders adopt harsher tactics against the terrorists which
in turn only gives way to the more pervasive occurrence of terrorist
activities. This is the nasty cycle.

But this is the very fact that the likes of Bush and Cheney do not like to
know, or do not wish to admit.


                                     THE SOLUTION:

                     GUARANTEEING HUMAN RIGHTS


The solution to the problem of global terrorism then is to treat all on
this earth as humans. All should be respected and granted their God-given
rights. This much recognition is needed. Once done, then surely terrorism
will meet its end.

To achieve this outcome, those at the helm must extend fundamental rights
and cardinal human values to all. That means the following rights must be
recognised and guaranteed to all: right of security, right of livelihood,
right of indigenous linguistic expression, right to an education, right of
cultural legacy, right of spiritual practice, etc. Once these are extended
to all then terrorism will be relegated to the pages of history.

That means no nation like the US, France, or Britain can go into our out of
another country in order to exploit its resources or people. And no
capitalist nation may force people from a distant land to come and be their
labor force etc. All these types of present day tactics must be banished if
we wish to see the end of terrorism.

And indeed the people are ready for this peaceful turn of events.
In which case those in power must drastically mend their ways or expect to
be removed from their chair. That is the inevitable outcome they are
inviting.

So again, back to the main solution, once all the people are assured their
human-ness, then surely terrorism will be a thing of the past.


                                     BABA'S BLESSING

By Baba's grace the day is soon coming when the collective humanity will
rise up and put forth the sermon that the time has come to build a world
human society based on cardinal human values.

Baba says, "'All human beings belong to one race. Everyone has equal
rights. Human beings are brothers and sisters!' These sadvipras will
sternly warn the exploiters of society, 'The exploitation of human beings
cannot be allowed!' and, 'Religious hypocrisy cannot be tolerated!' Giving
a clarion call to the fragmented human society from beneath the saffron
flag, the symbol of service and sacrifice, they will proclaim at the top of
their voices, 'Human beings of the world, unite!' And they will sing in
chorus:"

    Sam´gacchadhvam´ sam´vadadhvam´ sam´ vo mana´m´si ja´nata´m,
            Deva´bha´gam´ yatha´pu´rve sam´ja´na´na´ upa´sate.
               Sama´nii va a´ku´tih sama´na´ hrdaya´nivah,
               Sama´namastu vo mano yatha´ vah susaha´sati.


Namaskar,
Phanindra


Note 1:                 CHARTER OF RIGHTS

Here Baba neatly outlines the rights that must be granted to all-- and once
done we will surely have a world fraternity where devoid of any terrorist
activity.

Baba says, "The formation of a World Government will require a world
constitution. A charter of principles or bill of rights should be included
in such a constitution and encompass at least the following four areas.
First, complete security should be guaranteed to all the plants and animals
on the planet. Secondly, each country must guarantee purchasing power to
all its citizens. Thirdly, the constitution should guarantee four
fundamental rights - spiritual practice or Dharma; cultural legacy;
education; and indigenous linguistic expression. Fourthly, if the practice
of any of these rights conflicts with cardinal human values then that
practice should be immediately curtailed. That is, cardinal human values
must take precedence over all other rights. All the constitutions of the
world suffer from numerous defects. The above points may be adopted by the
framers of different constitutions to overcome these defects." (AFPS-8,
'Requirements of an Ideal Constitution')


               ***********************************
                         - The Solution -

Baba says, "Whenever there is a conflict between the brain and the heart,
intelligent people should respond to the call of the heart. The books in
A'nanda Ma'rga philosophy are all absolute knowledge. The proper mark of
identity of absolute knowledge is that it must be universal, rational and
psychological. Certain instances of absolute knowledge are as follows-- the
goal of human life is the attainment of Brahma; human beings are the
progeny of Parama Purus'a...by dint of sa'dhana' or spiritual practices
human beings gradually become divine." (PNS-18, p.10)
               ***********************************

Why Should Any Sincere Devotee Sacrifice for Factional Cause?

Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2010 05:48:38 -0000
To: am-global@earthlink.net
From: Mandal.Virendra@bharata.net...
Subject: Why Should Any Sincere Devotee Sacrifice for Factional Cause?

Baba

"A'ka'shabhara' a'jake ta'ra'..." (P.S. 2523)

Purport:

  Baba, the sky of this amavasya night is filled with the stars. The sweet, nectar-like breeze is blowing mildly. The mind is floating in divine ecstasy from the known to the unknown world-- towards its final destination. Baba, ensconced in Your ideation, my mind is getting lost in Your divine bliss.   Baba, the lily flower is constantly looking towards the sky; the aroma of flowers is emanating all around. They have forgotten themselves and lost their awareness about their own unit existence. They restlessly move in the attraction of one call.   Baba in Your longing I am sitting alone, counting the stars. I understand that by Your grace I have lost myself in this beautiful atmosphere and the attraction of Your love. Baba, You are ever-gracious and You are always remaining by my side and guiding me. Baba, on this amavasya night my heart is yearning and longing for You. Please grace me by coming closer and still more close...


                                  WHY SHOULD ANY SINCERE DEVOTEE

                            SACRIFICE FOR ANY FACTIONAL CAUSE?


Namaskar,
The aim of any ideological sadhaka is not to preach any sermon per se. All that they share in their letters are the teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji. And we are simply passing on His message to our Guru Bhra'ta's, i.e. disciples of Baba.


                                  THEIRS IS NOT AN IDEOLOGICAL FIGHT

The present group fight in our Marga is not an ideological fight. Here ideological means Baba's divine teachings, not any group agenda. This fight is all about their own selfish group interest. Here following the is the logic and reasoning in support of this fact.

Since 1990, so many injustices have been done related with ideology, yet none of these following points are ever raised by these group leaders - i.e. H, B, or EC. Rather they are the perpetrators.

1. Destruction of BP rights and imposition of the Fake BP Manual;
2. Expulsion used as a weapon since 1995  when all groups were living under one roof;
3. Countless intentional scriptural distortions such as placing "Translated from the original Bengali" on the cover page of all AM books, even if those discourses were given in English or Hindi;
4. Elimination of the margii based ACB system: Advisory Committees & Boards;
5. Curtailment of margii rights;
6. Creation of dogmatic pilgrimages in Ananda Nagar, Kolkata, & Jamalpur, and many other places;
7. Issuing of Fake Ananda Vaniis;
8. Victimisation of countless innocent Ananda Margiis;
9. Bangalisation of AM teachings;
10. Ruination of Prabhat Samgiita by using filmy singers etc;
11. Not recognising Silent Action as a fundamental right;
12. Rejecting English and Hindi passages spoken by Baba and only translating the Bengali portions of Baba's holy DMC discourses which were given by Baba in three languages;
13. Treating Baba as a mortal being by using the shraddha mantra for Sadguru Baba and the imposition of dogmatic Mahaprayan;
14. Construction of dogmatic memorials to limit Baba to a particular land or place;
15. And so many more ideological wrongs.

Note: Please do write us if you wish more information on any of the above points.

Yet, no group ever raises any of these universal points related with AM teachings / ideology. They only raise their own selfish claims based on their group agenda for post and power.

So all this infighting is nothing but a factional power fight. In that case why should margiis quarrel, give their resources and time, and do & die in such a fight when it is all about selfishness and grabbing the post - and nothing else.

Regarding the above listed ideological points related with margii rights and scripture etc, neither the factions of Tiirthananda & EC, nor B faction, nor H (i.e. Ranchi faction) support these purely ideological issues. Never do they ever raise these items - they only raise points of personal lust for post and power.

Then why should any sincere devotee sacrifice themselves for this cause of infighting and group agenda. There is no ideology on either side. That is Baba's teaching.


                                                 BABA'S TEACHING:

                                 THEY FORGOT THEIR IDEOLOGY


In addition to the quote about the two Buddhist groups noted in the original letter on this topic (see note 1), kindly review this below teaching:

Baba says, "About thirty-five years ago [in 1936], a war was going on between two countries, the citizens of which have the same religion (Buddhist). When the soldiers went to war, their mothers used to pray to Lord Buddha to save the lives of their respective sons. What will Lord Buddha do? Save this man or that man? Both have the same “Is't'a,” but both parties have totally forgotten their ideology. If they were established in the ideology, they would not have gone to war." (SE)

The above teaching is a sound file (titled "Baba is on my side") of Baba's voice from Purnea DMC 1971 which is posted to the left side of the AM-GLOBAL blog, http://www.am-global-01.blogspot.com/


                                           KEEP BALANCED MIND

With all due respect, when the mind is filled with emotion then rationality fades away. So when two people want to talk on substantial issues, they should not pre-judge anything. Keeping an open mind and using one's power of rationality is of utmost importance.


                                        WE ARE UNIVERSALISTS

One other point of note: As Ananda Margiis we are neither Indian, nor American, nor Filipino, nor members of any other nationality or group. We are universalists. Our outlook should not be pro-Indian or pro-American  etc. Only we should see the world through the eyes of our neo-humanistic ideology.


                                               WHEN TO FIGHT                                        

Indeed there is a time to fight:

Baba says, "Fight for your Ideology. Be one with your Ideology. Live for your Ideology. Die for your Ideology." (Ananda Vanii #14)

So we should fight for ideology. But when two or more groups are just involved in their own selfish infighting and rush for power, and when no group is willing to stand up for any true ideological issue, and when margiis are getting confused by groupist propaganda, then the main job at hand is to awaken others.

Baba NEVER says, "Fight for your group agenda. Be one with your group agenda. Live for your group agenda. Die for your group agenda."

Namaskar,
Virendra


Note 1:                                 BABA'S FOREWARNING:

           SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE BUDDHIST MONKS OF OLD

                            DO NOT REPEAT SUCH INFIGHTING

Now please read the following quote. It is very clear. Baba has forewarned us not to fall in this very trap of infighting as occurred with those Buddhist monks 2500 years ago, but now some Dadas are committing this same blunder.

Baba says, "Great differences in opinion developed among the bhikkus (monks) some time after his death. Two groups of bhikkus emerged – Sthaviravádii, the southern school of Buddhist doctrine, and Mahásáḿghika (the northern school), which later on became known as “Hiinayána” and “Maháyána” respectively. But that was not the end of it. Innumerable branches and sub-branches emerged, countless philosophies of Sthaviraváda, Vijiṋánaváda, Shúnyaváda, Mahásukhaváda, and Atisukaváda. Each one of these groups became so engrossed in their own so-called ideologies, doctrines and subdoctrines that they did not have any time to do any constructive work." (AFPS-4)

In His above teaching Baba is describing how the Buddhist monks divided into factions and spent all their days in infighting. For this reason they could not do any real service to the society. That is very real history and therein lies Baba's distinct warning.

Tragically, nowadays in AM, all our top Dada have separated into various groups - B, H, EC etc - and they are consumed in battling one another for supremacy. That is the unfortunate scene that has developed in the Marga. A classic example of this is the legal battle going on in NY. The two groups involved are committing all their energy, time, and resourceds etc into this group conflict, and hence they are unable to serve the general society. Is it not a mirror image of what transpired long ago?

==> This above note is an excerpt from the posting, Baba's Forewarning On NY Court Case. To read that entire letter visit:

 http://am-global-01.blogspot.com/2010/12/babas-forewarning-on-ny-court-case.html



                         *********************************************
                                   Religious Dogma and Females

Baba says, "In the past it was the practice in India that if a woman heard the recitation of the Vedas even by accident, molten lead was poured into her ears. This was done because if women were not suppressed they could not be easily exploited and ordered about to do menial work, like maid servants." (PNS-16)

Note: Religions have always suppressed and exploited various sections of society in order to impose their dogmatic ideas. Weaker, minority groups always suffered terribly at the hands of religion. And always it was always the all-powerful clergy who soaked up the benefits. That is, all the rules and regulations were bent in favour of the dominant class, i.e. the male clergy etc.  

So since the birth of religion on this globe, various anti-social and harmful activities have been done in the name any particular religion. In that circumstance, in order to protect the downtrodden masses, the state or government has had to intercede and declare those religious decrees to be unlawful.  

For instance, in the US, the state has stepped forward and opposed the false rule that black and whites should not marry. Yet for years and years the dominant white churches opposed these inter-racial marriages. But, in the due course of things, the US government has declared such inter-racial unions, i.e white-black marriages to be legal. Likewise in India the government has come forward to make ordinances against the Hindu tradition that the wife must burn herself to death by throwing herself on the husband's funeral pyre. Now this dogmatic religious tradition is basically outlawed and not done anymore. Plus in the US, the government has declared that polygamy is illegal-- a man can no longer keep multiple wives. So the Mormon religion and others like it in the US can no longer impose rule that a man can have as many wives as he likes.  

In all these circumstances when religion has imposed hateful and harmful rules against the weaker sections of society, at some point the government was forced to take a stand against those religious dogmas by declaring them illegal. This we have witnessed in nearly every country around the globe.  

So today when the various Muslim communities impose the idea that women must wear a veil in public, then soon we are going to see this reversed by various governments. And in some places this has already begun.

Especially so because, at present, radical Muslims use the veil as a way to hide the face of their terrorist attackers. In that case, it is the duty of the government to intercede and declare such veils as illegal. Because in the present moment, in the name of wearing a veil, both male and female Muslim terrorist bombers sneak into public places to carry out their attacks. Because in many countries, male policeman are prohibited to ask females to lift their veil. Then that veil becomes a special tactic of Muslim religious radicals to sneak their attackers-- either male or female-- into public events and carry out their destructive plans. Because anyone can hide behind that veil and go where they like. All because of their dogmatic religious rule that females must cover their face with a veil in public.

 Given this, states and governments have no other recourse than to outlaw the dogmatic provision that females must always move in public wearing a veil. And soon we will see this law come into effect pervasively. Because at present, dogmatic Muslim leaders are imposing this illogical rule on females and side by side using this as a means to carry out their heinous activities.         
                      *********************************************


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