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Re: Circumcision & Herd Psychology

From: "Will Chaucey" To: Subject: Re: Circumcision & Herd Psychology Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 08:19:17 Baba
Namaskar, This is in follow-up to the earlier letter as some still seem to have questions and confusion about this. Here we are going to discuss two points: How and why circumcision was adopted by the Semitic religions and the mistranslation regarding circumcision and Caryacarya. This is a short letter - all should write in with their thoughts and queries.
Circumcision began in the Semitic religions and then spread around the world. And here is why those religions adopted circumcision. The Semitic religions basically took birth in the desert of the Middle East where it was dry, sandy, and drought-prone. What was a scarcity. In that case having extra water to clean the genital organ and the area beneath the foreskin was a luxury that they did not have. Extra water was not readily available. So for hygienic purposes they cur the foreskin. Actually in beginning, circumcision was performed on males and females and but because female was very serious and there was a lot of bleeding,that is why it was stopped in most places. But the male circumcisions continued and spread around the globe. Here the point is that all the religions developed their own rituals based on their own local conditions and climate. Their rules and regulations are not grounded in logic and rationality, but rather convenience. Those Semitic religions - being from desert regions - took to burying dead bodies because they had lots of open space and suffered from a shortage of wood so burning the bodies was not always possible. In AM though we should follow Baba's teachings, not the customs of the dogmatic religions, because AM teachings are founded in rationality, not convenience.
Now let's come to the point of how circumcision got placed in Caryacarya. When Baba first delivered His guidelines of Sixteen Points in Patna just prior to the jail period, then Baba has simply told all margiis to pull the foreskin back. No further option has given and the Hindi and Bengali books of Caryacarya reflect His golden guideline. Meaning: Pulling the foreskin back is the sole teaching of point #2 of Sixteen points. In those original Caryacarya books there is no mention of the word circumcision. Only when certain later English editions of Caryacarya got printed did the word "circumcision" appear on the scene. Thus, when preparing the book for overseas sales, it seems those editors in short-sighted way made the so-called link that being circumcised fulfills the guideline of "keeping the foreskin pulled back". Yet in actuality, the circumcision term has nothing to do with Baba's expressed guideline. We can say were two basic reasons why the circumcision term got inserted into Caryacarya under point #2 of Sixteen Points 1. The translation was wrong - period - as there is no mention of circumcision in Baba's original talks and listing of Sixteen Points. 2. The editors sympathized with ongoing Semitic dogma so readers / overseas margiis would not get reacted. This was all due to the mental weakness and miscalculation of the translator. The historical backdrop of course was that this was during the jail period and everyone was busy and under others pressure. In that hectic environment, this dogma of circumcision was infused and accepted. It was just in their naive way of dealing, on their own those editors actually gave circumcision as an option and printed that word in the English version of Caryacarya-- when in fact this is not Baba's guideline. And this word 'circumcision' never ever got included in the Hindi or Bengali editions of Caryacarya. Baba has never included it. And to this very day you will not find it in those editions of Caryacarya. Those interested should read the original.
Here we should remember that we are Ananda Margiis and our only way is to follow Baba's teachings, not the wayward dealing of the various religions whether it be casteism of Hinduism or circumcision of the Semitic religions. We should not follow the masses in either of these directions - nor in any other ritualistic tradition. With our pointed intellect we are to understand AM teachings and follow that - thus we should all be critically aware that circumcision is not part of our AM way of life. Namaskar, Vinay
(A) Read here for more critical facts on the dogma of circumcision. (B) Read here to find out why it is faulty to think circumcision helps prevent AIDS. (C) These two letters address the original aspects of Sixteen Points and why circumcision is not in accordance with Baba's teachings. (D) This letter contains key points from Senior Acary Diary:

Circumcision & Herd Psychology

Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 14:01:42 -0400 To: From: Douglass Lauder Subject: Circumcision & Herd Psychology Baba "Toma'ke bha'lo bese ja'i ye bhese kon se aja'na'y..." (PS 739) Purport: Baba, by loving You, I go on floating towards one unknown divine land. O' my Beloved, even today, by Your grace I have ensconced myself in the courtyard of the tunes-- in the hide and seek of the pleasure of getting You and in the pain of not getting You. Baba, my sleepless, hungry eyes yearn to see You day and night. Baba, by Your grace, my eyes get lost in Your infinite divine world-- in one far distant place in search of You, O' my dearmost. Baba, if You want You can forget me, but please do not forget that I love only You. O' Divine Entity, please come, please come close; with Your love please be gracious and sit near me-- by my side. Baba, You are my dearmost, You are my everything...
Namaskar, This entire letter is related with AM's view on circumcision. Right now some are running after this, but this is just their herd psychology, not their rationality.
It is commonly known in AM that a calm mind is needed to do sadhana. For this reason Baba has graciously provided us with the perfect array of practices which cultivate a peaceful feeling in the mind. These practices include: Kiirtan, shuddis, yama and niyama, asanas, bhajans, svadhyaya, satsaunga, etc. All these things wonderfully aide in creating a sweet and sentient vibration in the mind. In addition, on the purely physical plane, cleanliness is needed. Without that the physical body will be dirty and diseased and in result the mind will get directed toward those physical ailments. That is, the mind will become crudified. So proper health practices and hygienic habits are needed for mental well-being and to do proper sadhana. These include AM bathing system, sentient food, half-bath, fasting, etc.
And one important point which is going on these days related with health and hygiene which needs our attention is: circumcision. Because circumcision is not something which Baba advocates yet it is going on under our own roof.
Some may think that this is only a male issue-- but it is not like that. It is a concern and point of awareness for all. Since it is our respected mothers who are primarily involved in the raising of our children. Hence they are often the ones to have a say on such things. At the same time fathers should also be aware. Here the point is not to pass blame to anyone but rather to generate the notion that this point of circumcision is of common concern.
1. Nature has its own wonderful ways of protecting the human body. The hair in the nostrils filters the air, joint hair keeps the glands cool, the kidney purifies the blood etc. Likewise the skin on the genital organ has its one particular value and utility: It helps protect that area from disease in one's younger years. It is part of nature's special system. And when that skin is removed by surgical procedure then that interrupts the natural process. 2. Of all the places on the human body, the genitals may be the most sensitive and tender. Even the human brain is encased by the cranium but the genitals are openly exposed. So it is a very delicate and tender area. And at the very young age to have a surgical procedure done on that area is a distinct shock to the system. 3. In those early years covering of the undeveloped gland is needed to protect against disease. And then once one reaches adolescence, that skin can naturally be pulled back since its purpose has been fulfilled by that point. Because the organ or gland has become developed and strong-- it is no longer so susceptible to infection etc. Rather keeping the area covered in adolescence is itself unhygienic due to bodily secretions etc. But surgical removal is not needed in those teenage years. Simply the foreskin can be pulled back. This is Baba's expressed guideline in Sixteen Points. Here we should remember that at the time of birth that area is covered and hence protected by the foreskin. So that is nature's way of providing protection to that area. And when that protection is no longer needed then it will naturally get folded back. So the foreskin has a distinct utility, but via the process of circumcision that benefit is totally lost. 4. In only very, very rare cases-- like one in a million-- is an incision needed to pull back the foreskin on an adolescent. And even then that is not a circumcision procedure, just a small incision is needed to loosen the skin so it can be pulled back neatly.
So the above represent a few of the basic points which point to the fact that circumcision is itself unnatural. And as we know Baba does not condone such type of procedures like circumcision. His guideline is to pull back the foreskin.
Certainly it is clear that the dharmic and healthy way to move ahead is not to circumcise our children. Rather they should grow in a natural way. By this process they will get all the subtle benefits of nature's grand plan. And side by side, where possible, research should be done focusing on the physiological and psychological effects of circumcision. As there are solid indications and evidences that circumcision invites the tendency of sexual indulgence and weakness. One such reason being that it desensitizes the genital. Hence, circumcision in infancy or in childhood invites desensitivity. Obviously this is a critical matter, because Baba guides us in a few places that over-indulgence leads to the excessive loss of lymph and shukra-- in which case sadhana is severely hampered if not impossible. So further research should be done so that we have the hard facts to warn people about the serious defects and hazards regarding circumcision. At the same time the point should be crystal clear in the mind of every Ananda Margii. Since Baba has already shown us the way to proceed.
Some claim that circucision helps in AIDS prevention and disease. But this is a baseless argument. See this posting: Those who do not clean do get benefit from circumcision but Ananda Margiis follow strict shaoca so there is no problem. So their agenda that circumcision is the way to prevent AIDS is off the mark. It is like if you do not wash your mouth then it will attract flies so the best thing is to clip the lips, but if one cleans the mouth there will not flies in which case there is no need to clip the lips. Same with circumcision. If one is clean then there is no need to cut that region as a means of disease prevention.
So around the globe in our Marga society, there should be a consistent and unified approach regarding circumcision. Now, however, the situation is not like that. In some places good margii families are having their children circumcised whereas in other regions established margii families are not circumcising their children. Generally it depends upon the dogmatic perceptions of their area. For example in European areas many do circumcision whereas in India it is not at all commonly done. Both have their dogmatic and traditional reasons. But we should all be making the right choice for the right reason. That will bring unity and wellness. Because our ideological stand is straight and clear: It is singular in nature. In that case there is no need for a varied approach. Rather what Baba has said should be understood and followed. Failing that, on points like that of circumcision, there could be the massive spilling of blood from one community to another. Such religious strife and fighting has occurred on all the continents. This is the tragedy that has filled human history. And it should be averted in our Marga. And the way to avoid it is to develop oneness on all point of ideology. Thus for the health of the child as well as for the well-being of our AM society, we should develop a unified understanding our adarsha on this point of circumcision. None should fall prey to herd psychology and choose circumcision because that is the prevailing trend in their area. Rather we should stick to our AM ideals. Otherwise we will fall prey to meat-eating, crude movies, and all kinds of other trendy things.
Ours is a sadhana oriented existence. So we should avoid those things like circumcision which hinder one's physical and mental growth and we should follow those dharmic guidelines which support our spiritual life-- thus keeping the mind free from the effect of lower vrttis. Baba says, "As a created being, everybody in the universe by birth is a pashu, an animal. But the standard of beings is to be exalted towards divinity, towards godliness. A pashu, that is, an animal, becomes man, man becomes god. This process, the process of exaltation, the process of upliftment, from animality to godliness, is your sa'dhana'." (AV-1)
By Baba's divine grace we will all progress and achieve supreme fulfillment. Baba says, "The one endowed with cosmic grace gets liberation from these bondages by dint of sa'dhana', and attains oneness with that Supreme Entity." (AV-4) Namaskar, Dharmendra
Here Baba uncovers the truth behind the ongoing religious dogma of circumcision. Baba says, "Long ago the Jews started practising circumcision. When Moses converted some of his contemporaries to Judaism, and later when Mohammed converted some local people to Islam, neither prophet dared to instruct their new followers to discard the old customs they followed, consequently the old customs continued after their conversion." (PNS-21, 'How to Unite Human Society') Here the ramification is that those margiis who have come from Hindu backgrounds do not do circumcision whereas those from the Chrisitian world usually attend to circumcision. So on the one side there are the Buddhists and Hindus who do not follow circumcision and on the other side there are the semetic faiths. That is the way it is divided on this point of circumcision. As Ananda Margiis, however, we are not to give credence to any of these aforesaid religions but rather should do what Baba wants. That is our dharmic approach.
*************************************** WT Conduct Rule: Vow of Silence
Baba says, "You will cultivate the practice of maonbrat (vow of silence) at least half an hour every day during working hours." (Pt #9 of Fourteen Points) Note: In the above conduct rule Baba is giving the solution of one common problem. Because many suffer from the mental disease of gossiping needlessly. It can happen to anyone but certain Wt's are more indulged because they talk all day long. Even if a kiirtan program is going on then still they are sitting and talking non-stop. So this is the psychic disease of some wts. And to stop this Baba has given the aforementioned conduct rule. So if any one is not following Baba's above guideline then they should be encouraged (or pressurized) to practice. And by that way they will gain control over their negative habit of talking uselessly. Indeed by that way one can make the extroverted mind introverted.

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