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How to Improve Sadhana: Part IV: ADDENDUM

From: "Melanie Hardesty" To: Subject: How to Improve Sadhana: Part IV: ADDENDUM Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2010 19:27:39 Baba "Phul bole, mor madhute tha'ko, a'ma'r madhu toma'r tare..." (PS 1782) Purport: Baba, everyone longs for You. All want Your proximity, closeness, and love. The tiny flower says, 'Oh Lord, please remain in my honey, all my floral nectar is for You'. And the unit mind says, 'Please remain in my heart, in happiness and sorrow; please remain with me forever and ever-- up to eternity'. Baba, everyone desires Your loving touch and sweetness. All want You. Baba, You are the Supreme Desideratum. You are my effulgent light of forward movement. Baba, You are the Goal of everything. You alone are the Ista. All are seeking You. Baba, You are the vital energy of each and every movement. Every being gets their energy from You-- since ages and ages. Baba, You are the pulsation in everyone's heart. Baba, You are the soothing balm of the crying heart. You are the cool oasis on the dry, barren desert path;, You are the brilliant flow of effulgence in the pitch-black, cimmerian darkness. Baba, You are the Savior. You do everything. You shower the dry heart with Your divine nectar. You grant devotion to all. O' my Dearmost, Your qualities are beyond human conception. You live with everyone always, but nobody knows. Baba, You are beyond all that is known and unknown. Baba, You have no comparison; You are so gracious. Please keep me under Your shelter...
Namaskar, Here are further thoughts about point #2 of Sixteen Points, i.e. "Pulling back the foreskin", which does not include circumcision as an alternative. Already other letters in this series have shown how the foreskin is a natural and needed part of the male human body and should not be removed. Rather, after reaching adolescence, it should simply be pulled back. Now let's explore how the same trend that led to the widespread practice of male circumcision is also going on today with the female population in the form of female genital cutting (FGC). As Ananda Margiis we should be critically aware of this matter and never allow it to enter our Marga, nor support it in areas where it is practiced.
Local peoples and tribal communities attest that female circumcision is a rite of passage for young girls as well as a point of hygiene. However, the world over in the name of "rite of passage", all kinds of dogmatic traditions are maintained. In some African tribes, a the male's front teeth are pulled out and in the name of rite of passage pledges in fraternities or gang members may get branded. In sum, all sorts of illogical and harmful rituals are done in the name of "rite of passage". So this is no justification for female circumcision. Let's then address the idea that female circumcision helps in hygiene. By this logic then: 1) If one is fearful that the baby will one day suffer from gum disease or tooth decay, should then the lips be cut off? 2) If one is worried that a new born will one day contract a nasal infection, should we then chop off the nose? 3) If one is concerned that an infant will one day have too much wax in their ear, should we then have the ear removed? The answer to all of these hypothetical questions is: Certainly not. Then out of fear of disease, female circumcision or genital mutilation should not be done. Proper hygiene should be attended to in another way, according to Baba's guideline. Here the idea becomes clear that the removal of part or all of an organ is not the way to maintain hygiene. In the name of cleanliness or purity, it is not proper to chop that organ. Thus those who claim this as their rationale for female circumcision are just dogmatically adhering to baseless logic.
No doubt, more and more in AM are realising that male circumcision is not part of our AM practices, even then due to the fact that it is a common method in the general society, some in AM still have their children circumcised. Mostly because of the faulty English translation of original Caryacarya. We should pay heed that a similar mistake does not occur with regards to female circumcision. At present, female circumcision is practiced quite commonly in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In some areas it is honoured and in others it is a matter of shame. Regardless, it is spreading despite staunch opposition from groups like Amnesty International etc. And not only that, people from those aforementioned regions are traveling and relocating to other parts of the world. In which case they bring their custom of female circumcision with them wherever they go. Hence this is now being done in western Europe and the US as well. Sooner or later, there is going go be an interface or meeting between those communities which author female circumcision and our Marga, and we should be prepared ahead of time. We should not let a repeat occur as happened with male circumcision wherein margiis circumcised their children out of naiveté, ignorance and confusion - nor because it was common in their hometown and mistranslated in Caryacarya.
There is hope - both inside and outside the Marga - that the painful and torturous process of female circumcision will one day be abolished. With the rise and spread of female circumcision also comes a rise in awareness about this horrible and painful tradition. Now there is more opposition than ever before about it and it is illegal in various regions and countries. It is viewed as cruel and inhumane. Indeed just as the human society is rallying to forbid female genital circumcision / mutilation, soon the rest of the world will also understand how the male circumcision is also a needless practice that deforms the male baby. Such a cruel practice should not be done to an innocent baby. In the past grueling childhood labor was accepted, but now it is outlawed. The same thing will occur with regards to male circumcision. Our human society is growing and people are getting more and more sincere about protecting others' welfare and comfort.There will be an overwhelming outcry against this harmful practice as well. Thus just as female circumcision is becoming illegal; that step is on the horizon for male circumcision. Good and rational people will deem it as inhumane. Of course, some Christian and Muslim groups propagate circumcision with their ulterior motive and like-minded doctors do the same, it but in due course it will all be unmasked. Here again our point is that instead of deforming the body with any kind of circumcision process, after reaching puberty one should simply pull back the foreskin. That is Baba's system - not any other.
Indeed there is no need to torture young kids in this way and when they grow older they will blame their elders and society-at-large for abusing them. Certain ignorant parents who chose not to educate their children when they were young were then blamed by those same children when they got older. Why? Because that lack of education ended up being a form of punishment to their children that lasted their entire life. Thus when those kids got older they put 100% blame on their parents - and rightly so. Similarly, the same is happening and will continue to happen in response to those parents who subject their children to the cruel tradition of circumcision. They will face the reaction by their kids when they get older. Those grown children will raise the accusation: "Why did you deform me in this way when I was young and defenseless."
As Ananda Margiis, we should be in the forefront on this issue. We should not sit still or just say it is part of the tradition. We must not carry on the tribal and religious dogma of circumcision - neither with women nor with men. We are to live up to our ideals and uphold the spirit and teaching of point #2 of Sixteen Points by not allowing or encouraging circumcision and instead educating one and all - persons inside and outside the Marga - that the foreskin is to be pulled back. That is the most natural and most hygienic way.
Baba says, "All dogma must be rooted out. You should start a revolution against dogma. But to start a revolution you need courage. So gather that courage and start a revolution against dogma." (PNS-16) Baba says, "Those people who are society’s exceptions are extraordinary people. Keeping our ideology fixed before our eyes, we must also become exceptional people. For those people who are treading a new path, who are constructing something new, exception is as valuable as their very lives." (AV-8) Namaskar, Mirabai
Some margiis, who were circumcised in their youth, may be concerned that their sadhana will be affected because did something against 16 points. My humble advice is that it is not their fault and they should not be concerned about such ramifications. Just we should be clear not to repeat such events in the future with the younger generation. Just as Baba did not blame newly initiated margiis for eating meat prior to entering the Marga, similarly there is not sin or blame attached to those who were circumcised before coming in contact with the Marga. None should be concerned in this way. Those who got circumcised before entering the Marga - and now know better - will not be blamed or penalised. Rather by sincerely following 16 Points, they will reach their ultimate Goal.

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