This is from a shy, non-detacheable member of Shakti Sadhana[SS] group. He would like to ask :
"About SS -e group, you display a child and wrote there devi is everywhere. Nice but the gal is sufferening. So, what message you want to bring. I dont understand is the devi saved the gal or devi caused this gal to suffer or she suffer cause of her own"
Realising that devi is everywhere we abstain from causing harm to others, as well as to ourselves, our true nature is devi since this consciousness is not localized no matter who is harmend or who is causing harm, it is we who suffer. Realising this is the end of violence. The Buddha said that the cause of all suffering is Ignorance, realising that devi is everywhere (our consciousness is not localized) is knowledge, and this is the antidote for suffering.
I agree the picture is not nice. It seems to say that if Devi is everywhere, then suffering too is everywhere. But this is how the world really is. What the picture meant to me was, when I have doubts, fears, pain (but not at all as extreme as the girl's pain and fears!), it is because Devi is there with me, the doubts and fears and pain are Devi herself, and just remembering this knowledge brings me up from there into a moment of realization and adoration. If I could keep that moment for all time, where would be the pain and fear?
Many thanks to Nora for posting the anonymous question and to ksnwcz and mahahradanatha contributing for their thoughtful comments on the meaning behind the Photo of the Week portraying the little girl who was injured in the terrorist attacks on Varanasi earlier this week.
Since it was I who posted the pic, I guess the least I can do is add my two cents on my thought process in doing so:
You see, my real problem is with the people who blow things up, destroy things, kill living creatures in order to win attention for their cause or to make a political or social point.
However right or wrong their cause may be, at this point it no longer matters: These people have completely lost their way -- they have allowed their ideology (i.e., their various theories about what life is and/or should be) to trump life itself. Their love for their own particular ideas about and perceptions of the world has eclipsed their ability to love the world as it is. These people can no longer see what actually is; they can see only what they have decided to see. And that is the darkest depth of Maya.
That is not a partisan statement either: I refer as much to George W Bush's assault on Iraq as to Bin Laden's assault on the WTC and Pentagon. I refer equally to the Israeli soldier who unnecessarily kills a rock-throwing Palestinian child, as to the Palestinean suicide bomber who walks into a disco full of Israeli teenagers.
And thus we come to the little girl in the photo. She is too young to have formed any social or political ideas. Such things are irrelevant in her reality. She -- like any child her age -- simply is. And for no particular reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, she got hurt by the ideologist's bomb blast.
The next day, like clockwork, of course the outraged Hindu fundies came out waving saffron flags and shouting for revenge against the Muslims, while elsewhere the righteously infuriated Muslim fundies celebrated the Hindus getting their come-uppance.
But let us always keep in mind -- as Kochu pointed out here a few months ago -- that there is no person on earth who is less "spiritual" than a fundamentalist of any faith.
The truly spiritual people are the ones who are cleaning up the messes the ideological fundies leave behind. They are the ones working in the hospitals, extracting shrapnel from soft tissue, sewing and repairing damaged human meat; they are the counselors, psychologically aiding children who lost parents, parents who lost children, wives who lost husbands, husbands who lost wives, passers- by who lost legs and eyes -- all to help the ideologists make their point.
Yes; as pointed out in the New York Times article I posted yesterday, the truly spiritual are the ones praying in the temples and mosques and churches while their fundamentalist brethren are out "protesting" for the TV cameras in the street.
And that's why I posted the picture. Because regardless of the ideological "meaning" of the bombs, this little girl is the reality of their impact. Whatever motivation or cause the ideologists may claim, this girl is the undeniable effect. All theories and justifications aside, she is the unalloyed Truth of the act. So let her image stand on our splash page for a while as a silent witness to Truth.
A long time ago, someone told me the story of a very serious sadhak who was sitting at a shrine, trying to win a vision of Devi. He was very deeply involved in this great ritual, carefully keeping track to ensure he did the proper amount of japa on the proper mantras, that he made all the right offerings of the right items in the right order. But he kept getting bothering by some old stray dog who was nosing about, disturbing him. Again and again, he slapped the dog away, finally chasing it off with a stick so that he could return to the serious work of seeking his vision of Devi.
And when finally She appeared to him, She too was beaten about the face and marked with angry welts from the sticks. Every blow to the dog's body was a blow to Devi. Any violence done to our fellow souls in this world is violence done to Devi. Long-time visitors to this group know that we post a lot of happy, joyful, beautiful photos over this caption, "Devi is Everywhere!" Because She is everywhere. And this young girl is there to show us, if only we dare to look, exactly what we do to Devi when we place our ideology above the reality of living, breathing souls.
Thank you for indulging me on this point.