The Path and the Ways

Kees Boukema

Many people follow a spiritual path in their lives. They think this path is the best way for them.

Some believe that their path is actually the best way for everyone. And there are those who are convinced that their path is the only right way.

The Dutch philosopher and mystic Prof. Otto Duintjer (1932 – 2020) once wrote to a former student about such religious ‘exclusivity pretensions: “If you are on the right religious path, then devote yourself completely to that path. It becomes questionable when this religion is presented to others as ‘the only true’ path. A received gift [a historical revelation] is then [out of gratitude and enthusiasm for that gift] not distinguished from the ‘Giver’ of that gift. In a religious revelation the transcendent reality [infinite, all-encompassing and inexhaustible] reveals itself as intrinsically more than any revelation, in which we and all ‘finite-present’ inevitably find themselves. Hearing it like that, you tend to think, “That encompassing one was only there then and there and nowhere else and now only with us who have kept the notes.”

Prof Otto Duintjer

Because and insofar as a “religion” is reminiscent of that “all-human-transcending” Reality, it is quite “to the point” to bring it up when it comes to what unites people, regardless of their individual and group differences. In other words, because we are all children of God anyway, we are brothers and sisters among ourselves, and everyone is “his brother’s keeper.”

In my opinion, the latter is not a license to force your ideas on others or for paternalism, because the step towards a totalitarian society with an inquisition and punishments for apostasy is then made quickly. ”

Duintjer knew The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and he considered Ramakrishna a reliable guide. In ‘The Gospel’ the author (Mahendranath Gupta) reports the conversations that Sri  Ramakrishna in the years 1882-1886 conducted in his presence with pupils, followers and visitors. Ramakrishna was a Hindu, but his mystical experiences transcended the doctrines of Hinduism.

For Ramakrishna, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism were also ways to God. Some quotes:

“I had to practice each religion for a time: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas. Vaishnavas and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are traveling, but the paths are different. ”

I have practiced the disciplines of all the paths, each for a few days. Otherwise I should have found no peace of mind. (….) Therefore people of all sects come here. And every one of them thinks that I belong to his school. ”. (….)

“Keshab Sen, Shashadhar and Vijay say that I belong to their path.”

A devotee: “A new sect has been started.”

Master: “There are different views. All these views are so many paths to reach the same goal. But everyone believes that his view alone is right, that his watch alone keeps the correct time. ”

Following disputes between the Vaishnavas and Saktas: “Each sect magnifies its own view” And: “What difference does it make? God is infinite, and infinite are the ways to reach Him. ”

A devotee: “Then what is the way for us?”

Master: “You should stick to one path with all your strength. (…) But you must regard other views as so many paths leading to God. You should not feel that your path is the only right path and that the other paths are wrong. You mustn’t bear malice to others. ”

“I keep men’s own ideals intact. I ask a Vaishnava to hold to his Vaishnava attitude and a Sakta to his.

But this also I say to them: ‘Never feel that your path alone is right and that the path of others are wrong and full of errors.’ Hindus, Muslims and Christians are going to the same destination by different paths. a man can realize God following his own path if his prayer is sincere. ”

To investigate, to find and to declare that truth, that was Sri Ramakrishna’s mission.

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De Weg en de Wegen

Kees Boukema

 

Veel mensen volgen in hun leven een spiritueel pad. Zij denken dat dit pad voor hen de beste weg is.

Sommigen menen, dat hun pad eigenlijk voor iedereen de beste weg is. En er zijn lieden die ervan overtuigd zijn, dat hun pad de enig júiste weg is.

De Nederlandse filosoof en mysticus prof. dr. Otto Duintjer (1932 – 2020) schreef eens aan een oud-student over dergelijke religieuze ‘exclusiviteits-pretenties’:

“Als je op de goede religieuze weg bent, wijd je dan helemaal aan dát pad. Het wordt bedenkelijk als deze religie aan anderen wordt voorgehouden als ‘enig ware’. Een ontvangen cadeau [een historische openbaring] wordt dan [uit dankbaarheid en enthousiasme voor dat cadeau] niet onderscheiden van de ‘Gever’ van dat cadeau. Bij een religieuze openbaring openbaart zich de transcendente werkelijkheid [oneindig, alomvattend en onuitputtelijk] als intrinsiek méér dan welke openbaring dan ook, waarin wij en alle ‘eindig-heden’ zich onontkoombaar bevinden. Zo gehoord, besterft je de neiging te menen: ‘Dat omvattende was er alleen toen en daar en nergens anders en nu alleen bij ons die de aantekeningen ervan bewaard hebben.’

 

Omdat en voor zover een ‘religie’ aan die ‘alle-mensen-transcenderende’ Werkelijkheid herinnert, is het volstrekt ‘to the point’ om die ter sprake te brengen als het gaat om wat mensen verbindt, ongeacht hun individuele en groepsgewijze verscheidenheden. Met andere woorden: Omdat wij allemaal hoe dan ook kinderen van God zijn, zijn we onderling broeders en zusters, en is iedereen ‘zijns broeders hoeder’.

Dat laatste is m.i. geen vrijbrief om anderen jouw ideeën op te dringen of voor bevoogding en paternalisme, want de stap naar een totalitaire samenleving met een inquisitie en straffen voor geloofsafval is dan snel gemaakt.”

Duintjer kende “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” en hij beschouwde Ramakrishna als een betrouwbare gids. In ‘The Gospel’ doet de auteur (Mahendranath Gupta) verslag van de gesprekken die Sri

Ramakrishna in de jaren 1882 -1886 in zijn bijzijn voerde met leerlingen, volgelingen en bezoekers. Ramakrishna was een hindoe, maar zijn mystieke ervaringen overstegen de doctrines van het hindoeïsme.

Voor Ramakrishna waren het christendom, de islam en het boeddhisme eveneens wegen naar God. Enige citaten:

“I had to practise each religion for a time: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas. Vaishnavas and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling, but the paths are different.”

”I have practised the disciplines of all the paths, each for a few days. Otherwise I should have found no peace of mind. (….) Therefore people of all sects come here. And every one of them thinks that I belong

to his school.”. (….) “Keshab Sen, Shashadhar en Vijay say that I belong to their path.”

A devotee: “A new sect has been started.”

Master: “There are different views. All these views are so many paths to reach the same goal. But everyone believes that his view alone is right, that his watch alone keeps the correct time.”

Naar aanleiding van twisten tussen de Vaishnava’s en Sakta’s: “Each sect magnifies its own view” En: “What difference does it make? God is infinite, and infinite are the ways to reach Him.”

A devotee:”Then what is the way for us?”

Master: “You should stick to one path with all your strength. (…) But you must regard other views as so many paths leading to God. You should not feel that your path is the only right path and that the other paths are wrong. You mustn’t bear malice to others.”

“I keep men’s own ideals intact. I ask a Vaishnava to hold to his Vaishnava attitude and a Sakta to his.

But this also I say to them: ‘Never feel that your path alone is right and that the path of others are wrong and full of errors.’ Hindus, Muslims and Christians are going to the same destination by different paths. A

man can realize God following his own path if his prayer is sincere.”

Dat onderzoeken, die waarheid vinden en bekendmaken, dat was de missie van Sri Ramakrishna.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kees Boukema has been a student of Vedanta and other philosophical systems for decades. He has contributed variously to the field of higher thinking. He has written numerous articles on philosophical subjects, reviewed books, and has translated important articles and books. Mr Kees Boukema’s most recent work is the translation into Dutch of the book The Practice of Meditation.

Kees Boukema is sinds decennia student van Vedanta en andere filosofische systemen. Hij heeft divers bijgedragen aan het veld van hoger denken. Hij heeft belangrijke artikelen en boeken geschreven en vertaald. Het nieuwste boek van Dhr Kees Boukema is, De Beoefening van Meditatie.