Hell-Fire And Damnation


I’ve been meaning to write an article on this subject for some time now. The reason being that the ancient scriptures of all the world’s major religions were written in the language and style of the era, and as such, have been misinterpreted by religious leaders and followers for centuries.  It’s because of this misinterpretation that many people who would otherwise have been interested in finding out more about the religion of their birth, or religion in general, have been put off and avoid anything to do with religion at all costs.  This is exactly what happened to me (but I’m actually glad of that because if religion hadn’t repelled me I would never have discovered my spiritual pathway).  But for the record, I was born “Church of England”, and therefore, having had no experience of any other religions when I was younger, I will be writing this article from the perspective of a “reluctant” Christian.

We didn’t go to church in our family, unless someone got married, although my mother expressed religious beliefs on occasion.  But I say “reluctant” Christian because, whether I liked it or not, I was a Christian by birth.  I was born in a predominantly Christian country, and that was the religion that was taught in school.  In many ways I was lucky to have had a father who wild horses would not have been able to drag into church at any cost, so I was not made to attend Sunday school or anything similar.  The only downside with having a completely non-religious father was that I didn’t have any spiritual guidance at all.  But I wouldn’t change anything because I found my pathway in the end, and I have no doubts whatsoever, that every minute detail fell into place in accordance with the Divine plan.  So, by now you must be wondering where this article is going?  Well, it’s like this, I felt that it would be a good thing to share some of the things that put me off religion, because I’m sure many feel the same way, and also to endeavour to give clarity to some of the misinterpretations.

What I really didn’t like was the use of words such as “sinners”, “repent”, “renounce” (sins), “righteousness”, and having to “burn in Hell” if I didn’t behave myself.  I also took exception (even today but in a nice calm way) to the Christian God who is “angry”, “jealous” and “vengeful” and who will have the audacity to judge me come “judgement day”, even though he seems to be quite immature and spoilt himself, and in no position to judge others.  Because apparently, not loving him in the way he demands to be loved, is the reason he gets angry, vengeful and jealous.  Love with conditions!  How pathetic and egoistic is that?

I feel that the word “sin” has been brutalised over the millennia and is now only a shadow of its former self.  A more accurate word to use would be “imperfection”.  You see, we all have imperfections; this is the reason we incarnate into flesh, in order to work on unresolved issues and karma from previous births, and ultimately get to the point where we don’t have to incarnate any more.  It stands to reason that we are bound to have imperfections, otherwise what would be the point of human birth?  So in the ancient scriptures the word “sin” referred to any action that was not in line with our soul pathway and purpose.  Those religious fundamentalists who say we are all born sinners, actually mean that we are born with certain unresolved issues that we need to work on and ultimately overcome.  They have simply not understood their own scriptures properly.

Next I’d like to deal with the word “repent”.  This is actually an easy one.  Originally, repenting meant “to follow an inner pathway that would lead to Self-realization; thus giving up the delusion that the bliss we all crave could be found outside of ourselves.”  If we didn’t repent (look to the God within, instead of following the cravings of our desires in the “world”), and if we didn’t stop sinning (engaging in acts not in line with our soul purpose), then we would remain chained to the cycle of birth and death.  Jesus said “the kingdom of Heaven is within you”, and he wasn’t joking.  So, in a nutshell, when we repent we seek the Heaven within, and give up the sin, which keeps us tied us to the “Hell” of continued human birth.  The true meaning of “Hell” is to be the constant slave of the mind that plays its tricks and causes us to stress and worry over nothing.  This state is only consistent with life on Earth, therefore by realizing the “Self” within, we free ourselves from the constant treadmill of birth and death.

To “renounce” sin is simply to cease from engaging in actions not conducive to our spiritual pathway, and “righteousness” simply means to engage in “right activity”; positive activity that is in line with our soul purpose, for example, being of selfless service to others.  I much prefer the Sanskrit word “dharma”, which means “right action”.  I believe that the confusion arises because the ancient scriptures are very symbolic in meaning and go much deeper than the surface, and over the course of time, religious leaders and followers have tended to take words such as “sin” and “repent” at surface value; hence we end up with hell-fire and damnation.

Of course another huge problem is that people tend to follow religion as a matter of blind faith; having a series of beliefs, held mainly through fear, and never realising these beliefs as truth by their own life experiences.  When people live their lives in accordance with their fears, instead of following the loving light that guides them from within, it can ultimately only lead to misery.  I believe a simple way of knowing if a particular religion or way of living is right for you is to give it the heart test.  If it conjures up a lovely feeling inside of you then it is right for you.  If makes you fear or feel uncomfortable then it isn’t.

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A True Story


For some reason I was reminded today of a true story that demonstrates just how God really does answer our prayers.  Unfortunately, we humans seem to have fixations on exactly how we expect our prayers to be answered, and because of this we quite often miss God’s reply.

The story concerns a man who was in need of a new car.  He was not in a position financially to buy one, so he sent up prayers to God explaining his predicament and asking for his needs to be met.  Around two weeks later he received a phone call from an aunt who explained that she was buying a new car.  She further explained that she no longer had any need for the car she currently owned, therefore he could have it as a gift.  The man’s response was “oh no, I couldn’t possibly accept your car as a gift”, so the aunt duly disposed of the surplus vehicle by other means.  Six months later the man is shaking his fists to the heavens because God has failed to answer his prayer….. I ask you ….. some people!

As a footnote to this tale, have you ever wondered why God is referred to as “God The Father” and why we always turn to him when we want something?  Well, cast your mind back to when you were a child and you wanted something fixing.  Who did you ask?  Why good old dad of course, and that’s why God is called God the Father; because G-O-D stands for Good Old Dad.

The true story also reminded me of another story.  An untrue story this time, but nonetheless a story that demonstrates the same lessons.  A very pious man lived in a town that was hit by serious flooding.  The Emergency Services were in the process of evacuating the area, and on calling at the man’s house were told “it’s ok, God will save me”.  The floods worsened and the streets became rivers.  Some rescue workers came by in a boat and told the man to get in, to which he replied “it’s ok, God will save me”.  The floods got even worse and the water levels rose to the extent that the man had to climb up on the roof.  At this point the Emergency Services sent a helicopter to rescue him.  But he shouted up “it’s ok, God will save me!”  He drowned!

He arrived at the pearly gates and knocked.  When St Peter opened the gates the man gave him a real earful, complaining that he’d always been a good servant of the Lord so why did God let him die.  St Peter said “you were sent a boat and a helicopter, what more did you want?”

The moral of these stories is that everything we receive is a gift from God.  It doesn’t matter who or what the source may be.  The source is simply the method chosen by God to act as a channel for the gift.  Gifts can also be translated as opportunities and we should always grasp them with both hands instead of allowing ourselves to be blinded by our own logic.

Rockin With Swami

Sometimes God Needs Coaxing


The Omnipresent ever-loving God does actually answer every single prayer, although it may not be apparent.  Thankfully many prayers that go up are answered with a resounding “no”!  What then is a prayer?  A prayer is a series of thoughts that go out to God in the hope that some kind of result will ensue.  Some prayers take the form of a shopping list; sent up as a last resort with the emphasis on “me”.  This is generally when God pops up as a kind of afterthought when all else has failed, and these are the prayers that usually get the big “no”!

What many don’t realise is that God has to be moved (coaxed) and this happens according to the sincerity of the one engaged in prayer.  You see we forget that literally everything is God and God permeates every single cell of matter in this dimension, and indeed semi-matter and light in the dimensions beyond.  We already know that our thoughts are creative, everything is driven by thoughts,  and this is the same when it comes to prayer.  Prayer is communion with God and when we pray from the heart with deep sincerity, not giving a thought for ourselves, then the Omnipresent God is moved into action; things happen.  Insincere payers are like blind faith; completely useless.

The secret of successful prayer is to detach from the outcome.  If you think about this it’s more than logical.  When someone complains that God has not answered their prayers, it implies that they were expecting some kind of reward and therefore the prayer was not entirely selfless.  To detach is to place everything in the hands of God knowing that he will act in accordance with the Divine plan and our highest good and not necessarily in the way we expect.

Now if you’ll just excuse me I’ve got to pray for my Christmas wish list.

God Goes Home


Easter Sunday 24 April 2011 started off as a normal day.  I was in no hurry to get out of bed, eventually doing so at around 09:20. Whilst having my first cup of tea of the day I went about my morning routine of going online and posting my thought for the day on Facebook and checking other online stuff. I went into one of my email addresses and there was one solitary email, from my friend V in South Africa. It was very short and to the point; it said quite simply “Swami has left”. I was quite numb at first. My beloved Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba had left his physical body. There had been signs for some time that Baba was getting ready to go, and in recent weeks it became increasingly apparent that devotees were going to have to accept that this was the case.  It was still hard to believe though; you don’t expect Swami to go, simply because he has always been there.  For a number of hours I cried intermittently; not out of grief, for I know there is no such thing as death, but for the sheer love of Baba and the realisation that he gave so much to us, yet took nothing for himself. His love was, and still is, boundless and I am truly blessed to have been touched by Baba’s love on many, many occasions.

I count my blessings that I received the call to go to Baba’s ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam (abode of the highest peace), on two occasions in the 18 months preceding his physical departure.  It was during my second visit in February 2010 that I got my first hint that “Divine Mother Sai” may be preparing to leave.  I was chatting to an American guy who had an apartment in Puttaparthi, where the ashram is situated. He was saying how Swami’s physical health had been going rapidly downhill and that he had made an unprecedented gesture.  Baba had made an announcement formally inviting devotees from all over the world to attend the ashram during 2010, on a pilgrimage basis.  My friend told me that this had never been done before in all the years that Baba had been resident at Prasanthi (since the 1940’s).  My friend went on to say that he felt Baba was getting ready to leave his body and this was his parting gesture of love to devotees worldwide.  Because of the sheer volume of people the pilgrimage was organised with the utmost precision and only so many countries at a time could attend, for periods of ten days only.  Of course, this only applied to the organised pilgrimages; anyone can go to Prasanthi as long as they receive the inner calling  “not even 20,000 horses can bring you here if you are not called”  Baba

At the time I remember thinking that this was not to be taken seriously, and I politely humoured my American friend.  Little did I know how right he was.  Now as I sit here and muse about this strange day it hasn’t quite sunk in that Sri Sathya Sai Baba has left his physical body.  Probably because I’ve had so many inner experiences with Baba…… and a physical body has never been essential to our relationship in the past…. so why should it be now?  He always touched me with his love across time and space; so often my eyes welled up with tears of joy as he enveloped me in his loving light.  On one occasion he even blessed me with an astral experience by lifting me from my physical body and carrying me off into the ether.

I suppose that, at some stage, even God has to go home…..but I don’t expect it to change my relationship with him.

Jai Sai Ram