August 28, 2016, Prescott- I attended a couple of spiritual gatherings, this weekend. Last night, several faith leaders and community activists gathered at Scottsdale Baha’i Center. The purpose was a delayed Race Unity Day. The weather has cooled, just a tad, from June’s more extreme temperatures, thus making a late August version of “Juneteenth” more palatable to many.
The array of speakers was far more concerned with solving the ongoing problem of race relations, than in any semblance of showmanship or exclusive claim to truth. The gathering of about 100 people were able to engage in well-balanced discourse, without resorting to recrimination.
This evening, I joined a much smaller group, at an observance of Janmashtami,(Krishna’s Birthday), one of the key Hindu religious observances. It had been 32 years since I last attended any kind of Hindu gathering. Prescott’s small community is made up of white Americans- an anomaly, with the South Asian community here seeming to be mainly Christian and Muslim. They are no less fervent, though, than the multitudes of India and Nepal.
The swami, who hails from Sedona, is, like me, a child of the 1960’s. His inspiration to become Hindu came from the Beatles and others who flocked to the feet of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I must say, he has done a fair amount of homework on the body of Hindu Scripture. Anyone who can cite the data of the created Universe that is listed in such detail ,as it is in the Bhagavad Gita, is worthy of profound respect.
There is, though, a common thread woven through all the religious traditions, from time immemorial. Each does build on those before it, as Man becomes more conscious of, and in tune with, his unique station on this Earthly plane. Truth, to me, did not stop with Hinduism, Christianity or Islam. It has not stopped with the Baha’i Faith. There will be other Spiritual Teachers, Avatars, Buddhas or whichever name one sees fit to apply to a Divine Messenger, and They will come when mankind needs them.
Truth, though, remains One- and none can claim a corner on its entirety. I was gratified to see that the swami and his community has sensed this, and dispelled some misgivings I was about to have, about their faith and its possible trend towards fundamentalism. I will be able to maintain the same dialogue with the Hindu community that I am still working to establish with devout Christians.
It was a fine, useful weekend.