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The Experience of Ultimate Truth
After Thoughts, Michael Graham
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AFTER THOUGHTS
By Michael Graham

Till now the world’s five Great Spiritual Traditions; Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam Judaism and Christianity have had an enormous influence on the planetary culture and world thinking within large and discrete geographical regions. As a general example: Christianity in Europe, Islam in the Middle East, and Buddhism in much of South Asia and so on.

That’s changing. Today’s trends indicate that we are headed for one world—inevitably. Some see it as an ominous sign, others think of it favorably. Increasingly, people travel or immigrate to far distant places, cross-cultural influences are growing and cultural boundaries are blurring. Consequently ‘all’ things are becoming available ‘everywhere’ and new spiritual choices abound.

Each of the Five Great Traditions makes a claim for itself. And each claim is at odds with the claim of the other. These sometimes-squabbles have been over Truth—who are we, where have we come from, why are we here, and where are we going and by what means can we know the truth of it all? It’s the story of the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of existence—worldviews. The issue of what is true and what is false was of great significance to the ancients—to prophets, to philosophers, to wise men and sages and so on, even up until fairly modern times.

Then a funny thing happened, with the advent of a modern way of thinking called ‘postmodernism’(20). Up until this time people wrestled with the issues of what was true or accurate, false or flawed; for Truth was considered to be of vital importance in finding a way out of the misery of the human condition. These considerations had implications for both here and in Eternity.

That wrestling accounted for much of the conflict (21) between and within religions: for example, between Islam and Christianity, and Hinduism and Buddhism, there being in the latter case, a serious conflict between the teachings of Shankaracharya, the most famous and influential eighth-century Hindu guru, and the teachings of Gautama Buddha, such that Buddhism was virtually wiped out of India over the next two centuries.

With the coming of postmodernism a curious split has entered people’s thinking. When it comes to checking the accuracy of our bank account, or whether or not Bill has cheated on his wife, Mary, it becomes a serious matter of true or false. In being real, truth matters, and people live their lives in the real, except when they begin to hyper-intellectualize.

Is it not strange then, that when it comes to matters of religious ‘truth’, people become highly relativistic. “All religious paths are valid and true depending on your preference;” “All roads lead to the Rome.” Does it not depend on what plane you get on? “What you and I believe is quite different, but we are both right.” Or as a caricature pointing to the popular ascent of feeling over reason, one may be heard saying or asking, “Two plus two equals four; how do you feel about that?” Does it really matter how one feels about it?

Apart from some elements in the teachings of a couple of eighteenth-century and contemporary Indian gurus, the last time this kind of ‘postmodern’ thinking was influential was in Socrates day, two thousand four hundred years ago. Socrates loved truth and dug deeply to find it. At the time he grappled philosophically with a group called ‘Sophists’ who took truth or its absence as a convenience in order to manipulate for gain.

It is true, that in all these matters of thought, we should not be bound by the linear and logical alone. Our reality can extend beyond that. But is it not odd, that by observing all things knowable in the universe that we can see, everything reacts and functions according to precise physical laws and truths? Even in back of Quantum and Chaos theories, many scientist postulate order and precision. Yet we dismiss the imperatives of this observation when it comes to matters of spiritual significance.

Therefore, who or what has persuaded us, that when it comes to things spiritual, differences don’t matter and virtually anything goes? This style of thought is common among contemporary spiritual seekers. Rightly or wrongly, Gautama Buddha, Shankaracharya and Jesus Christ demonstrated that they would have had no time for such an understanding.

If one is educated in these matters, it is clear, that although all the Five Great Traditions share many teachings and truths in common, at the level of their core declarations, they are not marginally but radically different, and four of them hold very different worldviews.

Though limited by brevity, the information in this booklet offers some information that may be helpful in thinking things through for oneself, and in deciding and acting in matters of spiritual significance.

Sincerely, with respect and with every blessing for your spiritual journey,

- Michael Graham.



We are not alone. There is something out there bigger than ourselves. Where will you go after you die? What do you believe and why do you believe it? What is the point of having a mind if you never change it? Here's a surprisingly unsurprising statistic: Everyone dies sooner or later; there is no escaping it and you will be dead for longer than you are alive. This suggests that eternity might be worth more than a passing thought.

Are you ready for the inevitable? There is no need to be fearful of that inevitable moment, so long as you are prepared and as long as you are not taking comfort in something that sounds nice but is really just positive but wishful thinking. Make your life journey count, consider your eternal destination. Just believing in a lie wont make it truth, no matter how much you want it or how appealing that lie is. It is better to know the truth than to live in the delusion of a lie. No one likes being deceived, but in a world of political correctness, acceptance and anything goes, it is easy to side-step the truth of reality. What REALLY is true?

Can we just make up our own truth and say "well that is true for you, but my truth is something else"? Surely we can't all be right, especially when there are so many contradictory beliefs and top world religions out there.


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Spiritual Quote

‘In the midst of Gurudom there stands a figure. He is active all around the world and commands a following far greater than all the other gurus put together. His devotees claim that he is always present with them personally. He guides, protects and comforts them like a friend and rules over them like a king (Maharaj). They claim that they can communicate with him whenever they wish, wherever they may be. Though living in an invisible transcendental dimension he is literally drawing thousands of devotees each day to himself. At times he meets ‘visibly’ with his devotees, though generally he meets with them spiritually. Yet whenever a person has an encounter with him, he or she is transformed into a new creation.’ -Vishal Mangalwadi
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 “There was a terrific explosion of energy within me, and the degree of the awakening that I had received from Muktananda intensified tenfold. I was flung to the floor and started crawling my way across the meditation room growling like a ferocious lion... I was lifted to my feet with the energy and strength of ten men pulsing through me...” p.36 Read more >

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