LET US MOVE TOGETHERTALK BY RAVI LOGAN | MARCH 2019
One of the harsher places to live is in the vast steppes of south-central Russia. The winters are long, and the frigid winds blow across the open ground. Very harsh conditions exist, and there, amidst those conditions, a culture arose many thousands of years ago that we know now as the Vedic culture. And perhaps due to the harshness of conditions, these people became a warrior race. They became interested in expansion. It was hard to support large populations in this area, and these people moved out in waves. They moved out into south-eastern Europe, into central and northern Europe. They moved down into Persia, eventually Iran, and north-west and northern India, where they came to have a big impact on the culture of India.
What is, perhaps, the most valuable part of this culture was, like many ancient cultures, they had a system of teachers that gave guidance. They were called rishis. More or less, every tribe had a rishi. And part of the system was that the rishis gave venerable teachings which were memorized and passed on. Eventually there came to be a large body of them [three compilations] that were compiled and became known as the Vedas. The first of these Vedas, the Rg Veda, was composed of teachings that were given while these people were still living in Russia, before they expanded to Persia and then Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the end of the very last hymn, in this compilation called the Rg Veda, is the hymn that we sing at the beginning of our group meditation (Dharmachakra).
In its rough English translation that we say before we sing it, [we find] a lot of substance.
“Let us move together
Let us sing together
Let us come to know our minds together
Let us share like sages of the past
That all people together
May enjoy the world/universe
Unite our intention
Let our hearts be inseparable.
Our mind is as one mind
As we to truly know one another
This was an aspirational hymn given to end the Rg Veda. The Vedic people, as a whole, were far from saintly. They conquered many lands as they moved into south Asia and strengthened a caste system, and they were racist in their attitudes toward the indigenous people. [The mentality that] they were superior people was there, and they were also one of the earlier cultures to establish patriarchy. As per some anthropological research, it is felt that there was not patriarchy yet in much of Europe when these kurgan people from the steppes moved westward into Europe. They were flawed people, they brought racism with them, patriarchy, systems of oppression that have had enduring impacts on the world, but they also brought a certain amount of wisdom, and strength and traditions of wisdom that may continue to exist in the places they conquered.
They left behind this aspirational hymn, “let us move together, let us sing together, let us come to know our minds together…” It is an aspirational hymn that the rishis, at that time, left for these people, and it is an aspirational hymn that I think is still fitting for our times. They lived in harsh conditions that required them to move together, to celebrate life together, to meld their minds so they could survive together. They had an ethic of sharing, that the whole tribe could continue to exist. We, in some ways, live in comfortable conditions in our present world, but we face growing threats. Threats that may not be so visible. The water that we drink is increasingly scarce and contaminated. The air we breathe is not so pure. The life of the planet is disappearing under certain pressures. The climate is not so stable, and we are running out of certain precious resources that all of humanity needs. The security of family and society is diminishing, and people feel a growing sense of unease, of threat, and the need to pull together.
In the last few weeks I have stood in circles with others, as many as you have. Somehow I feel, or maybe it’s my imagination, that people hold on a little tighter these days when they are in a circle, or when they hug. [It feels] a little more heartfelt. There is a feeling that we must cling together, that we have to stay together [and] build our common existence [where] we take better care of each other. It’s happening, and we feel it here. We know that it’s going on. Some of you are involved in this in other circles of Eugene, and in many other places around the world. There are those who say, and I’m one of them, that there is a feeling as if the life force of the earth is supporting this. This great aspiration of the rishis of the ancient Vedic culture has come around to be in the forefront of what we need to be dialoguing about if we are to bridge our human existence into the future. Not just to be able to bridge into a future in which we survive together, but, as the hymn states, to “unite our intentions. let our hearts be inseparable. our mind is as one mind, as we, to truly know one another, become One.” “One” with a big capital “O.” “One” as in a deep merging into the very source of existence, a deep merging into that place where this lies.
Come together with our community this summer, for the first time in person in well over a year! We will move and sing together during this summer retreat. We’ll celebrate and learn from each other and cherish the community we have.
Ravi Logan is the Director of the PROUT Institute, and the Director of Transformation Education, the training and education department of Ananda Seva. He is the principal author of PROUT: A New Paradigm of Development. His new books are A New Interpretation of Revolution and Transition to a New Era. He is also the co-founder and program director of Dharmalaya, which has as its mission, “to promote dharma holistically in personal, social and ecological spheres of life.”
Ravi has dedicated his life for the past 50 years to the project of the liberation of human beings and society. Ravi has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1972, and shared the yogic teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti in Jamaica in 1974. In 1996 Ravi became a family acharya in Ananda Seva and has been involved with the organization since its inception, volunteering as publications secretary, retreat organizer, and developing training manuals for the mediation teacher training. His latest publication in that capacity is the Ananda Sutram Primer, an accessible format for understanding the philosophy of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti.
This article was transcribed from a talk by Ravi Logan given in March 2019. Transcription by Rene Tricou, editing by Michele Renee.
The transcription may vary slightly from the original recording as it was edited to improve readability.
The featured image was found at http://swamiindology.blogspot.com/ and the image for our retreat was made by Asha Logan.
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