The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who lived to be 92 and spent much of his life in the aristocratic splendour of Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, famously opined that the life of primitive man was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. Jacques Rousseau, on the other hand, in direct contradiction to Christian theology, was convinced that man had been born good, and that primitive man was indeed the “noble savage”.
Rolf de Heer, a maker of small, quirky and interesting films (“Bad Boy Bubby”, “The Old Man Who Read Love Stories”, “The Tracker”), probably doesn’t subscribe to either notion. In this exquisitely photographed tale from the mythical past he lets the Aborigines of the Arafura wetlands, Arnhem Land, tell their own story. Apart from David Gulpilil, who provides a gentle, teasing voice-over, and his son Jamie, all the parts are played by non-professional actors from the district. Apart from the voice-over, all the dialogue is in the local Aboriginal language (don’t worry, there are sub-titles).
While on a goose egg hunting trip, Older Brother, who has noticed his younger brother’s interest in one of his wives, tells Younger Brother a story from a much earlier time, of another younger brother who yearned after his older brother’s wife. Without giving the story away, the moral is “be careful about what you wish for, you might get it”, but much happens in between. It becomes evident that these “savages”, as well as possessing a robust sense of humour, have a legal system that minimises the damage done by crimes. It seems that neighbouring tribes, whose language our tribe scarcely understands, will play by the same rules. Once honour is satisfied, the matter is at an end. The story gives us an insight as to how Aboriginal society remained stable for so long prior to contact with Europeans.
It is hard to comment on the acting, other than to say the characters seem completely authentic. The tribe’s sorcerer, for instance, likes to choose a bone to wear in his nose to suit his mood or the occasion, just as your local GP might like to select a bow tie before opening his surgery. But I have to mention Crusoe Kusddal as Ridjimiraril, the older brother in the myth. His language means little to us, but his expression everything.
The scenes on the goose-hunt, which book-end the main story, are in black and white, a tribute to earlier photographers in Arnhem Land, but most of the film is in colour, which does full justice to the landscape. This is no Garden of Eden and the necessity to build tree platforms while camping in the swamp is evidence of that (though we see no actual crocodiles). Yet the Aborigines manage to live within the environment without despoiling it or each other. Theirs is a patriarchal society but women are protected by the rules as well as by their menfolk. The movie is a fascinating glimpse into the culture, told in a disarmingly humorous fashion, by the people themselves. One should not be too misty-eyed about this since the cast probably watch “The Simpsons” via satellite at home, but they have given us both a droll tale and some food for thought.[Australia, 2006]
Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia
It is now widely acknowledged that our life and what happens to us on the outside, in our relationships, at work, at home, depends on the state of our being on the inside, that is, how we think and feel and how we act, whether it be with kindness, selfishness, anger or compassion. This is because all human beings have inside them a “subtle system”, which is a blueprint that incorporates all the ways we should conduct ourselves in our lives. Our lives on the outside are a reflection of the condition of this subtle system. If we live in accordance with this blueprint and are able to balance our subtle system, then our lives will be happier, healthier and more productive.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who founded Sahaja Yoga in 1970, has given many public lectures about this subtle system and how it works. The subtle system consists of seven chakras, three channels and the residual life force, which is a dormant energy called the Kundalini which resides in the sacrum bone at the bottom of the spine.
Each of the seven chakras has certain qualities which manifest in our lives when the chakras are clear. For example, if our heart chakra is clear we will show the traits of courage and compassion in our lives. If there is a blockage in a chakra, it manifests in our lives. For example, a blockage in the Nabhi chakra may lead to us having problems with money. When the Nabhi chakra is cleared either the financial difficulties will disappear or we just won’t be worried about them any more and we will find a way to manage.
The three channels need to be in balance. When the left side and the right side are balanced we can operate in the central channel, which is the present. In order to be in the present, we need to achieve our Self-realisation, which occurs when the Kundalini rises up the central channel, through the limbic area in the brain and out of the fontanelle bone area at the top of the head to unite with the All-pervading Power of the universe.
When this happens, we become connected to the universal, Divine power that created us. We become more knowledgeable about ourselves and are able to know the state of our subtle system, our chakras and channels. As we begin to meditate and strengthen this connection after attaining our Self-realisation, we become “thoughtlessly aware” and our Kundalini flows through our chakras, clearing them. As a consequence we become better people, we automatically act in more constructive ways and all our bad habits drop out. We begin to demonstrate the positive characteristics of the chakras in our behaviour, and the positive qualities of the chakras manifest in our lives.
Recent research has shown that people are happiest when they demonstrate the “virtues” in their lives. It is already well-known that people who are happy have stronger immune systems and are healthier than those who are not. Investigation of over 200 religious and philosophical texts including the Upanishads, the Koran, ancient Greek philosophers and Christian texts has demonstrated that there are six universally accepted traits that are regarded as virtues that are revered in every society. They are wisdom, courage, compassion, judgement, self-discipline and forgiveness. The universality of these traits indicates that they are innate and are part of the blueprint of human beings. The fact that people feel happiest when they express these virtues in their behaviour also indicates that they form an innate part of the human experience.
It is time that we looked inside and looked to our roots, in order to find happiness and fulfillment that will be for our good, and for the good of our family, our town, our country and ultimately for the good of the whole world. As Shri Mataji considers it the birthright of every human being to have their Self-realisation and the knowledge of the subtle system, Sahaja Yoga is always taught free of charge.
Mankind, with all its creativity and discipline,
Cannot create a thing as beautiful as a flower.
How to fashion each perfect part?
The shape, the hue, the texture,
The symmetry, the angularity,
The flamboyance, the staid?
The abundance, the rarity,
The variety, the uniformity?
These are beyond the minds
And imaginations of humankind.
Our dabbled attempts at art
Are nothing compared with
The wondrous palette
Of a simple, domestic garden.
The creative genius of God
Is beyond our comprehension
And evades our clumsy attempts
At portraying the Divine Art.
If you are in a witness state, then what will happen? If you watch any such things that are happening, it will subside. If you are in a witness state … then no accident will take place in your sight. Even if there is an accident, then you can save the person, you can help the person very actively. That’s in a very small scale, but even in a very large scale, you can do it, something wonderful…
There is no fear at all once you learn how to have the state of witnessing. So you become fearless.
There is no fear at all once you learn how to have the state of witnessing because when you are not witnessing, you get disturbed, you get upset, you get excited. You may join also these wrong type of people.
But if you are in a state of witnessing, that itself is a power. And that witnessing state helps you to win over so many difficulties of other people…
This is the best way to bring non-violence. In violent places you go and stand steadily there, facing all the things that are happening and that witness state acts – acts and stops that kind of a violence that is going on.
But the witness state is not a mental state. It is a state of spiritual ascent where you become a witness. The best way to practise the witness state is not to criticise anyone – not to criticise.
Shri Mataji, 1998