Holistic Spiritual Ecology Launched In Nepal

Features Issue 176 Jun, 2016

From birth through death, many Nepali families will experience a leap in ecological and spiritual growth. 

Myriad tribal and urban myths, beliefs, practices, and policies have institutionalized violence and brutality over the past millennia.  From cruelty toward animals and mass-slaughter of humans to destructive pillaging of the planet, human ignorance and greed has created dogma and laws that are bringing the world to self-extinction. In this eleventh hour, Nepal is generating a new way of life in a quiet grassroots reform. The new messengers of peace, called Maatma Marga gurus, are directing this groundswell as part of the 21st century Maitreyan phenomenon.

For more than five weeks continuously, at the mountainous Maitri Dharma Centre in Todhkebari, Badegaun, an intense synergy of solemnity mixed with celebration affected all those present, as over a hundred Maatma Marga gurus gathered from many regions of Nepal for their initial studies and preparation under the Maitri Guru, Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha. (This is the Boy With Divine Powers, subject of the 2006 BBC documentary that brought the world’s attention to Halkhoria in Nepal’s Terai region.)

Originally local lamas, many of the new Maatma Marga gurus had been those originally in careful attendance as the then-young meditating guru was sitting under a pipal tree for his historic meditation, surviving alone in the jungle without food, water, movement, or sleep for six years without interruption, taking on the suffering of all mankind for their liberation. From those early days to this, their yearned for guru’s teachings, and to serve mankind. Now, wearing robes of Maitri blue, brightened with Maatma Marga stripes, they are achieving their greatest life ambition.

The term Maatma (Maa+atma) means ‘Earth’s Soul’, and by extension it may be perceived as ‘Light of the Earth’; marga means path, and theirs is the first spiritual practice of its kind in the world.  Following the Earth-Light path, the newly trained and initiated gurus will disseminate loving compassion of Maitri-bhav, or the Maitreyan way of being. They will have the ability to be gurus to all people.  Having renounced former allegiances to all old paths and practices, they now live in Maitri universal compassion and equality, never to cause the slightest harm, and to love all living beings equally without bias or separation based on cast, gender, nationality, position, ability, or the like. They will teach people to serve the planet, retrieving the binding love of primordial oneness that had once existed before differentiation created schisms. The aim is for people to gain greater ecological awareness, to experience their unique part on Earth, and coexist with all other beings on it, and in it, in symbiotic harmony.

Maatma Marga gurus are the first messengers to spread Maitri dharma in Nepal, and eventually, throughout the countless countries in the world, of which, truth-seekers have already been congregating here. Including both householders and single men, the new gurus serve in towns and villages to perform various functions, abiding strictly by Maitri guidelines: they will not demand exorbitant fees; they will teach people not to eat or sacrifice any living being of the sky, land, or water; nor will they be cutting down trees in acquisitive greed, but sparingly, only as needed. They will do reforestation wherever and whenever possible, planting trees in all devastated areas of this wounded land.  In rituals and ceremonies, the new gurus will abolish wrong, wasteful, or harmful beliefs and practices accumulated over past millennia, whether in mourning or celebration. The aim of their ministry is for this planet, beginning with Nepal, to regain her health and wholeness, and humans, their symbiotic oneness with the world.

For instance, the traditional 49-day mourning period following a funeral will now continue for 75 days, punctuated by praying sessions between 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on certain days. Throughout this period, the bereaved family will conscientiously work for the purity of Maitri-bhav, the Maitreyan ways of being. There will be no consumption of alcohol or tobacco, eating of meat, fish or seafood, nor any shamanistic drum-dancing or soul-snatching.  Instead, energies will be drawn upwards to steep in Maitri compassion for the pure and peaceful passage of the departing soul. Family members pray for the departed’s total liberation from any further rebirths, and to enter the realm of eternal bliss. At the same time, they pray for the liberation of all other living beings in the whole universe. To help a beloved soul in its journey of ascension, family members themselves must attain the greatest purity possible, as any defilement will impede the soul’s journey.  Family, accordingly, will live in watchful purity and compassion, growing ever more in Maitri-bhav. 

On the day of their departure from Guru’s Dharma Centre, they came first of all, more than a hundred strong, to the city of Kathmandu, where well wishers lined the streets, happily shouting Maitri Mangalam and offering khadas, water, and refreshments in welcome. Throughout Nepal, towns and villages have opened doors and hearts to receive their Maatma Marga gurus, proudly celebrating with feasts reflective of the new order. Among the new gurus are former Sangha presidents like Suk Bahadur Tamang of Chitwan district, who just handed over his gavel to a new incoming president, Mansubbha Tamang. In many ways, fundamental change is underway, as families and friends undergo shifts in lifestyle, starting from daily practices. Gone are traditional ingredients of garlic, onions, chives, and turmeric, along with all flesh of hot and cold-blooded animals, and milk and honey.  In clothing, silk will be renounced to protect the silkworms in their cocoons.  Gone are tears of wailing, or crying, genuine or commercially performed, as crying would affect the departing soul negatively, blocking, if not preventing altogether, its progress in ascension.  Mourners learn, instead, to nurture the purity of the heart needed to bless the departing soul with unconditional love, to send it onto higher realms in calm, in peace, and in joy. Now, people will gently accept death with gratitude, as the gateway to the soul’s release from cyclical suffering. Deep calm can now be gained from better understanding of the soul’s eternal journey. Family members will stress love and purity to create the beautiful warm send-off for their beloved relative.

Death will be understood as the important beginning of the soul’s journey to eternal liberation and bliss, and our lifetime on Earth (in human form, or that of any living being, be it elephant or flea) but a tiny blip on the eternal life of the soul. Many Maatma Marga gurus remember their first Maitreyan funeral some years back, and the profound calm that had surrounded the Maitri Guru as he conducted the rites, lit the flames of the pyre, and blessed the departing soul, now headed toward mukti and moksha (final liberation from cycles of rebirths, suffering, and ignorance).  Everyone present had felt drawn inwards, flooded in an ocean of peace and benevolence, as a giant gentle light of blessing descended from the skies, warming the hearts of all those witnessing the uplift as their loved one moved from death into eternal life.  

Marriage become Maitri unions, where couples are joined not only legally and socially, but also spiritually, as they become one single love energy, surpassing the sum total of the two parties combined. Their paths will be unified and empowered, as they gain responsibility for each other, and their lives in Maitri will blaze like a beacon in the community. From birth through death, many Nepali families will experience a leap in ecological and spiritual growth.