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Reflections Download PDF Catalogue Between the years and , the late Gai Eaton gave a series of talks on BBC Radio about Islam and its role in . Reflections book. Read 6 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. From to , the late Gai Eaton gave a series of talks on BBC Radi. Read saving Remembering God: Reflections on Islam Charles Le Gai Eaton. · Rating details These are to name a few of the things touched by Gai Eaton in his book. Don't let the .. Download app for iOS Download app for Android.

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Reflections [Gai Eaton] on Reflections Paperback – January 1, by . Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App. Results 1 - 27 of 27 Search result for Gai Eaton: Der Islam und die Bestimmung des Free Downloads Gai Eaton Books. Showing 1 to 27 of 27 Reflections. Islam & the Destiny of Man is a wide-ranging study of the religion of Islam from a unique point of view. The author was brought up as an agnostic and embraced Islam at an early age after writing a book (commissioned by T. S. Charles Le Gai Eaton was born in Switzerland and educated.

Eighty-six of these talks--variously titled 'Reflections', 'Words of Faith' and 'Pause for Thought'--are published here for the first time as Reflections. Together these talks provide a beautifully clear and accessible introduction to the central tenets, principles and practices at the heart of Islam and, as such, are not only a unique guide for non-Muslims, but also an inspiring reminder to Muslims of the essence of their faith. Connecting everything that Eaton discusses in Reflections are the two principles of the Oneness of God Tawhid and the Viceregency of man khilafah. Therefore, whether discussing the five pillars of Islam or the sufi concepts of fear makhafah , love mahabbah and knowledge ma'rifah or the idea of a 'just war', or environmental changes, Gai Eaton reminds us that nothing is independent of the One who is Truth, Mercy and Beauty and that we, who are the Viceregents of the Truth, must--if we are to do justice to the potential within us--undertake the human struggle, the inner jihad, to convert our divided souls into unified, harmonious, balanced souls; souls not motivated by selfishness, self-regard and self-righteousness, but souls in a state of peace, illumined by the permanent consciousness of the Divine. While always expresses himself as a Muslim, Gai Eaton's voice, with all its wisdom, its humanity and its humour, speaks not only to Muslims but to all those interested in a spiritual approach to life.

When historians look back on our century, they may remember it most, not for space travel or the release of nuclear energy, but as the time when the peoples of the world first came to take one another seriously. The change that this new situation requires of us all—we who have been suddenly catapulted from town and country onto a world stage—is staggering.

We have come to the point in history when anyone who is only Japanese or American, only Oriental or Occidental, is only half human. The other half that beats with the pulse of all humanity has yet to be born.

To borrow an image from Nietzsche, we have all been summoned to become Cosmic Dancers who do not rest heavily on a single spot but lightly turn and leap from one position to another. As World Citizen, the Cosmic Dancer will be an authentic child of its parent culture, while closely related to all.

For is the dancer not also human? If only she might see what has interested others, might it not interest her as well? It is an exciting prospect.

The softening of divisions will induce borrowings that sometimes produce hybrids, but for the most part simply enrich species and sustain their vigor. The motives that impel us toward world understanding are varied. Obviously, because those officers might some day have to deal with those peoples as allies or antagonists.

This is one reason for coming to know them. It may be a necessary reason, but one hopes that there are others. Even the goal of avoiding military engagement through diplomacy is provisional because instrumental.

The final reason for understanding another is intrinsic—to enjoy the wider angle the vision affords. I am, of course, speaking metaphorically of vision and view, but an analogue from ocular sight fits perfectly. The rewards of having two eyes are practical; they keep us from bumping into chairs and enable us to judge the speed of approaching cars.

But the final reward is the deepened view of the world itself—the panoramas that unroll before us, the vistas that extend from our feet. They enable corporations to do business with China, and diplomats to stumble less often. But the greatest gains need no tally. To glimpse what belonging means to the Japanese; to sense with a Burmese grandmother what passes in life and what endures; to understand how Hindus can regard their personalities as masks that overlay the Infinite within; to crack the paradox of a Zen monk who assures you that everything is holy but scrupulously refrains from certain acts—to swing such things into view is to add dimensions to the glance of spirit.

It is to have another world to live in. The only thing that is good without qualification is not as Kant argued the good will, for a will can mean well in cramped quarters. Which distinction—between religion alive and dead—brings us to the second constructive intent of this book.

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It is a book that takes religion seriously. It is not a tourist guide. The great religions house such material, but to focus on it is the crudest kind of vulgarization. There are subtler ways to belittle religion. One of these is to acknowledge its importance, but for other people—people of the past, people of other cultures, people whose ego strength needs bolstering.

This, too, will not be our approach. Our parts of speech will be in the third person. Given the essential similarity in human nature—we are all more human than otherwise—I assume that the issues engage the readers of this book as well. Even the subtlest way to patronize religion will be avoided, the way that honors it not for itself but for its yields—its contributions to art, or to peace of mind, or to group cohesion. It is about religion alive. And when religion jumps to life it displays a startling quality.

It takes over. All else, while not silenced, becomes subdued and thrown into a supporting role. Religion alive confronts the individual with the most momentous option life can present. It calls the soul to the highest adventure it can undertake, a proposed journey across the jungles, peaks, and deserts of the human spirit.

The call is to confront reality, to master the self. Those who dare to hear and follow that secret call soon learn the dangers and difficulties of its lonely journey. A sharpened edge of a razor, hard to traverse, A difficult path is this—the poets declare! When, then, a lone spirit succeeds in breaking through to major conquests here, it becomes more than a king or queen. It becomes a world redeemer. Its impact stretches for millennia, blessing the tangled course of history for centuries.

Moving outward from there through myth and rite, it provides the symbols that carry history forward, until at length its power is spent and life awaits a new redemption. Alfred North Whitehead added science, which raises the number to two.

Finally, this book makes a real effort to communicate. The study of religion can be as technical and academic as any, but I have tried not to lose sight of the relevance this material has for the problems that human beings face today.

As far as I am aware there is nothing in these pages contrary to the facts of historical evidence, but beyond the avoidance of outright inaccuracy, the issue is less simple. I have deleted enormously, simplifying where historical details seemed to be slowing the pace and obscuring the essential. Occasionally, I have supplied corollaries that seemed to be implied, and I have introduced examples that appear to be in keeping with the theme but are not in the texts themselves.

Religion is not primarily a matter of facts; it is a matter of meanings. An analogy from biochemistry is helpful here. We are about to begin a voyage in space and time and eternity.

The places will often be distant, the times remote, the themes beyond space and time altogether. We shall try to describe states of consciousness that words can only hint at. We shall use logic to try to corner insights that laugh at our attempt. And ultimately, we shall fail; being ourselves of a different cast of mind, we shall never quite understand the religions that are not our own.

But if we take those religions seriously, we need not fail miserably. And to take them seriously we need do only two things.

First, we need to see their adherents as men and women who faced problems much like our own. And second, we must rid our minds of all preconceptions that could dull our sensitivity or alertness to fresh insights. If we lay aside our preconceptions about these religions, seeing each as forged by people who were struggling to see something that would give help and meaning to their lives; and if we then try without prejudice to see ourselves what they saw—if we do these things, the veil that separates us from them can turn to gauze.

A great anatomist used to close his opening lecture to beginning medical students with words that apply equally to our own undertaking. But never forget. A standard one is John B. Katha Upanishad I. HINDUISM If I were asked under what sky the human mind…has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant—I should point to India.

And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life…again I should point to India. The first atomic bomb was, as we say, a success. No one had been more instrumental in this achievement than Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos project.

He scarcely breathed. He held on to a post to steady himself…. The achievement for which the world credited this man who weighed less than a hundred pounds and whose worldly possessions when he died were worth less than two dollars was the British withdrawal from India in peace, but what is less known is that among his own people he lowered a barrier more formidable than that of race in America. And in doing so he provided the nonviolent strategy as well as the inspiration for Martin Luther King, Jr.

This sounds promising, but it throws the problem back in our laps. For what do we want? It is easy to give a simple answer—not easy to give a good one. India has lived with this question for ages and has her answer waiting. People, she says, want four things. This is natural. We are all born with built-in pleasure-pain reactors. If we ignored these, leaving our hands on hot stoves or stepping out of second-story windows, we would soon die.

What could be more obvious, then, than to follow the promptings of pleasure and entrust our lives to it?

Having heard—for it is commonly alleged—that India is ascetic, otherworldly, and life-denying, we might expect her attitude toward hedonists to be scolding, but it is not. To be sure, India has not made pleasure her highest good, but this is different from condemning enjoyment.

To the person who wants pleasure, India says in effect: Go after it—there is nothing wrong with it; it is one of the four legitimate ends of life. The world is awash with beauty and heavy with sensual delights. Moreover, there are worlds above this one where pleasures increase by powers of a million at each rung, and these worlds, too, we shall experience in due course.

Like everything else, hedonism requires good sense.

The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions

Not every impulse can be followed with impunity. Small immediate goals must be sacrificed for longrange gains, and impulses that would injure others must be curbed to avoid antagonisms and remorse. Only the stupid will lie, steal, or cheat for immediate profit, or succumb to addictions. But as long as the basic rules of morality are obeyed, you are free to seek all the pleasure you want.

Far from condemning pleasure, Hindu texts house pointers on how to enlarge its scope. To simple people who seek pleasure almost exclusively, Hinduism presents itself as little more than a regimen for ensuring health and prosperity; while at the other end of the spectrum, for sophisticates, it elaborates a sensual aesthetic that shocks in its explicitness. If pleasure is what you want, do not suppress the desire. Seek it intelligently. This India says, and waits.

Pleasure is essentially private, and the self is too small an object for perpetual enthusiasm. This too is a worthy goal, to be neither scorned nor condemned.

Moreover, its satisfactions last longer, for unlike pleasure success is a social achievement, and as such it involves the lives of others. For this reason it commands a scope and importance that pleasure cannot boast. This point does not have to be argued for a contemporary Western audience.

The Anglo-American temperament is not voluptuous Visitors from abroad do not find English-speaking peoples enjoying life a great deal, or much bent on doing so—they are too busy.

Nor should they be disparaged per se.

Charles Hasan Le Gai Eaton

A modicum of worldly success is indispensable for supporting a household and discharging civic duties responsibly. Beyond this minimum, worldly achievements confer dignity and self-respect. In the end, however, these rewards too have their term. For they all harbor limitations that we can detail: 1. Wealth, fame, and power are exclusive, hence competitive, hence precarious.

If I own a dollar, that dollar is not yours; while I am sitting on a chair, you cannot occupy it. Similarly with fame and power. The idea of a nation in which everyone is famous is a contradiction in terms; and if power were distributed equally, no one would be powerful in the sense in which we customarily use the word.

From the competitiveness of these goods to their precariousness is a short step. As other people want them too, who knows when success will change hands? The drive for success is insatiable.

A qualification is needed here, for people do get enough money, fame, and power. It is when they make these things their chief ambition that their lusts cannot be satisfied. For these are not the things people really want, and people can never get enough of what they do not really want. The third problem with worldly success is identical with that of hedonism. It too centers meaning in the self, which proves to be too small for perpetual enthusiasm.

Neither fortune nor station can obscure the realization that one lacks so much else. In the end everyone wants more from life than a country home, a sports car, and posh vacations. The final reason why worldly success cannot satisfy us completely is that its achievements are ephemeral. And since we cannot, this keeps these things from satisfying us wholly, for we are creatures who can envision eternity and must instinctively rue by contrast the brief purchase on time that worldly success commands.

Before proceeding to the other two things that Hinduism sees people wanting, it will be well to summarize the ones considered thus far. Hindus locate pleasure and success on the Path of Desire. Other goals lie ahead, but this does not mean that we should berate these preliminaries. As long as pleasure and success is what we think we want, we should seek them, remembering only the provisos of prudence and fair play.

The guiding principle is not to turn from desire until desire turns from you, for Hinduism regards the objects of the Path of Desire as if they were toys. If we ask ourselves whether there is anything wrong with toys, our answer must be: On the contrary, the thought of children without them is sad. Even sadder, however, is the prospect of adults who fail to develop interests more significant than dolls and trains.

By the same token, individuals whose development is not arrested will move through delighting in success and the senses to the point where their attractions have been largely outgrown.

But what greater attractions does life afford? Two, say the Hindus. In contrast with the Path of Desire, they constitute the Path of Renunciation.

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But renunciation has two faces. Here we find the back-to-nature people—who renounce affluence to gain freedom from social rounds and the glut of things—but this is only the beginning.

If renunciation always entails the sacrifice of a trivial now for a more promising yet-to-be, religious renunciation is like that of athletes who resist indulgences that could deflect them from their all-consuming goal. Exact opposite of disillusionment, renunciation in this second mode is evidence that the life force is strongly at work. If people could be satisfied by following their impulses, the thought of renunciation would never arise. Nor does it occur only to those who have failed on the former path—the disappointed lover who enters a monastery or nunnery to compensate.

We can agree with the disparagers that for such people renunciation is a salvaging act—the attempt to make the best of personal defeat. For to live, people must believe in that for the sake of which they live. As long as they sense no futility in pleasure and success, they can believe that those are worth living for.

But if, as Tolstoy points out in his Confessions, they can no longer believe in the finite, they will believe in the infinite or they will die. Let us be clear. Hinduism does not say that everyone in his or her present life will find the Path of Desire wanting. For against a vast time scale, Hinduism draws a distinction the West too is familiar with—that between chronological and psychological age. Two people, both forty-six, are the same age chronologically, but psychologically one may be still a child and the other an adult.

The Hindus extend this distinction to cover multiple life spans, a point we shall take up explicitly when we come to the idea of reincarnation. As a consequence we shall find men and women who play the game of desire with all the zest of nine-year-old cops and robbers; though they know little else, they will die with the sense of having lived to the full and enter their verdict that life is good.

But equally, there will be others who play this game as ably, yet find its laurels paltry. Why the difference? The enthusiasts, say the Hindus, are caught in the flush of novelty, whereas the others, having played the game over and over again, seek other worlds to conquer. We can describe the typical experience of this second type. They throw themselves into enjoyment, enlarging their holdings and advancing their status. But neither the pursuit nor the attainment brings true happiness.

Some of the things they want they fail to get, and this makes them miserable. Some they get and hold onto for a while, only to have them suddenly snatched away, and again they are miserable.

Some they both get and keep, only to find that like the Christmases of many adolescents they do not bring the joy that was expected. Many experiences that thrilled on first encounter pall on the hundredth. Throughout, each attainment seems to fan the flames of new desire; none satisfies fully; and all, it becomes evident, perish with time. Eventually, there comes over them the suspicion that they are caught on a treadmill, having to run faster and faster for rewards that mean less and less.

Might not becoming a part of a larger, more significant whole relieve life of its triviality?

The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions - PDF Free Download

That question announces the birth of religion. For though in some watered-down sense there may be a religion of self-worship, true religion begins with the quest for meaning and value beyond self-centeredness. But what is this renunciation for? The question brings us to the two signposts on the Path of Renunciation.

In supporting at once our own life and the lives of others, the community has an importance no single life can command.

Let us, then, transfer our allegiance to it, giving its claims priority over our own. This transfer marks the first great step in religion.

It produces the religion of duty, after pleasure and success the third great aim of life in the Hindu outlook. Its power over the mature is tremendous. Myriads have transformed the will-to-get into the will-to-give, the will-to-win into the will-to-serve.


Not to triumph but to do their best—to acquit themselves responsibly, whatever the task at hand—has become their prime objective. Hinduism abounds in directives to people who would put their shoulders to the social wheel. It details duties appropriate to age, temperament, and social status.

These will be examined in subsequent sections. Here we need only repeat what was said in connection with pleasure and success: Duty, too, yields notable rewards, only to leave the human spirit unfilled. Its rewards require maturity to be appreciated, but given maturity, they are substantial.

Also love the way it's been written - simple yet retains a literary style that is uniquely Gai Eaton. The author uses anecdotes to illustrate his points, and qu A must-have on everyone's bookshelf. The author uses anecdotes to illustrate his points, and questions to move from one theme to another. He also makes use of a lot of parables to ease readers' understanding of basic concepts.

In short, a brilliant, brilliant book. Allows you to be a conscious Muslim, not just one who passively inherits cultural practices with no understanding of the faith's philosophy. What a tour-de-force! This book is down-to-earth in its delivery but profound in its meaning. I discovered this late author during one of my discussions with my students and I am so happy I followed up with this book. It could be one of the reasons, but I feel it is not the only and strongest reason. But definitely, inner ego of men plays a role.

Also, Gai throws a satirical attack on men. Women keeps men realistic and not lost too much inside theoretical world. It is said the widow of Karl Max sighed that he didn't collect enough capital despite writing numerous books and letters. Then again, it might be a story created by a capitalist Alas, then, the views on women from the Muslim world and the western world are probably two different perspective. One side will ask how does the Muslim women can tolerate being treated as second fiddle to men?

On the other side will ask how does the western women can tolerate being treated like dogs? Two different perspectives. Which are correct? The answer is not so clear cut. In fact, no answer is correct because the questions are incorrect in the first place. The question, I believe is filled with biases and cultural and local influence in the first place.

Ignoring the external influence, whether one take into account the historical timeline and the vertical aspect of life referring to adhering to religion would determine whether the answer is satisfying or not. Paradoxes, Theodicy, Free Will and Pre-destination:- What is meant by theodicy is the ever problem of good and evil.

Now, one would argue that there is no evil. Evil is in fact an absence of good. I held to this view not just long ago but still won't answer the underlying issue of why is there a need for absence of good in the first place. Of course, people would say that to differ between those who are righteous and non-righteous but I don't agree that as the first argument.