Racism as viewed from the perspective of self-realization

August 2nd, 2010

вик услугихолни масиThere is an ongoing debate in American society these days between those who adamantly insist that the race notion is valid and those that consider it to merely be a social construct. Admittedly, I fall into the latter group and consider race a bogus proposition.

Let’s say it was possible to line up every single human (all six billion) on the planet side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, starting with the lightest all the way to the darkest. Now, let’s also say that it was possible for you to walk down that line looking each person in the eye, from number one to number six billion. Would you be able to detect any discernible difference in skin color, hair texture or nose width as you proceed from human being to human being? No. Would you be able to tell where the “white race” ends and where the “black race” begins? No.

Over the decades, however, the media has nearly thoroughly brainwashed us by consistently presenting only representatives of the extreme ends of the color continuum. Additionally, the average person wouldn’t waste time thinking about all this, as he is content with what society has taught him since childhood. Most Americans are all too comfortable with their racial identity.

That said, “white” and “black” are abstractions that exist only to the extent that we agree they do. Most “white” people are of a pinkish hue and most “blacks” are actually brownish. None of us has ever seen a human the color of coal or snow, yet we steadfastly refer to others and ourselves in this inane manner. The terms become convenient shorthand when we become too lazy to describe individuals in anything other than material realm identifiers.

For a long while, whenever I wrote about “blackness” and “whiteness,” I would use quote marks to denote just how absurd the entire idea really was. I no longer do that nearly as much as it often distracts from the essential meaning of the text. Whenever you see black and white throughout the remainder of this book, however, feel free to use mental quote marks if you so desire.

Against the backdrop of social scientists sparring with biologists over whether there truly exist mutually exclusive “races” on planet Earth, though, what is the spiritual perspective, the viewpoint of one situated on the platform of spiritual self-realization? This section represents the transcendental wisdom regarding the race notion, racism and race-consciousness that I have received over the years by virtue of associating with devotees infinitely more advanced and enlightened than myself.


The physical body has many characteristics – black or white, fat or skinny, male or female, and so on. It also acquires many labels or designations — based on social or economic status, marital status, political affiliation, nationality, etc. If you identify your body as your self, you will consider all these characteristics and labels to be your actual identity. If you have a white male body, you will think, “I am white; I am a man.” When you see someone else (or rather, see someone else’s body), you will likewise wrongly identify the person with the body in which they happen to reside. If you are in a white body and see a person in a black body, you won’t actually see the person, only the black body. You will conclude, “That person is black,” thus identifying yourself as white and the other person as black. This is the beginning of racism.

As viewed from the perspective of self-realization, the root cause of racism and racial conflict is the false identification of the body with the person. False identification of the body as the self, however, leads to more than just racial conflicts. International conflicts, religious conflicts, sexual conflicts and many more are rooted in this misunderstanding. Each body has a multitude of different labels and characteristics. This in itself is not bad, just as it is not bad for people to wear different-colored clothes. What is bad is that due to identifying the body as the self, we wrongly consider the person to be the labels associated with his body. Being unable to see past the labels to the person himself, we end up in a world of barriers and conflicts.

If you are enlightened, you are free from such clouded vision; you see beyond bodily characteristics and labels. If you are wise, you can see the person, the atma or soul within the body and relate to the person, not to his body. If you are wise, you are free of prejudice, racism, sexism, race-consciousness, class-consciousness and so on. In the Bhagavad-gita, the sage is described as one who not only sees through racial and social designations, such as “worker,” “merchant,” “administrator” and “teacher,” but who even sees through species designations such as human and animal.

The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahman, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater (outcaste).

Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Five, Verse Eighteen

All living beings are equal sparks of the Supreme Living Being or Krishna. Each of us, no matter what kind of body we have, no matter what that body’s color, age, nationality or even species, is an eternal life particle, a child of God. Such wisdom is the medicine that can transform a world of prejudice and conflict into a world of peace and harmony. Individual happiness and social harmony are possible only when we come to appreciate our true spiritual essence.

As long as we do not see our spiritual essence, there will be racism and hatred. The latter is a byproduct of people’s lack of spiritual vision. When we look at others with our material eyes, we perceive the duality of material existence. We see blacks and whites, young and old, male and female, long hairs and short hairs.


The inclination to associate the body with the self is so strong that it is present even in so-called religious communities where you have one religion hating another religion, just as you have one so-called race hating another so-called race. You may be Christian while another person may be Hindu and someone else may be a Muslim, but these are also external designations. The root cause of all types of prejudice, all racial problems, all religious problems, as well as the problems between one village and another, and one nation and another, is false identification with the material body.

In the recent past, we’ve witnessed the Soviets or Russians sparring with the Americans or, still current, the Palestinians versus the Israelis, and they compete and often fight over property and natural resources. A wise man knows, however, that everything belongs to God, and we are but extensions of His divine energy.

When you see others as they really are, you will think of the Supreme Friend or the Supreme Father of all. If we remember our common Father – the source of us all – then we can appreciate our relationship. No longer will we see each other as strangers but as relatives. This vision, and the feeling that comes from it, extends to all living beings. The porpoises, the whales, the lions, the apes and the birds are all sparks of God, and when you begin to see others and appreciate all living beings in this manner, you will never hate them. The aim of the devotee or the yogi is to come to this spiritual vision so that even though he’s living in this world, he actually feels God’s presence and sees others as brothers and sisters under God’s fatherhood.

This philosophy doesn’t seem practical to some, though. Since we would still perceive differences between the color of our bodies and those of others, it appears that problems would still arise. This is not about idealism or utopian thinking, however. This is about the objective reality of our identity, and when we remember this identity, we know how to relate to others.

Conventional wisdom holds that one benefit society derived from the O. J. Simpson trial of over a decade ago is that it focused our attention on the race issue, and that, since then, various community leaders have been calling for different ethnic groups to work together and coexist peacefully.

It is not sufficient to exhort people to work together. We must relinquish the nonsensical idea that we are black, white, red, or whatever. Racism, as well as race-consciousness, is false identity of the body as the self, and as long as such false identification exists, we will be faced with all the problems associated with racism. While it is good that some are calling for racial harmony, that is not nearly enough.

Artificial harmony is but a quick, temporary fix, and it simply won’t last. That “harmony” will fall apart because the underlying animosity is still there, and the feeling that “we are different” remains.

With regards to the still-lingering racism we witness domestically as well as internationally, when we take a broader view we see that people are suffering on both sides. On one side are those experiencing the brunt of other people’s hatred and bigotry. On the other side are those who are experiencing the hatred or the dislike that they are manifesting towards others on the basis of their physical body or race, and these haters are also suffering.

In other words, if somebody hates, it is not just the person he hates that suffers. He himself also suffers. Such hatred occupies and pollutes the very core of a person’s heart, and the very experience of such hatred is itself a terrible kind of suffering because it keeps one away from God. It makes it so that person cannot experience the happiness of truly loving and feeling close to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because one cannot simultaneously love the Supreme Lord yet hate His children.


So suffering is present on both sides, and, of course, in many cases, hate is also there on both sides. It’s just a matter of which side has political power, or control, as to which side is exploited. Those in power exploit the others, yet if the oppressed come into power, because of their hatred, they then turn the table around and abuse those who previously exploited them. There can be no end to racism until this hatred is taken away.

There is something else that can help us be free from the feelings associated with other people’s hatred towards us because of the color of our bodies. This is the knowledge and appreciation that although the prejudiced person does not love me or like me because of the color of my skin, God loves me. Therefore, what others think doesn’t matter. My happiness is not going to come from being loved by everyone in the world. Rather, it will come from appreciating that the One who is the source of everyone and everything in the world – the Father of every living being – loves me.

If I know that God loves me, then I will automatically experience satisfaction and fulfillment, even if everyone else hates my guts. Hatred directed toward me by others is not going to bother me because I feel happiness from within knowing that Krishna accepts me.

People are often upset when they know someone is prejudiced toward them, even if that person is not an actual threat. One of the reasons we don’t like people disliking us is the feeling of rejection. It’s not because there’s necessarily going to be any physical violence or because that person may hurt us in some way. It’s simply because we like to be accepted by others. This is natural. We want to be loved. By nature, we are happy when we are experiencing being loved; we are unhappy when we are hating and when we experience being hated. Therefore, if we are experiencing God’s love upon us and are experiencing ourselves as being spiritual in nature – not our bodies – then even if somebody else doesn’t understand this, due to their ignorance, and hates us or rejects us because of our skin color, it will not touch us. This is real protection. It is spiritual protection.

It is our hatred of others that causes us pain, and when we experience prejudice, hatred and rejection, we immediately suffer when we direct this back towards those same persons. This in turn increases the hatred those persons have toward us. It’s a vicious cycle.

In some big cities, for example, tensions exist between blacks and Asians. The black person becomes angry with, say, a Korean for coming into his neighborhood. Then the Korean becomes angry with the black, and it spreads, and pretty soon you’ve got one community versus another community. Everybody gets caught up in this suffering, and they’re suffering from it not just because they’re the receivers of the hatred but because they’re perpetrators of it.

There is obviously much pain associated with racism. In the previous decade, in Bosnia, we witnessed the pain and misery caused by ethnic cleansing wherein the Serbs attempted to drive the Muslims out of “their area.” In turn, the Muslims and Croats attempted to drive the Serbs off “their turf.” Unless we end this hatred, today’s victim will simply become tomorrow’s perpetrator. Ultimately, the suffering the racist causes cannot be solved simply by hating the racist.

We are our brothers’ keeper, and it doesn’t do our brothers any good to let them continue engaging in demoniac, sinful activities, like murdering, killing and trying to exterminate people simply on the basis of their race or religion. It is for this reason that a nation like the United States, at least partially due to its spiritual sense of right and wrong, took up arms against Nazi Germany. Similarly we contemporarily fight a global war against Islamic fascism. Sometimes we must engage in violence in order to change things for the better. This is an unfortunate part of our existence in this material world, but hatred is not necessary. Love is there, if we but seek it.


Feelings of self-esteem based on race and sex (e.g., “I am a proud black,” or “I am a strong woman of color.”) are meaningless and do nothing to combat racism. The attempt to make people feel proud of their racial extraction is a false solution to racism. For decades now, white liberals and minority nationalists alike have been telling people “You should be proud of your race.” The idea is that many blacks, Asians, Native Americans and Hispanics feel inferior because some people in the world incorrectly perceive them as being inferior. Consequently, there is a school of thought that argues that the way to overcome feelings of inferiority is to take the opposite approach and be proud. Therefore, you have black pride, Native pride, Chicano pride, Asian pride, and so forth. This is artificial, though, because it is still grounded in bodily consciousness.

The minority pride, or bodily pride, movement — that I referenced in the Introduction — is no substitute for self-realization, which leads to genuine self-esteem. Everything else is false. Your self-esteem can only be as real as the truth upon which it is based, and if it is based on falsity, or a lie, then it is fake. It is not going to last, and it is not going to satisfy you. Since you’re not your physical body, any so-called self-esteem that is based upon your physical form, is useless. It may temporarily allow you to feel good, but it is not going to last. It certainly is not going to satisfy you.

Our consciousness needs to evolve. Yes, evolution exists, but — as opposed to Darwinism, which seems to imply that some races are higher than others — it is an evolution of consciousness, not of bodies. Every individual, regardless of the type of body he has – be it black or white, male or female – can achieve spiritual perfection. The perfectly evolved person is not the one with the whitest skin and fairest hair. Rather it is the one who sees himself and others as pure spirit soul.


With respect to the myriad civil rights laws that various legislative bodies have passed with the hope of ending racism, the simple truth is that political maneuvering cannot solve the problem of racism. It has been more than forty years since civil rights legislation was enacted in the U.S., but some would argue that animosity between the races has not appreciably diminished. Legislation may ensure that blacks or other minorities are guaranteed certain rights – which they certainly deserve – but it does nothing to lessen the hatred that one bigot, or one race, feels for another.

Enacting legislation without educating people about their real identities is merely another superficial solution to a deeper, internal problem. It treats the symptoms of a disease without curing the disease itself. You may alleviate the problem temporarily, but because the disease is still ravaging within, new symptoms will soon appear. You can’t treat cancer with band-aids, and, similarly, you can’t cure racism through legislation.

This is not to say that there was no value in implementing civil rights laws, that it was a waste of time. To the contrary, those statutes were both desirable and beneficial. Something more, however, is required, and that something is proper spiritual education and understanding. Civil rights laws may help level the playing field, but they don’t stop the players from hating each other. The same thing is true of political maneuvering, including military action, on the international level. It is both necessary and helpful under particular circumstances, but it cannot cure the cause of the problem.

Prior to the Balkan War, for example, Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito was able to keep the Serbs, Croats and Muslims from killing each other, but he couldn’t stop them from hating one another. After Tito died, Yugoslavia eventually fell apart, and the same old problems manifested anew. A fragile peace has held for a number of years now, but how long will it really last?

You may be able to temporarily check the violence through cease-fires, or temporarily cause people to live together in the same community, but this is akin to sticking your finger in the leaky dike. It does not actually solve the problem because the real problem is hatred and ignorance. As long as that hatred and ignorance survives, sooner or later it will rear its ugly head and manifest as oppression, suppression and violence.

Spiritual vision is the ultimate solution to racism. That said, it often seems that religious people are more bigoted than are ordinary folks. Though there is now a lull in the action, Catholic Christians fought Protestant Christians in Northern Ireland for decades. At the present time, we see Muslim fanatics waging their version of jihad or holy war against anyone, including other Muslims, not buying into their interpretation of the Koran. Case in point is the unspeakable bloodletting between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq.

Religious racists can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than garden-variety types. In fact, the argument that a person can be both religious and a racist has no foundation. We confuse the cloak of religiosity with religion itself when we use the phrase “religious racist.”

There is a huge difference between “cultural religiosity” and real religion. Where there is real religion there is knowledge, and there is spiritual vision. Strong faith and little knowledge, however, characterize cultural religiosity, and faith without knowledge is simply fanaticism. Unfortunately, faith and ignorance can be a very dangerous combination, and thus we have the so-called religious bigot. He is not just a bigot; he is a bigot with a cause.

We have witnessed so-called religious racism or religious wars for nearly sixty-years in the Middle East. Why do the Palestinians and the Israelis fight? They do so because they cannot see beyond the external labels of the body.

Palestinians constantly think about Jews, and Jews constantly think about Palestinians. So they’re simply switching bodies and feeling the same hatred life after life. Only this time it’s directed at the same type of body with which they so closely identified in their last life. At the time of death, you will take on the kind of body that you are always thinking about. This is described in Bhagavad-gita:

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.

Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Eight, Verse Six

They don’t see how foolish they are, because they lack the proper spiritual perspective and cannot see what is happening. They’re killing each other’s bodies, and then taking on bodies in families of the opposite camp and killing again. Repeatedly, generation after generation, they are doing this, and they never see or know their senselessness.

This is just as much a problem, and throughout history has produced just as much suffering, as the secular hatred between the races. Every scripture in the world – the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran and, most clearly, the Vedas – states that a person is not the body. Polluted by their own material desires, these people are using certain quotes from various scriptures and twisting these passages to try to interpret a meaning that allows one class of men – their own class – to lord it over, dominate and exploit another class of men.

Secular hatred between the races is the reason why we see racially segregated churches in many so-called multiracial communities. You find black churches, white churches, Korean churches, Hispanic churches and the like. On my hometown’s Main Street (doesn’t every village have one?) there are Lutheran, Episcopalian and Baptist Churches all lined up in a row, a mere stone’s throw from my neighborhood. How convenient it would have been for me to attend one of those houses of worship instead of having to travel all the way over to the other side of town to Valley St. Baptist.

It was common knowledge, however, that the churches, like the public schools, were segregated. This is abject stupidity, however, since all churches supposedly worship the same God. It indicates that the people who lead the churches and the followers who attend them are all racist, because they are all identifying the body as the self. The ones who go to the black churches identify themselves as being black, and the ones who go to the white houses of worship identify themselves as being white. This is ignorance.


In actuality, it is not surprising that there is so much ignorance and confusion in the world today. This is Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel, chaos, confusion and hypocrisy. We can counteract all of this confusion and ignorance, though, by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. Everyone – regardless of the designation they may place on their body – can chant the Holy Names of Krishna and experience higher happiness and thereby transcend all of their prejudices, all of their lust, and all of their anger.

Kali-yuga’s influence will remain, but those who are influenced by the chanting of the Maha-mantra will be protected. It will still be Kali-yuga, but you will not be touched by it. You will clearly understand that you are spirit soul, not your material body, and you will see others in the same light. You will feel no prejudice or hatred towards any living being.

Unfortunately, the so-called leaders of the world have chosen to ignore this information. They are deluded and full of anxiety, and they are leading everyone else to a life of further anxiety. If you want to alleviate the misery associated with racism, educate people about their real identity and the identity of others. When they understand this, there will be no hate, and there will be no racism.

It is wisdom alone that will actually eat away at the foundation of racism. We must reject the conclusion that the body is the self. If we want to get at the root cause of racism, we must understand that we are not our bodies.

This is the first chapter in my book “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme Publishing).Икониikoniикони на светциПодаръциИдея за подаръкикониикониПравославни иконииконописikoniсвети георгиikoniхудожник на икониИкони на светциХудожникОткъде да купя иконаидея за подарък

India Pics

April 27th, 2009

Here are some pictures that my family took on our March 20-March 27 trip to India pictures. We hope you enjoy them, and perhaps you’ll get to go yourself one day. Hare Krishna!

The URL is:broadband systemhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/charukrishna/

Google’s Book Search: “The Bhagavad-Gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness”

November 15th, 2008

With America having elected its first “black” President (his deceased “white” mother’s heritage notwithstanding), and considering ongoing attempts by Christian partisans to brand him a Muslim, despite his protestations to the contrary, how might we take a radically different and fresher look at the vexing triumvirate of race, religion and politics?

Utilizing Google’s Book Search, click here to peruse the contents of “The Bhagavad-Gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness.”

 

Summary: An indispensable aid for those seeking to transcend America’s oppressive race-consciousness. Fashioned after the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-gita, the essence of India’s Vedic wisdom and one of the great spiritual and philosophical classics of the world. Along with synopses of each Gita chapter is commentary culled from Mr. Byrd’s and other contributors’ 1995-2003

Interracial Voice editorials. The book analyzes specific Gita verses to illuminate U.S. racialism from the Vedic perspective.

 

Lastly, click here to read the Amazon.com reviews and to buy the book today!

 

Haribol!

Barack Obama has read my book?

May 12th, 2008

Namaste:

Instead of composing a commentary on Illinois Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech on race, religion and politics in America, I have decided to simply put forth the Table of Contents — including a synopsis for each chapter — from my book “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” in this missive.

After reading the Senator’s March 18th speech delivered in Philadelphia, certain sentiments struck me as being somewhat in accord with my own philosophy vis-à-vis the race notion and transcending race-consciousness. Now, mind you, I have substantial disagreement with Mr. Obama’s refusal to recognize this country’s growing multiracial population as being other than a subset of the major racial groupings, but it is almost as if he actually read my book and took notes.

Why do I say that? I do so because I mailed him a copy a few months ago, and I received a letter from him regarding same. Click here to view and read the Senator’s letter to yours truly. (Click on the letter with your cursor for larger text.)

Of course, it is possible that he never read my work, that an Obama underling composed, typed and mailed the letter that I have reproduced for your online perusal. It could also be that Barack Obama actually sat down with “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness,” and — just perhaps — it impacted him. Who knows, other that God/Krishna?

So, please read the Senator’s speech as well as the book’s TOC below. After that, please purchase the book from Amazon.com (click on the provided links or the book cover) and see what conclusions you personally draw. Thank you for your time.

Charles Michael Byrd

Charukrishna


CHAPTER ONEObserving the Armies on the Battlefield of KurukshetraIt is not easy to overcome the racial identity imposed by a racially obsessed society, a society that still embraces “hypodescent,” or the inheritance of only the lowest status racial category of one’s ancestors (a.k.a., the infamous “one-drop of ‘black’ blood rule”), a society that has made the conscious decision that multiracials should be content to parcel out their identities to “federally recognized groups” — all in the name of achieving social justice.One’s view of the “race” notion and to what “race” the individual supposedly belongs is heavily influenced by the family into which the person is born. Thus, transcending the race concept is often difficult, because it is so heavily connected with family (intimate relatives) and background (including teachers and close friends). It is analogous to Arjuna’s dilemma.CHAPTER TWOContents of the Gita SummarizedWe are not our bodies; ergo, we are not representatives of various racial groupings. Devotional service should be focused on God, not on any “racial” or “ethnic” leader and his political agenda.CHAPTER THREE

Karma-yoga (“The Yoga of Work”)

One of the most important activities a person of “mixed-race” can engage in is showing others the falsity of “race” and pointing them in the direction of The Supreme.

CHAPTER FOUR

Transcendental Knowledge

The world does not have a shortage of teachers who can guide people away from modern-day forms of tribalism (racial, ethnic and cultural pride) toward transcendental knowledge of the Supreme. Common sense and simple logic will also help in this endeavor. There is no substitute for a good teacher, however, an enlightened soul who can expose the foolishness of bodily consciousness.

CHAPTER FIVE

Action in Krishna Consciousness

Teachers should not act for sense gratification or think they are better than others. All too often modern-day preachers tend to wield power over their congregations for political purposes. Accordingly, many Americans doubt their spiritual leaders, and America itself, in fact, is in need of a spiritual re-awakening. Plagued by such doubt and spiritual lethargy, it is no wonder that modern men and women have a difficult time engaging in spiritual action and thus rarely develop true knowledge, peacefulness, detachment, and so on.

CHAPTER SIX

Dhyana-yoga (“The Yoga of Meditation”)

In our day-to-day interactions, we should approach and address each other as spiritual beings — not as the fleshy bodies we see before us. We need to view each other as emanating from the same source. We should embrace age-old techniques, such as yoga, if they allow us, or inspire us, to go beyond the body. We must, in essence, find a disciplined way of life, one that will teach us to focus on transcendental topics, for only by so doing can we rise beyond the mundane sphere.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Knowledge of the Absolute

In materialistic culture, we tend to divert our minds from the Supreme and become ensnared by illusory pursuits. We revel in superficial games, such as advocating racial pride and competition, furthering the purposes of one group over another.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Attaining the Supreme

We fear death because of our misidentification with our bodies. If we become self-realized, we do not fear death, nor do we fear moving beyond racial or ethnic identification. In fact, a natural by-product of self-realization is overcoming fear of all kinds. We will not fear differences, and thus we will not need to identify with artificially constructed races and ethnic groups; we will not fear the natural consequence of the body — death — for we will know that it is merely the dismantling of material elements, quite removed from who we are and what life is really all about.

CHAPTER NINE

The Most Confidential Knowledge

By realizing our eternal relationship to God, we are no longer affected by others’ attempts to control our energy, to bend us to their will. Nor will we submit to it.

CHAPTER TEN

????????The Opulence of the Absolute

America’s success is by the grace of God, but our nation tends to neglect this truth. Moreover, we seem to ignore our virtues as a nation and prefer, instead, to break into small factions and warring groups.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

The Universal Form

We tend to forget that we live in a vast physical universe with untold billions of galaxies, solar systems, planets, moons, suns, etc. Therefore, we should view the global battle on Earth between black and white as not worth our time.

CHAPTER TWELVE

Devotional Service

The highest end of spiritual existence is not Sunday services at your local church. It involves the cultivation of spiritual consciousness, whatever one’s institutional affiliation may be. Unfortunately, too many preachers of all colors propagate the gospel of race-consciousness and thus lead their followers astray. They do this by not only trying to legitimate the bodily concept and race-consciousness but by teaching that religion is about church attendance and mundane rules of behavior. In other words, they teach that the “shell” of religion is its essence, and they ignore its real essence: Love of God.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Nature, the Enjoyer, and Consciousness

If we but listen to our conscience (the Supersoul, the Ultimate Knower of our bodily Field), we will intuitively know that identifying racially is wrong.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

The Three Modes Of Material Nature

We should strive to perform all our actions in the mode of goodness while simultaneously noticing those around us who act in passion and ignorance. The mode of goodness allows us to think clearly and to bid adieu to race-consciousness — and to other unsavory conceptions of falsity. Goodness also acts as a springboard to transcendence, allowing us to realize our innate relationship with God.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

The Yoga of the Supreme Person

The purpose of this book is to help one detach oneself from racial and ethnic considerations, and to thereby link with the Supreme Person.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

The Divine And Demoniac Natures

A perfect example of one who possesses demoniac qualities is one who not only hates because of racial differences but also encourages violence upon the bodies of those who are different.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

The Divisions of Faith

“Ministers” in the modes of passion and ignorance lead many so-called churches, but their preaching does not serve to purify the hearts of their parishioners.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Conclusion — The Perfection of Renunciation

Abandon all allegiances to mundane abstractions such as race, ethnicity, and culture. Instead, embrace your humanity as well as your higher spiritual nature. By this method, surely, you will gradually rise to transcendence and develop love for God.

Barack Obama: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness

January 13th, 2008

Namaste: In light of Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama’s surprising victory in the Iowa caucuses, his close second place finish in the New Hampshire primary and his huge triumph in South Carolina, please allow me to provide you with a couple of references to the Presidential hopeful that you will find in my book “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme Publishing).


Introduction

Others argue that it is detrimental to skip the census race question for the simple reason that if people of, say, multiracial ancestry don’t fill out the question, we won’t know how many mixed-race people there are in the U.S.

This is the argument positing that the “statistics would be more accurate if everyone filled out all of the information honestly on their census forms.” Actually, those deciding to opt out of the politics of racial identity will form a virtual community of individuals identifying more with humanity and their innate spirituality. To these folk it would be terribly dishonest, not to mention inaccurate, for them to continue identifying racially — particularly when their individual levels of consciousness are elevated far beyond that mundane platform.

Those desiring to opt out of the system should be able to, while those choosing to maintain that degraded level of consciousness, wherein one must always identify with the body and with racial designations, should be able to do that as well. Regarding the latter, if Illinois Senator and possible 2008 White House hopeful Barack Obama — who many tout as perhaps this country’s first black president, his white mom notwithstanding — chooses to identify as black in order to boost this country’s minority pride or bodily pridemebeli movement, that is his right.


Chapter Twelve: Devotional ServiceYoung blacks in particular who can’t fathom the measurable gains accomplished since Brown v. Board of Education seem most vulnerable to the separatist ideology of Farrakhan and the Nation. Jesse Jackson and older blacks who’ve been through the struggle and who know well the tremendous gains that have been made should be ashamed of themselves for having participated in the “Million Man March.” Jackson, unfortunately, has become a pathetic figure whose political star has twice been eclipsed in recent years. He knows that if America will at last have a nonwhite President, it will likely be a retired four-star general named Powell (or a mulatto named Obama) and not a ’60s-era civil rights leader who can only speak in irritating rhyme. Jackson also has seen Farrakhan cash in his IOU for having come to Jesse’s defense in 1984. Farrakhan defended Jackson’s reference to Jews as “Hymies” and to New York as “Hymie town” by calling Zionism a “dirty” religion, by accusing Jewish groups of being behind death threats made against Jackson and by threatening holy revenge if harm came to Jackson. Jesse had to come to Washington for “Million Man” to pay off his debt.


CLICK HERE if you’ve not yet purchased your copy.
Om Namo Bhagavate VasudevayaCharles Michael Byrd
Charukrishna

Lectures, Workshops, Consulting

December 16th, 2007

Charles Michael Byrd (Charukrishna), author of “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme

Publishing), is available as a speaker/lecturer on Vaishnava-Hinduism and specifically on how the ancient Vedic philosophy has practical application as regards transcending the race notion in general, and its particular application apropos of the mixed-race community.

Attention business owners and corporate leaders! Consider the practical application of the Vedic message to your company. While businesses typically provide “race relations” courses for their employees, why not make available to them “Transcending Race Consciousness in the Workplace” which Mr. Byrd will deliver at your establishment.

Contact Mr. Byrd by writing to: CM Byrd, P.O. Box 560185, College Point, NY 11356-0185.

Telephone contact is 718-909-1878.

Email is chasbyrd@gmail.com

Caste System vs. Varnashrama Dharma

December 11th, 2007

One of the biggest mental stumbling blocks for any American to hurdle when considering whether to embrace Vaishnava philosophy is India’s notorious caste system. To some it is an evil parallel to this country’s insidious racial classification system that positions whiteness on top with blackness on the bottom, with all the other so-called races relegated to intermediate positions. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.

The timeless Vedic literature describes a natural system of social organization that can bring about a peaceful society where everyone is happy. This system is called Varnashrama dharma, and while it serves as the basis for India’s current caste system, it is far different, without hint of racial prejudice.

The purpose of the Varnashrama social system is to provide a structure allowing people to work according to their natural tendencies and to organize society so that everyone, regardless of their position, makes spiritual advancement.

According to this philosophy, people can only work with a cooperative spirit if there is a central point of focus. Over the years proponents of many different political ideologies (e.g., Communism) have tried to unite society by providing such a central point. These attempts have all ultimately failed, though.

Generally, people work for their own pleasure, and this is sometimes extended to working for the family, the nation or even the whole world. Because the aims and aspirations of the members of society are so varied it is practically impossible to achieve a peaceful situation as everyone is working to fulfill his or her own personal goals.

The only universal point around which everyone can work is God. He provides an absolute, eternal center for all our activities. If we try to make something else the central point, the resulting society is doomed to fail.

The ancient Varnashrama system recognizes that there are many different types of people who may not be spiritually inclined. The society is thus organized under the direction of qualified brahmanas, spiritually gifted intellectuals, and is divided into four occupational and four spiritual divisions in such a way that everyone is serving God simply by performing their occupational duties. As the entire society is arranged to please God, anyone working within the society also pleases God, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The Varnashrama system recognizes the natural talents and abilities of each person and provides work according to a person’s qualities. There are four qualities of work. The brahmanas are the intellectual and priestly class. The kshatriyas are the government, the military and the administrative classes. The vaishyas are farmers and businessmen, and the shudras are workers.

There are also four spiritual divisions: brahmacharya or student life, grihastha or married life, vanaprastha or retired life and sannyasa or renounced life. As per Vaishnava teachings, if this system is properly implemented under the direction of qualified brahmanas, the result will be peace and prosperity throughout the world.

Varnashrama social divisions are based on qualities and work. If someone has the qualities of a brahmana, and if he works as a brahmana, he is accepted as a qualified brahmana. In this way, the Varnashrama system should not be confused with the corrupt caste system of India.

The current Indian system is akin to accepting the sons of a United States Supreme Court justice as Supreme Court justices themselves. Of course, that would be nonsense, as the individuals would have to be qualified. They have to attend and graduate from institutions of higher learning and pass bar exams, etc. Then they have to gain practical experience – usually as lawyers and judges on lesser platforms of jurisprudence — before even being considered for a high court appointment.

In India, people often claim to be brahmanas simply because they are born into a brahmana family, even though they do not possess the qualifications or qualities of a brahmana. In most cases they are not working as brahmanas either. The result of the corruption of the original system has been the destruction of the entire social structure in India, and, now, the rich tend to use the caste system to exploit and oppress the poor.

In the original Varnashrama society, however, all members are equally important. An analogy comparing the social body to the human body is instrumental in explaining this. The brahmanas are the head of the body, as they possess the intelligence and give directions to the other parts of the body. The kshatriyas are likened to the arms of the body, as their business as administrators and the military is to protect the social body from threats from outside (attacks from enemies) and disruption from within.

Vaishyas are likened to the stomach that provides energy to the body. The vaishyas, as the productive class, are the farmers and businessmen who produce and distribute food to the social body. The vaishyas are also responsible for protecting the cows – vitally important in a society that looks upon cows with reverence usually reserved for one’s mother. (Vedanta considers the cow to be essentially similar to our mother, because, in our infancy, our mother gave us cow milk to drink.)

Shudras are equated with the legs as they provide the manual labor required by the social body. We look after our whole body. It is not that we attend to problems affecting the head and neglect problems in the legs. The body works as a coordinated unit, and a problem anywhere in the body causes a disruption to the proper functioning of the whole body. When that happens we must immediately attend to that problem.

The social body should work as a coordinated unit with different members of the society acting in their respective positions as brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras according to their qualities. The result would be a happy, peaceful and efficient society.

Even if you do not accept the premise that we are all born with different levels of intellect, different tendencies and inclinations, you have to accept that the varna system exists contemporarily in America almost exactly as described above. We have our own brahmana caste, i.e., religious leaders and empirical philosophers – the intelligent class/caste — that offer sage advice to government and military leaders. The kshatriyas are the political and military leaders. The vaishyas are the captains of industry, and the shudras constitute the overwhelming bulk of the population – working class stiffs.

Transcending the quest for racial identity

September 27th, 2007

Transcending the quest for racial identity
Thursday, September 27, 2007

By TARESSA STOVALL of The Montclair Times

Some bi/multi-racial people feel they have a choice of colors, options for selecting how they define their racial/ethnic identities. Between a decades-long movement to create a separate census category and an increasingly blended United States population bursting the seams of traditional definitions, the issue is on more peoples’ minds than ever before.

Charles Michael Byrd, who describes himself as being “of black, white and Cherokee heritage,” made a name as the editor and publisher of Interracial Voice Web site from 1995 to 2003. Byrd has taken his personal quest for identity beyond physical labels to a whole ’nother level.

In his first book, “The Bhagavad-Gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness,” (Backintyme, 2007) Byrd, whose Krishna name is Charukrishna, said he has found the answer to his lifelong quest of transcending race, ethnicity, religion and other physical categories to ascend to a higher, universal identity.

“The subtitle reflects my thinking over the years, my journey,” he said. Born and reared a Southern Baptist in Southwest Virginia, Byrd said he “came up buying into society’s notion that I was just a very light-skinned black kid. But over a period of time, when you keep looking at yourself in the mirror [and see that] there’s a disconnect there, I think you grow past the first level of identity that society gives you.”

“I went from black to being mulatto because one of my great-aunts used to tell me about back in the early days when the newspaper would list people as being black, white and mulatto,” he said.

“I don’t feel either black or white,” Byrd said, “but the racial identity crisis that this country causes, especially for people of mixed background, pushes you to search for a higher spiritual truth, something that makes sense of the madness behind lumping people into separate and distinct racial groupings.”

Now, when asked his identity, “I tell them I’m a human being, that I don’t racially identify anymore,” Byrd said. “Krishna Consciousness transcends identifying with the physical body. I no longer push for a multiracial identity because I’ve gone beyond that.”

Byrd’s turnaround from multiracial/mulatto crusader to the man who is above any race but human came in the form of a book. Seven or eight years ago, someone gave him a copy of “The Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God,” which is widely considered to be sacred by many of the Hindu traditions, especially by followers of Krishna.

“I thought, ‘it’s a cult,’” said Byrd, who was familiar with the bald-headed, saffron-robed, chanting so-called Hare Krishnas who were often seen on street corners and in airports in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, curiosity drove him to read the book.

“It’s the deepest thing I’ve ever read in my life,” he said, inspired to learn more about the philosophy behind it. Today, he attends a Krishna temple in Brooklyn, and has gone through the first stage of initiation.

His leap from wrestling with black/white/other categories to transcendent Eastern theology is at the heart of “The Bhagavad-Gita in Black and White.”

“The book gives a pretty good outline of what’s been going on in this country the past few decades regarding racial identification, and freedom of association, such as interracial marriage,” Byrd said.

“Krishna consciousness is defined as the revival of our natural original consciousness of complete harmony with God, or Krishna,” he explained. “It changed me in the way I viewed myself, and it changed me in terms of how I view everything else. I see everyone else as emanating from the same source.”

Having fond a context and framework that work well for him, “I’d like to share it with others,” Byrd said.

“This book is primarily aimed at the multiracial population in America, and any American who wants to avail him or herself of the Vedic knowledge and how it might apply to the current situation of race consciousness in the United States,” Byrd said.

If you go

Charles Michael Byrd (Charukrishna) will discuss, read from and sign copies of “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness,” on Thursday, Oct. 4, 7 to 8 p.m., in watchung booksellers, 54 Fairfield St., Watchung Plaza.

“Talk For Food” podcast on WebTalkRadio

September 3rd, 2007

Adam Abraham hosts the weekly “Talk For Food” podcast on WebTalkRadio. He recently interviewed me about my new book, “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness.” Click the below link to hear that conversation (approximately one hour):
“Beyond Race and Into Spirit”

Charles Michael Byrd makes appearance in Montclair, New Jersey to promote new book!

August 20th, 2007

Charles Michael Byrd, author of “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme Publishing) will be speaking at Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza in Montclair, New Jersey on Thursday, October 4th from 7 to 8 p.m.

In addition to reading from his book and holding a Q&A session on racialism from the Vedic perspective, Mr. Byrd, along with bookstore owner Margot Sage-El, will conduct a drawing afterwards. Individuals (nationally as well as locally) who purchase “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” from the Watchung Booksellers website between now and October 4th — as well as those folk who buy the book after they arrive that evening — will be eligible to win Watchung Booksellers Gift Certificates!

Born in 1952 in Abingdon, Virginia, Mr. Byrd is of “black,” “white” and Cherokee heritage. From 1995-2003 he published Interracial Voice, an Internet newsjournal serving the multiracial community in cyberspace. Among numerous media credits, he has appeared on both Tony Brown’s Journal and Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour” and has written Op-Eds for the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday and The Times Union of Albany. As well, he was recently interviewed for the Washington Post article entitled “A Part Colored By History: Choice of White Actress For Mixed-Race Role Stirs Debate on Insensitivity.”

A student of Vedic scriptures, Mr. Byrd believes that individuals of mixed racial backgrounds quickly begin searching for a higher spiritual truth, something that allows them to make sense of the madness behind lumping human beings into separate and distinct “racial” groupings.

Boston native Margot Sage-El is interracially married with three children and was interviewed by Mr. Byrd for Interracial Voice back in September 1995. Additionally, she has been in the forefront of the effort to promote literature geared toward “mixed-race” children and their families.

Order “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” from Watchung Booksellers today, and come to Montclair on October 4th. (Telephone 973-744-7177 if you need directions or more information.) See you there!