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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • khorourt mahrtgan, gahmk astoudzoh
    (Literally, mystery for man, God’s will)

    How the universe is working remains a mystery to most people. This is because people are unaware of certain essential facts of life. Two such important facts are:

    (1) There is a Supreme God who is the ultimate creator and controller of everything, but He remains a neutral observer meaning He does not love or hate anyone. He simply gives people what they deserve without prejudice.

    (2) Men suffer due to their own actions performed in the present life and previous lives due to the misuse of their limited free will.

    These two points can be summarized by “Man proposes and God disposes.” Man desires a particular situation and God facilitates his obtaining his desire. The following discussion will try to elaborate on the exercise of man’s free will.

    God has endowed every human being with limited free will. We cannot “will” the sun to come up or go down, or death to stop, or the planets to stop moving. But, we can “will” that we give up certain types of behavior, or regulate our activities to attain a goal, or save money to purchase a gift, etc. Our free will is limited, but it is never stopped or prohibited by God.

    What are the limits of our free will?

    We are limited to either accept God’s instructions to guide us in life, or reject those instructions and live our life as if independent of God’s will.

    If God is all powerful, then why doesn’t He force us to follow His instructions?

    The nature of relationship with God is one of pure love. Love cannot be attained unless one has the free will to choose to love. If it is forced or programmed, then it is not real love. We are endowed with free will so that we can develop love and affection for God and He can reciprocate with His love.

    What happens if we choose not to follow God’s instructions?

    By refusing to follow God’s instructions we become subject to the laws of material nature or karmic laws. This happens because we become a competitor of God who is the ultimate controller and enjoyer of everything. By ignoring or rejecting God’s instructions we attempt to become the controller and enjoyer of material nature. The false ego is based on the conviction, “I am the controller and I am the enjoyer.” The laws of karma act on us to remedy our rebellious nature. Because we have an eternal soul, it is possible to remain rebellious eternally. But, a human being at any time can choose to accept God’s instructions and become free of the binding effects of karma and repeated birth and death.

    How does false ego originate and what is it?

    The mind is the center of all the activities of the senses. When we hear or see desirable sense pleasures, the mind becomes the reservoir of desires for sense gratification. As one contemplates these possibilities for sense pleasures, the mind and senses become agitated with lust. Lust is the excessive or obsessive desire for sense gratification and especially sexual pleasures and its concomitant needs of profit, distinction and adoration. The intelligence becomes seized by such lustful desires. Intelligence refers to the power to analyze things in their proper perspective. The mind records and stores in the memory information from the other senses. The intelligence determines the beneficial or detrimental effects of those experiences or thoughts. If the intelligence is corrupted by lusty desires, it can not correctly analyze whether such experiences and desires are good or bad for oneself. By the influence of lusty intelligence the soul is influenced to acquire the false ego and identify itself with the mind and senses and bodily pleasures. The soul becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakenly accepts this as true happiness.

    The ego of the individual is “I am.” The contaminated ego is “I am the lord of all I see. I am the enjoyer.” This world remains a place of strife because every living being thinks that he is the lord (controller) and the enjoyer of the material world. This inevitably leads to conflict. Material ego (false consciousness) has two psychic divisions. One is that I am the creator (controller), and the other is that I am the enjoyer. The following logical thought will help to understand our real position.I

    If we, the living entities are the controller and enjoyer, then we would not be controlled by anything. But, the truth is that we are being controlled at every step. For example, we are forced to eat due to hunger, then we are forced to evacuate. We are forced to sleep, then wake up and work to maintain ourselves. We are forced to breathe, to blink our eyes, etc. We don’t know how we digest food, yet it is essential to maintain our life. We are not in control of our own heart beat. We work to be happy, yet suffering is forced on us despite our every effort to avoid it. We are forced to get old, sick and die. We did not chose to be born. Every material function is forced on us and these functions are going on without our conscious control. The movement of the sun, earth, the change of seasons, rains, currents of rivers, wind, etc., are all vital functions on which our existence depends. They are being conducted without our control or understanding. Thus, we are neither independent nor are we the controller or creator. Yet, due to our false ego, we think we are the controller and with this misconception we continue in material existence attached to the temporary body and its miseries.

    It is evident that we are not the controller and we are in every circumstance controlled and dependent. If we understand these facts, we can begin the process of gradually surrendering to the will of God and following His instructions. This will immediately release us from the cycle of self-inflicted suffering due to ignorance. Suffering in life is caused by not accepting to follow the instructions of the Supreme Controller. By acting either in defiance or ignorance of God’s instructions, we become responsible for our acts and the resultant reactions. Thus, suffering in life is due to our own actions.

    There are many seeming contradictions in life when one does not understand that man has limited free will and is never independent of God’s will and the laws of nature, which act under God’s supervision. The two most frequently cited are:

    1. Why is there so much human suffering and evil if God is the Supreme Controller and all good?

    This question is addressed by two verses in the Bhagavad-gita 5.14-15,

    The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature. (Bg 5.14)

    Nor does the Supreme Lord assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge. (Bg.5.15)

    According to the Vedic knowledge, a living entity is a soul who is placed in a material body according to the laws of karma. This is determined by the activities and desires of a living being. Each person gets what they deserve.

    The temporary body is the cause of varieties of activities and their resultant reactions. As soon as we enter a particular body, we are obliged to act in certain ways as determined by the body and the forces of nature (modes of material nature, goodness, passion and ignorance) which act on it.

    For beings who have the human form of body, they suffer or enjoy the results of activities of the body by wrongly identifying with the it. It is due to ignorance that is the result of many lifetimes of false identification with the body that is the cause of bodily suffering and distress. This is called material conditioning.

    The sojourn of the living being in the material body is figuratively referred to as living in “the city of the body.” While in the body, one think he is it’s master. The truth is one is not the proprietor or the controller of the body’s actions and reactions. An embodied living being is always struggling for existence, which means the laws of nature are continually imposing limits on one’s range of sense pleasure and he is continually struggling against those constraints.

    If the living entity can become unaffected by the activities of the body, he becomes free from the reactions as well. This is possible only in the human body. The beginning of spiritual understanding is differentiating between the material body and the conscious soul, who is temporarily placed in the body. Thus, it is possible for the conscious soul within the body to become aloof or unaffected by the activities of the body.

    Animals are completely controlled by instinct. They do not have the developed intellect nor the limited free will of a human being. They must wait until the evolutionary process of consciousness brings them to the human form which is endowed with intellect and free will so that they can understand their real position.

    The Supreme Being or God is undisturbed by the sinful or pious activities of living beings. He is equal to all living beings and does not create a particular situation for anyone. It is the living being who desires to be put into certain conditions of life, and thereby the chain of action and reaction begins. The living entity cannot fulfill his desires without the help of the omnipotent Supreme God. The individual human being has limited free will. But many facilities must be supplied in order for the living being to satisfy his desires. For example, one needs to have a body capable of movement (legs, arms and strength, eyesight, speech, etc.) All these and many more facilities are supplied by God so that the individual can fulfill his desires.

    If the living being is bewildered in his desires, God allows him to fulfill those desires because He does not interfere with man’s limited free will. However, God is never responsible for the actions and reactions of the particular situation which may be desired. Bewildered by false identification with the body, the individual mistakenly identifies with it and becomes subjected to the temporary happiness and misery of life. For example, there are so many men in the world. If a woman becomes attached to one particular man and decides to marry him, she shares his happiness and misery in life. By identifying herself as the wife of a man, her husband, she becomes affected by his activities in life. Later, she might decide to disassociate herself from her husband and eventually remain unattached and no longer affected by his activities. In the same way, it is possible to become aloof from the activities of the body (eating, sleeping, mating, defending) which are in truth forced upon us. Then one is no longer affected by the happiness and distress of the body.

    God is present in the heart of every living being as the witness and permitter of every act. As the witness, God can understand the desires of the living entity. Material desire is a subtle form of conditioning. If the living entity persists in his material desires, God facilitates him to fulfill them as he deserves. This can be summarized as “Man proposes and God disposes.”

    The individual is not independent in fulfilling his desires. God does not interfere with the exercise of the limited free will of the living entities. He remains neutral toward everyone. God neither hates nor likes anyone, although it may appear He does. The embodied soul causes his own bewilderment by his desire to avoid God’s advice coming through the holy scriptures. In every stage of existence the living entity remains dependent on God for the fulfillment of his desires..

    When the living being becomes frustrated and miserable, he often blames God for his plight. This is a mistake. God remains neutral so as not to interfere with the limited free will of a person. Otherwise, there would be no possibility of real love. God simply gives each person what they deserve based on their actions in this life and previous lives. He is not the cause of a person’s suffering. If someone chooses to forget God, then the Lord helps him do it. If someone wants to remember and approach God, then the Lords helps him. In every case, God remains neutral in order to give everyone a chance to exercise their limited free will. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, “Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Bg 18.63) Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna all the intricacies of action and reaction (karma), then He leaves it up to Arjuna to decide what course of action he will take. Thus the material destiny of everyone is determined by their own desires and actions. But, the spiritual destiny of a person is never predetermined. God gives everyone the freedom to choose Him at any time regardless of his material destiny. By correct use of our free will we can end our cycle of birth and death

    The laws of karma can be bewildering because one may receive reactions to acts they performed in a previous life for which they have no way of consciously remembering. This causes confusion because a person cannot see a causal relation between a previous act and the present reaction. It is essential to understand that the soul is eternal and it is changing bodies from one life to another. The reactions to one’s activities in a previous life may be forwarded to the next life and one suffers or enjoys accordingly.

    We can understand the above point in the following way. Every normal person is working with the goal to be happy. They hope for peace and prosperity so that they can be happy. In spite of every precaution, still misery comes as old age, sickness, death, accidents, natural catastrophes, etc. Also, we sometimes have good fortune even though we did not expect it. This should convince us that happiness and misery are experienced by us in a way that we cannot always predict. According to the Vedic knowledge, this is because happiness and misery are preordained due to the activities we performed in a previous life. What is not preordained is our ability to accept God’s instructions, follow them and change our destiny.

    Disregarding God’s instructions due to ignorance can be corrected. But willful disregard of God’s instructions is the beginning of evil.
    When a person becomes outright envious of God and tries to destroy belief and worship of God, he begins to perpetrate evil acts that hurt others and himself. For example, a child that rebels against his parents’ authority can sometimes become so disturbed that he may kill them or himself. Evil begins by disdain of authority. The supreme authority is God and His instructions.

    2. If God knows everything past, present and future, then how can there be free will?

    We are being controlled by outside forces. As in any organization, there is always one controller over another in an hierarchical organizational structure. Because I am being controlled, I can understand that there is an organized control system acting on me and this implies that there is an hierarchical organization with an ultimate controller running the show. Otherwise, I could not be specifically controlled. My digestion, breathing, heart beat, the changing seasons, the tides, the movement of planets, and all observed phenomena are proof of specific control because everything is being orchestrated in a precise and organized system.

    In any town or city there are controllers for traffic, police, taxes, water and electricity, health, education, courts, garbage collection, city government, etc. If there are so many controllers for a little town or city, how can we say that there are no controllers for the gigantic universal affairs. Just as in the city there is the mayor, who is the chief controller overseeing all the other controllers in the city government, so in the universe there is an ultimate controller overseeing all the subordinate controllers.

    From this reasoning, I can understand that I am being controlled, I am not completely independent and that there is an elaborate organizational structure with an ultimate controller in charge. If this is so, then how can anyone claim that we exercise free will. Further, it is said that God is all-knowing, all powerful and knows past, present, and future. How can anyone have free will if God already knows what will happen and is ultimately controlling everything? The answer is the following.

    There are many situations where we act under the control of an external authority, yet we exercise our free will. For example, when I drive a car, I drive under the control and authority of state and federal authorities who have built the roads and made so many laws regulating cars and driving. I must pass a test to get a license to drive. I must pay fees and follow the codes of safe driving. I must respect all the signs and specific lights such as stop lights, stop signs, speed limits, etc. If I comply with all the rules, I am free to go anywhere I want. If I disregard or break the rules my freedom of choice will be curtailed progressively until I either comply or all my rights to drive will be taken away. If I egregiously break the law I can be put in jail and forbidden to drive. Even though I act under the control of an external authority, my freedom of choice is not hampered as long as I follow the rules of driving. I can drive anywhere I want as long as I follow the rules. Indeed, following the rules gives me the widest range of free will to drive. When I choose not to follow the rules, my freedom to drive is progressively diminished and eventually canceled completely.

    Our free will is not removed because God knows our future nor is our future predetermined without any hope of change. Someone may be sitting on a branch of a tree and sawing it off where the branch meets the trunk. Seeing this, I know that the person will eventually saw the branch off and fall down. I know the future of that person. Such knowledge does not preclude that person from continuing to saw off the branch and fall. Nor does my understanding of the probable future preclude that person from heeding my advice and saving himself from falling. Every person has two possible destinies. One destiny evolves by following the laws of society and learning the merits of good conduct and prudent action and the other by disregarding them. More profoundly, by following God’s instructions, one can change destiny; or, disregarding them, one becomes subject to the laws of material nature and is entrapped in reactive work or karmic destiny.

    When a company manufactures a machine like a washing machine, they also print a manual of instruction how to operate the machine so the user can get maximum use and satisfaction from it. If I purchase the machine and ignore the manual of instruction, I may not get the full use of the machine’s potential as well as perform some function in ignorance that may damage the machine. God created this world and has given His manual of instruction, the holy scriptures, how to live here and achieve our maximum potential. At any time, I may choose to follow His instructions or ignore them. If I follow His instructions, then God knows my future. If I don’t follow them, He also knows my future. In both cases, my free will is still intact and enables me to choose between the two options. God knows the future in either case.

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  • vohmantz kashgahk, vohmantz akhorjahk

    A more literal Armenian version of this is

    vohmantz hahrooust yev hivant, vohmantz ahroghjuh yev ahnohtee.

    Some are rich and sick and others are healthy and hungry.

    It is a fact that more people have died of overeating than starvation. Rich people have a tendency of overindulgence in food, drink, smoke, sex and other forms of self dissipation. Often poor people try to imitate them with cheap junk food, smokes, liquor, and sex. The result is always undermining of health and well-being. Eating less is not a sign of poverty always. It is the hallmark of wisdom for the educated man. Voluntarily eating only as much as is required to keep the body and soul together is wisdom. Whatever is excess can be shared with love with other persons especially the needy. Voluntary fasting periodically according to religious principals is a wonderful way to increase one’s self determination and also create surplus supplies for distribution to the poor. Hazrat Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s companion, said that there is no breathe as sweet as the breathe of the believer who fasts according to religious duty (ramadan, etc.) In Christianity there are many fast days and periods also when one should refrain from eating completely or from eating any flesh. Actually it is preferable to refrain from eating all animal flesh.

    I follow the following two overriding rules of diet: don’t eat anything that has eyes, a family, a heartbeat; and eat only those things that if you plant them they will grow. I also have three rules for diet:

    1. At every meal, there should be half raw and half cooked food.

    Half the meal should be raw food such as a rich salad. The other half should be cooked food. A good salad is made with fresh spinach,
    grated cabbage, grated daikon, grated carrots, cucumber, lettuce, grated turnip, fresh sprouts, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, mint, tarragon, unprocessed sea salt. The value of raw food is that there are live digestive enzymes in raw foods especially in sprouts. These digestive enzymes makes it much easier to digest food. People who eat cooked food force their body to produce digestive enzymes. The body makes three types of enzymes: digestive, metabolic, and oxygenating. If we eat only cooked food and no raw food, we overtax the body’s ability to make digestive enzymes and thus deteriorate its ability to make the other essential enzymes.

    2. Do not snack between meals.

    It takes four hours for the body to completely digest a meal. Snacking between meals before the digestive process is completed will
    cause indigestion and gradually weaken the entire digestive track because it will never get any rest. Eventually, this causes poor digestion resulting in gas coming from undigested foods in the intestines, constipation, headaches, lack of energy, dull mind, excess acid, etc. If there is hunger between meals, drink water or fresh juices, but no solid food.

    3. Do not mix carbhohydrates, proteins, amd sugars at the same meal.

    The body secretes hydrochloric acid to digest proteins. If we mix carbhohydrates and especially sugars in the meal with the protein, then it inhibits the complete digestion of the proteins. This will result in gas and many other side effects of poor digestion. An example of a typical carbhohydrate and protein meal follows:

    Carbhohydrate meal:
    A staple grain like organic brown rice, or organic millet, or organic quinoa, or organic buckwheat along with a large salad, cooked vegetables, vegetable soup, baked vegetables like potato or pumpkin, etc.

    Protein meal:

    Beans, lentils, or peas used as a base for vegetable bean soup, salad, cooked or baked vegetables, yogurt, and tofu.

    Not eating meat, fish, or eggs is absolutely essential for good health. Eating only fresh vegetables, nuts,grains and cereals, and some dairy
    provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals for a healthy life. Milk is the blood of the animal transformed into a suitable form for human nourishment. All the animal protein that may be beneficial for human beings is in the milk or yogurt. There is no need to kill the animal to get animal protein.Killing animals unnecessarily for food is a bestial act against the laws of nature and God. All the bad propaganda against milk is not completely true. Those persons who are lactose intolerant can avoid milk but take yogurt in moderate amounts for nourishment.Yogurt is much more readily digestible than milk. Modern pasturization of milk and the mistreatment of cows are important factors to be considered. However, it is possible to obtainorganic milk and sometimes in certain places raw milk from cows that are not mistreated. Milk from cows that are protected and treated with love is the most sublime and nutritious food available to man. Such milk will promote the development of long and healthy life and improve the function and exercise of intelligence when taken in moderate amounts everyday.

    Processed or refined salt, white sugar, processed cooking oils, coffee and tea containing caffeine, fried foods, all processed foods such as cookies, cakes, pies, crackers, pastas, white flour products, sodas, liquor and products containing alcohol, and animal flesh are all detrimental to good health and should be avoided. Only unprocessed sea salt that still contains all the trace minerals should be used. Processed salt has all the trace minerals removed and is pure sodium chloride. Four tablespoons of sodium chloride eaten consecutively will cause one to go into a coma and eventually die if their stomach is not pumped out. White sugar acidifies the blood and leaches out calcium from the teeth and bones (that is used by the body to neutralize the excess acidity). Processed cooking oils have their molecular structure altered. Such altered molecules increase the shelf life of the oils, but cause havoc in the body because the body cannot process such altered molecules. Consuming such altered molecules will cause the arteries to clog and eventually one experiences high blood pressure, cardiac problems, and diabetes. Fried foods (especially those fried in processed cooking oils) are undigestible and leave an acid residue in the intestines. This excess acid enters into the blood stream and throws off the acid alkaline balance of the blood. The blood is ideally at 7.4 pH. If the pH tips too much to the acid side (or alkaline side )serious health problems are caused. Therefore, the body automatically will leach out minerals from the bones to neutralize such acid.

    The real cause of tooth decay and osteoporosis is excess acid which causes the demineralization of the bones. At any one time mineralization and demineralization are happening. By maintaining an alkaline diet we assure that more mineralization takes place and our bones stay healthy, our blood stream remains clean, our heart, liver and other vital organs function without deterioration. Coffee always leaves an acid residue and is very detrimental to health. My father literally killed himself from drinking up to twelve cups of coffee and smoking two packs of chesterfield cigarettes per day. He had a very acid condition of his blood. He lost all his teeth at 45 years old and developed cancer of the lungs at 55 and died miserably after cancer treatment meaning operations, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. My father did not eat very well. He ate mostly meat, bread and very few vegetables and fresh food. After he lost his teeth he could eat only soft food. He sickness was due to a very compromised immune system, malnutrition, and impure blood. Many Armenian men, like my father, are addicted to smoking, coffee, meat, liquor and generally eating a very bad diet.

    Most health problems are caused by the imbalance of the acid-alkaline balance of the blood. A very easy way and inexpensive way to bring the body back to normal is by consuming large amounts of carrot juice and other vegetable and fruit juices, avoiding all meat, fish, eggs, and detrimental foods mentioned above. Fresh juice contains many minerals that are very useful for alkalizing the body and neutralizing of excess acidity. Following my simple three rules and avoiding detrimental acid forming foods as outlined above and eating my recommended diet will help a person overcome a compromised immune system. This will help the body heal itself without catastropic medical procedures.

    There are three main steps in self healing; stimulating and building up the body’s immune system, eliminating toxins, and nourishing the body with very potent natural foods free of preservatives and any other artifical additives. The building up of the immune system takes place by avoiding acid forming foods, and following my dietary suggestions with alot of fresh juices especially carrot juice. Following limited fasting especially on days that are astrologically important such as eleven days after the full moon and eleven days after the new moon and those days that are designated as important by religion. Every religion has important fast days such as lent, ramadan, etc. In the Armenian Orthodox Church there are many days of fasting from all meat. Unfortunately the Armenians don’t follow these very beneficial dietary rules as set down by their religious tradition. Medicinal bathing and sweating stimulates the ability of the body to eliminate toxins through the skin. Fresh juices and water along with foods like prunes and whole grains helps intestinal elimination. The use of medicinal clays used on the body as clay packs and internally are very useful for elimination of toxins. Walking briskly in open spaces with deep breathing is very benficial. Walking up hills increases the oxygen intake and helps to use the full capacity of the lungs by deep breathing. Mild exercise in open areas with fresh air is very helpful. Sun bathing in the morning sun before twelve noon is very beneficial for health. Afternoon sun is not as good and may even be detrimental for health. Bathing in clean and fast current rivers is very beneficial as is bathing in ocean water. Currents of natural bodies of water helps the blood circulation.

    The most important food that the body needs is fresh air that is oxygen rich. If we are deprived of oxygen for more than a few minutes we immediately die. Lack of oxygen to any part of the body will cause serious health problems. Lack of oxygen to the heart causes a heart attack; lack of oxygen to the brain causes a stroke. Cancer thrives in an area of the body that is oxygen depleted. It develops in an anerobic environment. Most health problems are caused by poor oxygen distribution in the body. Healing requires improving the oxygen supply to all parts of the body by eliminating all obstructions usually caused by a build up of toxins.

    Medicinal bathing is very useful for eliminating toxins and improving blood circulation. The bathtub is one of the greatest inventions in man’s history. If it is used frequently and effectively it can help to protect one’s health tremendously. Better than a bathtub is a clean river or the ocean. One can use the bathtub in the following ways. The following method for detoxification is simple and effective. Fill half your bathtub with warm water and add one cup of bentonite clay. Mix the powder in the water until all the lumps are dissolved. Soak in the warm water and reduce the in-coming water to a trickle of the hottest water possible. The bathtub water will slowly fill and the temperature will increase gradually. If, at any time, you feel uncomfortable you can get out of the tub and apply cold water to your face or the back of your neck. If you have a pre-existing heart problem or blood pressure problem, then do not over stimulate your body with the gradual warm to hot water. Just soak in the warm water bath.

    If you are not inconvenienced with the gradually hotter bath water, then continue soaking until the water reaches a level where you can immerse your whole body except for your face. By soaking almost your entire body in very warm water you will increase your body temperature one degree or more. This will cause your body to sweat and release more quickly many toxins along with the bentonite clay’s drawing power. You can also periodically get out of the water and use a hand towel soaked with cold water to rub down your body. A cold water towel rub further stimulates the blood circulation. Also a rubdown with a natural fiber hand mitt will tremendously stimulate blood circulation.

    How to make your bathtub into a sauna for free

    Once your body is heated by soaking in the water, another technique that increases sweating is to sit with your legs in the bathtub of hot water and cover your head and body with a towel. Do this with your shower curtain closed. The steam from the hot water will cause you to sweat profusely.

    All over body clay application

    You can directly apply a mixture of water and Bentonite clay made into a paste all over your body. Let the paste slowly dry, then wash off. Direct application of Bentonite clay is very effective for detoxification. (Bentonite clay can also be used instead of soap as a body cleanser. Dilute some Bentonite clay in water, let it sit for five minutes. You can apply it all over your body and rinse it off.)

    Aromatherapy detoxification

    Another technique for detoxification is to soak in the hot warm bath for twenty minutes. Get out of the tub and towel dry. Apply lavender oil or other suitable essential oils ( like rosemary or eucalyptus oil) all over your body. You can do this by direct application or dilute the oil in water and spray it over your body. Now, wrap yourself in a clean cotton bed sheet and get under your bed covers and relax. You will sweat profusely with the aid of the essential oils and your own body heat.

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  • mohrun hahrahmuh (gehljuh) cuhllahr

    hahrahm (haram) is a Turkish word which means unclean, disrespectful forbidden by religion, illicit, ill-gotten, illegitimate

    This saying affirms the chaste, moral character of the traditional Armenian mother.

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  • huhrrahshk cheh vor mehr ahsskuh tuhshnahmeeehn vehrahprehtzav, huhrrahsk ayn eh vor mehr yehgahvarnehren vehrahprehtzank

    Armenians have somehow survived through many invasions of marauding armies. They have often been massacred and disseminated. Yet, they seem to be able to reconstitute themselves and continue their existence as a nation even being spread all over the world. Armenians have been seriously hampered by poor leadership. There are many unsung heroes who have sacrificed everything for their nation. Yet, it is not clear if the Armenians have had competent leadership especially in modern times. The last leader of any real consequence was King Dickran or Dickran the Great. After him the nation has been in gradual decline. The Armenian Church has been the de facto leader of the nation through most of modern times from its inception to the present. There have been different political groups that arose under the Ottoman yoke but they were for the most part ineffective in changing the destiny of the people. They were outsmarted consistently by the Turks.

    I want to discuss what it means to be the leader of a nation. A leader must lead by example for example is better than precept. His example should inspire people to seek the spiritual goal of life. AT the same time, he should inspire the people to live a peaceful and honorable life with emphasis on execution of duty, honest work, and always respectful of all living beings. Unless the leader is willing to sacrifice to attain these goals, the people will not be very serious for such goals. A leader should comport himself as a loving parent for his people. In other words, his primary concern is the spiritual and material welfare of the people in that order. Unless there is emphasis on spiritual life, the people will gradually become very materialistic and ignore for lack of training the finer qualities of life like empathy, compassion, respect, humility, and reliance on spiritual knowledge and authority as one’s guide in life. The leader should be a spiritual and philosophical person whose ultimate responsibility is to lead people back to the kingdom of God.

    Being strict with oneself and tolerant of others is the hallmark of a leader and not being tolerant of oneself and strict with others. One’s example of self restraint and personal austerity for a higher cause serves as an example for others.One must not demand respect but command it by example.

    There are certain principles of a progressive life that includes things to do and things not to do. A leader can inspire people in the “dos” and “don’ts” of life. The “don’ts” include no meat, fish, or eggs and no illicit sexual connections and no intoxication and no gambling or philosophical speculation.
    By giving these things up one begins a progressive life of self improvement and spiritual enlightenment. The “dos” entail eating only sanctified food that has been prepared with love for God and made as an offering of vegetarian dishes. Eating the remnants of such offering purify the body and mind. Regularly chanting the names of God according to the Psalms to glorify God and regularly hearing the Holy scriptures purify the mind and enlightens one with the fundamental understanding that we are all subordinate to the will of God. Offering our service to God in the church or other spiritual organizations on a regular and voluntary basis. These “dos and don’ts” are the basic practices to grow and blossom in one’s spiritual life. Following these principles leads to a strong sense of duty and dedication and faithfulness, courage, steadiness, uprightness, and fearless execution of responsibilities. All these qualities make people into serious members of stable families, loyal citizens of a state, and steady, honest workers in society. When the leader inspires the people to follow the universal principles of religion which are: austerity, cleanliness, truthfulness and mercy, then the citizens are prone to so nice as to encourage the leader to do better and better. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that eliminates envy, lust, greed and all the qualities that cause dissension in society.

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  • kef uhnogheen kef chee bahksheer

    There is a story concerning Harun al Rashid [Abbasid caliph] who went around at nights disguised as a poor person to see what was going on in his capital, Baghdad. In one of these night journeys he encountered a poor person who would always party and have fun even though he didn’t have much. The story continues as Harun tries to make him more miserable to see whether his joy will continue, and since it does, Harun rewards him in the end.

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  • ahnkhehlk kuhlogheen yehrehsen eench guh kahseh kheljuh nehrpanuh

    Ignorance is the worst enemy of man. It causes untold suffering that could be avoided by acting with knowledge.The result of knowledge and its correct application in real situations is that people become enthusiastic and hopeful. They see how the material nature is working and by correct action they are able to live without unnecessary suffering to themselves and not causing it to others.

    The purpose of all the collective wisdom in the world is to come to knowledge. By such knowledge one can act effectively in this short life to attaining the purpose of man’s existence in this world. We have translated and explained over three hundred proverbs so far. At this point I want to summarize the collective wisdom of our forefathers through the practical use of these proverbs.

    1. Ashtuhvadz sheedakeen hehd eh - God is with the righteous

    This is the guiding light of knowledge. When a person follows the righteous path as set forth by God Himself in His Holy Word, then one can expect to be protected by the Lord Himeself.

    2. Ashdoutzoh bahhadz votchkharuh kayluh choudher

    That lamb that God protects no wolf can eat.

    How to follow the Word of God and become protected by the Lord is the practical question we must ask and have answered.
    Without this knowledge we live a very risky life by which we continually expose ourselves out of ignorance to being punishable by the laws of nature for acts performed out of ignorance of God’s instructions. In the Old Testament, God gave man the Ten Commandments to guide them on the righteous path.

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that take his name in vain.”

    “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

    “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God give thee.”

    “Thou shalt not kill.”

    “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

    “Thou shalt not steal.”

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”

    Of these ten, the one that is being violated without any conscience is “Thou shalt not kill.” Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and nearly all people are killing on a daily basis without reflecting on it. Meat eating, abortion and birth control, hunting, modern warfare where the rules of engagement are not followed, senseless violence in society are means of killing that are daily happening in society. We live in very violent times.

    Killing is more than murder. Murder refers to killing human beings. The Bible, however, says “Thou shalt not kill.” This includes animals and all other living things including plants. We should not kill unnecessarily. What is necessary is determined by scripture and not by our whims. During wartime a soldier in the army is given permission to kill enemy fighters. Soldiers are not allowed to kill indiscriminately.

    3. Astdoudzoh vaghen eh eemastioutian eeshgeesphuh. Astdoudzoh sehruh eh eemastioutian nebahdahkuh.

    The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Love of God is the goal of wisdom.

    4. Astduhvadzuh mehgh, khoskuh mehgh

    As there is only one God, man should have one word. When a person makes a promise, it should be honored without fail. One God, one word.

    5. Mahrtuh bahdeevov behdk eh ahpreh

    Man should live an honorable life.


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  • agancheen megehn guh muhneh, mouishen gehleh

    One does not have a mind to listen to good advice.

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  • aghkad uhllalluh ahmoht cheh, aghdohd uhlallun est ahmoht

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  • ahgh hahsav, madaghuh hahdhav

    Literally, this proverb says, “(When)The salt arrived, the meat was finished.”
    This proverb conveys the idea of being very late for an appointment.

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  • aghkaduh yeteh hahroustanah, charough behdkeh vor teemahnah

    This proverbs conveys the idea that poor people who become rich are often not very generous or kind-hearted.
    Therefore, those who remain poor must have shoes that last a long time because they will have a hard getting any handouts
    from the newly rich who often say no to requests for help.

    Charough is a shoe made of special very long lasting materials. It is made with thick soles of buffalo hide and the rest of the shoe is made with cow hide.

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  • ahmen ahdhen oughduh ahrmav chee trkehl

    Good fortune doesn’t always shine on a person.

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  • ahmen lehr eer mshoush ounee

    This proverb implies that everyone has his personal problems in life.

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  • ahmen karshahohd behkher mee yerghentznehr

    One should not listen to foul talk or repeat it and thus spread its venom

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  • astduhvadz hokeen duhvehr eh, (meguh)chee guhrnahr ahrnehl

    This proverb makes the statement that a person, as cleaver or powerful as he may be, cannot take away the soul of a humble, honest, Godly man (or woman).

    Poor people may not have much material means. They have their self respect and personal dignity which, for them, remains inviolable and precious. If anyone tries to undermine this, that person becomes the vilest being in the world.

    In ancient times there was a Roman Emperor named Diocletain who desired to marry the prettiest maiden in the Roman Empire. He found a Roman woman in a Christian convent. When the sisterhood heard of the Emperor’s request they decided to leave Rome. They eventually found refuge in Armenia in the town of Vaghgharsabad which is known today as Etchmiadzin.

    The Roman Emperor sent word to Drtad (King of the Armenians) to find these young maidens and send them back to Rome.
    The Armenian King found her and the other virgin girls. He was overwhelmed by her beauty and decided to take her for himself.
    The girl refused because she was a member of the Christian sisterhood and desired to live a life of piety. King Drtad was already married.
    Drtad summoned the leader of the sisterhood and requested that she persuade the beautiful virgin to accept his proposal of marriage. She returned and told the maiden to refuse the King and remain faithful to her vow “not to trade the joys and pleasures of heaven with the glories of this world.”

    The mother superior was tortured, beaten and imprisoned with two of her sisters for going against the will of the King.
    The beautiful maiden escaped with the rest of the sisters. King Drtad ordered his soldiers to find the maiden. They found her and brutally tortured her until her bones were broken and she died. When the other maidens, who numbered 32, came to pick up her body for burial, the soldiers killed them. King Drtad ordered the three maidens in his jail to be killed as well.

    Very quickly, after the bloodbath, the King was plagued by mental disorder and began to act as if possessed by an animal spirit.
    Due to this severe mental state of the King, St. Gregory, who was previously imprisoned by the King in a dungeon cave (called khor-virab in Armenian) for over 14 years, was released by the King’s order in order to heal him. St. Gregory had been imprisoned for preaching Christianity in Armenia. The Saint healed the King miraculously. The King was overwhelmed and convinced of the power of Jesus Christ. He declared that Christianity become the state religion of his kingdom of Armenia in 301 A.D.

    Because those maidens were sacrificed on Armenian soil they were given Armenian names. The beautiful maiden was named Hripsime
    and the mother superior was named Gayane. One of the first things that St. Gregory did was build a shrine on their graves. In the 7th century, Catholicos Gomidas built a church on the remains of St. Hripsime and Catholicos Ezra built a church on the remains of Gayane. Today, those two monasteries are still standing in Armenia.

    Due to the tremendous sacrifice of these virgin maidens, especially Gayane and Hripsime, Armenia became a Christian country. Their slaughter caused the mental disorder of the King and the subsequent release of St, Gregory who converted the King to Christianity. Men and women of virtue, who steadfastly live by the principles of spiritual life are able to work miracles in the course of their lives. They evolve, by the mercy of God, a power of purity stemming from their chastity and devotion. This power of purity that is the inherent nature of the eternal soul can overcome the most insurmountable obstacles in life.

    The eternal soul, once liberated from the ignorance of false identification and pride, manifests its eternal nature of surrender and goodness in the service of God. No earthly power can infringe on this sacred nature of the servant of God. God has given every living entity an eternal soul and no one can annul it. However, if an individual misuses one’s free will and makes the wrong choices in continually life after life then the eternal soul my suffer indefinitely until he comes to knowledge.


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  • ahnounuh gah, eenkah chee gah

    I was once on a walk with my teacher (guru), we were walking past the Musee de L’Homme in Paris. We were outside the Museum overlooking a grand circular drive area below the Museum. In the distance my teacher saw a large mass of sprawling buildings that were built in a large rectangular way as to enclose at huge interior garden area that was several football fields’ size. He asked, “What is that building.” I said, “It is the Invalides, the hospital Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, built to care for his old and wounded soldiers. He said, “the hospital is here, but where is Louis the XIVth.” He continued, “He built a building to last thousands of years, but he is not here to enjoy it because he is dead.. This is the problem of material life. We spend our time trying to building lasting monuments of stone but we are forced to die in a few years. We should rather spend our time developing our love of God and sharing it with others.”

    I thought about this for a long time. In the USA there are many monuments to remember George Washington, the most prominent founding father of the USA. For me, I consider a statement he made more significantly relevant than the monuments or his picture on every one dollar bill. He received a new axe as a present and used it to cut down a cherry tree. When his father asked, “Who cut down the cherry tree?” Young George replied, “Father I cannot tell a lie, I did cut down the cherry tree.” This statement by George Washington has had a greater impact on my life than seeing the different monuments in his name or seeing his face on one dollar bills. This story has had an influence on my life. It underlines the value of accepting personal responsibility and along with it correction so that one may not make the same mistake twice. There is also the emphasis on telling the truth. These are all lessons that teach values with moral importance for developing one’s character in life.

    Trying to perpetuate one’s memory with a monument will not have a lasting effect. Great actions and words that describe those deeds have a more lasting effect for future generations. The lives of saints when recorded can influence many generations of people by their inspiring deeds. For Armenians there are three persons whose sacrifice has had a lasting effect on future generations.: Mesrop Mashdotz, Saint Gregory, the Illuminator, and Vartan Mamigonian. St. Mesrop founded the Armenian alphabet, thus creating a foundation for the perpetuation of Armenian written word and especially the Armenian translation of the Bible. Saint Gregory sacrificed many years of his life as a prisoner in the cave-like dungeon of King Drtad. He was summoned out of the cave to heal the deathly sick King. He healed the King and converted him to Christianity. King Drtad went on to declare Christianity the state religion of Armenia. Later, Vartan Mamigonian and his army defended the right of Armenians to practice the Christian religion. Even though Mamigonian was defeated and his army routed by the Persians, the valor of the Armenian fighters deterred the Persians from forcing the people to give up Christianity. The example of sacrifice and dedication of these three exceptional men has inspired Armenians throughout history. Their names are perpetuated in history although they are no longer alive.

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