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The Importance of Birthdays

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By Phiroz Mehta

Part of a talk given at Dilkusha, Forest Hill, London on 1st October 1989

In a world of over 5000 million people, there are on average 14 million birthdays each day of the year. And yet there are very few people, if any, who appreciate the extraordinary importance of a birthday. The whole universe is at work, not only our parents, producing each one of us. The very stars in their courses have laboured and continue to labour (hence the validity of Astrology) to bring us into unique, particular and separate being out of the unitary infinite non-being. Materially, we are the children of stardust, spiritually, of the Divine Energy whose Creative Action in Eternity is ceaseless. So indeed stars and unseen powers shape and affect our lives and destinies, and we in turn affect the cosmos, so much so that the movement of an arm or the winking of an eye, or a stir of the mind and the heart affects the farthest stars and the divine unknown Powers that be, Powers designated by Milton as Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers.

So to me the celebration of a birthday can be a veritable entertaining of the company of Heaven and the multitude of Earth — Heaven and Earth, the Father and Mother of all Manifestation. You may recall Homer called Earth the wife of starry heaven. How extraordinary then, how important, is a birthday? A day most fit for divine contemplation of all those spiritual values — Love, Wisdom, Truth, Purity, Goodness and Beauty — which marks with special and transcendent significance the deep meaning of our Human-ness.

So let such an occasion be remembered as a thing of beauty. That lovely English poet, John Keats, starts his great poem Endymion with “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever,” and concludes his Ode on a Grecian Urn with, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”. And I would add to that, Love is Truth, Love is Beauty.

In the one commandment of Jesus, “Love ye one another as I have loved you”, is the Way of Truth and Wisdom and Beauty.


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