By Robert Baird


The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a great book that would allow people to see how they can cause change. It is written by Dan Millman who brings us the following from another of his books that are all worth contemplation.

"On an otherwise ordinary day, an angel appeared to a young merchant and former camel herder, known by all in the city where he was born. The angel's words filled him with awe and dread--it told him that he was to defy his people's ancestral religion, to denounce 360 deities carved in stone and worshipped for centuries, to declare himself the prophet of a single God, to abolish a way of life upon which countless lives and beliefs were founded--and establish a new religion out of nothing. Surely, he would be met with incredulity, rejection, violent persecution, and exile. Could his seemingly mad quest bring anything but failure--or at best, a martyr's death?

Or would this mortal, obedient to the divine command of an angel, achieve a victory beyond any that reason could have foretold?

He was born in Mecca in A.D. 570. His father died before his birth. His devastated mother, unable to nurse him, named Muhammad and gave him to a nursemaid--a shepherdess in a band of Bedouins. Muhammad spent his first five years with these nomads, living a hardy open-air existence following the grazing flocks through desert grass and scrub, sleeping in tents beneath a vast desert sky. Once weaned, he drank camel's milk and ate mostly rice, dates, wild birds, and locusts fried in oil. From the beginning, the desert claimed Muhammad as its own. He would always be a Bedouin at heart.

At age six, he returned to his mother, but she died later that year. He ended up living with an uncle, a caravan merchant. In the years that followed, Muhammad traveled throughout Arabia with his uncle's caravans, learning the wisdom of the desert, the ways of business, and the art of war as they fought off bands of marauders. His travels took him into close contact with various tribes and religions--Judaism, Christianity, and the Arab sects who worshipped hundreds of gods and goddesses in the form of stone idols. These experiences made a deep impression on this thoughtful, introspective youth. From these early threads, the tapestry of his fate was woven.

He grew into a handsome young man admired for his strong character, moral integrity, and sharp mind. But he had come to a merchant's life more by chance than choice. Disinterested in money and drawn to solitude, he left the caravan to work as a shepherd in the desert for months at a time.

When he was 25, Muhammad took a position in a trading company owned by a beautiful woman 15 years his senior. Her name was Khadija. For two years, he led Khadija's caravans throughout Arabia, rising to the position of company manager. Not surprisingly, Khadija fell in love with him. Finally, she proposed to him through an intermediary. Their marriage, which blessed them with six daughters, would last until Khadija's death 21 years later.

But almost as soon as the wedding ceremony had ended, Muhammad's mind again turned inward. His encounters with so many cultures and religions had planted hidden seeds within him that began to grow. He found himself pondering how the 360 stone gods in the temple of Mecca could save souls. Such questions drew him to once again search his own soul in the solitude of the desert.

Muhammad began spending his days in a cave in the hills outside Mecca, fasting, praying, and meditating. Sleeping little, he began to enter altered states {Seems a man away from a woman having visions who is a shepherd and poor person, might have begun to prove appealing in the literary tradition.} and have waking visions--to experience the inner life of a mystic. At times, violent trembling seized him and he lost consciousness. A practical man of robust health who had endured many grueling journeys across the desert, he found these phenomena strange and disturbing. But these inner quakes {Buddha's story includes lots of this kind of thing. What would happen to them today?} that he feared might be the harbingers of failing health were actually the premonitory tremors of a great awakening.

One night in the holy month of Ramadan in his 40th year, while fasting and praying in his desert cave, Muhammad heard a voice calling him with great urgency. Looking up in the darkness of his cave, he saw an angel standing before him, emanating a dazzling light. Muhammad fainted with fear, when he awoke, he found the angel still standing there.

'Read, thou,' the angel commanded him in a voice of stern authority.

'I cannot,' Muhammad stammered, for he could barely read.

'Read, thou,' the angel commanded him again in verse, 'in the name of the Lord who created all things, who created man from a clot. Read in the name of the Most High who taught man the use of the pen and taught him what before he knew not.'

In awe, Muhammad repeated these words, memorizing each one. Then the angel said, 'Muhammad, thou art the messenger of Allah and I am his angel, Gabriel.'

With that, the angel vanished.

In stunned exaltation, Muhammad went and told Khadija what had happened. She embraced him and unequivocally expressed her faith in his vision and his mission, saying, 'Rejoice, dear husband. He who holds in His hands the life of Khadija is my witness that thou wilt be the messenger of His people.'

But Muhammad could not accept his own vision. How could he, an ordinary man so far from perfection, be such a messenger? He feared that he might be deluded or perhaps insane. Days passed. He waited for another sign, for further confirmation so that he might believe in himself and know how to proceed. But no sign came.

At last, he returned to the cave on Mount Hira, seeking the angel Gabriel. He waited and prayed, but to no avail. In despair, haunted by terrible doubts and assailed by fears of madness, Muhammad climbed onto a precipice and prepared to leap to his death. At that very moment, the angel appeared before him again and, raising his hands, repeated, 'I am Gabriel, and thou art Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.' Muhammad froze on the edge of the chasm in a spellbound trance. Hours passed. That night one of Khadija's servants came and found Muhammad still perched on a crag, lost in ecstasy, and led him home.

After that event, Muhammad began to quietly spread the revelation of his new faith among only a few close friends and family members. But in this tightly knit culture, word spread quickly. Before long, his persecution began--gossip, brutal beatings, plots against him, and attempts against his life. Over time, his honesty and virtue, the words of scripture revealed through him, and the mysterious workings of fate brought about the conversions of several of Mecca's greatest warriors. All this greatly strengthened the fledgling faith of Islam and drove fear into the hearts of its enemies.

People demanded that he perform miracles as proof of his divine mission. Muhammad answered that he had not come to perform miracles; he had come to preach the word of Allah. Challenged to move a mountain, he gazed toward it but it did not budge, so he spoke the now-famous words demonstrating his wisdom, humor, and humility: 'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will go to the mountain.'

From beginning to end, Muhammad acknowledged himself as an ordinary man, full of faults and limitations--a man chosen by God, for reasons he did not understand, to deliver a new revelation of Islam, which means 'submission to God.' Islam required faith in God, charity, purity, and a life free of idols, lived with the courage of a warrior in battle, with prayer as a cleansing immersion in His spirit.

The citizens of Mecca were roused to fury by Muhammad's attack on their cherished idols--and by his declaration that there was but one God, named Allah, and that he, Muhammad, was His prophet. Forced to flee across the desert to the city of Medina, he began his mission anew, once again a lonely prophet with a handful of followers in a city of unbelievers.

Over time, the angel Gabriel revealed scripture to Muhammad, which he recited aloud and which Khadija and others wrote down. This scripture became known as the Holy Koran (Quran). The Koran was Muhammad's defining miracle--the writing of this masterpiece of poetic religious scripture by a simple, semiliterate man might in itself have earned him fame as a prophet. But this feat was only one chapter in the life of Muhammad.

Persecuted as a heretic for nearly two decades by the people of Mecca {How was Khadija still alive if he spent almost two decades there? The math doesn't work, but perhaps the semiliterate don't worry.}, including many of his own relatives and former friends, the once young Bedouin became in old age a fearless military general. More than once, Mecca's army laid siege, seeking to destroy Medina, where Muhammad and his followers lived--their war would not end until Muhammad or Mecca fell. In the final battle, while outnumbered three to one, but filled with the power of Allah, Muhammad and his followers descended like a storm upon the Meccan army and destroyed it. This battle turned the tide." (1)

The people who ridicule the legends of Indians and natives aren't funny and it isn't right for me to do it either. Still it seems a poor role model to win followers by the sword of Allah or Yahweh (Yahu) or Shiva. We are all paying the price these story-tellers have wrought since the day of Caliph Omar and Constantine who took the fledgling new beliefs and built empires under their spell of ignorance. Omar said there was no need to read anything other than the Koran as he commanded one of the raids to destroy the great library at Alexandria that housed all knowledge; we need to really know about our roots. Islam has much good and is less intolerant than other Ur Story based religions. The Caliphate still has its stranglehold on the souls of people. It does not want people to have knowledge - so it encourages reading old books with limited meaning, as I see it.

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