Mapping the Cosmos
An Introduction to God
The back cover reads:
A challenging read for people of all ages, cultures, religions and no religion;
A must read for people concerned about the future of humanity.
In this small but important booklet the authors explore our relationship with creation and with God.
What do we mean by the word god? Who is responsible for this world and all its troubles? Can we improve our situations? What can we hope for in the future?
Adding wisdom from spiritual sages and contemporary thinkers to their own insights and visual imagination the writers lead the reader through a journey we might all need to make.
While you may not agree with everything they write you will be stimulated to reflect again on our place in the cosmic scheme of things
ISBN 1-80572-341-9 48 pages, printed on environmentally frendly produced paper
No.I - Received 28-01-2006
Review by Angela Hutchinson, Spirit-Works
ARE YOU THE TYPE OF PERSON who likes to cut to the chase? If so, have I got a booklet for you. Authors Jael and Sandy Bharat have condensed all of the basics of 'spirituality 101' in their own 46 pages of inspiring information. They clearly guide the reader through subjects ranging from reincarnation to the ‘in between live’ place. They take care to quote from a few religious sources; however, it is clear they write from a non religious foundation. Beginning with incarnations, Mapping the Cosmos answers many universal questions regarding soul activity before and after death. “When our bodies die, our souls will not vanish but continue to exist. This leads to the supposition that our souls were also existing somewhere before we incarnated.” The authors offer four images to support understanding of the text. I found them quite helpful, because as previously stated in the book, it is not easy to relate to a “God without for.” This book offers a variety of information on the period of “in between lives,” soul development, and the creation of our dream land where we manifest our creative thoughts, beliefs and desires. During this creative process we are removed from the Great God Beyond to experience our manifestations, however never abandoned. Our creations can come from a deep stillness which is what God is, or it can come from our inability to sit still. The authors want “to stimulate individuals to have more confidence in their individuality.” We must ultimately work to improve ourselves. “By changing ourselves for the better we automatically improve the world.” Mapping the Cosmos offers the fundamental elements of our origin, world, and spiritual natures. It is a quick and enlightening read recommended for those geared toward alternative spirituality. Excellent information packed into an economical package.
II - received 08-04-2006
Review by Noel Cheer, Sea of Faith, New Zealand
GIVEN THE TWO BIG WORDS IN THE title, "Cosmos" and "God", it comes as a surprise to open the slim book on only 46 pages. Karen Armstrong's A History of God covered 498 pages and Jack Miles' God, The Biography 431 pages without taking on the cosmos as well. We find inside not a tightly argued descriptive introduction, nor a tightly argued anything. It is certainly not academic in its style nor is it devotional, but it lies somewhere in that gently declamatory pastel-coloured middle ground that is typical of the New Age approach to religion.There is a faintly anti-scholarly air as we learn, on page 8, that proof is "what people are asking for when too lazy to find out the truth themselves". Metaphors abound it is impossible to talk about religion or practice relgion without them but the inability to distinguish between a demonstration that a claim is true (am I really being lazy?) or is merely being restated and amplified in poetic language occurs again and again. The story of the development of the cosmos is shown by a series of four Images by which "we hope to establish how creation emerged from the uncreated Great God Beyond ... (page 10). But nothing is "established", it is only asserted. The first Image is a page of only a background of dark blue. In the next, God appears as a whitish ellipse. Matter shows up in Image III as a multi-coloured something within the God blob and IV shows the Dreamland wherein (page 12) we have an assurance that millions of souls can exist IBL ("In Between Lives") because "like the millions of different wave types ... souls don't take up much space". Without a by-your-leave we are assured (page 13) that "When our bodies die, our souls will not vanish but continue to exist". We wait out our IBL time in Dreamland.What can one say positively? It is optimistic in outlook (page 27: "There is no 'hell'"); incarnations and IBL lives are evolving us "towards being one again with the great Source of all" (page 27); and "we have to go our individual ways. Its not possible to book a 'group charter flight to heaven'" (page 39). But there's some unsatisfactory bits too: on page 26 we learn "that we ourselves ... are responsible for everything; yes, also for tsunami's [a wayward apostrophe intrudes], earthquakes etc.". We are warned that our prayers may get answered by IBL spirit entities who "may not necessarily be much wiser" than we are (page 31). Who would like this book? Readers who like the 21st century versions of Vedantic Hinduism; those who take re-incarnation to be a fact and those who want a quick skim through a form of cosmic optimism that barely places a foot on the cold and grubby earth on which we live.
III - received 26-04-2006
Review by John Phillips, VEDANTA
THIS BOOK BEGINS by attempting to answer such basic questions as: "Does God exist?" and "What, who and where is God?" It then discusses incarnation and re-incarnation. Then, by means of four images, it makes an effort to map and explain the working of the cosmos, postulating a small area in the endless cosmos called "Dreamland", where spirits, attracted to dreaming about creation, come together. It is from this "Dreamland" that creation emerges, with ourselves in the role of creator. There is also a discussion of the place of religions and sects in society and the part we may play. The authors of this little book (46 pages) are Jael, who was a farmer and teacher of economics in the Netherlands and Sandy, who was a co-ordinator of the International Interfaith Centre in Oxford from 1994 to 2004. It is always interesting to read about God. Everyone seems to have their own ideas about Him. While no two religions seem to agree in every detail, the approach here would be accessible to people of all religions or no religion. Quoting from spiritual teachers of all ages, the writers encourage us to think about these fundamental questions of life, death and possible rebirth, and a place in the cosmic scheme of things. On the whole this book is a stimulating read, providing much food for thought, both for the newcomer to the reading of spiritual literature and even for the jaded pallet of one who has read many books on spiritual life.
IV - received 19-05-2006
Review by Marianne Rankin, DE NUMINE
THIS IS A SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY PRODUCED BOOKLET ON A HUGE SUBJECT. Printed on ‘environmentally friendly produced paper’, with attractive ‘Images’ illuminating the text, it gives an overview of the cosmos; the creation of our world; human life on earth and in between lives (IBL). Acceptance of reincarnation is fundamental, as is the assumption that the cosmos from which we originate is spirit and that we are drawn back to this spirit by means of our own spiritual development in this and subsequent lives.So how about the God of the title? Not so simple. There is ‘God the Creator’, ‘part of the totality of spirit in the cosmos that is involved in creation’ but the booklet is more concerned with the God without form, here referred to as ‘The Great God Beyond’ and defined as ‘the totality of spirit in the cosmos in and beyond creation.’ Despite the enormity of the subject, the language is very simple, possibly over-simplified. The book begins with a glossary, which is unusual, and although some words seem necessary, like ‘Enlightenment’ and ‘Karma’, it is surprising to find ‘Advice’ and ‘Introduction’. However, these definitions are somewhat idiosyncratic, and serve as an introduction to the standpoint of the writers. Their views are not presented in the form of a comprehensive argument and such a ‘left-brain’ approach is not the best way to enjoy this book. It is far better to allow the message to filter through a relaxed mind, exploring ‘the wider horizons of understanding’ through some well-chosen words and memorable images. Human life is set in a cosmic context, leading to the comforting view that death is not the end of the soul, just as birth into this particular life on earth was not its beginning. The authors hope ‘that this booklet might help you to 'be better able to accept the passing away of a loved one.’ The text raises fundamental questions, and we are instructed to wait until the ‘What to make of it all?’ section for the answers. On arrival there, we are offered the approaches of Advaita Vedanta and Vishishtadvaita of Shankara and Ramanuja respectively, as the background is one of Hindu cosmology and perspective. But the limitations of all religions are made clear. Although religion can play an important role on the journey of the individual, and the teachings of prophets and sages ‘can awaken us, guide us and support us’, ‘they are not going to save us.’ The aim of the booklet is to 'stimulate individuals to have more confidence in their individuality’, to realise that ‘everyone is God the creator, and her/his own saviour. 'There is no vicarious living’. This meditation can expand your awareness of God, creation and of how and why you make your world as you do. It would make a wonderful gift – perhaps first to yourself.
v - received 01-06-2006
Review by Clive Hambudge and Soraya Boyd for SEVASHRAM NEWS, 99A Devonport Road, London W12 8PB
ENTERING INTO A FERTILE LAND, Jael and Sandy Bharat invite us to embark on a journey alchemical. Their booklet poses perennial questions: 'Does God exist? What, who, where is God? What is it?' and by implication what is our relationship to God. Grappling with thse complexities, they bounce back and forth within the topography of the inner and outer worlds, vividly casting a vital mental search light into the developing subtle relationships between the individual, 'the Great God beyond, the Source or the Noumenon' and God the Creator: 'God as Creator was born' they tell us and 'We become the Creator God..' We the individuals, the intermediary, step into IBL (the in between lives space) or dreamland where using the imagination as key, we think perchance to dream into existence 'countless creative possibilities:' all objectification from 'creating planets' to 'mobile phones' and even 'hamburgers,' an eventuality. All that we now hear, feel, taste and touch is created here in this 'peaceful, caring and loving setting:' afforded manifestation through our freeedom to imagine. Then into incarnation are we borne(e), there learning to detach from wants and desires, 'even addictions,' we learmn that the 'cycle of re-incarnations and all the suffering that comes with this' is 'just accepred as...part of the learning process' until finally we find 'deep inside ourselves there is God. We can allow It to Be and to Flourish. This will make everyone peaceful, content and happy...It may not be easy' but this dialectic struggle is 'worth all our efforts, all our attention. For we have to become whole.' All this is set out through a homogenous display of poetry, reference to various religions, and simple but compelling graphics. This avid little booklet seeks to draw us within, there to re-assess our place in relation to the 'totality of spirit.' We feel it succeeds in this and reminds us that '[h]e who sees me everywhere and see all in me, he never becomes lost to me, nor do I become lost to him.' (Gita 6, 30).
vi - received 08-07-2006
Review by Sharon Steffensen for YOGA CHICAGO
I RECEIVED AN E-MAIL ABOUT THIS BOOK; the title intrigued me, so I requested a copy. Now I want to get one for everybody. The authors refer to God as the Great God Beyond to indicate the totality of pure spirit in the cosmos. They discuss the creation of the universe, who God is, who we are in relationship to God, our responsibility, the role of religions, reincarnation, what happens in the In Between Lives (IBL) place and our own role in the cosmos. They end with some simple suggestions about what we need to do. The authors also add wisdom from spiritual sages and contemporary thinbkers. All this in only 43 pages wih big print and a few illustrations. It's inspiring, thought provoking, hope-filled and an important book for anybody concerned about the future of humanity.