Where has the love, respect and sincerity gone? The crisis and state of affairs within the worldwide Ifá-orisa community. An appeal to those who truly care about the tradition.
[***An honest, sobering and serious reflection for those who care. A message of hope for people of action.***]
I do not know if you are aware of the general state of affairs within the world-wide Ifá-orisa community, but it is clear to me that generally speaking the Ifá-orisa community is in a state of spiritual crisis, spiritual-decline and spiritual deterioration. There is a lack of exemplary leadership today, and there is a lack true spirituality today within the lives of a great many professed followers of Ifá-orisa. Everything we look we see is ostentation, glitter, make-believe, insubstantial nonsense, ineffective rubbish, trickery and superficiality. Mounds of valueless pebbles abound, but a true gold nugget is hard to find.
By and large [with few exceptions] no one follows any rules. Everyone simply does whatever they want, and they follow whatever their imagination suggests to them. Many have accepted their own imagination over truth and reality. Few care to know, and even less care to follow the true guiding and foundational principles of the sacred traditions that the irunmole-orisa entrusted to us. Few care about truth, and many are dangerously following the suggestions of their unregulated imagination [many are following their own self-created fantasies and delusions of grandeur].
Deception, fraud, hypocrisy, make-believe, trickery, arrogance, thirst for power [influence], hunger for undeserved recognition, and superficiality [spiritual powerlessness] are rampant and on the rise within the world-wide Ifá-orisa community. Only a handful of people can be found among each respective community who are truly endeavoring to follow and live the honorable path of the perennial sacred tradition of Ifá-orisa.
By and large [with few exceptions] there is no commitment and seriousness in the lives of a great many professed devotes. True respect for the irunmole-orisa and true respect for sincere and genuine elders has been lost by many, and in others it is waning. Only few are dedicated to spiritual growth, unfoldment and discipline. Precept and practice are as far apart today as east is from west.
All talk [much talk] and no action [no practice] is the path of many. Only few are actually living and pursuing a genuine, satisfying and healthy [balanced] spiritual life. No one listens to the truth anymore. No one cares about truth. Initiations and consecrated shrines are given to anybody, the only requirement today is money. Initiations are given only to increase personal prestige, to increase pocket money, personal power, to feed pride and to increase mere numbers. Few today exercise discernment in accepting prospective initiates. Today no distinction is made between a worthy and an unworthy candidate.True spiritual masters [spiritual teachers, guides and mentors] are a rarity and are almost impossible to find. They are few and far between. Whereas those who are willing to cheat you, trick you, manipulate you and take advantage of you can be seen and found everywhere.
Many have lost all sense of shame, propriety, self-restraint and decorum, and do all kinds of improper things openly! The shrines they worship are not those of the irunmole-orisa. They worship greed, lust, arrogance, money, lies and hypocrisy: they worship themselves and have made themselves the center of worship for others. They have propped themselves up as teachers, that is, teachers of gullible, undiscerning and ignorant ones. Today initiation is just a fad and is no longer a life long commitment of learning, spiritual growth and practice. Initiation has ceased to be a complete [comprehensive, clean and orderly] lifestyle.
It is high-time that all those who considers themselves a follower of the irunmole-orisa examine themselves and take a good and honest look at themselves. It is the responsibility of every member of the spiritual community to take responsibility for his or her life and to ascertain what is the contribution that they are making to the overall community and the perception that others may have of the community.
Aren’t you aware of what is happening? Don’t you see what is occurring today? How shameful and embarrassing it is to see professed devotees of Ifá-orisa attacking each other on social-media? How painful and embarrassing it is to see Ifá-orisa devotees undermining each other publicly and secretly, and causing the sacred tradition of the irunmole-orisa to lose respectability and prestige before onlookers and new investigators of the tradition. Isn’t this why many turn away from the tradition? Isn’t this why many lose their faith and resolve? It is bad enough to see devotees engage in these kind of things but what to say when can see elders and community leaders also engaged in these kinds of nasty, childish and shameful fighting and competitive activities!
As individual devotees and initiates we really cannot change others or force them to change, but we can and must definitely improve and refine ourselves. Individually we can change ourselves and thereby exert a positive, purifying [ennobling] and uplifting influence upon others. If we want our tradition and faith to be what we all know it should be and can be we must each make the resolve and decision to be true [sincere and honest] students [followers] of the irunmole-orisa. We cannot continue to justify living a mediocre, unsatisfying and uninspiring life because others have chosen to live a mediocre, wishy-washy and unremarkable life. Our lives should mean something to us and to others. Our lives should have a powerful, inspiring and uplifting impact upon others. We cannot base our spiritual life on what we see surrounding us. We cannot be like the chameleon that is always changing its colors to blend in with its environment. We have to go higher than that which surrounds us. We must do better individually and collectively. We must have a spirituality, morality and spiritual practice that is not determined by the moral-spiritual climate and circumstances that surrounds us. Our aim and standard must be higher. We have to embrace personal integrity and self-respect.
Let me ask you: Where is the love and unity today in the community? Why all this competitiveness and strife? Why all of this envy, selfishness and rivalry? Love and unity wane [disappear] when one abandons the wholesome spiritual lifestyle and ennobling instructions of the irunmole-orisa. Envy, selfishness and rivalry appear and increase when one abandons the true path and spirituality of the irunmole-orisa.
The irunmole-orisa are not restricted only to consecrated shrines. The irunmole-orisa and their àse [virtue, grace and power] also live [dwell] in the in the individual and collective feelings of reverence, love and thankfulness that exist in our hearts. The world should see and perceive the love, beauty, goodness and orderliness of the irunmole-orisa by beholding the clean, harmonious and wholesome lifestyle of the community of Ifá-orisa devotees. The world should be able to perceive and feel the wondrous, loving, healing and beautiful energy of the irunmole-orisa in the activities of the members of the Ifá-orisa community.
The orisa look to the heart only. A heart that is filled with arrogance, envy and hate is not worth a penny. The orisa draw near to people whose hearts are clean, generous, pure, kind and sincere. The orisa stay away from people whose hearts are dirty, petty, impure, mean and insincere.
A true knower and lover of the orisa is one whose heart has been cleansed by the love that he or she has received from the orisa [and that he or she has personally experienced in the depths of his or her heart]. The orisa are sources, fountains and centers of divine love. In making true [genuine] contact with the real orisa and not imagined [or imaginary] orisa our lives becomes cleansed, empowered, uplifted and transformed.
A [true] devotee and knower of the orisa remains immersed in the love, purity, inspiration, nobility and goodness of the orisa, and likewise becomes an embodiment of love, purity, inspiration, nobility and goodness. This sublime and abiding state [or condition] is what is known as Ifáyelele.
The person who enters into and awakens to the reality of ifáyelele in his or her life forever remains immersed in the grace, power, merit and virtue of ifáyelele: the sublime [divine] state.
How do we know when someone has entered into and awakened to Ifáyelele? When arrogance, pettiness, hate, stinginess, indifference, deception, ignorance, belligerence and falsity has been permanently stripped away from his or her life such a person has become established in the power, virtue, merit, grace and illumination [realization] of Ifáyelele.
Those who are immersed in arrogance, pettiness, hate, stinginess, indifference, deception, ignorance, belligerence and falsity are ogberi or nescient people. They have an aberrant, unstable, erratic, volatile and sickly spirituality, that is if it can even be called spirituality at all! These are people who think they know it all, they do not listen to anyone nor are they amenable to taking or receiving advice. They learn only by getting burned and scorched, and some do not learn even after being burned and scorched by their own nescience and insolence [rude and disrespectful attitude and behavior].
Stay away from people who claim that the irunmole-orisa can be used to harm people. Stay away from people who say that they can send the orisa on errands to do hurtful things. Such people do not know the orisa. Such people are not devotees of the orisa. The orisa pay no mind [attention] to such ignorant, arrogant and insolent people. Such people are devotees [and victims] of their own ignorance, they are not following the orisa that really exist, instead they are following the non-existent orisa of their own darkened imagination.
The path of the orisa is a path of pure goodness, beauty, wellbeing and inspiration. Allow no one to deceive [and frighten] you with foolishness and nonsense. Allow no one to misrepresent the sublime love, goodness and beauty of the orisa. A person who truly knows and follows the orisa will himself or herself become an orisa. They will become divine in their attitudes, qualities, behavior, demeanor, words, conduct, thoughts and spirituality.
It takes an orisa [orisa-like person] to know an orisa [orisa-like person]. Men and women established in Ifáyelele become attracted to each other, they bond together and they mix together seamlessly like water mixes with milk.
Men and women established in ogberi spirituality repel each other, they ruin, contaminate and destroy everything that they come in contact with.
Preserve the purity, goodness and beauty of your orisa spirituality. Allow no one to misrepresent and tarnish the goodness, greatness and nobility of our orisa and of our orisa spirituality. Aspire for more and you will achieve more. My Ifá-orisa family and friends we are at the precipice. Our choices, decisions, manner of life and actions from today forward will determine the quality and direction that our previous faith will take.
Your attitude, outlook and practical actions will either contribute to the healthy growth and expansion of our traditions, or it will contribute to its corruption and erosion. If we want a vibrant, healthy, effective and satisfying Ifá-orisa spirituality then we must each personally embrace the lifestyle that will ensure that a vibrant, healthy, effective and satisfying tradition endures. Think about these things and take them to heart.
May irunmole-orisa inspire, bless, guide and defend you. Àse. May irunmole-orisa establish you in Ifáyelele at the soonest possible time. Àse.
~ Awo Òrúnmìlà Mark Casillas /!!!\ A.O.M.C. /!!!\