Today we are living in a world filled with strife, power struggles, aggression, in-fighting, callousness and indifference. Why? What is the cause? Where does the problem lie? Is the problem due to the particulars of the government under which we live? In part yes, but the government is not the problem. Is the problem due to the type of community and culture of which we are a part? In part yes, but our community and culture is not the problem. Who is the true culprit? Where is the root of the problem? Why so much deception, corruption and cheating in our world, in our communities, in our relationships and even within our homes? When we have all the ingredients and elements to promote truth, honesty, justice, abundance and peace for everyone, why is our world seemingly arranged like a jungle where only the aggressive and strong survive?! Every man for himself! What does Ifá have to say about the present conditions of the world? What can be done to bring correction, healing and restoration to ourselves, our society and to our Mother Earth who is in great pain and anguish because of the way her children are living amongst themselves and because of the way they are hurting her and abusing her?
I would like us to consider two brief revelations from Ifá that will enlighten us and help us to find real solutions to these dilemmas:
(1) There is a very important episode in the life of the divine priest and holy sage of Iketi, our holy master, Òrúnmìlà, that reveals deep realities. Once Òrúnmìlà considered the issue of genuine friendship and he asked himself who were really his friends. Òrúnmìlà had helped countless people with diverse counsels, remedies, expedient means and skillful divine spiritual disciplines. Did people really appreciate him? Or did people just only want to take the benefits Òrúnmìlà had to offer? Did people really understand the fundamental root and essence of all Òrúnmìlà spoke and did, or did they give little importance to his words and only wanted what they wanted without acknowledging the kindness, intent, character and heart of Òrúnmìlà? How about you? Do you love and appreciate Òrúnmìlà? Don’t be quick to answer. Before you answer consider the rest of this story. Òrúnmìlà wanted to know who were his real friends, who really cared about him. Òrúnmìlà really wanted to know in how many people could be found real love versus simulated, superficial and/or pretend love. Òrúnmìlà deviced a plan to find out for himself who were his friends and who really had genuine love. Òrúnmìlà also employed an expedient means to help people see themselves in the revealing mirror of Ifá, so that they could accurately ascertain for themselves what kind of people they really were and are. Òrúnmìlà, the divine priest and holy seer of Iketi, our holy master, decided to fake his own death. A call went out announcing the death of Òrúnmìlà. Messengers went out far and wide announcing the death of Òrúnmìlà to all the people. Countless people who benefited from Òrúnmìlà heard the announcement. Meanwhile Òrúnmìlà hid himself in his home to see how many people would come, to not only pay respects to his remains but to also see who would lament his death with deep hearts of gratitude and sadness at the death of the divine master Òrúnmìlà. Òrúnmìlà stood hidden, he watched and listened. The only person who displayed true sorrow and lament because of Òrúnmìlà’s apparent death was Esu! The only one who displayed deep gratitude and genuine appreciation towards Òrúnmìlà was Esu. Esu cried and cried and bemoaned the loss of his friend whom he loved dearly. Esu was a loyal friend who demonstrated his love and loyalty by obeying the divine counsel and divinely revealed unselfish directives of Òrúnmìlà. Esu never forgot Òrúnmìlà after being benefitted by him. Esu was blessed and cared for by Òrúnmìlà, and in loving and appreciative reciprocation Esu blessed, assisted and came through for Òrúnmìlà in marvelous, astounding and traceless ways. Esu consistently demonstrated by his attitude, actions and response, his loyalty and friendship towards Òrúnmìlà. I’ll ask you again. Do you love, respect and revere Òrúnmìlà? We saw what was the proof of Esu’s love, reverence and respect for Òrúnmìlà. Esu was selfless in his devotion and friendship towards Òrúnmìlà. Esu felt that he too had died when he heard the news of Òrúnmìlà’s death. Esu obeyed the clarion call of Ifá that came from the mouth of Òrúnmìlà. This was Esu’s proof and the evidence of his love, reverence and appreciation for Òrúnmìlà. What is your proof? Now this story is in part an allegory as well as a historical event between two divine personalities which is full of many deep, confidential and secret meanings. But for our purposes, the simple, direct and plain meanings of this Ifá revelation is adequate, because it teaches us that few people actually have fullness of love and gratitude within them. When they are put to the test they fail. Others are either almost completely selfish or their goodness is tainted in good measure by selfishness. Ifá says that genuinely good hearted people are a rarity in the world, and that truthful and honest people are rarer still!
(2) Let us move on to another episode in the life of the divine priest and holy sage of Iketi, our holy master, Òrúnmìlà. In Ose Irete the life of our divine master was in disarray. Everything seemed confused, mixed up and out of order. Òrúnmìlà was doing countless things but in all his doings he forgot the essentials and became absorbed in non-essentials. Òrúnmìlà went to find out what was going on in his life. Orunmila approached Olodumare vía Ifá. Ifá-Olodumare basically told Òrúnmìlà that in all of his activities, works and doings he had become so preoccupied with so many things and demands, that Òrúnmìlà for a season lost sight of Olodumare. Òrúnmìlà was trying to do all kinds of things without being aligned with Olodumare and without counting upon Olodumare. Ifa told Òrúnmìlà:
“Make Olodumare your Father”
In other words don’t forget the reality, presence and power of Olodumare. Do not forget the primacy of Olodumare and His livings guidance and instruction Ifá in your life! Guidance and instruction will only help you if you make it your own, and you live it and practice it from the heart, and from your own self-initiative and willingness. Ifá enters our hearts and lives only when we receive and practice the divine precepts of truth, the noble teachings of Ifá. Do not forget that the spirit of loving-kindness, rectitude and selflessness comes from Olodumare who supplies it to us. Do not forget that if you live disconnected from Olodumare it is inevitable that you will become selfish, aggressive, callous, unfeeling and indifferent. Do you love Olodumare? Do you love Ifá? What is your proof and evidence? Where can your love for Olodumare and Ifá be consistently seen?
Let us get back to the original question of why there is so much strife, aggression, deception, dishonesty, cheating and contention. Why are we abusing and taking advantage of each other, hurting each other, hurting our Mother Earth when we can live divine lives, beautiful lives, wholesome lives of good conscience and dignity?
Ifá has answered this for us. We have lost our divine affinity, experiential connectivity and sensitivity to things divine, holy, pure and true. We are spiritually malnourished and morally ill. And why this? Because we have forgotten Olodumare. We have forgotten to make Olodumare our father. Olodumare has ceased to be a living reality, power and person in our lives who has the right to command our obedience, loyalty and dedication.
Olodumare has become only a nice sounding name to us that we like to use when we want to feel ‘religious’ or when we want to deceive others with our false piety, but when it is time for us to think about the choices and decisions we personally make the reality of Olodumare and His instructions do not play an actual important part in our lives. He is not really our Eleda, Oluwo and Baba, because if he were we would be trusting and relying upon Him, we would be doing and practicing what is approved by him, and then our lives would not be so disorderly, empty and unsatisfying. In Olodumare there is only order, health, life, peace, joy, truthfulness, honesty and satisfaction. When we are connected to Olodumare we enjoy and have all that He has and is. This is the teaching and reflection that Ifá brings to us this day. Olodumare is very real. He is the Lord, King and Owner of all. He is always vigilant and fully aware of all we think, intend and do. He rules over all. We are accountable to Him and towards each other. We owe Him our allegiance, loving obedience and dedication.
Òrúnmìlà acknowledged this in his own life. Òrúnmìlà did not look around to wait and see if others were going to make of Olodumare their father before he made his decision to arrange and order his life according to the joyful, life giving, meaning giving instructions of Olodumare. Let us follow the teaching of Ose Irete and the example of Òrúnmìlà. When we change, the world will change, because we are the world! When we are clean, sincere and honest, to that degree the world will be clean, more wholesome, orderly, happy and peaceful. If we get rid of malice, enmity, aggression, jealousy, envy, greed and pettiness from our lives, then little by little these things will cease to be in our world, in our personal lives and in our homes. We are all children of Olodumare by creation, but Ose Irete challenges us and invites us to become chidren of Olodumare by a personal and deliberate choice of our own will to conform our lives to the spirit, principles and holy teachings of Ifá in all the aspects, relationships, duties and facets of our lives. When we do this then only can we call ourselves the true, awakened and mature children of Olodumare. Only then can WE make of OLODUMARE ‘OUR’ FATHER. If we do not take the initiative to cleanse and purify our own life then we forever lose the right and moral authority to complain about and condemn the injustice, corruption and dishonesty in others. How can you complain about and condemn the injustice, corruption and dishonesty in others if you yourself are involved in unjust, corrupt, unclean and dishonest practices?! How can you combat and correct corruption, injustice and dishonesty in others if you have not yet rid yourself of these unwholesome tendencies and defilements?
If your life and heart are not being cleansed by the knowledge and spirit of Ifá because you are not willing to accept the knowledge and spirit of Ifá, then you must be informed that you are condemning yourself in your condemnation and complaint against others! Did you know this!? This message is for you. Compare yourself only to the requirements of Ifá-Olodumare and not to what people do or do not do. Look at your life only in the revealing reflective mirror of Ifá. Compare yourself alone with Òrúnmìlà and not people and you will know if the standard and quality of your life is leading you to genuine happiness and success or not. To follow the noble standard and example of Òrúnmìlà is to follow, love and obey Olodumare.
Ogbo Ato Asure Iworiwofun