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Universal Ascension

The concept of or belief in ascension is fundamental to most religions and belief systems. The idea of becoming so holy or spiritual that one simply rises out of the physical plane to one of beauty or bliss is very alluring; however, in some belief systems ascension is not possible for just anyone.

In the Western World most are familiar with the story of Jesus dying, resurrecting and ascending to heaven. Christians believe that witnessed by the apostles forty days after Jesus resurrected from the dead, he rose into the heavens (Acts I. 9). This being one of the many signs that Jesus was the Messiah. Ascension Day is a major Christian holiday celebrated around the world often with a procession which symbolizes Jesus' walk to the Mount of Olives, traditionally believed to be the site of the ascension. This act of deity was, according to Christian belief, possible only because Jesus was the Son of God and surrendered completely to the will of God.

This sense of exclusiveness is shared to some degree by Islam. The coming of the Prophet Muhammad was foretold by seers as the coming of the last prophet. It is said that Muhammad realized spiritual perfection by journeying through degrees of perfection - promoted to higher and higher ranks. He, like Jesus, surrendered completely to the will of God and lived by His law and ascended to the heavens. Though the story of Muhammad's ascension is not described in the Qur'an; from Jerusalem he ascended accompanied by angels, passed through 70,000 veils and found himself before the throne of Allah discussing all the questions of man. Muhammad gave to man the gift of the Qur'an to teach man how he too can reach spiritual perfection and ascend to the heavens.

Much like the teachings of Islam, those who adhere to Buddhist and Hindu philosophies believe that ascension is possible for anyone who chooses the right path. By living a life of Truth (dharma), as taught by Buddha, a Buddhist may ascend through lives (or life) of righteousness until one reaches enlightenment - the cessation of all interaction with manifest appearance (Nirvana).

According to Hindu philosophy, by living a life of Truth governed by various forms of yoga, anyone can ascend to the ultimate state of moksa - release from the round and round cycle of birth and death. This is achieved by understanding the Inner Self (God), by overcoming ignorance and desire requires one to live constantly (every act, thought and breath) in the awareness of God. Paradoxically, moksa cannot be attained if it is one's goal. Ascension to moksa can only occur when one life of Truth transcends all desires (including the desire for moksa). The dynamics and liveliness of the Hindu belief system allows for use of ancient texts as well as continuous contemporary instruction on exactly how to live in Truth.

Hinduism has contributed directly and indirectly to the philosophies termed "New Age". Though birthed from an increasing disenchantment with the orthodox Western religions, New Agers glean much from the traditional philosophies - one being the concept of ascension. Through meditation, prayer, self-purification, understanding the Inner Self and devotion ultimately to the will of God one can ascend to the heavens. Some have adopted the findings of science. Atomic physics has proved that the material world is only one of many dimensions which "vibrate" at different frequencies. Spirit being of an incredibly high vibration can lead one to ascend to God, if one should surrender completely.

Perhaps this interconnectedness is why some say it is our sacred duty to study all the religions of the world.

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