Soul Rebellion: The Rastafarians

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” ~~Bob Marley

The image of Rastafarians has always been quite negative. Drugs and violence have become associated with them in the West which, admittedly, is true in a few cases, but in general, it is just another sad, overblown stereotype. In truth, authentic Rastafarians are generally peaceful in nature and live a life of simplicity, critical engagement and an unshakable faith in the oneness of God and Man. In his commentary on the Rastafari, George Lamming concurred with many in the Caribbean community who correctly noted that the Rastafari movement carried with it a certain continuity from the days of slavery, a continuity of resistance and confrontation with white racism.The Rastafari movement, in all its contemporary manifestations, challenges not only the Caribbean but the entire Western World to come to terms with the history of slavery, the reality of white racism and the permanent thrust for dignity and self-respect by black people. I have met a number of them in my lifetime & I have to unbiasedly admit that they all carried themselves with impressive composure & humility. I have read many books & articles on the Rastafarian sect, but the one that sticks out the most was one I read some time ago written by one of the most influential leaders in the Rastafarian movement, Dr. Vernon Carrington (aka Prophet GAD), who illuminated the true nature of Rastafari as follows:

‘It is up to each and every one to find the right path in this time.
Rastafari is not a faith which can be converted to, in the sense that
one can convert to Christianity. There is not one day when someone wakes
up and says,`I think I’ll become a Rastafarian.’ Rastafari is a way of
life which has to be lived. The feeling of the spirit is like a wave
traveling through the soul. A wave which only reveals itself stage
after stage. Rastafari is a life, and as in life, you learn as you
live.

No person can say,`This is exactly what the Rastafari doctrine is,’
because the beauty of the faith is that it is seen through the eyes
of the beholder, not through the eyes of a priest, vicar or pope.
When one declares themselves to any faith, people will always ask
them, `How long have you been a ……….?’ In the case of
Rastafari, people don’t realize how complex this question is. How
long? When was the exact point of realizing my true life’s
foundation?…

As you grow, you learn certain things and your eyes open just that
little bit wider. It’s the same thing with Rastafari. It’s not a
doctrine which people have to memorize and recite in mantra or a
text on which we will be tested. The test is how we live our life,
with Rastafari in our hearts… Rasta is a philosophy which reveals
itself in stages; a feeling, a vibe, a science, a quote, an
ideology, a picture, an outlook, a history, a life…

Rastafari is about learning. We realize that life has many mysteries
and the Creator lets us know as much as we need to know at any given
time. This is how we learn… It is this outlook to which Rastafari
becomes more than a doctrine, religion or even faith; it is a way of
life which, like life itself, continues to grow in mind, body and
spirit… Rasta is NOT a hair doctrine or a race doctrine, it is a
doctrine which is so pure it is open to be embraced by anyone.’

 
 

Reggae music wouldn’t exist without Rastafarians who injected the form with an elevated consciousness that continues to inspire billions. The following playlist bears witness..

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