Friday, October 03, 2008

Unity In Diversity: Is it Impossible To Achieve OR So Easy That We Just Ignore It?

Watching TV news or reading new papers of any country in this world is not comforting these days. I do it just out of curiosity. I like to know what is going on in the whole world. Google’s news application is pretty handy in this regard. Through it you will be able to know about opinions of different news papers on the same issue. If you really have an open mind you can see pros and cons of that issue or news and make up your mind to oppose, support or be neutral about it. If you already belong to certain ideology then you will pick the points which suits your way of thinking. There is plenty of material available on internet to strengthen your way of thinking either way for any issue. Then there are Community Forums of social networking sites like Orkut or internet chat rooms of Yahoo and other sites where you will be amazed to meet people with great knowledge. World population is coming closer to each other and I think after 50 to 100 years there will be very less conflicts in the world. Why I think like that?

I think like that because majority of the times its communication gap and no detailed knowledge which makes people suspicious of each other. This less or no knowledge about particular place, personality or religion is what creates a mentality of us versus them. When we have made up our mind that other person is our enemy then we majority of the times just try to find faults in them. That’s why ignorant Christians find so many faults with Hinduism and thinks Islam as their second rate version, ignorant Muslims find Christianity as second rate version of itself and doesn’t find Hinduism as a way to worship almighty. Ignorant Hindus find Islam barbaric and Christianity full of deceit that is just hell bent on destroying them by any mean possible. Now I am going to let my mind dwell deeper and write what I think is correct. There is one basic concept in which I believe in. I believe that there is Ishwar/God/Allaha or any superior force which makes functioning of this world and beyond possible. That God is one and same for all and people just have different ways to worship the same reality. You are free to agree or disagree with me as always.

There is good in every religion. There has to be good in the thing which calls itself a way to reach God or Allah or Ishwar. Otherwise this thing is of no use. Religion offers humans an explanation of the unexplained. It tells you about the things which are beyond control of science. This topic is of great interest to me. My search for knowing truth began when I first read commentary on Bhagwat Geeta’s chapter 2 and 3 given to me by my friend. This book was written by Acharya Rajneesh. Those who have studied Osho’s books know that that it leaves a profound impact on your mind and you yearn to learn more. I was hooked. I read him days and nights by borrowing and purchasing his books on all topics. Although I don’t agree with him on all things but still those books gave me many answers I was looking for. After that I read Bible, Quran and other Hindu religious books like Upanishads, some part of Vedas and writings of Vivekananda.

I wanted to go to the root of conflicts and see why they are there. Why people are fighting in the name of God which was meant for giving peace to all of us. Human stupidity has reached its height when anyone murders in name of God. How any God is going to be pleased by seeing murders of his creation in his name? Why anyone like God would have problem in way people worship him? All religion say God is almighty, omnipresent, who knows each and every thing in people's heart and beyond then why religious fanatics believe that its only their version of God which is true and all others are false? Why some fanatics believe that its particular name of almighty which is important? How any God like thing can say that he will protect a particular community or person who belongs to certain geography of the world even though they can be bad and criminal but will not hesitate in punishing good people who are worshipping him in some different way? Those who have problem with the way God is worshipped by people either that section of people in world hasn’t understood what God is all about or they are misusing Gods name by dragging him in their own fight for obvious benefits. Why?? Because its such a basic thing in which people don’t even think that there cant be different supreme reality to different people. Any God who claims that he is the only true God and all others are false can not be a God. God is God because he doesn’t involve in human like competitions of being number one or two. He is God because he is beyond all. God reveals himself in each of his creation. Its all him everywhere you see and whatever you see or don’t see or experiences through your senses. Each of us shares a special bonding with him because we are from him. He cant differentiate between Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jews, Atheists, low or high caste, black or white race. He cant , he simply cant do anything like favoritism. If anyone is trying to impose this differentiation human feeling on God then he is actually doing a great disservice and greatest sin towards God.

Yes God does justice like an honest judge and no one can hide his or hers rights and wrong from him. The God will punish the wicked and reward the righteous and caste, creed, community or a particular way of worship shouldnt matter for him. If these things matters for any one like God than he is not a God. He doesnt deserve to be known as God. The simple fact is its us humans who have degradded his name for our own selfish narrow interest. He has given humans lot of freedom by giving them power of thinking. He hasn’t done that with any other creation. A simple example is animal baby is born without any protection and assistance from anyone. A particular geography and climatic condition has that type of animals. When its cold God has given them lots of fur. When its hot God has given them smooth skin and capability gather food in their own ways. On the other hand humans don’t have that natural protection but God has given us brains to use. With this brain we have changed climatic conditions, used animal skin to protect us. It means we are God’s freest creation and he has put a lot in our hand and brain. Its up to us how we use that intelligence. But seeing all this fighting in name of God makes me wonder has he done a right thing? Wouldn’t the world have been a better place when we would have been living like animals do? With no bomb blasts to worry about, no ideological battle to fight, no money to run after, no concern for Ozone layer hole, global warming and terrorism, just two needs of gathering food and reproducing babies when time comes.

Don’t you all think that we have made this world a disaster? Is this God would have wanted when he has created us? May be he might not be having fun with all goodliness of animals and their regular things. Well if there would have been no human on earth than we all wouldn’t have been discussing God at all. It means he wanted us on earth and wanted us to know the best by use of our brain. But I guess majority of us is not using this wonderful gift of God in proper way.

Well while going through all these different religious and philosophical books I came to know a lot about different amazing things. It’s a personal liberating journey of truth which makes your mind open with wonder. You feel like you know so little in vast ocean of knowledge. I wanted to become a monk but I guess that desire wasn’t strong enough. I just want everyone to take that journey. It makes you think about lot many things and perhaps this is the reason India has produced so many towering personalities. When mind is free from a sense of victimhood it lets you do wonderful things. Otherwise you will forever going to remain in miserable condition.

The common problem with some Muslims in India is they think that its state and police which is acting against their interest and justify bomb blasts as a way to avenge that sense of victimhood. I have seen many educated Muslims using the same argument. But I would like to tell them that this sense of victimhood belongs to every poor and less privileged in India. In India people with money and political power many times abuse their fortune by indulging in extortion of masses. It happens. It happens with every common Indian when they come in contact with any government office for doing their work and police and administration is part of that. So this sense of victimhood belongs to everyone who is less privileged in India and its not a Muslim specific problem. Majority of common Indians tried avoiding this sense of victimhood by sending their children to private schools and many times at cost of their good life style. They made every resource available with them in good education of their children. Even though they were poor they borrowed money or took up any other job but made their children study. On the other hand lots of Muslims send their children to Madarasa. I am not against any Madarsa education but education in Madarsa is of no practical worldly use. How can you expect someone having a Hafiz or Pandit course to be employed in an engineering firm? Its easy to have a sense of victimhood and blame all your troubles on someone else. But wouldn’t it be nicer that people just stop complaining and become partner in growth of India like all others?

I am not turning my blind eye towards stupidity and generalization that has crept in common population in India. I wouldn’t have believed that discrimination but it happened with one of my dear friend. He was denied a house on rent since he belonged to a particular religion. It made me sad as I know my friend is very good person and I complained and written to new paper editors about it. I went with him to argue with land lord but to no avail. I went again to land lord alone and asked why he is doing that after talks with him I realized that there is a general impression that many people although eat non vegetarian food but don’t like cutting of any goat in front of them. I couldn’t do anything and felt so helpless. It was a good thing that my friend got house just near by. I thanked God for this. People are generalizing a lot and situation like involvement of educated and well to do young boys in bomb blasts is not helping situation in any case. I am for co mingled community housing societies. Ghettos filled with one particular religious community or people from one region are bad for country as diverse as India. Housing ghettos like those just reinforce sense of victimhood and create misunderstanding towards other view points. It generates feeling of us verses them and not good for a country like India. The solution of this type of problem can be open declaration of any housing society rules and clear definition that there would be no discrimination on basis of caste, community or religion. Yes, a housing society can declare that there would be no cutting of animals in their society complex and other external things like that and I hope no one would have problem with this kind of rule and many people including me don’t like seeing animals being cut either in any temple or other religious activities. As I think there are enough butcher shops available if you want to cook non vegetarian food.

Christian missionaries have done great serice for poors in India and I admire that. But will anyone like Jesus be happy when he sees the methods adopted by some missionaries in coverting innocent tribal people? I dont need to elaborate on this as its well in public domain. They take name of constitution and say its freedom of religious propagation in India. But why they are confusing freedom to propagate for freedom to conversion? What anyone can get by converting someone to some other religion? Its madness to convert people by using means of money and fraud. No one would object to teachings of Jesus but when NSCN IM in Nagaland declares that they want Greater Nagaland in name of Christ than all partiots would get a feeling that either these guys havent understood what Jesus taught or they are just becoming some Christian Taliban. Those who seek converts in their religion think that theirs is the only true way while others are false. But cant they understand the simple logic that if God would have wanted it to be like this than He wouldnt have made so many different ways in first place? Serive for poors and unpriviledged is the greatest way you can worship God. But when this service comes with a motive of converting than it becomes a give and take business of soul. When missionaries get target of converting some number of people every year than it just denotes that how much business is involved in business of God. I am not against conversions. If anyone feels like worshiping the almighty in some other ways than I am least worried about that. But when there is business of faith for political power and breaking national ethoes than I just cant remain silent. I am sure that true followers of Christ would understand this.

Those Hindus who are killing innocents of other faith are doing the same heinous crime. A Hindu cant have problem with anyone worshiping anything because all ways leads to almighty only. I wonder which Rama or Krishna will be happy by seeing rape of a woman. They dont go and eradicate evil like misunderstood casteism which has taken away self respect of so many people. They are not going and eradicting social evils like dowry and female foeticide from their own house and than blame others for exploiting the same. If you keep your house clean than who will dare to point fingers?

Why it becomes so hard for people to understand that every religion has its share of fairytales. And these scriptures may have been manipulated by humans for solving their own purposes. If anyone believes in any fairytales than it doesnt harm anyone untill some people start claiming that their's fairytale is only true and others have to follow it or die. The best approach for solving this problem is to live and let live according to some common laws based on todays time. This approach is the only guarantee for a peaceful coexistance of different communities. Faith in God is really a personal matter and religions are meant for transforming you from with in.

India is very diverse and diversity should be its strength. There is one beautiful story about first ship of Zoroastrians or Parsis arrival on Gujarat coast to save themselves from persecution in their home land in 8th Century. King Jadi Rana sent a pot filled with milk to Parsi elders on ship denoting that he doesn’t have any space left in his kingdom. The Parsis returned that filled pot after adding sweetener to milk denoting that they would live in his kingdom like this and add value. To this day these Paris even after 1300 years stick to their commitment that their forefathers gave to King Jadi Rana and you can see that commitment in likes of Tatas, Maneckshaws, Godrejs even today.

This is an ideal example of unity in diversity. That concept remains valid today too where everyone has to play his or her part to make India a greater place to live. God wanted us to live and co exists with differences. If God would have wanted just one type of things than he wouldn’t have created so many different races and religions, he wouldn’t have created so many colors in nature, he wouldn’t have created so many different animals, and he wouldn’t have created so much of bio diversity. I don’t understand why it becomes too hard for all people to understand this. Cant they just see it around them? They are working against will of God if they are destroying others in his name. Unity in diversity is what God want us to see and believe. He wants us to understand it all. We all educated people should make it our duty to make this known to everyone in our beloved motherland. Since we all have to emphasize more on commonalities than on differences if we want peace and prosperity for all Indian citizen. May God direct our intellect in right direction.

Vande Mataram
Jai Hind
Hemant Dubey

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