The starting point of the origin of human beings and the culminating point of their movement is the same. It is the natural law for any entity to originate from the same source and to merge in the same source. The fundamental stuff of all the humans of this world is the Macrocosmic Consciousness. All are the children of the Supreme Immortality (Amrtasya Puttr´ah in Sanskrit). Fundamentally all human beings are equal. Therefore there should not be any discrimination. In the external world, however, we notice numerous conflicts and strife among human beings. The poet Rabindranath Tagore said,
Him´sa´y unmatta prthvii nitya nit´hura dvandva
Ghora kut´ila pantha ta´ha´ra lobha jat´ila bandha.
“Mad with violence is the world, cruel are the battles which rage each day.
Crooked indeed are the ways of the world, bound by the noose of greed.”
The various races and countries have been plagued with clashes and conflicts due to petty, selfish interests. Every house is shaken with conflict. How many wars have plagued the world? How much blood has flowed into the rivers of the world? So can we truly say that there is no difference between people? Where is the unity which creates a common bond among human beings? To get the proper answer, one has to go deep into human psychology because true unity lies in the realm of the human mind. The extroversial mind of human beings, due to inherent latent psychic momenta (sam´skaras), becomes obsessed with and influenced by the external environment. A person influenced by the imposed momenta of the society may start to hate another person, but this hostility, this enmity, is something external. Internally, all human beings feel a deep attraction for others. This attraction is the natural wont of living beings. Had there been no balancing force among the objects created by the Macrocosmic Mind, then the entire cosmological structure would have shattered into pieces. The cosmological balance is maintained due to this attraction amongst the different objects and entities. From atoms and molecules to human beings with developed consciousness, all entities feel attraction for one another. He keeps all the finite entities bound to Him by His inscrutable Cosmic Love. All entities drift in the vast divine flow as the minute manifestations of the Supreme Lord. They are entitled to Cosmic Love by birth. That is why one should remember that attraction is the law of nature. Attraction is not negative repulsion, rather repulsion is negative attraction. The so-called differences we notice amongst human beings in the external world are nothing but the expressions of negative attraction. For differences to occur people must enter into some sort of relationship with each other. Without close proximity there cannot be any friction. A serious difference of opinion today may be changed into friendship tomorrow.
A´ba´d kare viva´d kare suva´d kare ta´ra´.
“The same people who quarrel today may rejoice together in common friendship tomorrow.”
In the past, people who remained engaged in bloody battles over religious issues reunited after the battles were over. Similarly, on language issues also there were numerous clashes, but after some time, the mutual bickerings were forgotten and as result of synthesis, a new mixed language emerged. Thus, instead of reacting to apparent differences, one should seek internal unity. The various differences which split society must be removed in the interest of collective welfare. In order to do that, one must look for the common link, the points of affinity, in the multifarious lifestyles and diverse expressions of life. The points of affinity have got to be encouraged by all means and the differences must be discouraged. If the various differences such as customs, manners, food, dress, language etc. are given undue importance, the clashes and conflicts will increase. And if those differences are made to unite forcibly, that involves risk. That’s why we will have to adopt a positive approach rather than a negative one. Thus, our policy should be, “Aspects of unity should be encouraged and aspects of disunity should be discouraged.” If this principle is strictly followed there will be an increase in human unity and a corresponding decrease in the degree of disunity. I have already said that no difference lasts long. So if the aspects of disunity are discouraged, the human society will gradually find a universally acceptable link through mutual association and attraction. One should always remember that in the interest of social welfare and unity, fissiparous tendencies should never be encouraged. Whenever differences arise, it would be wise to ignore them. If at all something should be said, then one should say that this is not the proper time to bother about petty differences. Take the case of the national language. There is a group of people who are very vocal about the national language. But is it the proper time to fight over the language issue? Thousands of Indian people still live precariously below the subsistence level suffering from hunger, famine, disease and financial hardship. This is the time to fight against socio-economic exploitation. Those who are creating new problems by over-emphasizing unimportant issues instead of solving the immediate social needs are the enemies of humanity. They are dividing the country into battlefields of conflicting interests in the name of national unity, causing severe damage to humanity. In order to establish unity and welfare in the country, the common points of affinity must be found in the following three spheres:
- Socio-economic sphere
- Psycho-sentimental sphere
- Spirituo-sentimental sphere
To unify society we must first remove social and economic disparities. In a society where one person wallows in luxury while another gradually starves to death, the bondage of friendship is inconceivable. Similarly, if there is hatred in the social sphere, such as the hatred an upper caste person may have for a low caste person, one can hardly imagine an atmosphere of fraternity. Those who have wealth may try to buy others to serve their purposes but one cannot have unity with a slave.
Ta´ka´ diye shudhu ma´tha´ kena´ ya´y
Hrday ya´y na´ kena´.
“The mind can be bought with money, but not the heart.”
To experience the warmth of another’s heart one will have to give up the false sentiments of artificial human-made differences. For that we must first wage a ceaseless fight against poverty. Poverty is a common enemy of all the Indians. When a severe blow is dealt against the common enemy, all the interested parties will become united out of their own selfish motivations. This campaign against poverty will have to be carried on step by step. The first step is to arouse an anti-exploitation sentiment. Each and every person should be convinced that the entire wealth of the world is the common patrimony of all. To utilize that wealth is the birthright of everyone and no interference in that birthright will be permissible.
Toma´r deoya´ ei vipul prthvii sakale kariba bhog
Ei prthiviir na´r´ii sa´the ache srjan diner yog.
“We will enjoy this vast world given by You,
We are connected to this earth from the very moment of birth.”
Each and every person should be guaranteed the minimum necessities of life by providing everyone with sufficient purchasing capacity. It is not enough to provide the minimum necessities of life – simultaneously, the wealth of the country should also be increased. If sufficient wealth is not generated to meet the growing demands of the people, seeds of discontent will settle in their minds. So the increase in population should also be accompanied by an increase in the generation of national wealth. Unfortunately, the so-called leaders of modern India do not pay attention to this. Through various development programmes, the shortage of national wealth can be removed to a great extent. Take the case of the Indian province of Orissa. Agriculture, particularly summer crops, is still totally dependent on monsoons. Had artificial irrigation been introduced, Orissa could have achieved a three-fold increase in yields. Orissa today provides food to only fifteen million people. Had agriculture been properly developed, Orissa could be supplying food to forty million people. Orissa is also very rich in mineral resources such as coal, chromium, bauxite, manganese, etc. The present Indian leaders export those mineral resources to overseas countries. If those raw materials were utilized for indigenous industrial production, then four big steel plants can easily be put into operation. This would substantially raise per capita income. But the leaders, instead of paying attention to those things, have been framing five-year plans whimsically. Ultimately, these plans neither remove the economic disparities nor increase the collective wealth. To achieve these twin ends the present economic system is to be thoroughly overhauled. At the very outset, to facilitate socio-economic development, the country should be divided into socio-economic zones. If state boundaries are demarcated on the basis of political and linguistic considerations, then socio-economic plans can never be properly drafted and various economic problems are not given due attention. That is why economic zones are indispensable for expediting economic progress. At the moment, there are various economic units with different economically problematic areas within the same political zone. For instance, in Chottanagpur hills of Bihar, there is an acute problem of irrigation, whereas in the plains of North Bihar, there is a problem of drainage of water. In the same way, Royal-Sima, Shrii Ka´kulam and Felangana areas have been annexed to the same political province – Andhra – although their economic problems are different. That is why, considering the economic problems, in the interest of those people different socio-economic zones should be created. It may be that converting these different political units into a single economic zone right now, if implemented for administrative purposes, may lead to complications. So one economic zone may be divided into two political units (even one if necessary). There can be more than one economic zone in a political unit. The formation of linguistic states is meaningless: national unity can never be achieved through the creation of political linguistic states. To think that if the exploiters, capitalists, industrial proprietors and labourers speak one language, then unity among them will be maintained, is sheer foolishness.
Human beings, who are predominantly sentimental by nature, establish some kind of relationship with many objects of this world through day-to-day activities. If the sentiment for a particular favourite object is adjusted with the collective sentiment, then that sentiment can be utilized for establishing unity in the human society. Sometimes the human sentiment for many objects runs counter to the collective sentiment and as such creates greater disunity. Hence, those sentiments which are conducive to human unity should be encouraged, rejecting the sentiments which create a rift in human society. Take the case of the Sam´skrta language. Each and every Indian has a common universal love for Sam´skrta because it is the origin of most of the Indian languages. There was a time when human feelings and sentiments were exchanged and official activities were conducted in Sam´skrta, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. The influence of Sam´skrta on all modern Indian languages is easily discernible: 92% of Bengali, 90% of Oriya, 85% of Maethilii, 75% of Malayalam and 3% of Tamil has come directly from Sam´skrta vocabulary. Obviously no one can oppose the Sam´skrta language. Had national solidarity been the main purpose, then the leaders could have tried to establish national unity by advocating Sam´skrta as the national language of India.
Besides language, people have a natural weakness for their glorious national heritage. Every person loves and respects the past national prosperity and the nation’s glorious traditions. This love for one’s glorious heritage is clearly a psychic sentiment. This psychic sentiment can be utilized to consolidate the national unity. Take for instance the Mohangedaro and Harappan civilizations. The glorious heritage of a country should not be kept confined to school curricula or research scholars. Rather, it should be presented to the public. This will create a sense of confidence and glory in the people’s minds and thus strengthen the bonds of fraternity.
Likewise, the glorious history of a country strengthens the sense of unity among the population. The Sam´skrta term Itiha´sa and the English word “history” are not synonymous. History means Itikatha´, a chronological record of past events. Itiha´sa means the description of past events to inculcate moral teachings in people’s minds. It is not a mere chronological record, but a work of immense educative value. For instance, the Maha´bha´rata [India's great epic of spirito-moral struggle] is Itiha´sa as it has been a source of inspiration for people since its creation. Even today village people, sitting around a kerosene lamp in the evening, read and discuss the Maha´bha´rata, each one cherishing a universal attitude of love for the book. The propagation of the Maha´bha´rata will have a beneficial influence on people’s minds. Many of its passages may be quoted to enlighten people about their glorious past, and offer solutions to their worldly problems. Biographies of great saints, sages and personalities of the past should also be presented to the common people to foster unity in them. There is a subterranean flow of love and devotion in people’s minds for those sages and saints, as those saints rose above narrow sentiments to propagate the ideals of unity and fraternity. Their writings create a stir in people’s minds. So the popularisation of these personalities is essential to inspire unity among the masses.
The contemporary leaders do not try to give a practical shape to any of the aforementioned human qualities. They merely deliver high-sounding lectures. Those great personalities of the past provide good opportunities for them to organize bicentennial and anniversary celebrations. They consider that by merely uttering a few well-rehearsed sentences, they are paying a wonderful tribute to those great personalities. These leaders do not realize what an important contribution the great personalities can still give to further the country’s welfare. Thus the great ideals are disappearing from social life and disunity is increasing among the people.
To establish lasting unity in human society, besides the above two sentiments, the spiritual sentiment is indispensable. The unity that grows from the collective psychology in the social, psychic and economic spheres, is the first step towards a greater unity. This can lead to the formation of a nation or greater internal unity in a country. But once the problem out of which the sentiment grew is solved, the common link is broken. That is why for permanent unity a spiritual outlook is necessary. Every human being has a spiritual thirst. Knowingly or unknowingly, human beings are searching for the Supreme Entity. Yet, ignorant of the right path, they remain confused. One of life’s great tragedies is that so many people do not find the object of their search. Their entire life is spent searching everywhere, but in vain. If people are shown the right way, the entire humanity will converge on the same path. As fellow travellers on the same journey, they will move towards the same supreme goal with unison, with a single rhythm. So for the unity of the entire humanity, the indispensable factor is spirituality. This supreme treasure teaches human beings that Parama Purus´a is the Supreme Father, Parama Prakrti [[the Supreme Operative Principle]] is their Supreme Mother, and the entire universe is their homeland. They will sing in joy:
Sab tha´in’ mor ghar a´che a´mi sei ghar mari khun’jiya´,
Deshe deshe mor desh a´che a´mi se desh lava bujhiya´
Paraba´sii a´mi ye duya´re ya´i,
Ta´ri ma´jhe mor a´che yena tha´in’
Kotha´ diya´ setha´ praveshite pa´i sandha´n lava bujhiya´
Ghare ghare a´che parama´tmiiya ta´re a´mi mari khun’jiya´.
“My house is everywhere.
How desperately I search for that house of mine.
Every country is my country.
I shall surely discover that country of mine.
I may be a foreigner, but to whichever house I go,
I find my own abode.
I will find the right door to enter the house.
In every house live my dearest relations.
I am desperately searching for them.”
So Cosmic sentiment alone can be the unifying force which shall strengthen humanity to smash the bondages and abolish all narrowistic walls of fissiparous tendencies.
The reason is that this cosmic ideology is based on the absolute truth, which is not confined to time, space and person. When the limited mind accepts that unlimited entity as its object, the mind goes on expanding to a full 360 degrees. The method that brings about psycho-spiritual progress is called spiritual practice. When human beings bring the entire universe within the range of their minds through spiritual practice, the result will be one universe, one universal society. As long as the feeling of nationalism remains alive, mutual conflicts are inevitable. Human welfare depends on the degree of psychic expansion. When nationalism cannot embrace every human being, that nation cannot attain perfect well-being. When the welfare of some individuals remains outside the scope of the limited mind of the nationalists, their sorrows will never be felt. That is why a group of nationalists may attack another group of national ists just to establish their national ego. Not only nationalism, no “ism”, not even internationalism, attains the highest degree of psychic expansion. Who can say that human civilization has not been established on other planets of the universe. The thought of other planetary civilizations remains outside the minds of those who only think about the various nations of this planet. It is not possible for such internationalists to establish universalism. When inter-planetary conflict begins, then internationalism will assume the same role as nationalism does today. The only way to establish universalism is to bring about mental expansion through spiritual practice. The inculcation of the spiritual outlook will not strengthen the boundaries between nations but will lead to the establishment of a universal state, a global nation, with a common thread of unity and aspiration. That nation will be known as the human nation.
Jagat jur´iya´ ek ja´ti a´che se ja´tir na´ma “ma´navaja´ti”;
Eki prthiviir stanye pa´lita, eki ravishashii mather sa´thii.
“Throughout the world there is only one race:
Its name is the Human Race.
All are nourished with the same milk of Mother Earth;
The sun and the moon are the companions of all.”
With the help of the previously mentioned factors it would be easy to unite the human race. At the same time, however, it should be remembered that there are certain differences in the society which should be taken into proper consideration. These differences are usually removed through natural fusion. It is not possible to eradicate them by force. When human beings come close to each other with a genuine feeling of unity, when they share the common joys and sorrows of life, those external differences gradually vanish as a matter of course.
In the human society there are four main types of external differences:
Around the world people eat different types of food. There are many differences between the dietary habits of East and West for example, due to different environments and food production. People become accustomed to eating the particular type of food grown in their own countries. In India, for example, there are four food zones each with its own distinctive food production and resultant dietary habits. In one zone mustard oil is used, in another coconut oil, in another rapeseed oil, and in the fourth, ghee. The people of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in Northwest India are accustomed to eating bread, whereas the people of eastern and southern India mainly eat rice. Thus, people’s staple food is determined by variations in climatic conditions. The different dietary habits of the people of the world should never be made uniform by force. It would be unreasonable to declare a certain food as the national food and then force everyone to eat it. Besides that, everyone has his or her own likes and dislikes. In those countries where the commune system prevails, everyone is forced to eat the same type of food in the name of collectivism. People do not dare to speak out against such imposition out of fear, but internally they are not happy. Food is the most important of the primary necessities of human life. If people are not satisfied with their food there will be a simmering discontent in their minds which will seek an opportunity for an explosive expression.
Like food, there is a great diversity in the dressing habits of the people of the world. This is also a result of environmental differences. For instance, many people in Arab countries live in deserts. In the scorching heat of the midday sun the burning sand is blown up by the harsh winds. To protect themselves from these sand storms the people there wear clothes which cover their entire bodies from head to foot, even their face and ears. They live underground to protect themselves from the hostile elements.
If the people of northern Bihar in India were to wear such clothes they would be greatly inconvenienced. Due to excessive rain there is an abundance of rivers and lakes in this area. In such an environment to wear clothes covering the entire body would be extremely impractical. Thus these Biharis wear a Dhoti which can easily be lifted up while crossing a river. People living in cold countries use woollen clothes, which the inhabitants of hot countries would never use. As with food, the differences in dress cannot be removed by force.
There is an almost unending number of languages in the world. Not only do people of different countries speak different languages, but people within the same country use different tongues, too. These linguistic differences are due to raciocultural influences. The different cultures of the world have been responsible for the creation of different languages. Human beings formulate words with various types of sound. This sound is produced by exhaled air which flows over the vocal cord and emerges through the mouth and nose. The sound is modified with changes made in the shape of the mouth, lips and nose. Generally, these linguistic differences are due to the cumulative effect of six main factors: blood, nose, hair, skin, eyes and body height. Differences in these characteristics are also reflected in the four main races of the world: Aryan, Austric, Mongolian, and Negro. Aryans have a reddish white complexion and hair, warm blood, eyes like a cat, an aquiline nose, and tall bodies. Negroes have black skin, slightly colder blood, curly hair, blackish eyes, thick lips and tall bodies. There are also remarkable differences in the physical structure of the Mongolians and Austrics. There are three branches of Aryans: Nordic, Alpine and Mediterranean. In physical appearances the Nordic Aryans have the same characteristics as mentioned above. The Alpine Aryans have a reddish complexion, black hair, blue eyes, and slightly colder blood. The Mediterranean Aryans have yellowy-white complexion, black hair, dark eyes, ordinary noses, slightly colder blood, are of medium stature. People living in southern France, northern Africa and the Balkan states belong to this category.
There has been a lot of admixture of blood amongst the different races scattered throughout the many countries of the world. But the physiological characteristics of those groups who have been living in a particular climate since their beginning are more discernible than in the case of those who have migrated to different countries. These differences have also resulted in differences in linguistic expression.
The main races in India are the Mongolo-Tibetans, the Mediterranean Aryans and the Dravidians. The Mongolo-Tibetans include the Ladhaki, Kinnari, Gar´hwali, Nepali, Sikhimi, Newari (including the Misoes and Garoes), and Bhutani groups. The Mediterranean Aryans include the Brahmins and other people of Kashmir whose complexion is reddish white. And the Dravidians include the people of Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The present North India, that is the area lying north of the Bindu mountains to Tibet, was submerged under the oceans of the prehistoric past. The area south of the Bindu mountains which now includes South India, the present Arabian sea, the Polynesian Islands, the Malaysian archipelago and southern Africa formed a vast region which was known as Gondowanaland. Austrics inhabited the north of Gondowanaland and Negroes the south. The central part was inhabited by both Austrics and Negroes. The present Dravidians are the descendants of that Austrico-Negroid population.
Not only different races; different languages also blended together on the soil of India. The Indo-Aryan languages include Ma´ra´t´hii, Rajasthanii, Gujra´tii, Punjabii, Kashmirii, Khara´hivalii, Brajabha´sa´, Bundelkhandii, Avadhii, Chattrisgarii, Bhojpurii, Angika, Maghadhii, Maethilii, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Ga´r´howalii, Kuma´yanii and Gorkhalii. The Austric languages are Mun´d´a´, Ho, Santhal, Khar´hia, and Momkha´m. The Tibeto-Burmese languages include all the languages of Assam except Assamese, Man´ipurii and Naga. And the Tibeto-Chinese languages include Ladhakii, Kinnarii, Kira´tii, Lepca´, Yia´ru, Ga´ro, Khas´iya, Mizo and Newari.
Languages are also influenced by culture. The culture of one community influences the culture of another community. The rule is that the culture with the greatest vitality has the strongest influence. Sometimes the weaker culture is even absorbed by the more powerful one. When different cultural groups live side-by-side there is a lot of mutual exchange. The members of the weaker cultural group accept everything inherent in the dominating group, including its language. In spite of the tremendous differences between the Aryans and the non-Aryans, the non-Aryans accepted the Sam´skrta language of the Aryans, and the Aryans assimilated the introversial spiritual practice of the non-Aryans into their religion.
Sanskrit has influenced all the languages of northeast India. Even the southern Indian languages were influenced to a certain degree. Of all the southern languages, Ma´laya´lam has been most affected by Sanskrit. This is because many people migrated from the north through Madras to Kerala. That’s why the root-verbs of Ma´laya´lam are of Tamil origin while its vocabulary is by-and-large of Sanskrit origin. 75% of Ma´laya´lam is Sanskrit based.
The Aryan influence was felt as much in the lower stratum of life as in the upper stratum. In some places this influence was so dominating that people are reluctant to speak their own languages outside their family environment. The Saha community of the Austric group, for example, speak their own dialect [[in their homes, but speak Bhojpurii outside. In the same way the Singmund´a´ and the Sharan people and the Tipras of Tripura state speak Bengali and not their own ancestral tongue. The Garhwaliis have long stopped speaking their own Tibeto-Chinese dialect]] and have adopted Indo-Aryan languages.
Thus, there are differences in language due to racial traits and cultural influence. These linguistic differences cannot be forcibly suppressed. But a close analysis of history will reveal that many attempts have been made to suppress various languages of the world.
Each of the many languages of the world is equally important. No language should ever be discarded for being inferior. The very idea to suppress one language in favour of another should never be supported. But in modern and ancient India, and in some countries of the West, attempts have been made to suppress language. Such attempts have never proven beneficial. For example, in ancient India Sam´skrta scholars tried to suppress the Prakrta languages, and Vedic Sanskrit scholars tried to overwhelm the Dravidian and Austric languages. When Lord Buddha started propagating his new philosophy in Pali, the language of the people, the scholars tried to pressurize him into using Sanskrit. But, ignoring their demands, Buddha continued to use Pali. In medieval India Sanskrit persistently exerted its influence on other languages. The people’s language was derisively called bha´kha´. The saint Kabir, objecting to this maltreatment, said:
Sam´skrta ku´podaka, bha´kha´ bahata´ niira.
“Sanskrit is as stagnant as well-water, whereas bha´kha´ is as dynamic as the flowing water of a stream.”
Nor did the Sanskrit scholars give any importance to Bengali: it was considered nothing short of blasphemy to translate the religious scriptures from Sanskrit into Bengali. The Nabab Hussein Shah personally tried to develop the Bengali language. With his active support Krttiva´sa Ojah translated the Ramayana, Ka´shii Ram Dash translated the Mahabharata and Ma´ladhra Vasu translated the Bha´gavata from Sanskrit to Bengali. This caused a furore among the community of scholars. They tried to brand Hussein Shah as a saboteur of the Hindu religion because, according to them, to translate the holy scriptures into Bengali was to defile the Hindu religion. Ma´la´dhra Vasu had to bear the stigma of being a Moslem convert and was widely ridiculed as Gun´aranjin’a Khan. So incensed were the Sanskrit scholars over the translations of Krttiva´sa Ojah that he was declared an outcaste for committing an act of sacrilege. All this took place only 450 years ago.
In Europe Latin scholars tried their best to suppress other languages. The Arabic scholars of the Middle East wanted to suppress Persian. And in recent years the people of Wales and Quebec in Canada have protested against the imposition of the English language. They preferred to use their own languages as the medium of expression. In modern India, too, due to selfish political influences, important languages such as Bhojpurii, Maethilii, Ma´gadhii, Chattrisgar´hii, Avadhii, Bunddkha´n´d´ii and Marwarii are being suppressed. Their speakers will certainly not accept this silently, but will surely protect against this unjust domination. Recently there was an open revolt against the imposition of Hindi as the national language of India. That’s why, it is better to brings people speaking different languages closer to one another than to suppress their languages. As a result, people will feel inspired to speak other languages. The arbitrary imposition of any language invites trouble.
There are a variety of religions in the world formulated by different propounders. But instead of enhancing the spirit of unity in the human society, these religions have actually increased disunity and mutual conflict. How many wars have been fought in the name of religion? So, far from being a unifying force, religion should be seen as a cause of disharmony.
One thing should be remembered: Dharma and religion – or Ima´n and majhab in Arabic – are not synonymous. Throughout the ages, Dharma or Ima´n has been propagating teachings to unite humanity. Religions are many, but Dharma is one, and that Dharma is Manava (Human) Dharma – a system for the attainment of the Supreme. Based on practical wisdom and logical faith, Dharma is a rational approach for the realization of Absolute Truth. External paraphernalia are not required for the practice of Dharma: the only prerequisite is a unit mind. Within Dharma there is no room for exploiting people entrapped in the snare of blind faith, and no scope for self-aggrandisement or the pursuit of group interests. Love, freedom and equality are its foundation stones. As Dharma is beyond time, space and person, there is no scope for differences within a species (svaja´tiiya), differences between species (vija´tiiya) or differences within the same unit being (svagata). Dharma is inchangeable.
Eka eva suhrd dharma nidhanepyanuya´ti yah.
“Dharma is the only real friend; it follows one even after death.”
Religion is the exact opposite. It is based on the following three factors:
- Physico-ritualistic observance
Behind the origin of a religion lies the inborn fear psychology of human beings. Human beings started religious practice to appease the different natural phenomena – the hills and mountains, the rivers and oceans, the forests, thunder and lightening, the morning and evening, and so on. Such religious practice was based on the instinct for self-preservation: the only intention being to propitiate the gods and goddesses of diverse moods. Some kind of imaginary faith worked in the back of people’s minds. Such psycho-sentiments arose after human beings came in contact with the different natural phenomena. The roots of most religions lie in the worship of a particular natural phenomenon. Some religions centered around the moon, some the sun, and others a stone image. Later on people created an improvised philosophy to support the worship of that physical phenomenon. They advanced the philosophical argument that it was possible to attain the unlimited by worshipping its limited form. They declared their temples, mosques and churches made of bricks as sacred places. A strong sentiment developed for the worship of different deities. So blind were their sentiments that they refused to listen to rationality. Take the case of cows: Hindus worship cows as something holy, apparently because they give us milk. But if cows are revered as mothers for giving us milk, shouldn’t buffaloes be given a similar status? Actually, buffaloes give more milk than cows. Unfortunately, the blind religious followers refuse to listed to logic as their religious sentiment for cows has taken root deep in their minds. People are fed these ideas since childhood, so later on it becomes impossible for them to discard them. Science students understand the reason for a lunar or solar eclipse. They know that the eclipse does not occur because the sun or moon has been devoured by the mythological demons Ra´hu and Ketu (Umbra and Penumbra). Yet due to the deep rooted Sam´skaras in the mind, they rush to take a holy bath in the Ganges during the eclipse. This is the result of blind faith.
When the wave of physical sentiment becomes stronger than the wave of logic, we call it blind faith or religious bigotry. This leads to the view:
Vishva´se mila´y vastu tarke bahu du´r.
“In faith you get something substantial, but in logical arguments it is far away.”
Majhabme a´kka´l ka´ dakhal nehi hyey.
“In religion there is no room for logical argument.”
India did not see the frenzied expression of religious bigotry evident in other religions, which was the cause of intense religious feuding. How many lives were sacrificed over a single strand of hair? It is very difficult to persuade religious bigots to follow the path of logic because according to them even to listen to others is a sinful act. This is nothing but mere sentiment. According to some religions beef eating is forbidden but the killing of deer and goats is permissible. This is totally irrational.
Out of sentiment arose different ritualistic observances such as the way a lamp should be lit and held and the way one should kneel down in prayer. No logical arguments can be found to substantiate these rituals. Moreover, during the rituals, the mind always remains preoccupied with diverse objects. If it remains obsessively associated with such objects, how can it move towards Supreme Consciousness?
Many people consider their temple to be the only sacred place of worship. But the funny thing is that the builders who construct temples are unholy people or untouchables, and are thus barred from entering their premises. Each religion has its own scriptures. Some scriptures are worshipped with such reverence that they are treated as deities. But the paper on which the scripture was written, and the printing and binding of the book were perhaps done by people of other religions. But once the book is complete it is transformed into a holy scripture and those who made it will not have the right to even touch it. In fact, not only the holy scriptures, but all books are considered as a symbol of the goddess of learning. To pay obeisance to the book by repeatedly touching the forehead with it is apart of religious observance. Many people spend huge sums of money to make an idol of clay only to immerse it in a river with pomp and ceremony to conclude the religious festival. But if the people of other religions happen to break even a finger of that idol terrible bloodshed will ensue. Thus, those who advocate the formation of countries on the basis of religious faith will cause irreparable damage by fragmenting human society.
Human beings readily accept traditions without seeking the reasons behind them. Since ancient days the semitic people have been observing the practice of circumcision. Moses and Mohammed accepted this system which today has become tradition. The ancient Austrics used to worship the Sun. Their purpose was to please the Sun God and be blessed with heavy rainfall and bumper harvests. In the social system of the Austrics, women had a predominant role. Thus, in the system of worship and other religious ceremonies, the priest had no significant role. Even the Sun God was looked upon as a female deity and the Moon was a male God. The Sun God was addressed as “mother” and the worship done in her honour was called “Chat Puja”. Even today in Magadh Chat Puja is held twice a year during the harvest time. The sentiment of Chat Puja was so deeply rooted in Magadh that their system of worship is in vogue even today even after such tremendous Aryan, Buddhist and Moslem influence. Of course, in the external rituals of worship some changes have taken place, but the system of worship has not yet become extinct. Even the Moslems participate in the Chat Puja. In some areas they themselves organize the ritual and in other places they get the puja performed through the Hindus. This Chat Puja has now become a tradition. There was a time in Bengal when the Moslems used to worship Satyana´ra´yan´a or the Ola´ica´nd.
From the above discussion it is apparent that religions engender hatred for others, blind faith, etc. in the minds of their followers. Through such religions it is next to impossible to establish unity in the society. Religious differences should be minimized as much as possible, but it should be remembered that blind faith in a religion cannot be forcibly eliminated. To strike at any type of sentiment will only cause that sentiment to grow stronger. Psychological methods will have to be employed to make people realize the irrational nature of blind religious faith. This requires a rational interpretation of philosophy through enlightened intellect. When the human mind is gripped by the fear psychology it gives indulgence to blind faith rather than logic and reason. If human fear is removed through logic and reason, the very basis for blind faith will be weakened. That is why human beings will have to be taught philosophical doctrines in a rational way. Furthermore, to remove the psycho-sentiment for a particular physical object, either the object itself should be removed or, by changing the very outlook through scientific and humanitarian reasoning, the person concerned should be separated from that sentimental object. For example, those who perform religious ceremonies in worship of the moon will find it difficult to continue their practice once, due to scientific advancement, they actually get the opportunity to walk on the moon. Blind faith must be removed through the application of science and humanistic appeals. People will have to be united under the common banner of one religion.
In the absence of knowledge of common psychology, people of different religions try to destroy other religions. This has resulted in the spilling of rivers of blood. In ancient India the Aryans tried to impose their own Vedic religion on the Austric community. In the Buddhist era, particularly during the reign of King Bimbisa´ra, Buddhism was imposed on other religions. Later, the followers of the Sana´tana Hindus forcibly converted the Buddhist and Jains into Hinduism. During Moslem rule Islam was imposed on India, Persia and Egypt. Similarly, countless Jews were converted into Christianity. During the British period attempts were made by Christian missionaries to subvert Hinduism and impose Christianity on the indigenous population. All this led to mutual animosity in the world of religion.
Those who indulged in vain criticism and slandering instead of trying to remove the factors diving the human race, created even more problems for society. That’s why there is more disunity than unity in the human society today.
It is spiritually enlightened moralists (sadvipras) who must take most of the responsibility to remove the disunity. Sadvipras will not give any importance to the points of difference, but will continuously inspire and encourage the common bonds of unity and thus strengthen humanity. Only then will the human society become one and indivisible. Only then will it be worthy of being called a “human society”.
A Few Problems Solved Part 2
One Human Society
Prout in a Nutshell Volume 2 Part 7
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011