Academic Articles

War and Violance in the Name of God

18-01-2016
English Teacher Website

 

 

 

 

 

Let me begin this paper with a tribute to Swami Vivekananda sharing his glorious views of religion and the need for religious harmony. I am presenting before you extracts of Vivekananda’s talk published in Saginaw Evening News from Michigan, USA on 12th March 1894. Aryans, the first invaders of India never tried to exterminate the Indian masses but rather tried to elevate them from the brutish habits. Then arrived Christianity and Islam into the country and their culture commingled with the native culture contributing virtues as well as vices. According to Swami Vivekananda if there are not different religions, no one religion would survive. The Christian needs his selfish religion. The Hindoo needs his own creed. Those which were founded on a book still stand. Why could not the Christians convert the Jew? Why could not they make the Persians Christians? Why not so with the Mohammedans? Why cannot any impression be made on China or Japan? The Buddhists, the first missionary religion, have double the number of coverts of any other religion and they did not use the sword.  The farthest that all religions can see is the existence of a spiritual unity. So no religion can teach beyond this point. In every religion there is the essential truth and non-essential casket in which the jewel lies. The believing in the Hindoo book or Jewish book is non-essential. Circumstances change, the receptacle is different, but the central truth remains. The essentials being the same, the educated people of every community retain the essentials. The shell of the oyster is not attractive, but the pearls are within. Vivekananda says that this universe is a symphony. Hence why take a single instrument from the great religious orchestra of the earth? Let the grand symphony go on. Be pure, give up superstition and see the wonderful harmony of nature. Superstition gets the better of religion. All the religions are good since the essentials are the same. Each creed has had something to add to the wonderful structure. As far as the belief in the personality of God was concerned, agnosticism prevailed, and the main thing is to follow our Buddha’s precepts which were, “Be good, be moral, be perfect” (Vivekananda, “Religious Harmony” 482-484).

Now let me quote a few sentences from Vivekananda’s lecture reported in the Chicago Sunday Herald on 24th September 1893. He told the audience, “I think we should love our brothers whether we believe in the universal fatherhood of God not, because every religion and every creed recognises man as divine, and you should do him no harm that you might not injure that which is divine in him” (Vivekananda, “Congress of Religious Unity” 199). In his lecture at Detroit on 21st February 1894, reported in the Detroit Free Press, Vivekananda says, “Of the different philosophies, the tendency of the Hindu is not to destroy, but to harmonise everything. If any idea comes into India, we do not antagonise it, but simply try to take in, to harmonise it because the method was taught first by our prophets, God incarnate on earth, Shri Krishna. We do not say that ours is the only way to salvation. Perfection can be had by everybody, and what is the proof? Because we see the holiest of men in all countries, good men and women everywhere, whether born in our faith or not. Therefore it cannot be held that ours is the only way to salvation.”  (Vivekananda “Hindus and Christians” 209-213).

Religious harmony and peace can be attained only if we accept the concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbamkam. The concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbamkam originated long back in India in the BC. The phrase means that the world is certainly one family. Vedic sages had disclosed the truth that the world is like a small, tightly knit, nuclear family. Vasudaiva Kutumbamkam is a social philosophy based on the spiritual understanding that the whole of humanity is made of one life energy. It is a solution to the philosophical questions: If the Paramatma is one, how then an Atma can be different? If Atma is different, how then can it ultimately be dissolved in the Paramatma? If the whole ocean is one, how then a drop of the ocean be different from the ocean? If the drop is different from the ocean, how then can it ultimately be dissolved in the ocean? (“Vasudaiva Kutumbakam”). After a scientific progress of 400 years, scientists of world have come to this view that the whole cosmos is an inter-connected oneness. The whole existence is inter-woven and inter-twined. This is the result of quantum physics. Life on earth is interdependent—lives of man and animals and plants are interconnected. Existence of one is dependent on others. Similarly one’s comfort, happiness and peace are dependent on others. It is applicable to individuals as well as nations.

The Creator has bestowed upon this planet with sufficient resources for all its inhabitants. Other beings take from this planet only for their survival whereas human beings are greedy and they are not just sufficient with their necessities but run after comforts and luxuries. Among human beings 12.5% are hungry and starving when others are wasting tones of food. This widening gap between the rich and the poor is the main reason for loss of peace and harmony in this world. The root cause of conflicts between communities and even nations is this disparity in wealth. The rich people as well as rich countries do not want to alleviate the problems of the poor but rather they want the poor people and poor nations to remain poor for ever so that they can market their consumer products among them and become richer and richer. 99% of human beings are selfish who nurture tamasik* and rajasik* character and involve in such karmas. The vast majority of have-nots in this world when they learn that the wealth of the planet is legitimate to them also, naturally feel envious and result in confrontation, conflicts and even wars. The main cause of Maoist attacks is this. The same disparity can be attributed as one of the causes of terrorism, the main being religious fundamentalism. The rich or the rich countries should be indebted to the poor or the poor countries for their affluence because they have indirectly looted the possession of the have-nots. As Frantz Fanon has stated in his masterpiece postcolonial treatise The Wretched of the Earth, the wealth of the imperial countries, amassed through capitalist exploitation, is in reality the colonized people’s wealth too. Hence the colonized peoples are not blinded by the help which an imperial state offers them; it is only moral reparation. Vasudaiva Kutumbamkam can be materialized only if the rich and the privileged people or nations nurture their satvik* nature and treat the poor and their under privileged people and nations as their siblings. Then there will be shanti or peace on earth. The rich or developed countries can live peacefully only if their poor neighbours are fed well and live happily.

            Having expressed with quotes Swami Vivekananda’s views on religion and the need for religious harmony, let us examine the present scenario. Has the world of religion changed for the better 125 years after his exhortation? I think the West has changed and their people have become more secular than the East. Even though spirituality has been decreasing in the Western mind and materialism conquering them they have evolved to be tolerant in the religious matters or even least bothered about religion and religious practices. Whereas in the East, in the Islamic countries and India, people have become religious fundamentalists and fanatics and it results in violence and war. In Vivekananda’s own country, once model for religious harmony to the entire world, the unity is being lost now and people have become more narrow minded and their primary emotion and affiliation has been degenerated to their religions rather than to the land or country which feeds them and protects them. When I see the violence, bloodshed, murders, terrorism and wars in the name of religion and God I am forced to think that this world would have been a better place if all the religions have been banned on the planet. Let me quote a few lines from my poem “In the Name of God” taken from my collection Winged Reason published in 2010:

Millions were killed in crusades

in the name of God.

Tens of millions died in World Wars

in the name of God.

Clergies thrive and dictate

in the name of God.

Laymen frightened surrender

in the name of God.

Religions rival each other

in the name of God.

Democracy is devalued

in the name of God.

Nepotism is supported

in the name of God.

Superstitions survive

in the name of God.

Communalism poisons

in the name of God.

Communism is strangled

in the name of God.

Terrorists butcher thousands

in the name of God.

Teens become terrorists

in the name of God.

Sexism prevails

in the name of God.

Higher castes exploit

in the name of God.

Secularism is nullified

in the name of God.

Corruption is promoted

in the name of God.

God is dethroned

in the name of God.

And human gods are crowned

in the name of God. (Dominic, Winged Reason 69-70)

It has been an accepted fact that education opens one’s mind and removes one’s ignorance and one becomes broadminded and scientific. It has been so in the past centuries. But when we look at the world now, we find that it is the educated people who are more intolerant and prejudiced. They become preys to religious fundamentalism, communalism and terrorism. They are prepared to die for their religion. Behind all terrorist attacks we find the brains of the educated youth. It is the worst irony of the world. Is there any real drawback of the present education system? Is it the lack of value based education? One thing is sure that the youth have few good models now to emulate. They find corrupted, fraud leaders everywhere. The world now needs great visionaries like Vivekananda, Gandhi etc. Let me wind up my paper reading a few lines from my long poem “Multicultural Harmony” taken from the collection Multicultural Symphony published in 2014:

Dear my fellow beings

break away all fences and walls

Fences of your petty minds

Compound walls of your houses

Walls of your religions and castes

Boundaries of your native States

And ultimately borders of your nations

Let there be no India, Pakistan or China

America, Africa, Europe or Australia

But only one nation THE WORLD

where every being lives in perfect harmony

as one entity in multicultural world. (Dominic, Multicultural Symphony 22-23)

 

Works Cited

Dominic, K. V. Multicultural Symphony. New Delhi: GNOSIS, 2014. Print.

---. Winged Reason. New Delhi: Authorspress, 2010. Print.

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. London: Penguin Books, 1967. Print.

“Vasudaiva Kutumbakam.” Web. 15 Dec. 2014. http://www.enlightenedleadershipnow.com/Home/power-of-unity-or-oneness/what-is-spiritual-leadership/vasudhaiva-kutumbakam-vasudhaiva-kutumbakam.

Vivekananda, Swami. “Congress of Religious Unity.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol.8. Calcutta: Swami Mamukshananda, Advaita Ashrama, 1999. 8 vols. 199. Print.

---. “Hindus and Christians.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol.8. Calcutta: Swami Mamukshananda, Advaita Ashrama, 1999. 8 vols. 209-213. Print.

---. “Religious Harmony.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol.2. Calcutta: Swami Mamukshananda, Advaita Ashrama, 1995. 8 vols. 482-484. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted By: Dr. K. V. Dominic Category: Academic Articles

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About Dr. K. V. Dominic

Dr. K. V. Dominic, English poet, critic, short story writer and editor is a retired professor of the PG & Research Department of English, Newman College, Thodupuzha, Kerala, India. He had been the Editor of the international refereed biannual journal Indian Journal of Postcolonial Literatures (IJPCL), published from Newman College, from 2002 to his retirement in 2011. He was born on 13 February 1956 at Kalady, a holy place in Kerala where Adi Sankara, the philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta was born. He took his PhD on the topic “East-West Conflicts in the Novels of R. K. Narayan with Special Reference to The Vendor of Sweets, Waiting for the Mahatma, The Painter of Signs and The Guide” from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala. In addition to innumerable poems, short stories and critical articles published in national and international journals, he has authored/edited twenty six books so far. The titles are: (1) Postcolonial Readings in Indo-Anglian Literature, (2) Selected Short Stories in Contemporary Indo-Anglian Literature, (3) Pathos in the Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore, (4) Reason and Fantasy (A Collection of Poems and Short Stories),  (5) Winged Reason (A Collection of Poems), (6) Stephen Gill’s Poetry: A Panorama World Peace,  (7) Discourses on Contemporary Indian English Poets,  (8) Studies in Contemporary Canadian Literature, (9) Critical Studies on Contemporary Indian English Women Writers,  (10) Write Son, Write (A Collection of Poems), (11) Critical Perspectives on the Poetry of R. K. Singh, D. C. Chambial and I. K. Sharma, (12) Discourses on Five Indian Poets in English: Keki N. Daruwalla, Shiv K. Kumar, Pronab Kumar Majumder, Syed Ameeruddin and Aju Mukhopadhyay, (13) Concepts and Contexts of Diasporic Literature of India,  (14) Changing Face of Women in Literature: The Flaming Spirit, (15) Studies on Six Indian Poets in English: Jayanta Mahapatra, Hazara Singh, P C K Prem, Gopikrishnan Kottoor, Manas Bakshi, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy, (16) Multicultural Consciousness in the Novels of R. K. Narayan,  (17) African and Afro-American Literature: Insights and Interpretations,  (18) Critical Evaluation  of  Contemporary Indian Poetry in English (19) Multicultural Symphony (A Collection of Poems), (20) Multicultural Literature of India: A Critical Evaluation of Contemporary Regional Literatures (21) World English Fiction: Bridging Oneness, (22) Jayanti M. Dalal: Select Stories, (23) Sarojini Sahoo’s Feminine Reflections  (24) Indian Literatures in English: New Directions, Newer Possibilities, (25) Who is Responsible? ( A Collection of Short Stories) and (26) Abheepsa (A Collection of Hindi Translated Poems)  Prof. Dominic is the Secretary of Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics (GIEWEC), a non-profitable registered organization having now two hundred and fifty members mainly consisting of university/college professors, research scholars and professional English writers. Prof. Dominic has conducted several national seminars and workshops all over India. He is a SAARC writer and participant of SAARC literary festivals. He is the Editor and Publisher of the international refereed biannual journal, International Journal on Multicultural Literature (IJML) and Editor-in-Chief of the Guild’s international refereed biannual journal, Writers Editors Critics (WEC). Both the journals are abstracted and indexed by Literary Reference Centre Plus, EBSCO Host, USA for Worldwide reference. He is also the publisher of the international refereed annual, New Fiction Journal (NFJ). Dr. Dominic has been interviewed by the reputed Italian Professor, Prof. Elisabetta Marino, and it appeared in the renowned Italian journal MOSAICO in Italy and Brazil as well as its English translation in international refereed quarterly journal, Labyrinth from Gwalior. He is in the Advisory and Editorial Boards of several leading journals in India. International Poets Academy, Chennai conferred on him its highest award LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD in 2009. India Inter-Continental Cultural Association, Chandigarh conferred on him Kafla Inter-continental Award of Honour SAHITYA SHIROMANI in recognition of his contribution in the field of literature at the 10th International Writers' Festival at Trivandrum (Kerala) on 28th December 2014. An edited book on K. V. Dominic’s poetry, consisting of 25 critical papers, an interview and some of his famous poems is going to be released soon from the American publishing house, Modern History Press under the title Philosophical Musings for Meaningful Life: An Analysis of K. V. Dominic’s Poems. The book is edited by Dr. S. Kumaran of Chennai. Prof. Dominic can be contacted at: Email: prof.kvdominic@gmail.com Web Site: www.profkvdominic.com, Blog: www.profkvdominic.blogspot.in

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