Opinion

Of Religion and Love

Religion is a personal belief and a private matter and should be kept within the confines of our home. It is not something to be exhibited or to be made a show of. It is a communion between self and God and a sacred matter. How does it really matter how do we pray to our God? What matters, is how much love we have in our hearts and how honest we are in our prayers.

India is a secular country certainly! But are the people of this country secular? Are the rules and the regulations that we have framed secular? I have doubts sometimes! Why is it then, that when we fill up official forms we have to mention our faith or which religion we belong to? Why is it required for identification at all? And why is it that daily in papers, magazines, in group discussions, or on the TV. one is being drummed by words like Christian, Hindu , Muslim , etc. time and again. Why are we made so conscious of the fact that which religion we belong to? The Christians will react only when a Christian is assaulted or killed, a Hindu will react only when a Hindu is killed. A Muslim will react only when a Muslim is killed. Such a departmentalized society! 

We are religiously conscious in a very negative way, we defend our religion by attacking other's religion. We protect our religion by killing fellow human beings. There was a Christian Rally in  Shillong on the 24th Feb 1999... Why was not this rally called in the name of humanity rather than restrict it to only Christians? Why cannot we all get together and say, let us condemn the atrocity or the crime committed against a human being. Let us even forget that he was an Australian. Mr. Staines was a human being first.... but no, we have to marginalize and compartmentalize ourselves and then only do we feel secure and protected.

One placard in the same procession read "India is a secular country not a Hindu". What it says is correct surely! But are not we targeting another religion to prove our point? Good lord!  What kind of religiousness do we have? Why do we always think in the restricted terms of religion only? Why are we made so conscious of the fact that we belong to certain religion? . Why cannot we have a wider perspective, a more expansive one, like thinking in terms of Humanity? Let us cross all man made boundaries and reach out to the whole world and to the Humanity at large. And have Love in our hearts... love that crosses all barriers of cast, creed cultures, religion, and even species. Which has no bias, no prejudice and has a sense of deep understanding for fellow creatures. J. Krishnamurti a great thinker says "If there is no understanding there is great sorrow. And if the mind does not penetrate beyond it's own barriers than there is misery." This is what our society is facing today. We have become so communalized, so incarcerated by the boundaries created by our own minds, that we seem to be forgetting the real essence and ethos of a religion. And we are all facing the brunt of this communal and restrictive society that has created pockets of island of humanity, grouping within themselves and spreading fondness for their own kind, while animosity and repulsion for others. 

Religion is a personal belief and a private matter and should be kept within the confines of our home. It is not something to be exhibited or to be made a show of. It is a communion between self and God and a sacred matter. How does it really matter how do we pray to our God? What matters, is how much love we have in our hearts and how honest we are in our prayers.

Quoting J. Krishnamurti again he says "Love has its own timeless effect, love is it's own eternity and where there is love there is no evil." But do we really understand this deeply profound word 'Love', certainly here I am not talking about love that manifests itself in terms of restricted family relations. But love in a wider and expansive form when you are in tune with your soul, integrated and are in unison with life.

Love a state, when you are at peace with what you see, feel or express. A state of being when you expect everything around you, in its own importance, with no conflict, when you accept beauty and ugliness, the way it is...naturally. When there is mental spiritual and physical acceptance of nature in all its totalities in an expansive way. And a state of being when you do not see everything in terms of gain, profit or advantage but when you accept things for what it is, rather than, what it gives you.

There was a news item in the Times of India dated 23rd Feb'99 that a 60 year old Muslim named Abdul Rashid Ismail Shaikh is an unofficial priest of a Hindu Ganesha Temple. Such is the love in his heart that he transcended all boundaries of religions to pray to God. And He says "I don't have any complaints. I know what I am doing and I know that it is right. The greatest religion is that of Humanity." He has not denounced his faith but continues to be a Muslim. While he is also accepted as a Hindu priest. Such great men may go into oblivion in history. But, the love that he may have created and pervaded into the world in his 60 years of life on this planet will have a more profound effect on the people around him, than all the Hindu, Christian, Muslim priests put together who propagate only their religion and not love. Who cannot cross the boundaries created by their own minds, and restrict themselves to a particular sect or religion. They don't grow, they don't flower, they smother and stifle their own minds by restrictive thinking, running in groves or on a pre-set rails, never questioning never inquiring, habituated and mechanical' and somewhere along the way the essence, the spirit and the soul of love for humanity is lost... And the remains... a charred body of Mr. Staines and his innocent children!  
    

21-Dec-2000

More by :  Ooma Tiwari Tariang

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