- From: wongsony <lokananta@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 23:57:25 -0800 (PST)
A Luxury that has Become a Need
"Those were peaceful days...." We often hear and read such or similar
statements made by men and women of distinction, as if peace was
prevailing in our society in "those days".
I, for one, would like to disagree with such an opinion. No, peace has
never prevailed over violence except for brief intervals in human
history. Keep your head cool and reread the history of our world, our
so called "civilized world", and you shall find each and every page of
it written in blood, with blood.
Peace has always been a luxury.
The most civilized and religious amongst men of every age could kill
just for any reason. For a piece of land, for a woman, for so called
"honor", for power - for anything and everything that one can imagine
of. Yes, just anything could trigger a conflict, a fight, a battle, a
war. And, the party that won would write history to suit their fancy.
This has been going on for thousands of years.
Certainly, as I have said, there have been brief intervals - peaceful
intervals. But, those intervals did not change our history. Indeed,
after each interval, we became more and more violent. And, we reached
the peak, the climax - when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "We"
bombed those two cities. As the citizens of world, we all are
responsible for those bombings. Equally responsible are the people of
Japan, the residents of those two cities who did not object to their
government's aggressive policies. We all are guilty.
I said earlier that we reached our peak, our climax in violence with
the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings. But, we did not come down from
the peak - there has been no coming down. In fact we set another
standard for violence. The peak we reached marked a new standard in
More than 3000 bloody conflicts, battles and wars in the past 2000
years of world history. And, until this date the world is still at
war. There are conflicts in all continents. Not a single continent is
completely free from violence.
The question is: What have we learnt from our past?
Perhaps "nothing"! No lesson learnt. Peace is still a Luxury. It is
still a "once a blue moon" happening. Peace is still a dream, which
remains to be realized.
* * *
What makes us different from our forefathers is the fact that, it is
only now, today, that Peace is unfolding itself as the basic need of
all humanity. We are becoming aware that it is no longer a luxury.
This awareness, this realization has been triggered by the fact that,
today we have more ammunition than what is needed to destroy the
entire world over and over. The Third World War may happen, as
Einstein once remarked, but the Fourth shall never happen. Because,
the Third World War, if it happens, will have destroyed the whole
world in its entirety. Nothing of our world would possibly remain -
none of us - so the question of Fourth World War would not arise.
Perhaps then, only then, this world of ours could finally be peaceful
- with no human populace, no animals and no vegetation surviving such
Are we looking forward to such Peace?
Certainly not, so what do we do? Organizing and arranging for
dialogues, interfaith and international dialogues? Such dialogues have
been going on ever since the major religions of the world came in
contact with each other. And, not much has been achieved.
In our colleges, the students are taught the science of "comparison".
They are busy in comparing truths of different religions. There too,
nothing is happening.
And, nothing can ever happen if we do not dig deep into our own
consciousness and find the root cause of violence. What is it that
makes us violent? It is our "weakness", a deep sense of "weakness"
combined with "fear" - that makes us violent. We fear our existence;
we fear the existence of our religions. It is a false sense of
"survival" - that makes us violent.
We must overcome this fear, this weakness. We have to let go of this
false sense of survival. How? We can certainly not do this, not
achieve this through dialogue. Indeed dialogues may take us farther
from the solution. For, the solution is within us. And, the dialogue
is done outside, with others.
My weakness, my fear, my false sense of survival is "my" problem. It
is not someone else's problem. So, I cannot possibly solve this by
initiating dialogue with someone.
Why am I feeling so weak and therefore helpless? Why do I feel as if
the entire burden of defending religion lies on my shoulders? Why am I
fearful about the existence of my religion and my belief? It is the
sense of "I" and "mine" - that has created all our problems. By
clinging to "individual egos" and false sense of pride - we forget the
fact that this world, this universe is not run by my ego and such
false sense of pride. We forget that there is a Higher Intelligence
that takes care of one and all. Our faith in such Intelligence must be
* * *
Talking about Peace, we cannot but talk about Religion. For, more than
any other, religion or belief-system has often been the reason behind
conflicts. This is as true today as it has been 2000 years back.
We must seriously consider this point. We can no longer ignore this
point by stating that it is not the religion, but the practitioner
that is guilty. In Indonesia we have even coined our own term,
"oknum". Oknum relates to "a specific practitioner", "one of them". We
tend to forget that without religion, there is no practitioner.
Indeed, it is the way a practitioner practices his or her religion -
that becomes the identity for religion.
We must find out what is it in our religions and belief systems that
can trigger the traits of violence within me. We must leave aside the
contextual teachings of our religions, for each and every religion did
answer the burning issues of the time...... And, learn to appreciate the
universal values. These universal values are common in all religions.
These universal values must be promoted, propagated and believed in as
the quintessence of all religious teachings.
And, it is with this sense of appreciation that we must learn to study
all religions. Such study, such learning should become part of our
education system. It should be part of history that is taught
universally. Right from their early years, our children must learn to
honor the prophets and messiahs of all religions.
Religion must soothe our hearts, heal our wounds, and wash away
enmities from our minds - otherwise its practice is of no use at all.
Once this is achieved, religion can no longer be used to create
conflict, discord and disharmony.
So, will Peace be possible then?
No, not yet. But at least, we would have removed one major hindrance
in making it possible. With this hindrance taken care of, it will be
easier for us to dig deeper into our beings and uproot violence.
Violence is a trait that we have inherited from a long evolution in
the past. What I mean by evolution is certainly not just Darwinian
Evolution, but Evolution of Human Mind and Intelligence, of Arts,
History and Sciences.
We have been very violent in the past. But, ever since the Great War
at the battlefield of Kurukshetra some 5000 years ago - we have not
had the means to destroy this world as we have them now. So, we have
been engaged in petty and regional acts of violence and destruction.
Now, as I have said earlier, we have enough means to destroy this
world over and over. So, now Peace is no longer a Luxury, that one may
have and another may not. It is no longer an urgent and imperative
issue for one country and not for another.
We have walked a long way from slavery to Independence - now the march
is from Independence to Interdependence. We can no longer live as
islands. Peace has become an urgent and imperative issue for all of us
- if we want to save ourselves, our children and grandchildren, our
nation, and this planet world.
Come out of your luxurious suits in expensive hotels...... Waste not a
single cent to organize futile dialogues...... Stop comparing religions,
reading out long papers and discussing theology. God, Theo is beyond
all logic anyway. Leave all those mind-games.
Come out in the open..... Allow the sunrays of new awareness bathe your
soul...... Find the traits of violence within, acknowledge them as such,
as traits of violence, and uproot them. And at that very moment, you
shall see the huge vast of Land of Peace within you - the New
Jerusalem within you, the City of Peace within you. You will no longer
fight over a Jerusalem, for you shall acquire the capability of
turning this whole world into a Jerusalem, a New Jerusalem.
Saadhu, Amen, Amin, Om Shaanti, Shanti, Shaantihi.......
Peace, Peace, and Only Peace
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