We live in troubled times, in a dangerous and destabilised world that has coarsened our sensibilities and constrained our capacities for goodness. All the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance; yet, unprovoked and unimaginable violence is being perpetrated in the name of faith by self -proclaimed rabbis .Those who claim to be emblems of faith are acting in ways that bring dishonor to it and themselves. Most of the misunderstanding about various religions is primarily on account of lack of deeper analysis of the world’s scriptures.
An emphasis on tolerance runs as a common thread through all scriptures. More important compassing and mercy underpin the philosophy of all scriptures. Today’s scholars have started cherry picking select portions of scriptures and expatiating on them without fully grasping their context. There is a tendency to sermonise on other religions on the basis of understanding obtained from secondary sources. This is a slur on the sanctity of scholarship. Critics are teasing and snipping paragraphs from scriptures and distorting the essential message for inflaming emotions. Half-baked and misguided scholars have done great damage to civilisation by trying to trump one creed over another.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s sane and soothing words are the most clarified beacon:
“So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
is all the sad world needs”.
Life is really short and it is only when you are at peace with yourself and the world that you can commune serenely with God and contemplate the realm of the cosmic powers. Every religion has the same common denominator: keep your faith firm in your deity, do your work sincerely, gracefully and gratefully. Our time-tested values of justice and fair play, humility and modesty, tolerance and curiosity are as relevant today as they were when civilisation was in its resplendent glory.
The luminous words of the first Indian Chief Justice Chagla reinforce this message: “There is nothing I have valued more than intellectual integrity, the right to call my soul my own, to dream my own dreams and sing my own songs… it is the only beacon by which you can steer your bark through the rough and stormy sea of life.”...