Pratik P. Satardekar – B.E. (Computer Science) , Perusing MBA at Thakur Institute of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai
What is religion? George Bernard Shaw says „Religion is a great force – the only real motive force in the world‟. There is a common misconception that religion means ritualistic religion and nothing else. The word religion actually means laws, both natural and moral, that ensure right living .Religion stands for an integral development of the personality, a comprehensive view of life.
India has been home for centuries to all great religions of the world. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that religious tolerance and the ability to evolve, despite differences, is the basis of India. Swami Vivekanand says that what makes our civilization great is the fact that it is based on the idea of the co-existence of faiths – Sarva Dharma Sambhava. This notion implies that we have equal respect for all Dharmas, for all faiths. Elaborating this idea Swami Vivekananda used the metaphor of many rivers flowing into one mighty ocean. He quoted from an ancient hymn to say:”As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, sources in different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”According to Manmohan Singh Swami Vivekanand said very aptly, “We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.
It is impossible to accurately predict the number of religions individuals obtain. There are many small, isolated religions in certain parts of the world. Groups living in areas that hinder communication and interaction often tend to be small..thus preventing diffusion from occurring.The number of religions changes almost on a daily basis, but the overriding faith structure are manifold.
The deaths of civilians from diseases, famine, etc., as well as deaths of soldiers in battle and possible massacres and genocide like Protestants and Catholics are the two religions and both religion fought with each other from 1618 to 1648 and around 11,500,000 people were died on the land of Holy Roman Empire. Islam and Christian are the two religions and both religion fought with each other from 1967 to 1970 and around 3,000,000 people were died on the land of Nigeria and we have many more examples like this.
In a world where many governments and international organizations are suffering from a legitimacy deficit, one can expect a growing impact of religious discourses on international politics. Religion is a major source of soft power. It will, to a greater extent, be used or misused by religions and governmental organizations to pursue their interests. It is therefore important to develop a more profound understanding of the basic assumption underlying the different religions and the ways in which people adhering to them see their interests. It would also be very useful to identify elements of communality between the major religions. There are different kinds if violence Low-Intensity Violence, Structural Violence , Cultural Violence.When any inter-religious dialogue is not so much to learn, but to be preachy, there is no true dialogue. One will notice that those truly interested in understanding others ask and listen more than they speak. Sadly, those uninterested in dialogue are usually the close-minded ones too sure and proud of themselves, while belittling others‟ religions. This itself is potential for conflict. During inter-religious dialogues, it is wise to discuss in a “monkly” manner – in a way calm, kindly, harmonious, rational and gentlemanly – a manner similar to the Buddha‟s, as opposed to rude and impatient name-calling or ridicule – which often happens anonymously in cyberspace. We need to be mindful that this virtual tension can spill over into the real world.When we lose our compassion and wisdom while sharing or defending the beliefs we profess to represent, surely, we are misrepresenting our faiths with our very loss of compassion and wisdom – which are undoubtedly virtues universal to all respectable religions, and even to free-thinkers. The basic ethics of free speech (or any other form of expression) with responsibility should be followed both offline and online, by sticking to the so-called golden rule found in many religions – to not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.In sincere dialogue, there is gentle nudging to reflect, instead of proselytising with threats of spiritual damnation. Real dialogue never insists on acceptance of one‟s beliefs, but merely offers them respectfully for rational consideration.When learning about a certain faith, we need to be wary of its misrepresentations by those not of that faith – since outsiders often generalise other faiths in inaccurate ways, albeit accidentally. While being open-minded to hear outsiders‟ views, the insiders‟ should be heard too – for balanced and right understanding.The Buddha himself actively engaged in much skilful inter-religious dialogue with great compassion
and wisdom. As there were more than 60 different stems of religious thought in his time, the feat of being able to engage in harmonious dialogue is most remarkable. His is the example that Buddhists aspire to follow.The Buddha‟s timeless advice on critical-thinking is still valid. Buddhists are first and foremost encouraged to self-reflect, to be critical and even doubtful about their own faith before accepting it, and to always balance faith with sound reason.Which makes more sense on the path to Truth? To engage in harmonious dialogue with an open heart and mind, or to refuse dialogue, while insisting others are totally wrong, that only oneself is totally correct? We all already know the answers. Since religions exist to benefit humankind, may all religions co-exist harmoniously in the light of true mutual-understanding.
Ex president Abdul Kalam said: “India can make a big impact in the world provided there is unity and oneness in the country and this can only be achieved with social harmony, economic progress and poverty alleviation.”The highest point of unity and oneness, he added, was the meeting of the variety of religions that the country was home to.”We must show the rest of the world how religions can meet and converge on points of true human values.”So its necessary to have harmony all over the world to save the earth and human living on the earth.