Ronak Gelera –  Perusing MBA at Thakur Institute of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

“A Biased Mind Cannot Grasp Reality”
These are the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In today’s world, due to the tremendous stride in technological advancement and human intelligence the quality of research work has reached high levels. But, these also have led to many problems. And, these problems have a single root cause, i.e., the inability of human beings to control their agitated minds. How to control such a state of mind is taught by the various religions of this world.

The above written quote of the Dalai Lama, followed with an example. It was that, the Dalai Lama knew a physicist from Chile who once told him that it was not appropriate for a scientist to be biased towards science because of his love and passion for it. The Dalai Lama is a staunch Buddhist practitioner and has a lot of faith and respect in the teachings of the Buddha. Thus, he concluded that if he mixed up his love for and attachment to Buddhism, then his mind shall be biased towards it. And a biased mind, which never sees the complete picture, cannot grasp the reality. And any action that results from such a state of mind will not be in tune with reality. As such it will cause a lot of problems.

There are many religions in this world. A few of them are mentioned below.

· Baha’i
· Buddhism
· Candomblé
· Christianity
· Hinduism
· Islam
· Jainism
· Judaism
· Mormonism
· Rastafari
· Santeria
· Shinto
· Sikhism
· Taoism
· Unitarianism
· Zoroastrianism

But before we even talk about religious harmony, we should know that 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.

All of these religions teach the same thing that is to live in harmony and do well. They have been started at different times by various people, but their integral motto has somewhat been similar.

But, the world we live in has seen a lot of conflicts. These conflicts have included people of the said religious groups too. When we hear this or see this, a bell rings into our minds, that ‘How is this possible?’

People from religious groups involved in conflicts. This sounds horrendous. But, as mentioned above, we can understand that, too much love for one’s religion can turn it in to an obsession. And an obsessed mind is an unstable mind. And instability leads to conflicts.

We need to understand that because religion provides an individual not just a way of living but an identity. An identity, that when blended with his own persona sets him/her part from the whole world. This, particular feature makes a person obsessive toward one’s religion. Then all goodness is forgotten.

In the 21st century, the world has become an even smaller place than it was. Survival in solitude has become impossible. Interactions between people of different sects, cultures, countries and religion are the most obvious thing that occurs. And, this can only happen peacefully when people are tolerating towards one another. Otherwise we head towards the collapse of civilization.

The phrase ‘collapse of a civilization’ is a common figure of speech that misleads many into thinking that civilizations collapse in much the same way that buildings collapse during controlled demolitions, or like the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001. The whole affair, they think, is dramatic, obvious, and over in a relatively short period of time; and when it is done, nothing is left but dust and rubble. The metaphor of civilization collapse is misleading, and some people, under its influence, deny that the West is in collapse. But civilizations do not come crashing down in a matter of months or even years; and it is foolish to expect them to do so.

Genesis 6:11 and 13 of the Holy Bible tells us that,

‘The Earth also was corrupt before God, and the Earth was filled with violence…. ‘The end of all flesh has come before me, for the Earth is filled with violence through them [men]; and behold, I will destroy them with the Earth.’’

The result of two centuries of irrationalism is that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we are faced, not with a hopeful prospect, but with an even more dismal prospect than our great grandfathers faced a hundred years ago.

Religious violence in India includes acts of violence by followers of one religious group against followers and institutions of another religious group, often in the form of rioting. Religious violence in India, especially in recent times, has generally involved Hindus and Muslims, although incidents of violence have also involved Christians, Jews, and Sikhs.

Despite the secular and religiously tolerant constitution of India, broad religious representation in various aspects of society including the government, the active role played by autonomous bodies such as National Human Rights Commission of India and National Commission for Minorities, and the ground-level work being out by Non-governmental organizations, sporadic and sometimes serious acts of religious violence tend to occur as the root causes of religious violence often run deep in history, religious activities, and politics of India.

Along with domestic organizations, international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch publish reports on acts of religious violence in India.

The promotion of religious harmony for the benefit of the public can be done by:

(a) Educating the public in different religious beliefs including an awareness of their distinctive features and their common ground to promote good relations between persons of different faiths;

(b) Promoting knowledge and mutual understanding and respect of the beliefs and practices of different religious faiths.

Six young “Ambassadors of peace” of Embassy of India school, Moscow, Russia are projecting through a web site that schools can play an important role in promoting world peace and religious harmony keeping in mind the cultural, social and religious aspects of all faiths.

Only human species has the ability to transmit information and knowledge from one generation to the next. This ability has given man his cherished civilization and culture. An enquiring mind naturally seeks for an order, for a unifying principal behind the apparent diversity. It is well known that faith infuses energy and grit, without which no worthwhile progress in any field of activity is possible. Today we all are at the verge of atomic destruction and when everybody is busy in the mad rat race of materialistic pursuit, religious harmony will be a relief .We should make an effort to peep into the prominent religions of the world and find out a secular message for the mankind .Our aim should be to enlighten and educate the masses about all the religions, so that the message of universal brotherhood is spread throughout the world.

Incarnations, Saints, Prophets and Sages have appeared in different parts of the world from time to time in order to teach men how to live in harmony. These great souls, on the basis of personal experience explained the essential ideals and values in life and taught how they can be achieved. In addition to their moral and spiritual teachings, almost all the religious teachers and reformers of the world gave out a plan and a system of their own on which human society would best be organized. It was thus that every faith helped to establish customs and conventions, with rites and rituals, amongst the communities of mankind and gave birth to a particular type of civilization and culture which naturally differed from others. This is how different religions came into existence.

As individuals we need to first understand that what kind of a life we want to give to our kids. Is it a world full of love and peace and harmony or a horrific place where survival is nothing but worse than death?

Alas, we must know that, ‘There is no fate but what we make.’