Most of us, if not all, are selfish (egocentric, ignorant, foolish, etc.) hunting after sensual joy, hence not equipoised. Consequently the world is imbalanced and fragmented — out of equilibrium and in disharmony spiritually, morally, economically, politically, socially, environmentally, and ecologically. Forces of ignorance, greed, confusion and hatred coupled with ongoing conflicts, animosity and tensions among different groups and nations condemn the world to a life of agonizing pain. There are ongoing wars in the name of religion and God. In less than one hundred years, the world has seen two world-wars and numerous other regional wars. Science and technology has stuffed the world with weapons of great power and mass destruction. The world is in crisis. Therefore, more than ever, it is crucial that relationships between all people of the world become more loving, compassionate, forgiving and peaceful.
Ignorance born selfishness is the source of all evil in the world. It puts money values over human values. This ignoble or demon-mind quality makes one excessively or exclusively concerned with himself seeking or concentrating on one's own selfish ideas and plans. It's a nature of man to improve his lot. Therefore, his legitimate efforts to further this goal must not be discouraged so long his activities are righteous or truthful. But troubles arise when man's ideas and plans become selfish and infringe on the freedom of others; interfering, hampering and disrupting their lives.
Leaders — political, government or otherwise — in most part are corrupt, thus rarely represent the best elements of our societies. The same is true of kings and rulers. They are busy filling their own pockets supporting international financial system, promoting globalization of consumer economy, consumer culture, and commercial values which only brings short term benefits to certain elites. As a result, governments around the world do not operate justly, morally, kindly or ethically. The condition is worse in the so-called poor or third-world countries.
Religious leaders and the priest-class of all organized religions are also debased. Consequently, even religion is run as commercial corporations or marketplace. Modern education system is in mess because it's geared towards physical and intellectual improvement only. Because of such faulty education, the criteria of measuring success is how soon a person can get rich and a country militarily strong and materially successful. The haves exploit the have-nots. The disastrous outcome of all this mental circus of governments, leaders, educators and institutionalized religions is that the traditional spiritual values are being rapidly displaced with material values. The resulting mess in the world is obvious to all with eyes to see.
Clearly, people cannot place much hope in governments, political and religious leaders, priest-class, kings, rulers, financial systems, or modern education; for they all are colored by consumerism, materialism, corruption, selfishness, greed, falsehood, deception, misinformation, etc. "How do we then dissolve the obstacles and succeed?", one may ask. It is the Inner Purity awakened by the sincere spiritual practice that will dissolve the obstacles or coverings put up by the false ego-sense and its negative traits. To put it otherwise, as declared by the true scriptures and the men of light, the Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle) is the miraculous cure for this cancer of the world.
When the selfish mind functions, the outer world flares up with its different names, shapes, tastes, smells, touches, limitations and imperfections. The death of such perverted or Mayaic mind is the birth of the Enlightened Cosmopolitan person (Giaanee, Gurmukh). Hence the unenlightened cosmopolitanism must be replaced with Enlightened Cosmopolitanism. In other words, the globalization of selfishness must be replaced with Globalization of One Truth. This change in attitude will develop wise and sophisticated citizens of the world who belong everywhere; who consider the entire world their home and all men and women their brothers and sisters; who are not limited to the politics, interests or prejudices of one part of the world; who are free from local, provincial, or national bias or attachments; and who are uncluttered by race, creed, religion, dogma, language, nationality, region, family, group, and so on. Peace and harmony will come to this world when each one of us earnestly and vigorously pursue this goal.
No doubt it sounds utopian, a daunting task, a dream and a far cry from today's world situation; but it's worth striving for because we have no other choice. Consider this: if the world can produce one Nanak, one Christ, one Buddha, one Vivekanand, one Kabeer, one Muhammad, and a host of others, why not more? Sure it can. What is needed is to live a Nanak-like life if you believe in Nanak, or live a Christ-like life if you believe in Christ, or live a Buddha-like life if you believe in Buddha, or live a Raama-like life if you believe in Raama, and so on. These great souls have set the example for us as to how high one can Spiritually grow.
Hope is the essence of human life. If each one of us can sincerely strive to live such a Spiritual lifestyle, this world will turn into a "Global Village" as well as Dharma Yuga. For the fanaticism, evil conduct, violence, intolerance, prejudices and wars are not inherent in human beings. These traits are learnt and passed on from generations to generations. Many years back, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), commissioned a study on human violence, intolerance and culture of peace. In that study, the prominent scientists, academics, and other intellectuals from around the world concluded: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, so peace also begins in our minds. The same species that invented war is capable of inventing peace. The responsibility lies within each of us."
Therefore, to play a key role in the promotion of culture of peace, love, selflessness, harmony, universal brotherhood, equal human dignity, freedom, and democracy is the responsibility of each one of us — parents, teachers, educators, politicians, journalists, religious bodies and groups, intellectuals, those engaged in scientific, philosophical and creative and artistic activities, health and humanitarian workers, social workers, managers at various levels as well as to non-governmental organizations, and so on. Now imagine what can happen if all the people of the world teamed up together in a day to day agenda of global commons?
Humanity is indivisible and single. We are time and again reminded by the men of Light that there is only One God or Truth. He is in all; all are in Him. He is the very Self in all living beings: the Universal Father and the Mother. Diversity in culture, traditions, languages, customs, etc., is the gift of the same One God to all of us. Hence diversity is not only Divine, but there is also "Unity" that underlies this apparent diversity. We are all one here with each other and with God — a Universal Family without caste, creed or dogma. Therefore, we all must forget differences and the feeling of separateness and hatred. Since man is the true image of God, he is the God that needs to be cared, under any circumstances.
The reason we do not recognize "Unity-in-diversity" is our Spiritual ignorance. Ignorance is a state of mind or awareness that is blind to the true nature of the world as well as the man, which corrupts seeing and understanding, creating the false sense of separateness (duality or Doojaa Bhaav). In other words, an ignorant person is totally enclosed in a limited mental perspective that is enslaved to latent tendencies (Vaasnaas). One exhibits this false consciousness under the sense of limited individuality grown out of his body-bound inclinations. Due to this time-bound consciousness, we function with an arrogant sense of doership and enjoyership (egoism), which create in us the misapprehension that we are limited entities. So long ignorance prevails, duality blinds the individual to the Truth of Unity behind the phenomena he beholds. The non apprehension of One Divine Unity by an individual is ignorance at the microcosmic level, and the total non apprehension of this Unity by all individuals is ignorance at the macrocosmic level, which is also called Maya.
Spiritual ignorance is the shoreless ocean of darkness and suffering (Dukha). Roaming in this dense forest of ignorance are thieves known as egotistical lust, anger, greed, attachment, self-conceit, envy, stubborn mindedness, narrowness, fanaticism, possessiveness, falsehood, corruption, violence, and so on; the hallmarks of the constricted and ignorant mind. Additionally, this forest of ignorance has many anthills occupied by poisonous snakes in the form of cravings for sense pleasures, many hidden holes and traps known as death, and many forest-fires of repeated pain and delusion.
Spiritual wisdom (Aatam-Giaan) or intuitive understanding is an antidote to ignorance. The sword of wisdom cuts ignorance and related mental fetters maintaining bondage break asunder. Misapprehensions are enchanting only to the ignorant mind. The ignorance turns our mind into slag iron. The Knowledge (Giaan) transforms this slag iron into gold. Then one understands that his enemy is but an illusion of his own mind. To become awaken from this illusion, spiritual wisdom needs to be awakened within, "here" and "now"; another opportunity may not arise. Upon attaining the true wisdom, the apprehension of the true Self, non-apprehension of Reality will not rise again. Only the One Universal Truth, All-pervading Consciousness, remains over. Therefore, to create a Universal Family, we all must come out of our self-created cocoon of ignorance and absurdity.
The removal of ignorance brings the vision of Oneness of humanity, which ends selfishness, passions, hatred, prejudice, fanaticism, violence and war among people. It's only after the ignorance is annihilated the nations and their people will truly come together and work for the establishment of a culture of peace and a new civilization that is based on respect for life which is very rare and the environment. To become a world citizen does not mean one loses his national citizenship, it simply means one is awakened to Unconditioned Consciousness which has no boundary to his sense of "I", and that he is fully prepared to take on new individual responsibility in this interdependent world to work together across all boundaries to solve global problems in mutual love and respect.
Governments of the nations must provide right kind of education, environment, encouragement and support so that the people can have all-round growth without any hindrance. Instead exploiting the people and the environment, governments should create casteless and classless society where people can enjoy highest multidimensional growth individually and collectively.
Organized religions should also play a positive role in motivating individuals. A religion is not a religion if it does transform its followers and develop them into true selfless beings, surrendered to One Truth within. Thus transformation does not mean mere external behavioral change; it has to be deeper inner transformation of the individual through heart-purification. The followers have to be given the awareness that the Divine Oneness is at the very core of their consciousness, and that the essence of every religion is common, only the practices differ. For this to happen, all organized religions must begin to disentangle themselves from all forms of reactionary spirituality. They must understand that no true scriptures assign a monopoly on righteousness or truth. Also, no true scripture can claim to be conclusive, exclusionary, and separative. Only those who practice reactionary spirituality make such foolish claims. All religions, therefore, must recognize religious pluralism, equality, Divine Oneness, and freedom of thought, opinion, and expression. Thus religions must accept the responsibility to motivate their respective followers to reach the acme of growth, materially, spiritually, and morally. They must teach people to learn to coexist in love and peace, and carry no hatred against the other person's religion. All external religions are incorporated in this principle of One Universal Truth, humanism, compassion, love, harmony, selflessness, Sevaa (servanthood), mercy, patience, and goodwill (" Sarbat Daa Bhalaa " ).
Spiritual knowledge and wisdom must be inclusive of all, otherwise it's just ignorance. If any religion is not in harmony with Reality, then it cannot be called a religion. Also, to be a religious person is not mere physical identification with an institutionalized religion; it's rather a state of True Being where one sees the whole universe strung on One Consciousness as flowers of all type are strung on a thread. Once when asked what his mission of life was, Vivekanand declared: "To preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life."
We all need soul-education so that there can be a true shift in our awareness from being infatuated by egoistic postures, constant obsession with objects of desire and dwelling on material pleasures, empty mind, jealousy, hatred, dogmas, wrong concepts or ideas, unmeaning rituals, lip worship, reactionary spirituality, reactionary actions, nationalistic hubris, etc. Such radical shift in our awareness will develop human beings who have a true capacity for constant mindfulness, immediate realization of our essential relationship to all other beings, alertness, undivided remembrance of Universal Truth (or One God), purity, tolerance, responsibility, humility, justice, Self-knowledge, and mercy. Such realization evokes our love and kindness for other living being, burns away our intoxication of selfishness that antagonizes and poisons our relationship with others, enables us to irrevocably overcome our narrow-mindedness, melts away artificial divisions created by our nationalistic and ethnic identification, liberates us from the separative and oppressive ways, and makes us realize that our lives are interwoven with the thread of Universal Divine Love and that the influence of our daily actions and behavior spreads in ever-widening circles. With this radical transformation of awareness the True Dharma sets in and reveals to us the unreality of all that appears substantial or real. Consequently, no longer is the world seen as a place of ongoing conflicts among competing nations and groups that use dogmatic ideologies for self protection. Rather, the whole world is seen as a Global Family, where each person experiences the same natural law.
Thus, in order to live a Spiritual or Divine Life (becoming Gurmukh), each one of us must constantly wage an inner war in silence and devotion to control the boneless phantom of our instinctive mind. No war is so universal, holy or sacred! When the mind is at peace, the ever-changing world of subject-object puzzle dissolves into nothingness. Holding steadfast to noble Virtues, by mastering the mind, controlling the licentious sense organs, constantly inquiring into "Who are we?", conducting impartial introspection daily, negating false or selfish life, asserting Truth, and raising our own inner core of understanding about the world and the divine blissful nature of ours we can surely arrive at ways and means of living the Life Eternal.
— T. Singh
Updated on Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:38 PM (PST)
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