RELIGIOUS FANATICISM PART 17
ITS CURE: BECOME A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD

I have totally forgotten my jealousy of others, since I abide in the spiritual
company. ||1||Pause|| No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me.
I get along with everyone. ||1|| (sggs 1299).
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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.

  • ਮਨੁ ਵਸਿ ਦੂਤਾ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੋਇ ॥: Mann vas dootaa durmati doi: The mind is in the control of evil passions, evil intent, and duality (sggs 222).
  • ਜਬ ਧਾਰੈ ਕੋਊ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚੀਤੁ ॥: Jabb dhaarai koyu bairee meet. Tabb lagu nihachal naahee cheet: As long as man considers one an enemy, and another a friend, his mind will not come to rest (sggs 278).
  • ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਹੋਏ ਸੰਮਾਨ ॥: Bairee meet hoe sanmaan: Enemy and friend are all the same to me (sggs 1147).
  • ਹਰਖੁ ਸੋਗੁ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਨਹੀ ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਸਮਾਨਿ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਤਾਹਿ ਤੈ ਜਾਨਿ ॥: Harakh sog jaa kai nahee bairee meet smaan. Kahu Nanak sun rae manaa mukat taahi tai jaan: One who is not affected by pleasure or pain, who looks upon friend and enemy alike. Says Nanak, listen, mind: know that such a person is liberated (sggs 1427).

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."

  • ਇਕੁ ਸਜਣੁ ਸਭਿ ਸਜਣਾ ਇਕੁ ਵੈਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Ik sajan sabh sajanaa ik vairee sabhi vaadi: When I take One God as Friend, then I look upon all as my friends. But when I take One God as enemy, then conflicts with all ensue (sgg 957).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਓਨੁ ਝਗੜੈ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਇਆ ॥: Haumai jgagrhaa paaionjhagrhai jag muiaa: Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (sggs 790).
  • You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war (Albert Einstein).
  • We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools (Martin Luther King Jr.).
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has! (Margaret Meade).

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.

  • ਤੂੰ ਸਾਝਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਬਾਪੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥: Toon saajhaa saahib baap hamaaraa: O Universal God, You are the Father of all (sggs 97).
  • ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥: Ek noor te sabh jagu upjiaa kaoun bhale ko mande ||1||: From this One Light, the entire universe has welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| (sggs 1349).
  • ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਚਾਨਬੋ ॥: Maanas kee jaat sabai ekai pahchaanabo: Recognize all mankind as one (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib).
  • The Truth is one in all - undivided - though it appears divided (Geetaa13:17)
  • The highest knowledge is to see The One, who stays undivided in all living beings (Gita18:20).
  • The Earth is but One Country and Mankind its Citizens...The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established...Being a world citizen doesn't exclude a sane and legitimate patriotism for one's own country, but it embraces a wider loyalty, a love for all humanity and a sense of responsibility for the fate of the earth as well (Baha'u'llah, Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith).
  • God created the man in His Image" (Bible, Genesis 1:27).
  • Man is the vicegerent of God (Quran, Sura 2.30).
  • If you know your Soul you know your God (Sufi Jallaluddin Rumi).

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.

  • ਪ੍ਰਥਮੇ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਦੁਤੀਆ ਤਿਆਗੀ ਲੋਗਾ ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਦੁਰਜਨ ਮੀਤ ਸਮਾਨੇ ॥ ਤੁਰੀਆ ਗੁਣੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਧ ਪਛਾਨੇ ॥੨॥: Prathme tiyaagee hayumai preet ...: (After having tasted the Prema-Rasa or Prema-Bhagati: Shabad-Vichhar, Aatam-Giaan, Gurmat...) first, I renounced my love of egotism (ਹਉਮੈ). Second, I renounced the ways of the world. (Then) I renounce the three qualities of Maya and I recognize friend and enemy alike. And then, (renenouncing the three qualities of Maya) the Turiyaa Avasthaa (which is above the three qualities of Maya - the Fourth State of Bliss) was realized. ||2|| (sggs 370).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਾਨੁਖੁ ਭਇਆ ਜੋ ਨਾਹੀ ਸੋ ਲੋਰੈ ॥: Agiaanee maanukh bhaiaa jo naahee so lorai: (Under the pull of the sweet Maya) man has become ignorance (he has lost his intellectt, etc.); he looks for things that do not exist (forever - things that are impermanent, false, ephemeral, etc.) do not exist (sggs 212).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਅੰਧੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਸੂਤੇ ਗਏ ਮੁਹਾਇ ॥੨॥: Agiaanee jagat andh hai bhaaee soote gae muhaai ||2||: O brother, (due to the love of Maya and lack of understanding of spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) in ignorance the world is blind; people sleeping in this ignorance are plundered (they lose their spiritual wealth - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਰਾਸਿ-ਪੂੰਜੀ ਲੁਟਾਣਾਂ) ||2|| (sggs 603).
  • ਭਰਮ ਮੋਹ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧਾਰ ॥੧॥: Bharam moh agiaan andhaar ||1||: Doubt, emotional attachment and ignorance (ignorance of our True Nature or ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ) - these are all envelopments of darkness ||1|| (Sggs 675).

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.

  • ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਿਮਰ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅਧੇਰੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ॥: Nanak Gurmukh giaan praapat hovai timar agiaan andher chukaaiaa: O Nanak, the spiritual wisdom (ਉੱਚੀ ਸਮਝ, etc.) is attained by becoming the Gurmukh, and the pitch-black darkness of ignorance is dispelled (sggs 512).
  • A worse taint than these is ignorance, the worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O renunciates! (Buddha, Dhampada).
  • He who says: ‘I know Him because I am ignorant of Him’ - ignorance is only a veil, and gnosis is beyond the veil. If not, there is no reality to it (Sufi Shams Tabreiz).

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.

  • ਜਉ ਲਉ ਭਾਉ ਅਭਾਉ ਇਹੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਤਉ ਲਉ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਦੂਰਾਈ ॥: Jou lou bhaaou abhaaou ihu maanai taou laou milanu dooraaee: As long as this (mind) believes in love and hate (i.e., likes and dislikes), it is difficult (for this mind) to meet (its Mool, Prabh, Source...). (sggs 609).
  • You don't live in a world all alone. Your brothers are here too (Albert Schweitzer).
  • The heart is your student for love is the only way we learn. Night has no choice but to grab the feet of daylight. It's as if I see Your Face everywhere I turn. It's as if Love's radiant oil never stops searching for a lamp in which to burn (Sufi Jallaluddin Rumi).
  • The ideal man is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose center is everywhere (Vivekanand).

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 " ).

  • ਜਿਸੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਨ ਤਾ ਕਉ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਵਿਸਾਰੇ ॥: Jis manu maanai abhimaan na taa kaou hinsaa lobh visaare: One whose mind is content, has no egotistical pride; he shuns violence and greed (sggs 1198).
  • ਆਨ ਆਪਨਾ ਕਰਤ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ਤਉ ਲਉ ਬੀਚੁ ਬਿਖਾਈ ॥: Aan aapanaa karat beechaaraa tayu layu beech bikhaaee: As long as he discriminates between himself and others, he will distance himself from God (sggs 609).

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.

  • ਅਲਹ ਅਗਮ ਖੁਦਾਈ ਬੰਦੇ ...: Alah agam khudaaee bande ...: O slave of the inaccessible God, forsake thoughts of worldly entanglements. Become the dust of the feet of the humble fakeers, and consider yourself a traveller on this journey... (sggs 1083).
  • ਕਿਆ ਪੜੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਗੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਬੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਨਾਂ ਸੁਨੀਐ ॥ ਪੜੇ ਸੁਨੇ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਸਹਜ ਨ ਮਿਲਿਓ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥: Kiaa parheeai kiaa guneeai ...: What use is it to read, and what use is it to study? What use is it to listen to the scriptures? What use is reading and listening, if (Truth ) is not naturally (spontaneously, Sahaj ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਨਤੀਜੇ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ ਤੇ, etc.,) realized? ||1|| (sggs 655).
  • ਏਹ ਵੈਰੀ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਭਿ ਕੀਤਿਆ ਨਹ ਮੰਗਹਿ ਮੰਦਾ ॥: Eh vairee mitr sabh keetiaa nah mangahi mandaa: All these enemies have become my friends, and no one wishes me ill anymore (sggs 1096).

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
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