RELIGIOUS FANATICISM PART 19
ITS CURE: TOLERANCE

Don't speak empty words; burn away your Taamas (nature...) with the
Naam (Shabad, Aatam Giaan...) and gather the wealth of tolerance (sggs 1013).
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To attain perfection in life, one must discover the joy of harmony with the universe, and live in attunement with it. One who has so mastered his life will have no anxiety, fear or conflicts while living his life. To feel this closeness between the universe and the individual we need to eradicate all our intolerance, hate, animosity, discord or antagonisms with the external world of plurality. With the attitude of tolerance and "love for all and malice for none", we can end brutality and conquer even the most cruel and evil forces around us. To live such a life of perfection and joy is the aim of human life. This is God-realization, the state beyond distress, tensions, conflicts, discords, vengeance, differences, disharmony, pain and suffering. This is the joyous fulfillment that life can ever offer us.

As mentioned in other scriptures, the Gurbani also says that God created man in His True Image. From a practical standpoint, the implication is that if God created the man in His true image than He must have endowed the man with His Divine Qualities as well. As underlined in the Gurbani, one of these sweet divine qualities is tolerance.

What Is Tolerance

Simply put, tolerance means one should be able to bear physiological insult and dishonor from others. In other words, tolerance is the strength of the mind that enables a person to accept pleasant and unpleasant or conducive and unconducive circumstances with even-mindedness and courage. It is the capacity to endure pain or hardship and withstand adversity or stress. Furthermore, tolerance is the act of recognition, sympathy and respect for beliefs, opinions, actions or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.

A man of truth and wisdom is never disturbed in any situations; for he is fully aware of the fact that the appearance of happiness or distress is fleeting and that they arise from limited sense of perception. Hence he tolerates both the feelings of "likes" and "dislikes" in life and sees everything with an even eye. Such person is an asset not only to his society and nation, but also to the entire world. As emphasized in the Gurbani, such individual who can tolerate the onslaught of pleasant and unpleasant experiences is the best among men, eligible for spiritual liberation or God-realization.

  • ਸਿਦਕੁ ਸਬੂਰੀ ਸਾਦਿਕਾ ਸਬਰੁ ਤੋਸਾ ਮਲਾਇਕਾਂ ॥ ਦੀਦਾਰੁ ਪੂਰੇ ਪਾਇਸਾ ਥਾਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਖਾਇਕਾ ॥: Sidak sabooree saadikaa sabar tosaa malaaikaan. Deedaar pooray paaisaa thaaou naahee khaaikaa: Faith, contentment and tolerance are the wealth and provisions of the godly beings. Because of this, they attain the Divine Visions, while those who just talk find no place of Peace (sggs 83).
  • ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੋਨੋ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਉਰੁ ਮਾਨੁ ਅਪਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਤੇ ਰਹੈ ਅਤੀਤਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਜਗਿ ਤਤੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਦੋਊ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਖੋਜੈ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਨਾ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹੁ ਖੇਲੁ ਕਠਨੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਨਹੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੨॥੧॥ : Sukh dukh dono sam kari jaanai aour maanu apamaanaa. Harakh sog te rahai ateetaa tini jagi tatu pashaanaa. Usatat nindaa do-oo tiaagai khojai padu nirabaanaa. Jan Nanak ihu khel kathan hai kinahoon gurmukhi jaanaa ||2||1||: One who knows that pain and pleasure are both the same, and honor and dishonor as well, who remains detached from joy and sorrow, realizes the true essence in the world ||1||. Renounce both praise and blame; seek instead the state of Nirvaanaa (Aatmic Avasthaa devoid of Vaasnaa). O servant Nanak, this is such a difficult game; only a rare Gurmukh understands it! ||2||1|| (sggs 219).

Thus, as indicated in the Gurbani, tolerance is a natural quality by which a true and a wise person functions in his life. Such person (the Gurmukh) always remains undisturbed in all situations. He flows with life without creating any anxiety or distress for himself or for others. How is he able to work like this? In other words, how can he bear both happiness and distress with equal vision? A tolerant person does not see things from a standpoint of body-consciousness. For him the body is a temporary object, nothing more than nine holes in the flesh and bones. He is fully aware that with the disappearance of the life breath (Praan), the body also banishes. So he does not identify with the physical body. Hence he does not attach much importance to the body for he perfectly knows that he is something other than the biological body - that is, he is Joti-Svaroopa. Therefore, he is free from false ego-sense (I-ness and my-ness, Haumai), the mother of all material concepts. He is equipoised in all circumstances. As he is tolerant to the world, he takes life as it comes. In other words, he cannot be swayed by antagonism, contradictions or falsehood because he is fixed in divine virtues.

  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਸਤਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ॥: Khimaa gahee man satgur deeaa: I have adopted the way of tolerance, and given my mind to the Satgur (sggs 932).

This noble virtue of tolerance also translates as forgiveness. We are advised by the scriptures to forgive and forget, and live and let live. Therefore, it befits any person who is godly by nature (the Gurmukh). Forgiveness is a reflection of God's eternal calm, the everlasting patience, peace, mercy, forbearance, gentleness, compassion and steadfastness, which are very essential for contemplation and meditation. A person devoid of forgiveness is not in tune with his godly nature. Therefore tolerance or forgiveness is holiness. It is the quite of mind, an indication of a pious person. It is a mighty weapon against bodily instincts such as seeing evil, listening evil, tasting evil, touching evil, thinking evil, willing evil, feeling evil, speaking evil, remembering evil, and doing evil. In essence, tolerance and forgiveness is sacrifice and a humble gesture. In fact, continuation of the living entities is due to the man being forgiving and tolerant. Thus, forgiveness and tolerance is like glue, which holds the universe together.

  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖੰ ॥: Khimaa gahee brat seel santokh: To practice forgiveness is the true fast, good conduct and contentment (sggs 223).

But the material nature of this world is crooked like a dog's tail: its nature is to curl! Therefore, one should expect in life both joy and sorrow, praise and blame, honor and dishonor. Especially if one is pursuing the path of truth, there will be plenty of insults and dishonor from others. As repeatedly exemplified in the Gurbani, a boy like Prahlaada, who was engaged in the advancement of the spiritual knowledge, and was endangered so many ways when his own father became intolerant of his spiritual activities. But he tolerated the insult and pain, and continued his progress with conviction and determination in spite of many hurdles. As we know it, even Christ was condemned to death on the cross by the intolerant people. An intolerant Muslim ruler boiled the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev, to death — he was placed on a hot plate while boiling sand was poured onto his head. Also, an intolerant Muslim ruler beheaded Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs.

  • ਖਿੰਚੋਤਾਣਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਬੇਤਾਲੇ ॥: Khinchotaan karahi betaale: The demons stir up conflict and strife (sggs 1031).
  • ਕਾਹੇ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੁ ਵੈਰਿ ਵਾਦਿ ॥: Kaahae janam gavaavahu vair vaad: Why do you waste your life in hatred, vengeance and conflict? (sggs 1176).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਧੰਧੁ ਛੋਡਹੁ ਲੰਪਟਾਈ ॥: Houmai dhandh shoddahu lanpattaaee: Abandon your involvement in egotistical affairs and conflicts (sggs 1026).

Tolerance brings harmony among people, nations, religions, and racial and ethnic groups. Our capacity to endure tolerance helps resolve conflicts for the common good. But, unfortunately, for the majority of us this harmony appears to be an accidental vision or unpredictable happening, which comes and goes at its own will. And even when we feel the glimpse of this harmony and universal love, we do not know how to sustain it and make it permanent.

Why There Is So Much Intolerance:

Man has come a long way. Science has made tremendous progress to make people's life comfortable, at least materially or physically. Food production is on the rise. The countries that did not have enough food are self-sufficient now. Many are doing much better than before. Fewer and fewer people are dying of starvation. The bellies are getting filled like never before. But our minds are empty. We lack understanding and tolerance. Most of us, if not all, are selfish 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, selfishness, corruption, frauds, confusion, intolerance and hatred coupled with ongoing conflicts, animosity and tensions among different religions, nations, and racial and ethnic groups condemn the world to a life of agonizing pain. There are ongoing wars in the name of religion and God. Just 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. Because of the dawn of this so-called age of information, we are constantly inundated with information filtered through widely disparate biases, prejudices, and points of view as never before.

  • ਕਰਿ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਜਗਤ ਕਉ ਡਹਕੈ ਅਪਨੋ ਉਦਰੁ ਭਰੈ ॥: Kar parpanch jagat kaou dahkai apno udar bharai: Practicing deception, man tries to cheat the world, and so he fills his belly (sggs 536).
  • 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).
  • 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).

Education everywhere in the world is ill conceived and ill managed, devoid of much thinking and any planning. As a result, today, literacy generally means material progress. Man is happy if his education can bring him "quick bucks" overnight. The Gurbani calls such learned people "educated fools". A donkey may carry a load of all the books of the world; it still continues to be a donkey! Nations are happy if they can become rich and powerful, politically and militarily. Man and the state both bribe each other to achieve their separate goals. Naturally, the modern education system of all nations is geared to this end - lust and greed. Even though the modern society has achieved unprecedented rates of formal literacy, but man does not know "Who am I?".

  • ਪੜਿਆ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਲਬੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Pariraa moorakh aakheeai jis lab lobh ahankaar: That educated person who is full of greed, avarice and pride, is said to be a fool (sggs 140).
  • ਸਮਝੈ ਸੂਝੈ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਸਾਚਾ ॥: Samjai soojai parhi parhi boojhai anti niranatari saachaa: If one understands, realizes and comprehends what he reads and studies, in the end he will realize that the True Lord dwells deep within his nucleus (sggs 930).
  • ਜਿਨਿ ਆਤਮ ਤਤੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍‍ਆਿ ॥ ਸਭ ਫੋਕਟ ਧਰਮ ਅਬੀਨਿਆ ॥: Jini aatam tatu n cheenhiaa. Sabh fokat dharma abeeniaa: Whoever does not Realize the Essence or Reality of the Soul (ਆਤਮਾ ਦੀ ਅਸਲੀਅਤ...), all his religious acts are of no value - worthless (sggs 1351).
  • ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਕੈਸਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥: Pranvati Nanak giaanee kaisaa hoi. Aapu pashaanai boojhai soi: Prays Nanak, of what nature is the Giaanee (the Wise one, the knower of the Truth...)? (A true Giaanee is he who) recognizes his (Mool-ਮੂਲ, Source, Origin, Essential Nature, etc.), such (Giaanee-ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਪਛਾਣਦਾ ਹੈ) Understands God (sggs 25).
  • ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਤ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੪॥: So baouraa jo aap na pachaanai. Aap pacchaanai ta eko jaanai ||4||: Man is crazy without Self-realization. When he knows himself (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, the Reality of his Being, his True Nature, etc.), only then he comes to know the One (All-pervading Truth). ||4|| (sggs 855).

Religion has been misguiding humanity because it has also become materialistic and selfish - business. The majority of the followers of religions follow or believe in religion without any understanding! Absence of proper understanding and education of the followers of all religions is causing havoc in the world. Religion is seeing One God in all beings as a living truth. But in reality it's the reverse that happens. As a result, instead of developing spiritual beings, instead of teaching people self-integration, instead of urging people to tread their own traditional path by sticking to only truth, instead of removing human error from religions, instead of recognizing the presence of One non-dual Spirit everywhere and in everything as a living truth, instead of reaching out to people to help them in their genuine spiritual unfoldment, instead of pursuing people to live a truthful life, instead of developing capacity for tolerating other religions and practices, the custodians of some organized religions (notably the western religions) take their own religion to be as something conclusive, exclusive and separative and then envelop in converting or proselytizing others into their respective religion by force, unfair inducement, hook or crook, or in the disguise of social service — not for spiritual cause, but for ulterior motives.

Unfortunately, due to man's selfishness, greed and ignorance, external religions have become intolerant, complex, stubborn, dogmatic and antagonistic, giving rise to exclusive claims and obstructions that separate man and his organized religion from God. These obstructions are dogmatic fanaticism, ruthless bigotry, blind prejudices, hidden biases, brutal intolerance and extremism. And the exclusive claims are: "we are the chosen people of God", "ours is the chosen religion of God, rest are misleading", "our Prophet was the last Prophet and our religion is the last religion", "God has sanctioned us to punish and destroy others who do not accept our religion and follow our way of life", "the whole truth is stated only in the scriptures of our religion, and if anything is not stated in our scriptures then it cannot be true", "if you kill others and yourself in the name of your God and religion, you will be rewarded in heaven", and so on. As a result, people are divided into religious and ethnic groups, alliances, castes, classes, creeds, race, color of the skin, ancestry, social status, and so on. Such divisions give rise to false pride; which, in turn, begets sin and corruption; making people go astray from the path of Truth and Righteousness. Consequently, instead of practicing "live and let live" principle, "live and let die" becomes the principle governing relations between different religious communities. As a result, the world is wicked. In reality, there is no such thing as God's chosen caste or chosen religion.

But this is how most of us, if not all, are brought up within the walls of narrow-mindedness. Although as a child we all are born with innocent Consciousness, however, due to our wrong breeding, the innocence and the sense of unity of childhood dissipate as we grow into adulthood and our divine nature gets displaced with fanaticism, evil conduct, hatred, intolerance, cruelty, extremism, fanaticism and prejudices. No wonder we suffer a shock when we see a person with mode of worship, method of meditation, philosophy, habits, views, opinions, practices, ways of living and thinking different from ours. In other words, we are not born to hate. But we learn how to hate. Our intolerant attitude makes us angry. For once we are angry our entire body-mind-intellect apparatus becomes polluted.

  • ਅੰਧਾ ਝਖਿ ਝਖਿ ਪਇਆ ਝੇਰਿ ॥: Andhaa jhakh jhakh paiaa jheri: The spiritually blind fool is caught in conflict, bothered and bewildered (sggs 1287).
  • ਬੈਰ ਬਿਰੋਧ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮੋਹ ॥ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਹਾ ਲੋਭ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ॥ ਇਆਹੂ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਬਿਹਾਨੇ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ॥: Bair birodhh kaam krodhh moh. Jhooth bikaar mahaa lobh dhroh. Eiaahoo jugati bihaane kaee janam: Hate, conflict, lust, anger, emotional attachment, falsehood, corruption, immense greed and deceit. So many lifetimes are wasted in these ways (sggs 267).
  • ਥਾਨਸਟ ਜਗ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਹੋਏ ਡੂਬਤਾ ਇਵ ਜਗੁ ॥: Thaansatt jag bhrishat hoye doobtaa iv jag: The holy places of worship in the world are polluted, and so the world is drowning (sggs 662).
  • ਮੈਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡਾਇ ਕੈ ਈਸ ॥: Mailae brahamandaae kai ees: The rulers of kingdoms are corrupt (sggs 1158).

The world history reports killing of millions and millions of innocent people by the bloodcurdling intolerant rulers and religious zealots. Now the question is: if God has made all of us in His Own Image, then what happened to our inherited divine qualities?

Our Pure Nature is not clearly seen all the times. Why? The darkness or wall of our false ego-sense stands in the way. False ego means accepting this body as oneself or a separate individual. This psychological construction is the root-thought of all other thoughts. In inflated condition, this false ego-sense displays the following faults: lust, greed, anger, slavish attachment, pride, enviousness and stubborn mindedness (and their numerous variations). Also called evil passions, man's divine qualities constantly get looted by these internal thieves, causing him to lose the knowledge that he was made in the True Image of God. As a result, the divine quality such as tolerance is neither clearly seen nor practiced.

  • ਜਗਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Jagg haumai mailu dukh paaiaa mall laagee doojai bhaai: On account of the filth of Haume (egotism), the world suffers in pain. Because of the (love of Maya), the filth of duality sticks to the world (sggs 39).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਝਗੜਾ ਪਾਇਓਨੁ ਝਗੜੈ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਇਆ ॥: Haumai jgagrhaa paaionjhagrhai jag muiaa: Through egotism, the world is caught in conflict and strife, and it dies (in these quarrels and suffers...). (sggs 790).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਵਡਾ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥: Ego is a massive disease in the world (sggs 1278).
  • Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the malicious men despise God, who dwells within them and within all others, and blaspheme against the real religion (Gita 16:18).
  • And those who believe in vanity and disbelieve in Allah, they it is who are the losers (Quran 29:52).
  • Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another (Bible, Ga 5:26).
  • This ego is hell...(Sufi Master Jalaluddin Rumi).

Here is how the false ego-sense and its progenies function. Lust is the compelling, coercive materialistic desire to indulge in sensory temptations. It is the consummate enemy; for it is the instigator of man's wrong thoughts, wrong speech, and wrong actions. Lust applies to abuse of the senses in the pursuit of sense-gratification. Frustrated or unfulfilled lust results in anger. It drives man to commit misdeeds. It's the peace-destroying, reason-blinding, and health-impairing behavior, which manifests in many forms such as impatience, violence, irritation, inner seething, jealousy, resentment, meanness, intolerance, etc. It obscures one's memory of his Essential Nature as Pure Consciousness, causing decay of the discriminative faculty, followed by annihilation of one's righteous behavior and intelligence. False ego makes us enslaved to our whims: "likes" and "dislikes". This enslavement to whims is greed. The nature of greed is covetousness, avarice, and acquisitiveness. It is a confusion of the mind between necessary and unnecessary wants. Such behavior then leads one to stealing, dishonesty, cheating, self-surfeit at the expense of the well being of others. Emotional attachment simply means delusion, illusion, ignorance, bewilderment, infatuation, etc. Thus, slavish attachment of the false ego to sense-objects causes the mind to become dense (darkened or ignorant), unable to perceive what is Truth or Reality. This fault of physical ego suppresses the evolution and manifestation of the Soul; for it obstructs the Soul's potentially omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent power. Pride makes the mind narrow and limited. It is the love for the "I-ness" and "my-ness" (false ego-self) that is always on the move to support and promote the selfish interests. Other meaning of pride is intoxication or insanity. In other words, it is such intoxication with the ego-consciousness that man forgets his sane or true Self. This fault of the ego creates in the mind a hostile power that expresses its self-centered haughtiness towards others as intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, unforgiving attitude, blind hatred and rage. Pride makes the ego-man belittle or humiliate others, to gossip and criticize, to gloat on others mistakes and misfortune, to find faults in others, and so on. In short, it makes the egotistical man to cut off the heads of others to make him appear taller! Enviousness means jealousy, selfishness, hostility, and passion. It is intoxicating and exhilarating. It makes man forget his true duty. It makes ego-man a dreamer, causing him to run after the gross objects of the dreamlike world through endless corridors of repeated suffering. It creates intoxication and addiction to the objects, rousing an exhilaration directed towards their attainment and enjoyment. One who is envious of others wealth, success, qualifications, beauty, strength, prosperity, etc., feels painful and resentful at their betterment, and would feel happy only when some miseries befall on them. It is the man's false ego that gets hurt upon seeing others enjoying an advantage. The stubborn mindedness is the lack of spiritual wisdom, understanding, clarity, attention, alertness and earnestness, which, in turn, is the result of lack of awareness. It is synonymous to the state of self-will, unbelief, affliction, hardness of heart, impenitence, evil, heinousness, fanaticism, crookedness, evil-mindedness, mental-weakness, immaturity, and raw or undisciplined mind. Such person, although, may be aware of thinking, feeling, and acting, but he is unaware of his True Nature. Thus, the meaning, function, and outcome of stubborn mindedness are totally opposite to the pure Soul Nature. It's the way of the corruption and fraud.

  • ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh mohu nit jhagarate jhagaraaeiaa: Lust, anger, greed and emotional attachment bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
  • ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਦਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਰੁੰਨਿਆ ॥: Mohi baad ahankaar sarapar runniaa: Those who indulge in attachment, conflict and egotism will surely weep and cry (sggs 761).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਸਭ ਮੁਠੀ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ॥: Haumai mamataa mohnee sabh muthee ahankaar: Egotism and possessiveness are very enticing; egotistical pride has plundered everyone (sggs 19).
  • ਮਨਹਠਿ ਕੀਚੈ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੋਵੈ ॥: Mann hathi keechai anti vigovai: One who acts in stubborn-mindedness is ruined in the end (sggs 356).

Thus the false ego-sense corrupts man's seeing and understanding, creating the false sense of separateness or relativist consciousness. So the lack of understanding gives rise to intolerance. With proper understanding when one overcomes the false sense of "I-am-ness", he becomes one with his True Being within and the outer world of things and beings. A person is good or bad, depending upon to what extent he has been able to eradicate his false ego and awaken the divine qualities in him. Hence, as repeatedly reminded by the Gurbani, to awaken our True Nature through every particle of our being and live a divine life must be the goal each one of us has to set for himself.

Conquering Intolerance:

As we experience it, the world is in crisis and unrest, spiritually, morally, economically, politically, socially, environmentally, and ecologically. Therefore, more than ever, it is crucial that relationships between all people of the world become more tolerant, loving, compassionate, forgiving and peaceful.

The Gurbani says that one should be tolerant as wind, water, earth and tree. What it means is that one should have even-mindedness in all circumstances, a positive and constructive attitude of respect, sympathy and understanding which humbly accepts the other man's beliefs or practices as legitimate and valid, like one's own, without revenge, hindrance, harassment, discrimination or oppression. Does this mean one should surrender his self-respect, preferences, thinking, ideology, views and all angularities? Not really. But one must allow everybody else to have the same freedom. If we can do just that then there will be no conflicts, danger, hatred, disharmony and contempt for others. Thus the way out is not intolerance, but to accept and tolerate even the most untoward circumstances. Go through the genuine scriptures, nowhere one will find the evil quality of intolerance. But as to the divine attribute of tolerance, it is everywhere!

  • ਸਹਨ ਸੀਲ ਪਵਨ ਅਰੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਬਸੁਧਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਨਿਭਰਾਤੇ ॥: Sahan seel pavan ar paanee basuDhaa khimaa nibhraatay: Wind and water have patience and tolerance; the earth has compassion and forgiveness, no doubt (sggs 999).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਮਨੈ ਮਹਿ ਮੁੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਖਿੰਥਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਹਢਾਵਉ ॥: Gur kaa sabad manai mahi mundraa khinthaa khimaa hadhaavaou: (O Yogi) Let the Word, Gur-Shabad, be the earrings in your mind, and the tolerance the patched coat to wear (sggs 359).

Divine virtues and falsehood cannot coexist. Hence the falsehood must be eradicated. Thinning of false ego-sense makes room for noble qualities, which help taking care of and transforming antagonism, selfishness and suffering in our lives and in our society. Exercising attention to the every moment restores the quietude in us, opening doors to firsthand understanding of our living, and thereby changing the way we think and deal with others. Relaxed or still mind naturally improves our communication, behavior, conduct, assertiveness and humor. It shuns upsetting circumstances or company, destructive use of energy, frustrations, irrational ideas, emotional upheaval and related physiological arousal. Then, when we realize the false beliefs that our conditioned mind was clinging to, they drop away. The root-cause of evil passions then melts away; true love remains over and spiritual life dawns as there will be no anxieties or material conditionings.

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: Ih mann nirmal hayumai maaree: The mind becomes pure when ego is killed (sggs 1049).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੇ ਤਾ ਦਰੁ ਸੂਝੈ ॥: Haumai maare taa dar soojhai: Kill your ego, and then you will find God's Door (sggs 842).
  • ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਜਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੈ ॥: So jan saachaa ji haumai maarai: That humble being is true, who kills his ego (sggs 230).
  • ਏਕੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥:  Ek pashaanai haumai maari: Recognize One Truth by eradicating egoism (sggs 1277).
  • ਮਾਰਗੁ ਮੁਕਤਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: Maaragu muktaa houmai maar: The path of liberation is found by killing ego (sggs 1274).
  • ਕਠਨ ਕਰੋਧ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਕੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜਿਹ ਸੁਧਿ ਸਭ ਬਿਸਰਾਈ ॥: Kathan karodh ghatt hee kae bheetar jih sudhi sabh bisaraaee: The heart filled with anger and violence causes all sense to be forgotten (sggs 218).

The purpose of spirituality and all external religions is to eradicate man's false nature, not to train him act in animal nature so that he can go around resenting or killing others who may have different views about religion and God. There is nothing more devilish and hellish than a thirst for blood, fired by a religious fanaticism.

Unfortunately, religion is rarely understood in its true perspective, let alone its practice. In its true sense, religion is love not intolerance; religion is realization of Oneness not differences; religion is open-mindedness not narrowness; religion is giving not taking wrongly or misappropriately; religion is cooperation not exploitation; religion is selflessness not selfishness; religion is wisdom not stupidity; religion is divine life not demoniac activity; religion is harmony not discord; religion is truth not falsehood or crookedness; religion is correctness not error; religion is Pure Consciousness not evil tendencies; religion is purity of the mind not base nature; religion is desirelessness not worldliness; religion is eternal identity not body-consciousness; religion is divine nature not animal instincts; religion is light not darkness or ignorance; religion is freedom not bondage to sense-slavery; religion is living truthfully or righteously not corruption; religion is enlightenment not mental-blindness; religion is equality not inequality; and so on. Thus, the essence of man's external religion is his inner transformation. With this inner transformation comes the sense of Oneness, tolerance, humility, friendship, and love for all.

  • ਏਕੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਏਕਸ ਕੇ ਹਮ ਬਾਰਿਕ ਤੂ ਮੇਰਾ ਗੁਰ ਹਾਈ ॥: The One God is our Father; we all are the children of the One God (sggs 611).
  • ਸਗਲੀ ਜਾਨਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਮਉਦੀਫਾ ॥: Saglee jaan karo mauleephaa: Let your daily worship be the knowledge that God is everywhere (sggs 1084).
  • ਜੋ ਦੀਸੈ ਸੋ ਤੇਰਾ ਰੂਪੁ ॥: Jo deesai so taeraa roop: Whatever is seen, O God is Your form (sggs724).
  • ਏਕਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਹੈ ਜੀਅ ॥: Ekaa surati jete hai jeea: There is One Awareness among all Jeeva or beings (sggs 24).
  • Christianity: If one makes the statement 'I love God', and yet is hates his brother (other being in the family of mankind), he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen" (1 John, 4:20). "God created the man in His Image (Bible, Genesis 1:27). Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Bible, Matt. 7:12). Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you (Bible, Matt. 5:43-44).
  • Islam: If any one slew a person—unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he slew the whole people: And if any one saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people (5:35). To Allah belong the East and the West: wherever you turn, there is the presence of Allah. For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing (Quran 2:115). Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself (Fourth Hadith of an-Nawawi 13).
  • Hinduism: Experiencing one's own Self in all beings and all beings in the Self, one attains the highest Reality — and not by any other means" (Vedas). "Multitudes of people are like the million dewdrops in which the one sun is reflected. Untold millions of them, but only one sun. So is our relation to the Eternal One" (Vedas). "O God, You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything" (Gita 11:40). This is the sum of the Dharma: do naught unto others, which would cause you pain if done to you (Mahabharata 5:15).
  • Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful (Udana-Varga 5:18).
  • Judaism: What is hateful to you; do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary (Talmud, Shabbat 31a).
  • Taoism: The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful (Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49).
  • Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself (Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5).
  • Jainism: A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated (Sutrakritanga 1.11.33).
  • Bahai Faith: Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not." "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself (Baha'u'llah).
  • Shinto: The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form.
  • Plato: May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me.
  • Socrates: Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.

The scriptures tell us that God is love. So God would very much like us to be inspired by love. Hence knowing "God is love" is not enough, we must practice this love. Otherwise there is no meaning to it. In fact one's body without love becomes one's own enemy. To love or serve God is to selflessly love His creation. The purpose of spirituality or what we call "religion" is mainly to understand Oneness of all beings and live the life of harmony. In fact if we look at the glorious lives of all spiritual giants of the world, they taught us to look for opportunities for giving unconditional love. In fact that's all they had — selfless love! Therefore, if we truly want to honor and spread the message of all such great masters then we should not look for love or truth, deliver it! In true religion or spirituality, therefore, there is no competition with others; only cooperation in love!

  • ਭੋਲੇ ਭਾਇ ਮਿਲੇ ਰਘੁਰਾਇਆ ॥: Bholae bhaae milae raghuraaeiaa: Through innocent Love, God is met (sggs 324).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: Bin preetee bhagti n hovayee bin shabde thaai n paai: Without love, no Devotion is possible; and without Shabad or Naam, no one finds acceptance (sggs 67).
  • ਅੰਦਰੁ ਖਾਲੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਢਹਿ ਢੇਰੀ ਤਨੁ ਛਾਰੁ ॥: Andar khaalee parem bin dhahi dheree tan chhaar: If the inner being is empty without love, the body is wasted (sggs 62).
  • ਜਿਨ ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਹਰਿ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਤੇ ਕਪਟੀ ਨਰ ਨਿਤ ਕਪਟੁ ਕਮਾਂਤਿ ॥: Jin kai pareet naahee har hirdai tay kaptee nar nit kapat kamaant: Those who do not have Divine love in their hearts are deceitful; they continually practice deception (sggs 1264).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਹੈ ਸਾਚੀ ॥: Gurmukh pareet sadaa hai saachee: The love of the spiritual being is forever true (sggs 1069).
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਬਾਤਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਕੂੜੋ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Bin pareetee karahi baho baataa koorh bol koorho fal paavai: One who talks too much without love, speaks falsely, and obtains only false rewards (sggs 881).
  • He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love (Bible, 1John 4:8).
  • The best type of yogi is he who feels for others, whether in grief or pleasure, even as he feels for himself (Gita 6:32).
  • The lovers (of God) have all become one, kneaded together by Love (Sufi Master Jalaluddin Rumi).
  • Love the whole world as if it were your self; then you will truly care for all things (Tao).

"But what is true love?" one may ask. Love dose not mean the ordinary selfish love of the world; for the ordinary love is mere animal attraction. Therefore, mere physical ties cannot be called love in the true sense of the term. Selfless love is annihilation of the personal will or selfishness (false ego or "I-am-ness"). It is a state of pure Being, not a feeling. Hence, it can also be thought of as the full expression of the pure mind or a continuing flow from the source of our very Being. Love is the willingness to share our happiness with all others without any demand or requirement. In nutshell, true love is our pure Awareness in action. The expression of such pure love speaks from a state beyond the ordinary perception of the senses; for the experience of such pure love always carries with it the acknowledgment of Eternity. Thus, pure love is called the sum of all spiritual laws. It is the water of life.

Promoting Tolerance In Action:

Pleasant and unpleasant events are concomitant factors of material life. Therefore we should learn to be tolerant and have even-mindedness amidst happiness and distress. Since we cannot control all circumstances, we cannot control the coming and going of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. But we can do the following: be detached from the materialistic way of life and be automatically equipoised in both cases. In other words, when we are living divine life happiness and distress will not agitate us. Meditation, devotion or remembering of God is not possible for the one devoid of divine qualities such as sweet tolerance. Universal tolerance is universal love. Such universal love alone is worth pursuing, because it is the mirror of the Timeless Reality.

  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਰੀਬੀ ਅਨਦ ਸਹਜ ਜਪਤ ਰਹਹਿ ਗੁਣਤਾਸ ॥: Khimaa gareebee anad sahj japat rahahi guntaas: With tolerance, humility, bliss and intuitive poise, they continue to meditate on God, the Treasure of excellence (sggs 17).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਚਿਓ ਖਾਇਓ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਖਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਭਈ ਅਨਦ ਸੂਖ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥: Khimaa gahee sach sanchio khaaio anmrit naam. Kharee kirapaa thaakur bhee anad sookh bisraam: (One who) Adops an attitude of forgiveness, gathers truth, and partake of the Amrit of the Name (spiritual food - ਆਤਮਕ ਖੁਰਾਕ); the Lord bestows upon him His Great Mercy, and he finds Peace, Happiness and Bliss (i.e., spiritual Joy - ਆਤਮਕ ਆਨੰਦ-ਸੁਖ) (sggs 261).
  • ਬੈਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਹੋਏ ਸੰਮਾਨ ॥: Bairee meet hoe sanmaan: Enemy and friend are all the same to me (sggs 1147).

Therefore, we all need soul-education so that there can be a true shift in our awareness from being infatuated by egoistic postures, intolerance, misunderstanding, fears, empty mind, jealousy, hatred, dogmas, wrong concepts or ideas, reactionary spirituality and actions, nationalistic hubris, constant obsession with objects of desire and dwelling on material pleasures, and so on. Such radical shift in our awareness will develop human beings who have a true capacity for constant mindfulness, tolerance, and immediate realization of our essential relationship to all other beings. Such realization evokes our love and kindness for other living entities, 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 reparative 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 Truth 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.

  • 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).
  • ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੇ ਭਗਤ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ ॥: Paarbraham kae bhgat nirvair: The devotees of the Supreme God are beyond hate and vengeance (sggs 1145).

The Gurbani brings us the gift of loving tolerance and understanding. By living it we can appreciate different experiences, different modes of worship, different and personal expressions of devotion, different beliefs or practices, and different names of the same One God to guide our life on this earth. Within the Sikh thought is found an emphasis on the Oneness of the mankind; personal spiritual effort and experience; the perception that God is everywhere present; joyous devotion to One Timeless Spirit; and the knowledge the Truth lies within man himself. From this mountaintop perspective, we can observe, appreciate, understand and be lovingly tolerant of all diversities of the phenomenal world and all different paths to realize one's true nature within.

  • ੴ : Ik Oankaar: There is One God (sggs 1).
  • ਓਅੰਕਾਰਿ ਸਭ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਉਪਾਈ ॥: Oankaar sabh srisatti upaaee: The One Universal God created the entire Universe (sggs 1061).
  • ਤੂੰ ਸਾਝਾ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਬਾਪੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ॥: Toon saajhaa saahib baap hamaaraa: O Universal God, You are the Father of all (sggs 97).
  • ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਬੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਚਾਨਬੋ ॥: Maanas kee jaat sabai ekai pahchaanabo: Recognize the entire mankind as one family (Tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh).
  • 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).
  • ਹਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਣਵਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਤਾਰੇ ਸੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੨॥: Ham nahee change buraa nahee koi. Pranavat Nanak taarae soi ||4||1||2||: (one who eradicates love of maya, egotism, etc., and same time thinks) I am not better (than others) and no one is bad (than me); Prays Nanak, God ferries him across (the dreadful ocean of Bikaars) ||4||1||2|| (sggs 728).
  • ਵਵਾ ਵੈਰੁ ਨ ਕਰੀਐ ਕਾਹੂ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਸਮਾਹੂ ॥: Vavaa vair na kareeai kaahoo. Ghat ghat antari brahm samaahoo: Do not create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone (sggs 259).
  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਗਾਨਾ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਗਿ ਹਮ ਕਉ ਬਨਿ ਆਈ ॥: Naa ko bairee nahee bigaanaa sagal sang ham kayu ban aaee: No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger to me. I get along with everyone (sggs 1299).
  • ਨਾ ਕੋ ਮੇਰਾ ਦੁਸਮਨੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕਿਸ ਕੇ ਬੈਰਾਈ ॥: Naa ko maeraa dusaman rehiaa naa ham kis kae bairaaee: No one is my enemy, and I am no one's enemy (sggs 671).
  • ਸਰਬ ਭੂਤ ਏਕੈ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨਿਆ ਚੂਕੇ ਬਾਦ ਬਿਬਾਦਾ ॥: Sarab bhoot ekai kar jaaniaa chooke baad bibaadaa: I look upon all beings alike, and my conflict and strife are ended (sggs 483).

As indicated in the Sikh thought, the way to conquer hate and violence is through promoting tolerance — in action. Empty words mean nothing. To this end, the pointers given throughout the Gurbani include the following: recognize the divine vision of the Oneness of the world of plurality; you are of the one divine substance with your fellow human beings; live for God in yourself and in others; awake and progress toward your absolute divinity; judge yourself not others; understand God has become everything; see unity in diversity; practice patience and forgiveness in action; do not make exclusive claims of race or religion or scripture or Prophet or God; expose and denounce intolerance; celebrate diversity; kill false ego-sense not people; cultivate divine qualities from the childhood instead of biases; remove all disparities from the society, treat all equally; remove spiritual ignorance; practice selflessness; do not consider yourself good and the others bad; accept all as your friends; do not slander or insult others; guard against evil passions (lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, pride, envy, and stubborn mindedness); engage in selfless service; extend freedom and respect to all people; witness the phenomenal world of many names and shapes and rejoice it without indulging in slavish attachment to it; know everything is impermanent including your body; hating or hurting another being is same as hating or hurting God; do not wage religiously-based wars; respect other religions and their scriptures; do not terrorize others; stop practicing hypocrisy; do not create oppression; live truthfully; detach from materialistic life; become a spiritual being; love all beings for God is love; give up the madness of belief in caste or race; hold on to the truth only; give up fanaticism; give up cruelty and meanness; live and let live; and so on.

In reality, it is a rare one who actually lives by these divine teachings. Rests of us simply use these teachings to make a good material for sermons, books, magazines, lectures, showoff spirituality, weekend congregations, and so on. In such hypocrisy, man contradicts the world around him and inspires useless disputes. This is foolishness: the foundation of expansion of our false ego-sense. So long we take refuse in foolishness, contradictions or intolerance we remain separated from our Pure Nature and suffer. As indicated in the Gurbani, an intolerant person can never be a religious being.

  • ਜਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਭਾਵਈ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਨਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਾਦੁ ॥: Jit tani naam na bhaavaee tit tani houmai vaad: That body which does not appreciate the Naam (Shabad, Giaan, Wisdom...) that body is infested with egotism and conflict (sggs 61).
  • 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).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖੀਆ ਸਿਰਿ ਮਾਰ ਵਾਦਿ ਖਪਾਈਐ ॥: Manmukheeaa siri maar vaad khapaaeeai: The problem of the materialistic's head is this: he is consumed by conflict (sggs 420).
  • ਓਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਕੂੜੁ ਕੂੜੋ ਕਰਿ ਬੁਝੈ ਅਣਹੋਦੇ ਝਗੜੇ ਦਯਿ ਓਸ ਦੈ ਗਲਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Os andar koorr koorro kar bujhai anahode jhagarre dayi os dai gal paaiaa: Within man is falsehood, and he sees everyone else as false; he has tied these useless conflicts around his neck (sggs 303).
  • ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਮੂੜਾ ਅਵਰਾ ਆਖਿ ਦੁਖਾਏ ॥ ਮੁੰਢੈ ਦੀ ਖਸਲਤਿ ਨ ਗਈਆ ਅੰਧੇ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਏ ॥: Apnaa aap na pashaanai mooraa avraa aakh dukhaaye ..: The fool does not understand his own (True) Self; he pains others with his speech. His underlying nature (of causing pain to others) does not leave him; separated from the Lord, he suffers (sggs 549).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸਭ ਤੇ ਹਮ ਬੁਰੇ ਹਮ ਤਜਿ ਭਲੋ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਐਸਾ ਕਰਿ ਬੂਝਿਆ ਮੀਤੁ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੭॥: Kabeer sabh te ham bure ham taji bhalo sabh koi. Jin aisaa kari boojhiaa meet hamaaraa soi ||7||: O Kabeer! (Through the Naam-Simran, since my ego has been eradicated, now I think) I am the worst of all. Everyone else is good. Whosoever understands this is a friend of mine ||7|| (sggs 1364).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਪਰਖੇ ਆਪ ਕਉ ਤਾ ਪਾਰਖੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥: Nanak parkhe aap kayu ta paarakh jaan: O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge (sggs 148).

Also, we must recognize that tolerance is only the first step towards actively enjoying the diversity of all sorts in the world. But unfortunately very few take this first step. To simply feel tolerant is not enough, we must practice it in our day-to-day actions. We should have a deep sense of appreciation of different cultures, traditions, languages, customs, beliefs, faiths, opinions, etc., because such diversity 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. Therefore, instead of despising or cursing diversity, it must be celebrated and viewed as gift from God. Therefore, understanding is the only permanent resolution. And true understanding comes through broad-mindedness and courage.

  • ਆਸਾ ਬਾਣੀ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਜੀ ਕੀ     ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਬਿਆਪਕ ਪੂਰਕ ਜਤ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਤ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਮਾਇਆ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਿਮੋਹਿਤ ਬਿਰਲਾ ਬੂਝੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਭੁ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਹੈ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਸੂਤੁ ਏਕੁ ਮਣਿ ਸਤ ਸਹੰਸ ਜੈਸੇ ਓਤਿ ਪੋਤਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਲ ਤਰੰਗ ਅਰੁ ਫੇਨ ਬੁਦਬੁਦਾ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਭਿੰਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕੀ ਲੀਲਾ ਬਿਚਰਤ ਆਨ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਸੁਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਮਨਸਾ ਗੁਰ ਉਪਦੇਸੀ ਜਾਗਤ ਹੀ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਤ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਰਚਨਾ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਘਟ ਘਟ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਏਕ ਮੁਰਾਰੀ ॥੪॥੧॥: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: Ek anek biaapak poorak jatt dekho tatt soee. Maya chitr bachitr bimohit biralaa boojhai koee ||1|| Sabh Gobind hai sabh Gobind hai Gobind bin nahee koyee. Soot ek man sat sahans jaise ot pot prabh soee ||1|| Rahaaou || Jal trang ar phen budbudaa jal te bhinn na hoyee. Ih parpanch paarbrahm kee leelaa bichrat aan na hoyee ||2|| Mithiya bharam ar supan manorath sat padaarath jaaniaa. Sukirat manasaa gur oupadesee jaagat hee man maaniaa ||3|| Kahat Naamadeou har kee rachanaa dekhahu ridai beechaaree. Ghat ghat antari sarab niranti keval ek muraaree ||4||1||: Aasaa baanee sree Naamadeou jee kee: In the one and in the many, God is pervading and permeating; wherever I look, there He is. (But) a rare person understands this (ਭੇਦ), because (generally the Jeeva - the individual beings) are fascinated (deluded) by the Maya's colorful imagery. ||1|| God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything), God is All (i.e., everywhere and everything); without God, there is nothing at all. As one thread holds hundreds and thousands of beads, So is (God) woven into All (i.e., everywhere and everything). ||1||Pause|| The waves of the water, the foam and bubbles, are not distinct from the water. (Similarly) this manifested world is the Play (Leelaa) of the Supreme Being; reflecting upon it, we find that it is not different from Him. ||2|| (Watching this Leelaa) the man believes worldly objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) to be True (permanent, etc.), but they are like objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) seen in the dream (i.e., untrue) - "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ " (Mitthiyaa Bharam). Un to whom the Guru bestows Good Understanding (ਭਲੀ ਸਮਝ), his mind stands awakened (from delusion, untruth, "ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ", etc.), and his mind accepts this (that the worldly objects are Mithiya, unreal, impermanent, etc.). ||3|| Says Naam Dev, reflect upon this in your heart that this is the Creation of the Lord. In each and every heart, and deep within the very nucleus of all, is the One God (i.e., in this entire Creation, only One Lord pervades in everyone and everywhere). ||4||1|| (sggs 485).
  • ਵਿਚਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥ ਤਾ ਦਰਗਹਿ ਬੈਸਣੁ ਪਾਈਐੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਾਹ ਲੁਡਾਈਐੈ ॥: Vichi duneeaa sev kamaaeeai.Taa dargahi baisan paaeeai: In the midst of this world, do selfless service, and you will attain the experience of divine Realm. Then, says Nanak, you will become free from all worries (sggs 26).
  • ਪਰਹਰੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਅਰੁ ਲੋਕਾਚਾਰੁ ॥: Parahar lobh aru lokaachaar: Set aside your greed and worldly ways (sggs 324).
  • ਛੋਡਹੁ ਕਪਟੁ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਰਵੈਰਾ ਸੋ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਿਹਾਰੇ ॥: Shodahu kapatt hoi niravairaa so prabh sangi nihaare: Abandon your deception, and go beyond vengeance; see God who is always with you (sggs 1220).
  • ਪਰਪੰਚ ਬਿਆਧਿ ਤਿਆਗੈ ਕਵਰੇ ॥: Parpanch biaadh tiaagai kavare: Abandon the bitter worldly conflicts (sggs 225).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਝਗੜੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਓਨੁ ਇਕੋ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ॥: Gurmukh jhagarr chukaaeion iko ravi rahiaa: The spiritual being (Gurmukh) is free of conflict and strife, and sees the One Lord, pervading everywhere (sggs 790).

The ideal condition would be in which we all are tolerant and grow equally in the sustained atmosphere of harmony, mutual respect and freedom. 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 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 ones 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 a truthful lifestyle, this world will turn into a "Global Village". 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.

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org