||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
||Aum Namo Narayanaya||
The performing arts has always been a way to relax and lose yourself into a dimension of happiness... hence I do not miss the opportunity to support the youth at the annual Vishwa Shakti show. The show, which essentially brings out wonderful concepts of Hindu Dharma through the arts, has increasingly gained in popularity over the years and stages to sell-out shows. Friday was another one of their outstanding productions called "It's a Mad Pagla World". An interesting perspective on the world I thought, as they portrayed the plot through the lives of contemporary people experiencing the rollercoaster of everyday life. As I lay on my pillow waiting to board the sleep-express, I reflected on the theme... and before I slept, it became convincingly clear that indeed it was a mad world.
I once Google-d the word 'Hinduism' and found such hatred and antagonism from some people towards Hindu Dharma. What madness I thought that one could entertain the idea that his or her path was greater or superior to another. It is unbelievable the efforts people make to impose their beliefs on others. I thank God daily for the blessing to be born a Hindu and to be born into the lineage of great saints and sages who have lovingly embraced all and have not even in thought cast hatred towards any other faith. It is the only religion which openly recognises that all faiths lead to the same goal. It has since time immemorial been trumpeting with voices of the illumined sages: ekam sat vipraha, baude vedanti - the truth is one, but seers call it by different names.
By merely reading scripts that were the thoughts of great people, many have accepted that as the truth and superior way. Once Swami Vivekananda was chatting to a monk and was asked what He was reading, to which He replied the yearly forecast for the rainfall in Kolkata. The monk asked Him to squeeze the book and see if any drops of rain came from it. Of what use was the forecast if no rain actually came from it. Sri Ramakrishna wonderfully explains the validity of all paths in five simple ways:
1. The Ultimate Reality is only one but is known by different names in different religions; it is Personal as well as Impersonal.
2. Realisation of the Ultimate Reality is the true goal and purpose of human life. It is also the central purpose of all religions. It is this direct transcendent experience that gives validity to religions, and not books.
3. There are several paths to the realisation of the Ultimate Reality. Each religion is such a path. Yata mat tata path - As many faiths, so many paths’. As paths to the same ultimate goal, all world religions are valid and true.
4. Each person should remain steadfast in his own path in a spirit of ishtanishthà, without thinking that his path alone is true and perfect.
5. Furthermore, one should show respect to the founders of all religions as special manifestations of God and, knowing that God dwells in all people, one should serve all without any distinctions of caste, creed, race etc.
Fundamentalists approach religion like belonging to a soccer fan club. Thousands of supporters belong to the club, buy the branded outfits, and sit around venues in support of the matches. When a goal is scored they can only cheer, but the real joy is felt by the team and players. The rewards of the winnings are also only experienced by the players. All you do is spend your money and experience joy on the back of the players. Religion is like that... of what use is it to you to merely belong to a religion by name or claim to be a part of the biggest religion in the world if through that religion you have not experienced God; you have not rid yourself of hatred, anger, lust, and ego which denies you the opportunity to lead a divine human existence. All the fighting in the world is so futile, all the anger and resentment is futile... when we realise that only in the mind and matter we are different... through the spirit we are united and are the same. That is the truth, however sour it may be to your taste, it is the tonic to the "pagla" or "madness" of the world.
Hence, to save mankind and to cure his madness... Mother came to the world in the month of "Aadi" as Mariammen. It is said when the small pox pandemic was devastating parts of India, She brought rain and offered a femented porridge and syringa leaves to relieve the sick of the disease. Her compassion knows no bounds as She Herself came to nurse Her children.
In this world... the virus of greed, jealousy, envy, anger and hatred is spreading uncontrollably and is consuming the nobility and divinity of man leaving Him in drought of love, compassion, truth and righteousness. As thousands will participate in the Ammen Prayer on Sunday 21 July and partake of the sour porridge, let us take cognisance of the symbolism of the meal. The white porridge is a symbol of purity and truth that we should live by in this world. It may seem sour at first, but it is good for us. It is the tonic for the madness of the world. Know that God is one and we are one. Keep your beliefs to yourself for your own development... but spread love and compassion like how the porridge is freely distributed to all at the prayer.
May Mother save us all from this "pagla" world, is my sincere prayer.
With love and prayers always