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Ignorance as a cause of violence

anatic interpretations, out-of-context statements and attachment to some rigid notions makes us hate each other in the name of religion. Knowledge of our scriptures is the solution to this ignorance.

Written by Swami Swatmananda | Published: July 26, 2016 4:44:06 pm

Terrorism, Terror attacks, terror attack world, world news, terror india, violence, spiritualism,

Life, today, is plagued with violence. Sadly, from the individual to the international level, violence is rampant. What is the root cause of violence? One may say selfishness, hatred, greed, desire to control, intolerance and fanaticism, among others. But these are only effects of a deeper cause which is ignorance.

Ignorance of oneness

We are one race. One Human Race. Yet, we have divided ourselves psychologically based on the color of our skin, religion, gender, caste and wealth. These can, at best, be only functional divisions. But, today, we psychologically discriminate based on these. Ignorant of our oneness, we are systematically taught to hate each other. The pigmentation of the skin makes a white superior to a black or a brown? Both are humans and entitled to same human rights. The followers of a particular religion feel others are inferior and deserve to be killed. One gender feels greater than the other gender(s) and justifies their exploitation. Some countries who are economically well off, exploit others. All this happens because we live ignorant of the vision of oneness. We have forgotten that this entire diverse world is one family – vasudhaiva kutumbakam. Just like different parts of our body are different and perform different functions, yet our vision is ‘I am one’. Same way, though we all are different, yet we are one. One human race. Going deeper, all living beings – plants, animals, birds, humans are also one. It’s high time we unlearn the divisiveness and hatred. Let us learn to sink our differences through the vision of Oneness. Where there is oneness, there is love and compassion. Where there are differences, there is bound to be injustice and violence. Vedanta in fact says that not only are we one human race, but we are also essentially one with the creation including the non-living things because the existence is the same in us. Knowledge of our essential oneness is the solution to this ignorance.

Ignorance of power of selflessness

We are taught that selfishness is a must for success. One cannot be selfless in today’s world. Each of us have to fight it out. It is cut-throat competition. It’s a ruthless world. As parents, teachers, elders when we are insecure and children grow up with these values, how can we expect harmony in the world? Even today, the world is sustaining itself only on the power of selflessness and goodness. But we are ignorant of this because only selfishness and negativity gets projected and hyped. Fortunately, today there is a realisation of this and more and more attempts are being made to highlight the positive. Let us focus on selflessness within. Each of us has a deep desire to contribute and make a positive difference. Let’s tap it and destroy the negative forces. Knowledge of Selflessness and Goodness is the solution to this ignorance.

Ignorance of scriptures

A lot of violence happens in the name of religion and very conveniently we say -I’m spiritual, not religious. We don’t want to be associated with any religion. We do not open our religious books, study and understand what is written therein. Will this help us to solve our problems? It’s like a pigeon who wants to escape a cat which is in front of it, and hence closes its eyes. If there is a disease, its cause has to be examined. Avoiding investigation into it, will not cure the disease.

Innocent minds get misguided and brainwashed because of ignorance of what the scriptures say truly. Fanatic interpretations, out-of-context statements and attachment to some rigid notions makes us hate each other in the name of religion. Knowledge of our scriptures is the solution to this ignorance.

“A Narrow vision is divisive. A broad vision is expansive. But the supreme vision is all-inclusive.” says Swami Tejomayananda (Global Head, Chinmaya Mission). Let us have this all-inclusive vision through right knowledge and make the world a happy place.

Views expressed by the author are personal.

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