(A short article exposing our inability to live what we believe. Swami Snehananda Jyothi spent most of his life in USA. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he founded the 'East-West Awakening Ministries', which means an effective sharing of the philosophies of East and West. He also established four EWA Centers in USA and India. – Editor).
Indispensable truth, our goal, a meaningful and purposeful life. An overwhelming majority of people does not think and ask questions. They accept the solutions to life traditionally handed down to them. They do not examine life. They just exist, vegetate, and disappear from the scene of life and the world. They do not create any waves; they do not leave any mark. They are very convenient persons who engage in past rites and rituals. They are followers and worshippers of conformity. They are loved by opportunistic and self-serving political and religious leaders, and conservers of the status quo. They are amply rewarded for their unquestioned loyalty. By following the beaten path, they make their life safe and risk-free. Yet life has progressed only on account of the very few who built on the past by critically examining the past, and asking challenging questions, and finding creative answers that changed the past for the better. They unclogged the stagnant and stinking channels and restored a new life-giving flow of fresh water. Charting a new course, often risking their lives and forgoing their privileges, they changed life and the world. They toiled through night living in the un-explored wilderness and inclement weather while their contemporaries lived in their comfortable mansions indulging in their undeserved privileges and wealth gained from extortions and corrupt practices. They took the 'road less travelled by' making the difference for all of us as the poet, Robert Frost, aptly describes them and celebrates them. To which class of people do we belong?
More on a practical level, let me ask some inconvenient questions related to events in the world. Does Vladimir Putin, isolated as a pariah in the G-20 Summit, and seen there with a despondent face, get away with imperialistic empire-building through his aggression and annexation of territories of Ukraine? Is this what the Russian people want? Does Benjamin Netanyahu think that his policy of ten-eyes-for-one-eye, ten-teeth-for-one-tooth succeed? Do not the Jewish people want to co-exist with the Palestinians affording them the same human rights and an honorable place – a state – in the family of nations that they enjoy? How come decent nations have been ignoring so long the undeserved and tragic plight and suffering of the Palestinians? What prompted Pope Francis, a good and popular leader in many ways, to invite Amritananadamayi, under the clouds from serious accusations by Gail "Gayatri" Tredwell, an ex-amma devotee and disciple for 16 years, of physical and sexual abuse in her ashram, to Vatican for a visit?
Any credible inquiry into abuse, I think, has been muffled by vested religious and political leaders. Is not exoneration of misdeeds good for all whether they are powerful or powerless? Why is the pope not working towards equal rights for all by initiating discussions on the ordination of women? Is not the militant, terrorist Islamic State (IS) a radical face of Saudi Wahhabism (Refer to the article in The Hindu, November 19, 2014) as Indicated by the writer S. Irfan Habib, holding the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Chair, National University Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi? Why are the state-approved gross human rights violations allowed in Gulf States, especially in Saudi Arabia, the world center of Islam, while doing business with them affording unprecedented, enormous oil wealth? Is India that is touted by its prime minister to be the Vishwa Guru (World Teacher) so primitive that a 21-year old woman student of Delhi University would be brutally murdered by her parents a few days ago for marrying a man of her choice?
Humanity is at perilous cross-roads. Humanity needs to move from the bullying, manipulating, might-is-right road to a road that respects human dignity and the human rights of persons everywhere. And that is my earnest prayer.