We live in an age of terrorism, the attacks and killings a part of our daily lives. But religious hatred is not new and has reared its ugly head throughout history.
Why are human beings willing to kill in God’s name?
It boils down, I believe, to the idea of the ‘other’. Organised religions all work on the premise of increasing their tribe, their circle. You are either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of their fold. If you are ‘out’ then you must be persuaded to join the club, be distanced from it or in extreme cases waged a war upon.
And the concept of the ‘other’ is closely linked to dualism. Where God is separate from his followers, and followers of different religions are seperate from each other. A scenario in which we can at best tolerate each other but can never be one.
Which is why my heart naturally leans towards the Vedantic philosophy of non-dualism which is based on the premise that we are all one – God, all people, this universe, everything. The only Truth is the Oneness of all things. Then who can we wage a war against?
While the Bible teaches you to treat your neighbour like you would want to be treated yourself, Vedanta says, you are your neighbour.
Sadly, many Hindus also lose sight of this most profound idea and often fall prey to the idea of the ‘other’. The other caste, other community, other religion.
Till we all evolve to understand and truly feel the Oneness, we will sadly continue to be at war with the ‘other.’