Once in a while, we get news that not only touches our hearts, but also re-enforces our belief in humanity. What makes them stand out is the effort made by those who go very much out of the way, to lead by example & show that heaven & hell exist right here, and in our minds! We are desperately trying to find our way out of hate, fostered in the name of unseen Gods; with statements like their God can wipe-out their enemies’, in no time! It does not matter the Creator is in no hurry to come to anybody’s rescue to please their ego. He could well be embarrassed by how ungrateful human species are, despite the munificence showered on them! There cannot be a more selfish specimen, as we see from the numerous animal kingdom films- live & let live, once the stomachs are full! But our problems get acute when they are full!
What touched my heart is a news item of a church taking the initiative to perform the last rites for a Hindu doctor who had worked in one of their affiliated hospitals in Kerala, South India. The doctor had served in the Christian hospital for 28 years and he was found dead on way to his home town, Patna in North India. The church arranged a Hindu priest to conduct the last rites, with the Archbishop present throughout the ceremony and even participated in the function, led a prayer service, chanting verses from Hindu scriptures and the Holy Bible!
Sticking by own guns & worse, ridiculing others, will only play into the hands of the fanatics who are out to play villains, if given a half-a-chance. As a child, I remember being bamboozled by an adult asking why my religion even portrays rats worthy to be revered; I gave a tepid reply that God resides everywhere, as we are all His creations! Before 9/11, the world was more innocent, at least no wide gulf between the many religious followers. The wicked incident has driven a wedge even among many broad-minded souls, becoming more aware of others not belonging to their religion.
I recollect with soothing comfort, the years I had spent in Indonesia, which is such a tolerant country even now, after the 9/11 incident and own fall-outs. Most have nothing to do with the terrorists and do not baulk-at tough measures by their government and show them no mercy. While Pakistan runs with the hares and sometimes hunts with the wolves; thereby, playing into evil hands! I had to take double take at some names of Muslims in Indonesia that bore Hindu Goddesses’ names, like Lakshmi & Saraswathi, and men Visnu, which are even now, par for the course. They even have shadow/puppet plays from Hindu mythology almost daily! Of course, some try to poison the turf, but majority just ignore them as inconsequential. Fighting & mindless killing in the name of religions have to stop. Most know the futility, but some are allowed to get away with their nefarious deeds! And the innocents are the most to suffer while the leaders stay away and seem to have greater longevity than others!
Kerala State has dyed in the wool communists but this act has shown real healing by accepting all religions as equal, not only by words, but by deed & practice. If replicated everywhere, it would drive home the basic truth there is only one Creator & all religions evolved over history. We have the ability to save others by donating blood & even procreate across the globe; religions & race, inconsequential! Just because the Creator has given us powers to think beyond other species, does not mean we have license to maim in His name.
There are miles to go before we sleep, than hasten to a premature end in the name of imaginary Gods. If our beliefs are worthy, others will be inspired, but why kill in His name? Gandhi’s words are ever true – an eye for eye will make the whole world go blind! The leaders of all religions should show wisdom than follow rituals blindly and worse, poison the turf. Let the touching incident in Kerala be a trail-blazer & a stepping stone to greater tolerance, leading to heaven on earth. We have to defeat hate to realize noble goals and not be consumed by animosity forever.