The belief that as all life is connected, people must not harm each other, is the essence of all religions and spirituality. This being the belief that many of us hold, we should connect collectively to raise positive vibrations in the universe and live and let live with love, peace and harmony, says DR PUSHPA CHATURVEDI
Unfortunately, as of now it looks as though we are disconnected or even if connected, it’s not in a good, healthy way. This unhealthy connection is creating rifts, unrest, violence and even senseless killings, which seem to be getting worse day by day. The situation is really very saddening and sickening.
When we sincerely take a look at ourselves, we will realise that it’s we all together, who have built this family, this community, this nation and this world. It’s a collective effort; so why not put positive inputs in this collectively and change the current environment to live a caring, sharing life full of love and compassion for each other.
When each one of us changes for the better, we raise the collective consciousness, and collective positive vibrations in the universe. Then our environment will also change and positivity and humanity will pervade and rule.
All religious preachers of diverse religions have time and again stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence. All religions advocate tolerance, peace and harmony. Freedom to follow a particular religion must not be interpreted as being different from each other.
We belong to the same species. We all live on the same earth; the trees and its branches and leaves may look different, but they get the same sunshine, the same rain and give the same shade.
Teachings from the Bible tell us, “For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” The Bible adds: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Most of you must have heard the joke about what the Buddhist monk said to a hot dog vendor ― “Make me one with everything.” Doesn’t Buddhism teach we are one with everything? Buddhism tells us that we individuals are component parts of “One Thing” ― and thus we are connected. The individual self is false ― only the infinite self is true.
Islamic teachings say that He created us from one man and one woman, thus making us all brothers and sisters. In Sharia, the Islamic way of life, it is only by connecting with and serving other human beings that we can truly connect to our Creator.
Hinduism is stated to be the world’s oldest religion dating back to several thousand years. Though Hinduism is very diverse, with a huge range of philosophical views, oneness and being connected is a theme that is accepted by all scriptures related to Hinduism. The most talked and accepted is the Advaita Vedanta, which teaches us the ultimate level of oneness.
Advaita Vedanta is an ancient old school of Hindu philosophy and spiritual practices. The term Advaita means non-duality. As per this philosophy, you and I, and all humans are individual souls, or Atman. Brahman is the ultimate reality behind all the different objects we see. According to Advaita, Atman and Brahman are not really two ― they are one.
In Sikhism also the concept of Oneness is reflected in many Sikh traditions. The langar in Gurudwaras is a great way to cook, serve, and sit together and eat meals without any distinction of religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, social status, race, caste, or any other division. Guru Nanak travelled far and wide, emphasising the oneness of all humanity and bridging perceived interfaith and other gaps among society. “Ek On Kar” means that there is only one supreme reality for all humans, and thus all humans are connected and in harmony with each other.
A simple example is the ocean, which is made up of countless drops of water, yet the ocean is one body of water. We Atmans are all drops of the Ocean of Brahman. All is Brahman and Brahman is all.
Right now, due to our illusion of our identification with the body, we don’t realise the truth ― we are not separate drops, but we are in fact one and the same as the infinite ocean of Brahman ― and therefore all one. Separateness is just an illusion.
If we believe we are One and we are all really part of this ultimate, all pervading unity, like the Ocean, we might become more compassionate, more egoless, and less selfish. The only feeling that should exist is that of brotherhood and sisterhood; of love, giving, sharing, caring, acceptance and respect for each other.
This is a message of harmony of religions, harmony of people, harmony of genders, to live with peace and respect and serve each other’s needs. Sri Ramakrishna’s statement expresses this oneness beautifully: “By finding Shiva, the divinity in all beings, serve them. So serve all beings, knowing them to be Shiva.” This, indeed, should be our attitude towards all living beings.
“Man is the measure of all things,” said the famous, very ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras. It means that humans hold the most value and they were created to uphold values and be responsible for the order of the world.
Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi, a paediatrician with over 50 years’ experience, is an educationist and researcher, with over 100 research publications, mainly on social paediatrics in renowned medical journals. Ex-Professor and Head of Department of Paediatrics, MGIMS Sevagram, Wardha, she is a thinker, writer, poet, artist and a spiritual blogger with over 500 blogs to her credit. Dr Chaturvedi is also a keen traveller, music and nature lover.