Afew months ago I was waiting in the airport on my way back home from my native town. I usually ensure that I reach the airport or the railway station far ahead of time. This is a habit that I got from my Papa. After finishing the check-in formalities I took a book out and started reading. I always keep a book in my handbag. The book happened to be Hypnotizing Maria by Richard Bach. It was a gift from my brother. In the book, the author explores flight and metaphysics.
After reading a few pages the Wright brothers came to mind. Though the world always gives the credit for inventing the aeroplane to them, I don’t agree with that because Ravana, the demon king in our epic Ramayana, was already using the flying chariot, pushpaka vimana. The celestial architect Vishvakarma was believed to have built the extraordinary, transcendental aircraft.
Throughout my flight, I was listing down all the historic inventions, starting from fire, in my mind. When I was young I thought scientists had already invented everything possible in the world, and nothing more was left for me to invent! Back then, we had everything we wanted like electricity, car, phone, TV, and so on. After some years along came the computer, CCTV, mobile phones, and the internet.
Now we have reached a stage where we are testing driverless cars! I used to think life was flowing well with all these inventions. Though we are making tremendous progress in the technology area, are we, humankind, really ‘progressing’? Are we living without fear? Are we happy with the day-to-day happenings in and around our world?
With all due respects to the great scientists we had in the past, I decided to invent something great like them! I want to invent an app which users can install to interface with the operating system (OS) of their brain. I will be sending notifications for upgrades, and of course, it will be free of cost!
As religious intolerance keeps rising alarmingly all over the world, the app I want to create is one that can erase tendencies towards religious discrimination and extremism from the human brain. Nature does not have any religion. Animals and birds do not have religion. Only we humans have religion. Religion is meant to elevate human consciousness and promote spiritual well-being, and not limit our choices. Religion is an individual choice. Like we consider vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism as different food choices, religion is also a choice. People should have the freedom to believe what they like.
I think we need to even remove the ‘religion’ and ‘caste’ columns from the school application form when a child joins school. Let fee concessions (if any) be based on the annual income of the parents, not on religion or caste. Let our kids see the religious rituals, if any, that we do at home, but let us not force any religion on them. Because true religion is not a set of beliefs and rituals; it is the freedom to experience life! Also, let us not bad-mouth other religions. Instead, let us tell our children to respect all religions as well as human beings irrespective of their religion! This kind of training should start from the home. Home is every child’s first school and parents are their first teachers.
I have neighbours and close friends from all religions. I have not been able to find any difference in the quality of my friendships based on the religion of my friends. I haven’t experienced any bad behaviour from them. We invite them to our festivals and receive sweets and savouries from them when they celebrate theirs. During Christmas, we used to set up Christmas trees and stars at home, and my neighbours belonging to other religions used to arrange athapookalam (flower rangoli) during Onam in their home. One of my friends does the routine niskaram (Muslim prayer) at my home if she happens to be visiting me at the time.
During natural calamities like flood and cyclone, like what happened in Chennai just a few years back, I have witnessed people helping each other irrespective of religion. Temples, churches, and mosques gave shelter to all people, without asking their religion. People were just taking the food packets given to them. No one asked the religion of the food or its maker then! In front of casualty wards and ICUs in hospitals, when people required blood, no one ever asked the religion of the blood or its donor!
Not even a single bad incident has happened in my life based on religion. I asked some of my friends and neighbours just to get an idea whether they faced any such discriminations. To my surprise, they all said ‘No’. Ask yourself and your friends the same question and check whether we are really religiously intolerant!
The social media reports religious violence almost daily! God must be laughing at us seeing all this drama! I feel we should not encourage others to twist facts and figures of things happening around us. We need to avoid social media if we feel that we are consuming too much poison through it! We ought to stay away from any debate on religion. We shouldn’t spread any news that will harm and destroy the peace and harmony among people! William Blake once said: ‘A truth that’s told with bad intent, beats all the lies you can invent!’
We all know that our Indian flag has 3 colours, green, white and saffron. I think these 3 colours represent the 3 major religions of India, green for Islam, white for Christianity and saffron for Hinduism. The Asoka Chakra in the centre is blue. Blue represents divine and heavenly grace. All the 3 colours are of equal width in the flag. We the people of this secular country should be proud of it. If we had put all our energy into the progress of our nation rather than discrimination against people based on religion, the world would have been different, and we would have been far more developed than what we are today!
Let’s not blame any religion. No religion is evil. People by their acts create evil. Buddha was not a Buddhist, Jesus was not a Christian, and Muhammad was not a Muslim! They were teachers who taught and preached love. Love was their religion. We should use the religion of love to accept all other creatures on the planet whether they believe in our religion or not.
I think even if we erase the concept of religion itself acts of violence will continue. That’s what history tells us! According to history, less than 10% of all wars were based on religion! Most of them were for territorial conquest, to control borders or to secure trade routes. Actually the ancient conquerors, Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman, openly welcomed the religious beliefs of those they conquered, and they even added the new gods to their own pantheon!
Everything is within us. We can perceive anything the way we want. We can twist any news or event whichever way we want. The way we react depends on how we see and interpret a situation and our attitude towards it. If someone says something or we read something, we need to analyze the facts thoroughly and then arrive at a conclusion. It is always better to think before we react. We need to train our mind to see the good in everything. We need to try to see everything in a positive way. The happiness of our life depends on the quality of our thoughts!
Let me know how many of you are ready to install and use my new app. Please let me know if you would like any modifications to the scope that I have outlined for this app. Please feel free to share your thoughts, I will try to incorporate them to the extent possible. What I have now is just the beta version!
Happy empty nesting to all my friends who do or do not believe in any religion. 🙂
The essence of all religions is one, only their approaches are different ~ Gandhiji