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World Religion: The Need of the Hour

World Religion: The Need of the Hour

By Dr. Ravindra Kumar

It was in the morning of the 25th of November, 1997 when Paitoon came to my apartment and said:

"I shall be grateful in case you are pleased to impart knowledge of definition of religion to graduate class in the afternoon today."

I accepted his request and defined religion in the following manner:

"Hindu Religious Philosophy incorporates the dictum that religion is what is worth adopting. I agree with this in toto... But what is to be adopted? The answer is goodness. As such, religion consists of adopting goodness. It carries with it the spirit of all-welfare. It may be elaborated thus… Adoption of goodness that leads to all-welfare is a wholesome religion. Its sphere should be broad. It should have total equality."

Christian, Confucian, Zoroastrian, Jain, Boddh, Islam, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu etc. are taken to be main religions on this earth. ...But, in reality these are not religions. These are religious communities. Each of them directs its followers to lead life in a separate way. This way is based on some eternal value foremostly. This eternal value also incorporates goodness in it. …But, here the sphere of goodness is not broad because owing to circumstances pertaining to a country and age along with practical position of human beings, this all-welfare does not prove efficacious. It cannot be taken to be complete basis of religion in absence of all’s welfare. It is owing to this that it will be apt to take Hindu, Boddh or Islam ideology based on particular eternal value, to be a religious community while granting it status of an indispensable part of religion. I shall reiterate that scope of religion is vast. It incorporates all-welfare. Equality is ahead of this characteristic. Real universal religion can be established by intermingling fundamental inceptions of all religious communities. This must be done. Happiness and prosperity to all can be possible only through that. One can achieve a state of peace in this world and thereafter [if he or she believes accordingly]. This shall bring an end to all communal differences and all people of the world will be able to be in sphere of fraternity in practice.

As I have already stated, every religious community has a main eternal value. This value is welfaristic. Community emphasizes that it should be derived unto life and explains value for this purpose. It does so in such a manner and through such examples that a man can adopt it in practical life. Forbearance is principal in Hindu Religious Community. It accepts the principle of devoidness of stiffness and accords its followers full opportunity of self-expression. Hindu religious treatises postulate that God is supreme. He has many names. He is forbearing and wants that His offspring, man, should also be forbearing as it leads to self-development. Hindu philosophy combines forbearance with general welfare It means that man should forbear with inner happiness that there should be welfare of all and all must achieve pleasure and prosperity. Rig-Veda incorporates as such:

“Asmakama Ddeva Abhyaya

Janmane Sharbhayachchhata Dwipade Chatushpade.

Adat Pibadrajayamana Mashitam.

Tasmemshakar Yorarapom Dathdhyatan."

It means:

“0 God, give pleasure to human beings and beasts all. All creatures may spend life with liberty per getting good food and thereby getting stoutness and energy.”

In this manner, there is a desire of welfare of each human being with forbearance. This is the essence of Hinduism.

Bravery is foremost in Sikh Religious Community. It means a struggle for justice and to defend incapables. It is the duty of a Sikh to protect humanity. This is the right path. Sikh Gurus taught this to their followers through self-practice of this in life. This religious community, which has bravery to be its chief attribute, draws our attention to three significant things:

  • Nam Simaran;
  • Kirat Karna; and
  • Vand Chhakna.

It means:

  • To meditate on His name;
  • To earn through honest labour; and
  • To share with the needy.

This is the essence of this religious community. This is a just path and it aptly cherished; every Sikh has to work for that.

Buddhist Religious Community has compassion as its main attribute. What is compassion? It is to know and take all living beings as friends and by intermingling the spirit of mercy with this friendliness is compassion. It means friendliness and the spirit of mercy are the two pillars of compassion. Lord Buddha called upon us to adopt this heartily and it is also incorporated in..It is not proper to kill any living being… one should desist appreciating anyone who kills some living being... one must oppose killing of any of the all living being-strong or weak.

Buddhist philosophy expects that a friend should urge another to be away from sin and to propagate proper action. Along with that, he should show the way to goodness [religion] and should try to resolve the doubts that others may have. One is really merciful if his deeds, utterances and thoughts are imbued with mercy and he welcomes heartily and is helpful towards fulfillment of our necessities. Such a friend only can be compassionate. It is our duty to adopt spirit of compassion: this is the essence of Buddhist philosophy.

Jain philosophy has non-violence as its main attribute. Probably, no other one stressed on non-violence and explained it explicitly more than Jainism. The making of non-violence is: non+ violence i.e. not to put anyone to violence. It is aptly said, "Na himsa is ahimsa". Jain philosophy puts, "When pain is inflicted unto some other on the level of thought, utterances or deeds, some one's life is taken away, that impure thought, base utterance or non-sacred tendency is considered to be polluted with the evil of violence. It may be outwardly without any sort of violence but the tendency for violence is latent in it." The essence is that violence consists in causing misery to anyone by thought, utterance or deed. Contradictory to this all is non-violence. Jain philosophy prescribes three characteristics of violence:

  • Misery cause;
  • Animosity cause; and
  • Misery to self

To apprise human being of humanity, Jain philosophy states:

[A] Savvesi Jeeveeyam Peeyam which it means life is dear to all. Every living being has a very significant will to live. This is a desire that manifests itself up to the moment of death. A living being wishes to live as long as he can. If a man, under condemnation of sentence of death is asked to choose betwixt whole earth and life, he will choose life.

When it is established that all living-beings want to live and no one has accorded us a right to kill him, there should not be unauthorized attempt to worry anyone. In case we do so, others will be trying revenge on us. Enmity and opposition shall emerge from this point. As such, we must respect right of life unto all and must portray non-violence through our conduct and behaviour.

[B] Panina Cha Piya Daya which means: all living-beings cherish mercy in the same dimension as they dislike attack on life. Suppose there are two men before an animal of which one has knife in his hand and other one with grass. Seeing both, even the eyes of animal make it clear that he will accept the man with grass in his hand.

As such, it should be the nature of man that he should save lives. Such a grace or mercy inherits fearlessness. One who saves others, himself becomes fearless. Subsequently, he does not apprehend any fear from any living-being. It has been said, "Saving gesture is the best of all gestures." This also takes us up to epitome of non-violence.

[C] Atmavat Sarvabhuteshu which signifies realization of pleasures and grief felt with all the souls in this human world. This realization must be so as if one is himself enjoying pleasure or suffering from that pain. This, after all, leads to good conduct after knowing other one's misery.

[D] Parasparopgriho Jivanam which clarifies that life of a living being consists in the righteous action of being mutually cooperative. Meaningfulness of life happens to be in such a gesture. Apt spirit towards others is essence of ‘Humanity’ and it is also a symptom to identify non-violence.

We may know the meaning of the Grand Religion non-violence by comprehending all these four points. It has been said on this very accord, "…Non-violence is very dear Brahman for all living beings. It gives peace."

To put it:

"Ahimsa Savvsattanam Sada Nivveyakarika,

Ahimsa Savvasattesu Param Bambhamani Diyam”

Non-violence is non-comparable in itself. The existence of whole world depends upon it. It is essential to adopt it. This is the essence of Jain philosophy.

Jewish Religious Community or Judaism considers justice to be supreme. Justice is supreme in its philosophy. Torah incorporates that Moses said to the People in his 1st speech, "Decide judiciously after giving hearance to both the parties, the dispute may be concerning the both from Israel or it may relate to one of the country and another of abroad... Justice knows no favour…"

This philosophy [Judaism] actually considers justice as the will of God and asks people to live life in accordance with that. Justice fully incorporates equality and fearlessness in it. It must be foremost in human being. It calls upon: Know about exercising' good action, dedicate yourself unto justice... you must favour widows.

This philosophy amply clears good actions. It says that disrespect to elders [including parents], murder, lust, theft, adultery, false deposition, avarice etc., all are unjust actions. These are not good actions. As such, contradictory to these, respect, security, patronage, truthfulness etc. are virtues towards which we must tend. This is a path to justice and ultimately it happens to be Godly path. God is one. God wants, “..All must be dedicated to actions that are just.”

Zoroastrian Religious Community accords unity to humanity. It clearly stipulates that unity is foremost in this ideology. 'Ahura Mazda' is the logic behind this unity:

“He is the Lord of life and knowledge. He is Supreme. He is unified. Compassion, consciousness, justice, love, reality and truthfulness etc., are all his attributes. It is the duty of human being to worship Him alone. All are one because all are His parts. All are equal. No one can be small or big…"

Essence is that all beings are the offspring of one Father and so they themselves should keep unified. They must work with love and cooperation.

This philosophy giving message towards unity states:

"If one is so poor that he has nothing for supper, you should distribute your property amongst poor and become like that very person if you possess much. This is the way to unity. You will be in grief if you do not do so. As such, be united as all off springs of one Father if you want to save yourself from grief.”

This really happens to be the path of peace.

Confucian Religious Philosophy depicts equality as foremost. One, who works with spirit of slavery unto other or takes others to be in his bond, is not a supporter of equality; he is quite antagonistic to humanity. Confucius on this very accord clearly said, "Do not behave with others in the manner which you would not like for yourself." If a man exploits some one other, it will ultimately give birth to a state of conflict. The society will face divisions and all will go on the path of doom. As such, Zen was made main basis of his message by Confucius. This is imitable. This is really the essence of Confucius Religious Community.

'Service' is supreme in Christian Religious Community. The First Sermon on the Mount states, "He alone is religious who does not have ego and is meek, is full of gentleness, takes things by heart, is religion oriented, merciful, clean and full of spirit of compromise... etc. One, who takes pains in these regards, can only be termed religious.” Such a religious person that is a person full of above mentioned ideals-engaged in service to humanity, can only be termed Christian in real sense.

Christianity states, "Give plenty unto others but silently. If you extend alms and make publicity of it, it will be inglorious on your part.” Bible states, "... When you give alms, even your left hand should be unaware of what your right hand is doing. Your alms must remain secret.” Service as portrayed by Christianity is related to self-sacrifice. It may be elaborated in this way that a man should be pure at heart and must keep his word. Along with this, he should be fractural with fellow-beings and should be poised to bring compromise amongst belligerent sides.

A true Christian accords love in exchange of animosity and becomes great only when he vows to serve others. This really remains the aim of life. However, as already emphasized, service must be pure. Purity and impurity, as such, should be clear to us: we should know these terms. As such, it is to be said that Christian Religious Community considers sacrificial service to be supreme. Lord Christ stated at one place, "One, who wants to imitate me, must practice self-sacrifice."

He said at another place, "If you want to be perfect, give all of your property to poor." The vital point of service in this Religious Community can be understood accordingly. Fraternity is foremost in Islam. It also considers God to be Supreme and calls upon to tread the way shown by Him. The way God shows is the way to humanity and to serve Him is to serve humanity. Qur’an again and again calls upon people to adhere to fraternity.

"This community [Human] is really one But they divided themselves on their own.” It means that all human beings happen to be one entity and the difference that is visualized is artificial. It is the duty of man to keep fraternity at top and behave gracefully with parents, relatives, destitute and poor. He must talk only what is good must inspire Namaz and must give Zakat.

Prophet Mohammad's life is a very good example pertaining to fraternity. He always kept it uppermost in his thoughts and actions. There are innumerable examples in Hadis in this regard. It is said:

"My love has become essential for those who love each other owing to me, sit together owing to me, meet each other and spend on each other."

The substance is that we must accept existence and authority of God and should have faith in Him. Mutual cooperation and affection is necessary for this. Hadis states in this chain, "If a man loves another, it is as he loves God." Prophet Mohammad says, "Speaking sweet and giving food to hungry is the Islam.” Therefore, People should have mutual relations for the sake of God. We should love each other. More than that..." A Momin [Muslim] is abode of love. That person is not gentle who does not love any one and whom no one loves." Such a person cannot be Mohammedan. Evidently, Islam presents the best example of fraternity. It can be termed in following words - Fraternity is main attribute in Islam.

It is clear from above discussion that one eternal value is supreme in every religious community. The related religious community asks its followers to lead life on the basis of this value in order to get pleasure, prosperity and peace. It is aimed at fulfillment of their life. As such, the motive of every religious community is identical All eternal values are complementary to each other. As such, there cannot be a state of conflict.

Of course, there is a necessity to grasp basic principles of every religious community. To this purpose, there must be a committee above all religious communities and that committee should establish coordination amongst fundamental principles of all communities [because principles and values are complementary to each other] and must make people in this world understand that these are not contradictory. Ultimately, all have a common goal. Motive of all is one. Ways to achieve the goal- method of worship and rituals etc. may be different but motive is one. This purpose is to obtain ultimate aim along with pleasure and prosperity. This committee will, as such, establish a world-religion while carrying out above-mentioned functions.

This world religion is essential, today I again reiterate, it is the need of the hour.


*Universally renowned scholar, Indologist and writer Dr. Ravindra Kumar is the Former Vice-Chancellor of CCS University of Meerut, India.

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