In this new feature of our website, we present
every week a new selection of the teachings of Vedanta, taken from a
variety of sources – lectures and writings of Swami Adiswarananda,
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature, and other spiritual texts.
ACCEPTANCE – Part 1
Science and technology have brought the world together. The earth has
become a global village. But our minds have not come together. That which
keeps us separate and divided is intolerance. Intolerance has many faces:
social intolerance, political intolerance, psychological intolerance, and
religious intolerance. It is this intolerance that has prompted apparently
peaceful, loving human beings to act like brutes. This intolerance has
promoted religious wars, riots, cold wars, and hatred. It has been the
cause of broken homes, broken friendships, and broken communities.
Hinduism teaches the oneness of existence, unity of faiths, nonduality of
the Godhead, and divinity of the soul. Oneness of existence is the basis
of all love, compassion, and charitable feelings. We are like the leaves
of a huge, universal tree. Prompted by intolerance, we disclaim the rights
of others. But we forget that the leaves cannot survive without the tree.
No one can be at peace while keeping others unhappy. No one can enjoy
prosperity being surrounded by the world of poverty.
Nonviolence and tolerance are the basic virtues taught by the great
teachers of all traditions. While the prophets teach love and tolerance,
traders in religion teach separativeness and selfishness that disclaim the
rights of others. Diversity of culture and tradition without a bond of
unity and peace is socially dangerous, reprehensible, and explosive. We
must ask ourselves whether we should join the main stream in tolerance or
remain in our cultural, social and religious ghettos. Intolerance in any
form is like a tumor that destroys the body and ultimately destroys
is the need of the hour that we unlearn intolerance by overcoming our
narcissistic prejudices and minor differences. Unity in diversity is the
natural law, and we must accept it. The core of this unity is spiritual.
Fear, hatred, bigotry and war are symptoms of that forgotten spiritual
unity. Unlearning calls for a spiritual revival at all levels. It calls
for the promotion of moral and spiritual values, and calls for every one
of us to set an example.
attitude of advanced nations toward the people who are struggling to free
themselves from age long poverty and hardship should be one of sympathy
and service, not of patronage and control. Unlearning intolerance calls
for heightened awareness of others based on the oneness of the universe.
Leaders of thought are called upon to convince people that only tolerance
can bring social stability and individual peace, and that the way of
intolerance is self-destructive. Intolerance arises from giving in to our
lower nature and is destructive of all social values. Through education
and spiritual living, we must convince people that tolerance and mutual
understanding are vital for their own well-being and success. Unlearning
intolerance begins from the individual level. Since differences can never
be abolished, we must learn to live with them with dignity and optimism.
[Copyright Swami Adiswarananda]
Weekly Message Archive