By Dr. J. Das
Divisions, intolerance and violence in this wonderfully beautiful and complex world are rampant. God has supplied us with all the basic necessities of life. The most important necessities are sunshine, air, water, food, sleep and activity. These are all free-of-charge, except for food and, even then, it is not likely a very expensive item, except for very poor people. Since God has given so abundantly for the maintenance of life, why are there so much enmity, divisions, intolerance and violence perpetrated by man against man? As human beings, we get wrapped up in our day to day activities, and we lose the vision of the whole of humanity, and the forces, which drive it. Let us stand back, as it were, and take an overall view of the world of people. You will notice that people are of different races – Caucasian, Mongoloid, Negroid, Aboriginals and Eskimos. We can say that these are natural or God given characteristics and we cannot really do anything about the race in which we are born. We can then look at colour. People are white, black, brown, yellow and red. These are only broad outlines of colour, for there are variations, and sometimes one colour blends into the other. The white, black and brown people are easily distinguishable. The yellow, so called, are some of the Oriental or Mongoloid people. The red refers mostly to the Red Indians native to the Americas. We can also say that the colour into which we are born is natural and God given. We cannot do much about altering the colour in which we are born.
The next obvious division is castes. In India the castes are Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras and various clans equivalent to tribes in other cultures. On close examination, it will be found that the castes are not natural, or God-created. People created these as they have crated guilds, tribes, clubs, gangs and classes.
The next big division of humanity occurs in culture. Culture is expressed through language, customs, clothing, food and art forms. There are hundreds of languages in the world and thousands of dialects. Customs in the whole world are too numerous to mention. Clothing styles vary from country to country, and climate to climate. Food is also different in various cultures. Similarly, art forms such as architecture, music, dance and various types of festivals vary among people. Again, we can say that these are not natural, or God given. People create culture, and those belonging to one culture tend to adhere to that culture tenaciously, at the exclusion of other cultures.
There is another big division of humanity based on religion. There are various religions in the world. Religions depend on scripture, priesthood, doctrines, rituals, belief systems etc. A close examination will show that all of these were created by people, and not by God. If God had created religion, then there will not be so many differences in scripture, in priest craft, in doctrines, in rituals and beliefs, etc.
The next big division in humanity is status. Status is somewhat equivalent to the caste system, and occurs in all societies. Status is expressed in terms of social standing, education, wealth, conferred status and power. People of one social class do not easily mix with another, because they form various strata or layers in society. The higher social classes, because of their high income, profession or educational levels, do not easily mix with people who are considered to be of lower social status. Similarly, the wealthy do not mix with the poor; those who have gained power and prestige will often oppress those who are considered to be weak or submissive. A close examination will show that status is artificial, and created by people, and not by God.
The next big division occurs in politics. Various countries in the world have various forms of political systems. There is Democracy, which is based on the party system, and democracy can either be with a monarch or a republican system. Even in democracy, one party may not get along with the other party because each puts forward its own views about how to govern a country. Then there is socialism, communism, dictatorship, theocracy and various other forms of governments. Democratic governments do not accept the socialist, or communist, or dictatorship types of governments. These systems appear to be mutually exclusive. Communism, as a system of government, has not proved itself in the world, and there is collapse of communism currently, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dictatorships also cannot stand any opposition, and exist by virtue of one person having absolute power, and keeping the rest of the population in some degree of subjection. Dictators are often self-serving, in terms of obtaining fame or satisfying their egos, as in megalomania. Many dictators in the world have brought immense suffering to their people. In the end, they are often assassinated, or they have to seek refuge in some other country. Theocracy means a government ruled by a religious figure. If the religious leader assumes absolute power, based on the authority given by God (assumed to be so by the Theocrat), then he can cause immense suffering to the people. In the name of purging the religion of so called evils, he may execute all of those opposed to him, or who seek a more liberal view towards God and life in general.
All of the above divisions express themselves through large groups of people, and not individuals. The Caucasian race is in the hundreds of millions, and includes the white and the brown people. The Mongoloid race is also hundreds of millions, and are those distinguished by certain facial features – slit-like eyes and flattened and widened nasal bridge. The Negroid is distinguished mostly by his dark complexion and the negroid hair. Aboriginals are the native inhabitants of various countries, and the Eskimos are the people who live in the frozen arctic regions. All of these involve large numbers of people, and they cannot do anything about their race. Similarly, people of the various colors are in large numbers all over the world. They also cannot do anything about their colour. Inter-marriage may bring about certain changes in the skin colour, or features, but this is not guaranteed, as certain characteristics will repeat themselves, depending on the dominance of the genes involved.
Apart from race and colour, all the other divisions are man-made, and having been made, people identify themselves with them, and fight with those who are of a different group. In the caste system, the high caste people avoid those of low caste. The evil is that the caste system appears to be conferred by birth, and not dependent on deeds. Culture, similarly, must of necessity, be different in different countries, because languages are different, and so are climatic conditions and divisions through geography.
Religion is also of various kinds. People belonging to one religion do not generally accept people of other religions as their equals. Each religion tends to think that it has a monopoly on the Truth and on God. But people who think like this are truly misled. What interest does God have in what type of doctrines or rituals people practice. God will certainly be ‘confused’ if He were to keep track of all the rituals, doctrines, belief systems and scriptures abounding in the world. Many religious practices are not very important for enlightenment, and are based on blind belief or traditions, which, when properly examined, will be found to be without any firm foundation. To quarrel in the name of religion is to deny the supremacy of God who exists in the hearts of all. What does God care about peoples’ various expressions of status? God is not interested in status symbols. These serve only to boost the ego, and to remove one further from God. Does God really care about politics, and to which form of government or party you owe your allegiance? People, having made all these artificial differences, adhere to them at the exclusion of others. They then fight amongst themselves, and develop enmity and intolerance, often leading to violence. If we can think for a moment that God is looking at what people are doing all over the world, according to these various artificial divisions, I am sure that He will not admit to being a part of any of them.
The above groupings dealt mostly with large numbers of people. However, in every individual there are certain characteristics that cause intolerance and violence. These are ego, anger, pride, greed, prejudice, etc. People express these in various degrees in any one or more of the above divisions. There can be good or bad Caucasians or religionists. There can be violent democrats and peace loving Shudras. There can be greedy people of high social status, and compassionate and altruistic people belonging to a minority culture. These individual characteristics express themselves in various combinations and permutations among the various divisions mentioned above.
What is the solution to the problems based on all these divisions? The solution lies in acceptance of one another as belonging to the human race; thus the most important religion becomes Humanity. The most important race is Humanity. The most important caste is Humanity. The most important colour is Humanity, and so it is with culture, status, politics or any other divisions, which can be created. God, in His wisdom, made people in certain races and colors. Mankind created all the rest. God also made only male and female throughout the whole world. Let us as children of God accept one another with love, acceptance, and respect. God would not like us to do any less.