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Honour diversity

india Updated: Dec 03, 2009 00:21 IST
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Today, terrorism is a global concern. As a long-term remedy, we need to educate people to value life itself more than religion, race or culture; to honour diversity and appreciate all religious and cultural traditions, for the world will not be safe if even a small pocket of people is left ignorant or fanatical.

Terrorism is based on a concept of God as favoring some and being angry at others. This notion undermines the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. How can an omnipresent God exclude some people? How can an omnipotent God be angry?

With this limited idea of God, you become the savior of God rather than the servant of God. Terrorism fails to recognise that God loves variety and diversity; that many different schools of thought exist in this world. The only way to get rid of fanaticism in the world is broad-based education, which is multi-cultural and multi-religious.

Each individual, especially children, should be familiar with all the other holy scriptures, traditions and schools of knowledge. We need to focus on spiritual education because spirituality alone can bring in peace.

Spirituality nourishes the human values of compassion, love, caring, sharing and acceptance. Spirituality is also finding the way to calm the mind and go deep in your prayers, irrespective of what prayer you do or what religion you follow.

It is honouring the values that are found in all religions. And it is concern for the common good of one and all, accommodating the diversity in thought, in deed and in behaviour in the world. First and foremost, we are part of the Divine. Our second identity is that we are human beings. The third is that we are male or female. The fourth: We belong to a particular nation. The fifth: We belong to a particular religion.

If the right order of identity is understood, then human values are honoured. Have confidence that we can achieve change through peaceful and non-violent means. And know that God is with us all.

(H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar writes exclusively for HT)