What is the shared value of the Scriptures? How do we make sense of the diversity in messages? Here is a clue.

But he/she will prosper who purifies himself/herself. (The Quran, Chapter: 87, Verse: 14)

He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.

(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter: 9, Verse: 31)

But test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

(Holy Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5: 21-22)

Spotless be thou in mind. This only merits virtue’s name. All else, mere pomp of idle sound, no real worth can claim.

(Thiruvalluvar, Thirukkural, 34)

What is Bhakti or devotion in every faith and scripture? It is the cleansing of your soul from wrongdoing. It is about believing and doing good. It is the faith that God will never put you in loss for your good deeds. Mahatma Gandhi, who is revered as the Father of India, has said: “I consider myself as good a Muslim as I am a Hindu and for that matter I regard myself an equally good Christian or Parsi.” The shared traditions and values of all the faiths are visible to anyone who thinks deeply about the Divine.

The pandemic is accelerating the realization that we are all in this together. This is the moment for absolute faith in the Divine;  And for absolute surrender to the Divine.What symbolizes absolute faith and absolute surrender?  The ability to see the fact that there is always light. It is the capacity to be the light in every situation. Deficiency is motivation. Hunger is energy. Vulnerability is strength. The pandemic is the season of hunger, pennilessness, loneliness, homelessness, and suffering. The pandemic is also the season of justice, truth, awareness, awakening, and realization.

The universe is founded on justice and truth. Absolute faith is to believe in the power of God to deliver on the promises He made to the righteous. Absolute surrender (Prapatti) is relentless action in the path of God to establish justice and truth. The relentless action is also to attain the capacity to be a witness to justice and truth. If this is the message of all the faiths, where is the conflict? The conflict arises from the dogmas. Dogmas are ‘stubborn’ systems of belief established to sustain small systems of human resources towards a particular purpose which can be just worldly benefits or some imaginary (and often) ‘exclusive’ pathways to salvation.

This is not to discount the co-existence of the “diversity” in pathways to salvation. The ‘conflict’ is often orchestrated with a view to gain political dominance. Sometimes, it is the absence of intelligence that is at the root of the ‘conflict.’ The Scriptures, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Quran, describe this as “mischief.”  Peaceful dialogue can be one idea for mitigation of situations arising out of “mischief.” God asked Prophet Moses to have a dialogue with Pharaoh who was a tyrant on the planet. Scriptures recall the stories of destruction of human civilisations as they collectively plunged into “wrongdoing” and “mischief.” The Quran asks humans to strive as in a race in all virtues. “Strive with sincerity and under discipline.”

Ayya Vaikuntar, a 19th Century religious reformer born in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu in India, has said: “Dharma (Justice) is uplifting the downtrodden.” Vallalar Ramalinga Adigalar (often known as Vallalar), another 19th Century religious reformer from Tamil Nadu, has said: “As the Ocean is the confluence of several rivers, the Almighty is the confluence of all the faiths.” If the planet is suffering by the warming of the Ocean and rising temperatures and other extreme climate events, it is the responsibility of the people of all faiths to come together and seek forgiveness for all the wrongdoing and mischief. It is a collective responsibility. No room for blame game. The Quran describes the worldly life as full of self-glory, opposition, play, and amusement. The Quran asks humans to contemplate death and spend time in remembrance of God so that hearts do find satisfaction.

The Gita asks us to practice meditation and exercise dispassion during challenging times. Holy Bible warns about the wrath of God towards sinners and its consequences on the planet. God warns of “piling your dead bodies.” (Leviticus 26:30). The Quran says that God disrupts the selfish (10:24). This is perhaps the moment for raising the collective consciousness on “devotion” (Bhakti). The Scriptures have a common message. Anyone using the scriptures to divide people is doing a “mischief.” Let us use the Scriptures as tools for unification of humanity.

The author Peer Mohamed Azees is born in Thuckalay, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India. He is gifted with a Christian mother, a Muslim father, a Hindu wife, and a Buddhist brother-in-law. He is a journalist and media entrepreneur. He is the founder of a digitally native media company http://ippodhu.com/. You can connect with him at peer@ippodhu.com

Courtesy: Cenkanthal, September 2021

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