Maulana Rumi said, "Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged".
Being a student of Pluralism, understanding the essence of creation, existence, life and matter is my constant search, and my understanding is that every piece of matter (stone, ground, and mountain) is created with a built in balance (peace) and self balancing mechanism. Then every religion (Christian, Zoroastrian....) teaches one to attain a balance within and with what surrounds him/her; life and matter.
Rumi had reached the universal level of consciousness that all of us aspire, where the distinction between you and what surround you is embedded in awareness. In Hinduism the word is Brahman, when you reach that level of consciousness, there is no more you and God, it is all one cosmic energy. I suppose Jesus may have meant the same when he said follow me or when Qur’aan says surrender to the will of the creator.
Every scriptured religion and Oral tradition seek to embrace the whole humanity, their ideas, thoughts and practices for all of us to co-exist in peace. The more you learn about religions, the more you find in tune with the cosmic energy Rumi talks about. God speaks through science and religion, so al of his creation can live in harmony. Religion is the expression of love by the creator for his creation in different languages, rituals and systems.
Feroze, let us take a few steps to understand religion;
1. Religion is not needed to be a good human, indeed, we don't need a religion. Atheists are good humans and they live their lives in peace just as the people of religion. If ration...ality prevails and permeates in every human soul, we don't need a religion.
2. Rituals? Is there any human, any at all who is free from rituals? Not one my friend. When you wake up, you have a routine, a set of rituals; between brushing teeth, shaving, shower, commode, dressing up... you have a ritual. No one is free from it and we may justify that it is efficient to put the pants first or shirt first. When you eat, there is a ritual, when you go to gym, there is ritual, when you sleep, there is a ritual and when you make love, there is ritual. There is absolutely no escape from rituals.
Rituals are pathways to achieve certain things. When you reboot your computer it refreshes it and functions much more effectively than struggling with several programs working at one time.
Ritual in religions is no more than re-booting yourselves. When you are confused with too many things at one time, your effectiveness (every human) reduces greatly. But when you pray, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Sikh, Buddhist, Maya, Jain or any way, it will transform you from one state of mind to the other more coherent state of mind.
3. Religion is a formulae, God given or man created or wisdom generated, it helps individuals answer the loss of loved ones, the brutality of the war mongers, terrorists, thief’s, misery…. There is a belief that those who are rapists, cheaters and other evil doers will pay for it in the next life, if they get away from murders in this life.. That belief builds (reincarnation or life here after) faith in humanity. How? The fact that others will drive in their lane and observe the traffic rules, gives you faith that you can go anywhere and come back home relatively safely.
Religion has never been a problem in the world, it is the abuser. Invariably, every evil that you can count has a man or a woman behind it, not their parents, nation, ethnicity, race or religion. Nuclear power in the hands of some is destructive; in the hands of others is beneficent. Tell me if the evil is Nuclear power, religion or the individual?
Thanks to my face book friend Habib M. Akhtar from prompting me to write.
Mike Ghouse speaks on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His work can be found in 22 blogs and two websites listed at www.mikeghouse.net