Peace and Religion

I D Soni
Peace is the first opportunity and final solution for all issues. Peace is the nature of every perfect system. Peace is deeply linked with entirety of human life. Peace is a complete ideology in itself. It is a master-key that opens the doors to every success. Peace creates a favourable atmosphere for success in every endeavour. Peace rising inside a person provides all sides, crossing the boundaries of space and time, influencing every dimension – every aspect of life. Peace is a wish tree that grants everything. Wishes obtained elsewhere are unsafe for us and others. Peace balances senses and emotions and halts hasty decisions. Right decisions form the base of personal and social success. Through peace only we recognise that we serve ourselves by serving others and any harm from us is nothing but self-harming. Peace is the real God’s particle, foundation and purpose of existence and its omnipresence. Peace work is work for God, work with God and work as god. Peace is only object of worship that promotes the worshipper. In worship of ideals and icons of society, we will be left in a pitiable status of watching other’s unfair growth.
There is a beautiful legend which says that in the olden days God spoke from Mount Sinai. And when He spoke, the voice was heard by the people as they listened from east and west, from north and south, from earth and heaven. But each man – we read – heard the voice in his own tongue.
That story is suggestive of a great truth. The one voice of God has spoken to all but has, in its utterance, become many. The one Religion has become the many religions of the world. And this truth has been intuited by the great religious geniuses of the race. So one great Sufi writer says, “The ways of God are as many as the breaths of man”. And a text in the Gita expresses the same idea wonderfully well: On whatever path men approach Me, on that I go to meet them. For all the paths are Mine! Prophets of the race in east & west glimpsed this great truth. And yet there is a conflict in the religious world.
Every religion in this universe has come across five elements which make the universe and they mostly have the similar interpretation. Each sect recognized its supreme binding force, started drawing inner strength from it and perceived the Supreme Lord depending on contemporary geographical location, climate conditions and ease of praying. We may have named our perceived Lords by different names but the basic faith underlying our emotions, research and understanding is same. Then we started making a beeline to get into the semantics of promoting our religion and that’s we started an avoidable acrimonious debate laced with bloodshed, hatred and disrespect for each other. Least realising that we all pray to some entity and we all believe in the same ‘Supreme Element’ but only in a different form.
Rivalry in religion, as it seems to me, is due to two things – want of knowledge, and lack of sympathy, sometimes, there is lack of knowledge:sometimes, there is lack of sympathy: and often, I think, there is lack of both. There are some who believe that there is but one and full and final revelation of the ‘Spirit’; so that those who stand outside the circle of their own faith must necessarily be in error. Again, there are some who approach the religious problem in no spirit of sympathy. They fix their attention on certain aberrations and extra-vagances of a particular religion and say, “Look here, this religion is a monstrosity”. So, due to such an attitude that quarrels, discord, and hatred, have entered the religious world. Religion, which was meant be a bond of union, has become a source of sectarian strifes.
Religion and Peace
Peace! It is as if we have become immune to this word? Although it is frequently in use, it seems so alien to us in reality. But is not peace the ultimate of every human heart? Are we not all lovers of peace? Is not peace the only religion for both-man and the Universe? Peace is what we all crave. Peace is what humanity has piteously cried for, age after age. Peace, peace, peace – in this one word we have the secret, the answer to all our questions.
All religious scriptures of all religions have used lavish words of praise to indicate the significance of peace.
Peace will not come to us by fighting circumstances and struggling against so-called difficulties and misfortunes. Peace will come to us when we ourselves enter into the Great Peace of God. To enter into the Peace of God is to relax and stand still – to stand where we are. To accept the will of God is to know that we are nothing, that He is one ‘Worker” and, therefore, in all that happens is our good. The more we grow into this realisation, the more relaxed we shall feel: and we shall gradually know what it is to become perfectly still in God. Every experience He sends us – be it pleasant or painful – is meant to enrich our inner life. We must not shun it: we must not avoid it. We must accept it as a gift from Him in whom is the peace we seek, the peace that passeth, surpasseth understanding.
Hindu Scriptures stress that until peace abides in the hearts of men there can be no peace in the outer World and peace cannot abide in our hearts unless our hearts, through obedience to the Divine Law, beat in perfect union with the Great Heart which embraces and loves all and alike. Love is the essence of peace; peace is the spirit of brotherhood; brotherhood is the fulfilment of the Law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, and the salvation of the world.
Peace must be of the heart, not of the mind nor of the lips. It is not enough to think peace and talk peace; we live peace so long as selfishness fills our hearts and rules our lives. Peace is one of the fruits of Spirit. Love is the only weapon which destroys hate, resist not evil but overcome evil with good.
We think of the great prophet of Arabia, the prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad. We read of him, that one day a man came to him and said, “O Prophet of Allah! Give me a command”! And the Prophet said to him, “Be at peace with all”. The question was repeated several times, but the answer was the same: “Be at peace with all”.
Even the very word Islam is derived from a root, which means peace. Etymology tells us that Islam is derived from sin-lam-mim, which carries the basic meaning of safety and peace. Islam, therefore, a religion of peace and compassion.
(a) Sikhism is one of the six higher religions in the comity of world faith. Sikhism is a universal religion because it has message for the whole mankind. It believes in a moral, peaceful, just and benevolent world order and it aims at the creation of a new egalitarian and moral society. The core belief of Sikhism, articulated in the Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of one creator, divine unity and equality of all mankind and peaceful co-existence and living. Sikhism also believes in the existence of only one God having no form or gender.
(b) Message of the Guru Granth Sahib:-
(i) God is the Lord of the whole universe. He alone is the Father-Mother for all of us. While the universe is moving and changing according to His Will, He alone is unchanged, beyond time.
(ii) Try to live with your neighbours in peace, in amity, in harmony and in agreement. Without peace progress is a corpse and civilization a skeleton.
(iii) To reach God – teaches Guru Granth Sahib – walk the way of love and peace. Peace is the first opportunity and final solution for all issues. It pleads that we need peace and love in experience; not in form of demand, discussion and declarations.
(D) Doctrine of Christianity:-
Jesus Christ came to the world with a message of peace and love. Love thy enemy is the most intrinsic message of Jesus. The spirit of love and peace, as given in the scriptures in the Bible, is the only solution to hatred and violence.
Think of blessed Jesus. Of him we are told that as he travelled from place to place, from town to town, from hamlet to hamlet, there was a one word he uttered again and again, in Aramaic, which was his mother tongue. Whenever he entered a house or left it, whenever he addressed a crowd of men, whenever someone came to him for blessing or healing, he uttered this one word: “Shalomica, Shalomica”. Peace! Peace! Of such peace, did Jesus speak when he said: Blessed are the peace – makers!
Doctrine of Buddhism:-
Siddhartha Gautama was the founder of Buddhism. Buddha realized that human beings who take birth on this Earth are suffering due to one or other reasons. He said, “Suffering implies world which is truth. One can get relief from suffering by understanding its reality, and adhering eight fold paths based on following the middle way”. His eight-fold paths were:-
Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulnessand Right Concentration.
Buddha means enlightenment and a sense of awakening to build a peaceful, harmonized and just society. The significance of vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal peace message to mankind.
Treading the above said – the Eight-Fold path – the mortal may attain to the ‘Perfect Life’ which the Buddh referred to, again and again, as nirvana (Peace). According to Buddhism Nirvana (Peace), is not annihilation but at-one-meant with source of light. It can easily be understood that Buddhism also stands for that “Peace is only religion both for – man and the universe”.
Doctrine of Jainism:-
The most revered the last Jaina was MahaviraVardhamana means the great hero – the founder of the Jain Community. Lord Mahavira preached the gospel of Universal love, emphasizing that all living beings irrespective of their size, shape and form are equal and we should love and respect them.
He believed in that love in peace content is an empowered ethical emotion. Other feelings are emotional blunders. Love is the mother of peace. What we know and have as love and peace either tinsels or their fraction. Only virtuous, courageous, compassionate and dynamic have right and direct access to peace. Other peace shareholders are their dependents. Jainism also believes in that peace is the only religion both for – man and the universe.
In the end, I would say that India has survived the many shocks and changes of time, because I believe India is meant to be the standard-bearer of a great message. I believe that India is meant, under the grace of God, to be an interpreter to the nations of – a religion of reconciliation, a religion of harmony. But India may not enter upon her world-mission if we do not strive to verify in everyday life the vision of harmony and love.
Need for peace is accepted by all. But threatened by the outrageous vision of disorder, they ask; “Is peace possible”? Convinced by irreplaceable grandeur of peace, I present the same statement with a small change; “Peace is Possible”. Neither a hard core spiritual way nor a tough political system can bring peace. Only their proper version, association or combination can produce it.
(The author is a Retired Teacher )