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The only answer to ‘Terror’ is education for Secular Insight

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Behave with others as you would with yourself. (Hinduism)

Remember that you are like other men.  As you fear and suffer, so do they.  Therefore do not do those things which will give them trouble.  As you would not harm yourself do not harm others. Whatever you would want them to do to you, do even so unto them. One should love his neighbor as himself. (Christianity)

Help your brother whether he is acting wrongfully or is wronged”, a man asked the Messenger of God, “I help him when he is wronged but how can I help him when he is acting wrongfully.  He replied, “you can prevent him fro m acting wrongfully.  That is your help to him. (Islam)

Do not do into others all that which is not well for yourself. (Zoroastrianism)

History his witnessed numerous incidents of evil at its worst in the name of religion. As a result, the world ‘fundamentalism’ which originally meant seeking to go back to the fundamentals of one’s religion, has now got associated with religious terrorism and fanaticism. Fundamentalism today is interpreted to connect spiritual postulates to fuel religious passions and contradict the universal values. And fanaticism is identified as having excessive intolerence of opposing views and being carried away beyond reason by one’s faith. Such pseudo spirituality arises out of mixing of religion with politics and those who have tendency to consider their faith supreme fall prey to such propaganda. Such a notion suggests that worship of God  has nothing to do with the value one has in life.  A holistic approach can save man from religious heresies. When a heresy tried to enter the first century church, St. Peter wrote to the followers of Christ, ‘Make every effort to add to your faith goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge self control ; and to self control, perseverance and to perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being in effective and unproductive….. Test everything. Hold to the good. Avoid every kind of evil’. The role of overall development of one’s personality needs no emphasis to be able to identify and counter false teaching.  One needs to grow in all six dimensions : physical, mental, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual. If belief does not stand the test of universal values, all the religious efforts based on it will miss the mark of true religion….. the real insight into spirituality.

Man is largely a creature of his environment, shaped and moulded by the interplay of forces in the world around him.  The great diversity of human types with their distinctive physical characteristics and varied ideology, is a measures of this influence.  And religion, which is part of man did not escape being influenced by the prevailing circumstances of the time, where primitive man’s largest social unit was the tribe and his meager resources and rudimentary knowledge left him defenseless and exposed to natural catastrophic draught, disease and famine.  He looked in his helplessness to supernatural forces to resolve the dilemma.  He deified the sun, moon, rain investing these elements with magical powers.  The extreme limitations of his material circumstances and mental impoverishment were the seabed for a religious formation based on superstition and myth.

Today twenty centuries later, with the forces of nature largely under control and bold advances registered in the fold of genetic engineering and space technology, man in his conceit feels, he is coming into a fuller participation in the attributes of God.  From time to time his string of success is punctuated with failure and crisis reminding him in the headlong rush of his essentially human dimension.  Floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms, epidemics ravage the earth taking a cruel revenge on his pride.  Could these interruptions be God’s ways of reminding man of his limitations indirectly helping him to keep his bearing and stay on course or is this the pattern of divine censure to put man in his place and remind him that he is simply a man?  God was true in the beginning before all ages began; he is true even now and shall be so forever.  There is inseparable relationship between God and Man.  Man is indeed created by God in his own image. The soul component of trinity of mind – body – soul of man’s total being signifies the eternal bonding of man and God.

The changes we encounter in our world today are very largely the results of man’s evolution: gradual even slow in earlier decades: but more recently disconcertingly quicker hastened along by man’s phenomenal progress in science and technology.  Life is enriched materially in the process but most often at the expense of our inner spiritual life.  This shift in emphasis of our attention from the ethereal to the physical, material is known as secularization, the betenoire and bogeyman of faith and religion.

The secularization which in its original sense means equal regard to all faiths has come down to denote no regard to any faith.  This secular man is a hard, pragmatic, pre -occupied with the problem of everyday life concerning mind and body and almost totally divorced from speculative beliefs and ultimate release – the matters concerning soul.  His interest in the futuristic world is peripheral; his centre of gravity is the immediate world, the world of here and now.  He justifies his thinking that both secular and religious evolutions are desirable developments.  There is, he believes need for both but his priorities remain undefined hence there is spiritual starvation.

Observers of the phenomenon of such secularization see it developing in parallel with rapid growth of natural sciences.  And with most modern education scientifically oriented, unproven generalizations are accepted with the greatest of reluctance.  Religion, in the circumstance, which is largely based on faith and revelations could hardly be expected to be popular, in its conventional and catholic form with such secular man.

If secularization has been the principal agent for shaping the modern world, the more recent pluralism with its theory of relativity of truth is no less important for its share in influencing the world.  Contemporary pluralism is a kind of subjectivism, eliminating the accepted norms of truth and the defined structures of conduct and behavior.  ‘Each person is urged to do his things’, in place of the traditionally accepted norm which tolerates no over-stepping of the line.  Advocates of pluralism believes that since no single individual or system is the sole possessor of absolute truth, truth is relative.  All of us have glimpse of it, but we could never exhaust the truth.  It becomes even harder to believe; according to pluralistic thinking that anyone could encompass the truth in entirety in the face of explosion of knowledge on the scale as we are witnessing to-day.  Pluralism proliferates in the belief that each of us, depending upon his circumstances evaluates truth by a strictly personal appreciation and judgment.  It is possible that in this climate of flexible norms with one’s values being challenged by those of another, society could find itself in the grip of confrontation.  This in fact accounts for upsurge of fundamentalism.  Really speaking the normative flexibility with tolerance is the cornerstone of true secularism.  In this sense the pluralistic thinking promotes true secularism as against pseudo secularism as generally seen in vogue in the present social structure.This is witmessed in the form of Terrorism all over in oneform or the other totally baesd on ‘INTOLERANCE’.

The relativity of truth and its acceptance in pluralistic and secularized way promotes ruthless doubting and questioning all values of life. This results in man’s ending up in existential vacuum.  Life then would be meaningless. There is little doubt that thinking man in times of serious reflection concerns himself with this dreadful possibility.  He wonders and possibly yearns for certainties which he abandoned to replace the flood of doubts which assail him.  He wonders if somewhere along the way, he might find the God again.  And this will be possible when besides being physically enduring and intellectually enlightened; he will be emotionally mature, aesthetically developed, morally sound and spiritually inclined.  This is the concern for soul.  And then in a holistic profile he will discover truth which is absolute and eternal.  Such search for soul will be necessarily ingrained in a truly secular mode in an inter-faith frame.

Secularism is, thus neither anti-religious nor it is total neutrality in respect of all religions.  It is founded on equal respect for all religions.  Tolerence is the cornerstone of such secular quest – all for one and one for all.  The word secular indeed has assumed a different connotation from its etymological sense.  Irrespective of whatever meaning the oxford lexicon attributes, it has to mean equal respect for all religions.  Though occasionally the secularism suffers set back, it will continue to remain the essence of success and happiness in any social setting with summum bonnum of unity in diversity.

All great religions of the world are united by a common thread of moral values and love for humanity.  All religions stress on living with a purpose.  Considering the composite nature of human personality which is three dimensional – mind – body – soul, the purpose of living need be deliberated in terms of Self-actualization of these three components in an integrated manner for securing a wholeman profile.  The wholeman profile will include six characteristics of physical endurance, intellectual enlightenment, emotional maturity, aesthetic development, moral soundness and spiritual inclination.  Such holistic profile is represented THUS…

This calls for a very sound value system embodied in man’s relationship with others as well as with God, the creator.  The spiritual dimension interalia calls for commitment; commitment to self; commitment to others and commitment to God. This is the commitment based on deep inner connections in selfless service for all.  Service to man is service to God.  And this you do with no return. You get returns, it is fine; no return is equally fine. This is performing nonattached.  You are detached from the cravings of ego and move more towards fulfilling God’s mission and it is here that true commitment takes place.  It is renunciation which means freedom from one’s Ego which is narrow and a prisoner in its interests and outlook and a rising to true service as a call from God as a mission in life built on a deep faith.    A clear vision of one’s beginning and one’s end and the purpose for which he is created is vital; then followes a value systems.

Such value system will necessarily permeate through feeling – thinking – doing aspects of an integrated personality.  This will interalia include: logical thinking and reflection, daily quiet time for prayer / meditation for contact with God and self-renewal and daily self evaluation. The ultimate is Search of Soul – your real self which is in the image of God.  This is what is Realisation of Self- Self-Realization – To Be Your Real Self.

Let us have the preview for search of soul. Read the poem On road to spirituality as composed by me

*On Road to Spirituality

In search of soul
Voluntary deprivation
Service to man is service to God
All lead to the road to spirituality
When on road
Intellectual contemplation
Devotional commitment
Dutiful conduct
Facilitate whole-man living  and
Comfort the march of a lone traveler
Goes along physical endurance
Emotional maturity
Intellectual enlightenment
Aesthetic bloom
Moral development and
Spiritual inclination
With fine tuning for calls from     Self
World and
God, the Creator
Upward spiral moves on
To learn
To commit
To do
In search of soul
On road to spirituality
In excellence
Doing better than your best
Now and always
Keep working
Results will follow and then
Meet your witness self face to face
In success with love on road to spirituality
Live by example as TQM-S
Total Quality of Management of Self
Lead on the road to spirituality
In Search of Soul

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough yourself, It has been well recognized that while western thought focused more on the external world, Indian thought began with a deep understanding of the self and then related it to the cosmos. Grounded in this belief, we evolved a module where in the vision of TQM-S  is a new man.   Its mission is to develop individual self as a Wholeman who is physically enduring, emotionally mature, intellectually enlightened, aesthetically developed, morally sound and spiritually inclined.  Its Strategy is to transform each subject as an effective role player to be useful to himself, to his family, to his organization, to his society, to his country and to the mankind.

Who am I? Who is the ‘real me’? How can I know the ‘real me’? Let’s begin the journey. There are five level crossings at which we should pause. By taking an honest look at our self at each of these levels, we can come to see our self as we are right now, and what we may wish to change, in order to become the ‘real’ me. `Real` me is in the image of God.

Know thyself’ is the under current for TQM-S.  TQM-S values increasing awareness of the self and others without overloading awareness with cluttered details. It is important to have an ability to see patterns in the past and project them into the future to sense new directions. TQM-S understands that a personal commitment to become a more clearly minded conscious and intentional person results in important personal growth that attracts others and wins their trust. Some call this personal `presence` as presence of mind, alertness or expanded vision. Most of all TQM-S cares deeply about self and others and  is committed to developing the higher goals of life and the worth of individuals.

TQM-S model is inherently secular in being essentially whole..The wholeman model in role play as manifested when one is physically enduring; when he is able to work for long hours without getting fatigued; when he is able to withstand stress and strain; when he is emotionally mature in as much as he has respect for the dignity of every person, is able to accept himself with his strengths and weaknesses, is capable of loving and being loved, has the capacity to relate to people effectively, has the ability to confront caringly, accepts one’s emotions and expresses them creatively, is able to cherish the good and the beautiful in people and events, is friendly, has the capacity to relate to all suitably including the opposite sex, has the capacity to face one’s problems and to find the means to solve them; when he is intellectually enlightened to be aware of his potentialities and develops them to the maximum, to keep himself open to new experiences, to capitalize on available resources, to make ‘discovery` as an on-going process, to keep in touch with the latest development in his own field of interest, enabling him to choose the vocation that is socially and personally fulfilling, to analyse available data to keep it relevant and communicate it intelligently and effectively, to think critically and creatively in order to form an independent personal decision, to acquaint with the sources of information and has the ability to utilize them rationally and in depth, to reach an accurate and precise conclusion through analysis, synthesis and summarizing to confront his personal judgments against the background of objective standards, to be honest and open to his own thoughts, opinions and ideas, has love for knowledge and initiative for self-education; aesthetically developed to reflect with awe on the mysteries of the instincts of self propagation and self preservation visible in all forms of being, philosophizes on nature; admires the beauty, the imagery, the shades and hues and the innumerable shapes and patterns so harmoniously blended in the world around; delights in the sounds of breeze, whispering of trees, howling of winds, babbling of streams, rumbling of thunder, the sounds of birds and the humming of bees; feels the hardness and softness of the objects around; inhales the perfume of flowers and feels the freshness of air; when he indulges in nature appreciation for quiet reflection to renew his spirit, purify his soul and enjoy a sense of peace and calm; when he uses nature judiciously avoiding all waste and pollution; when he demonstrates orderliness, beauty, grace, system and subtleness in his conduct; when he is morally sound to demonstrate undaunted courage to stand up for the right even in the face of opposition and criticism, loves truth and justice in word, deed and thought, displays frankness, cheerfulness and loyalty, is guided by convictions in daily living, has hope enough to go beyond mistakes and failures to learn from them and to grow, accept others and is willing to work for their welfare, is compassionate to those in pain when right convictions are at stake, is faithful and committed to duty, unpretentiously shows himself as he is, has self control when the situation demands strength of character, manifests values in his behavioural profile; when he is spiritually inclined and has mature and enlightened faith and trust in God, confronts truths of faith against the concrete problems of life, seeks to have personal experience of God, has the right concept of God, has knowledge of religions other than his own and respects them, exercises equanimity of spirit in joy and pain, cherishes personal prayer which leads to a taste of the divine, which in turn impels him to action, keeps on searching for truth and is willing to accept truth where it is found, integrates his own life experiences into his faith in God, when he sees god in others, when he concerns himself with  socially under-privileged in as much as he feels with and helps those in need, is aware of the problems of the society and takes measures to bring about justice and peace, gets involved in social organizations and influences others towards the same, possesses sensitivity to the social realities— dowry, unemployment, child labour, etc., leading to reflection and action, develops his talents to the full to become an agent of social change, aspires towards and works for socially oriented careers, sensitizes the public against injustice and exploitation through mass communication media, believes in the dignity of labour and expresses it in his own life, is adaptable and hopeful about social change.

Let us recaputulate divinity in us –in all of us as indicated in my poem – know thyself.

Know Thyself

Know thyself your form is rare
That even gods can not dare
Thou art  lord, internalize
Know it so and then realize
This life rich in resource
Plenty and full of force
All attainable for thee divine
Thou art lord all is thine
Why do you delude all at pleasure
All is Atman and at your leisure
Thou art master, not the slave
Be wise and not the knave
Thou art lord command the mind
Control the senses not to bind
Self is the friend and self is the foe
All a matter of discrimination or else woe
Think, judge and act right
know, feel and do right
Listen to your soul,it murmurs
As and when any wrong occurs
Search the soul for self correction
It whispers at every self dereliction
Energise to feel divine
know thyself all is thine

‘God is light; in him there is no darkness. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live by the truth.’ And truth is attainable through a secular profile.  A secular man constantly stresses for elevating his self by transforming his profile in a self watchful mode. Mind and action go together. This is what is living in consciousness. Equanimity is the gain and this can not be attained without purifying the knowledge -the understanding of truth – that we all are children of same father and we need to live in His ways.  This is practicing godliness in all our endeavors. This is what is behavioral spirituality – the Spirituality in Action.

Behave with others as you would with yourself.

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