I read a book on the Buddha – Old Path White Clouds. Really, the path is very old. We are still struggling after many centuries. The book starts with a young Bhikku – Svasti a buffalo tending boy. The Buddha had tried hard to bridge the gap pervading in society at that time. During the time of Mahabharat (even before the Buddha) Karna had to face it (as son of a charioteer, check Wiki). I am talking about the societies we have formed. We are divided by race, religion, nationality, region, caste and sub-castes. Therefore we are not a society we are ‘societies’.
I read two news items and thought to write about them. Though personally I feel religious belief is a personal matter and therefore no ‘group’ should interfere with beliefs of individuals. However, we have made religious belief system an organization which now has become a business as well as tool to discriminate. Anyways, the first news item was – First whiff of justice for Gujarat riot victims and the second was – Dalits enter Madurai temple after two long decades. In northern part of India people feel that southern states are far less discriminating, is that true? This news item shows different picture.
At the time of the Buddha there was only four divisions of Indian society (as only Hinduism existed). Now we have many religion, languages, states, castes and sub-castes. The task of bridging gaps has become difficult in our times. Take an example of one belief system of India. The concept of this system was ‘a casteless society’, within 1000 years of its existence there are about 16 different sub-caste in this single belief system! The number is alarming because old Hindu system has only 4 castes (of course 4 are then sub divided) and this example less than 1000 year old has 4 time more sub divisions. I have heard Islam has 70+ sects, Buddhism has at least 3, Christianity has a few. Phew! how long will we divide as well as fight the so called holy wars?
If we see at a macro level – we are divided in nation we live in, language we speak, color of skin, economic status for that matter brand of car we use. I am sure no spiritual master had meant to use his/her teachings as a tool to discriminate. We are humans and is not that enough to thrive, survive and grow physically, mentally and spiritually? ‘The path’ is really very old, we are still not able to understand it. We are ‘societies’ and we do discriminate, why?
Related blog – Business of religion!