December 14, 2009

HUMANITY

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology, Religion tagged , , at 4:39 pm by randallbutisingh

HUMANITY

A Paper read to youths of the Vir Dal of the Arya Samaj Organisation

I was asked to write a short paper on Humanity.   I know it will not be quite easy to address youths on this topic, but I do not underestimate your intelligence.  Most of you are in High School and some of you may be graduates.   To begin with, let me define Humanity.   The World Book says, a human being, a group of people, mankind.   It also says, human nature or character or quality; also a being humane, humane treatment, mercy.

Mahatma Gandhi says; “Humanity is indivisible”.  George Moore, a western writer puts it; “After all, there is only one race, Humanity.”  All Scriptures teach that all mankind comes from the same source.   God is the source.   He is called by different names by different peoples.   He is all pervading, all wise and all powerful.  His own spirit gives life to all beings; hence the concept; all life is one.

Like the bulb that receives the same electric current, but is only able to illumine according to its capacity, so do human beings reflect the Divine to a greater or lesser extent.

Outwardly each individual is unique.   Even identical twins have differences, which may not be discerned; just as in Nature there are no two leaves alike or no two petals of the same flower.  So too, there are differences in people due to geographic locations, language, culture and religion.

Because of our common origin, all men are brothers, and so we speak of the Brotherhood of man. Your teacher Swami Dayanand knew this.  His doctrine was not one of separation or exclusivism.  It was KRINVANTO WISHWA ARYAM – make the whole world noble.   It was a doctrine, not only for Hindus, but for all Humanity.   And what can be a better thing than having all mankind thinking, speaking and acting nobly.   That was his vision and that must be your goal.

I am aware I am speaking chiefly to youths who are aspiring with the help and guidance of their elders to carry the torch so gloriously lit by swamiji and handed down to brave men and women throughout the centuries.  Bear in mind that you carry the label of Vir which means courageous one, and you can be only worthy of the name if you practice the principles of Dharma (righteousness) which includes the practice of Humanity.

In our society, there are various religious creeds, each claiming to be ib possession of the Truth.   Swami Dayanand said that he did not come to form a new religion.   That was already there from the beginning.   Nothing has caused so much division in the world tan religion.   Instead of building bridges to unite, it has set up walls to separate.   There can only be one true religion, the religion of Love, one language, the language of the heart and one God.   When you chant the Gaytri mantra and meditate on its meaning, you see how universal it is; how every human spirit, regardless of its origin can feel its vibrations and become illumined by it.   By constant practice of meditation, you can reveal your true identity, which is one with the Divine being.  You then realize that all human beings have the same identity though individuality differs, and you become non-discriminatory as regard your fellow men.  You begin to see the Divine in all.  You envision in diversity.

To further illustrate the oneness of Humanity, let me make an analogy.   Each individual is a piece in the mosaic pattern of society, every piece with its own colour and shape blended to form a harmonious whole.   If something happens to any of those pieces, if it gets broken or is tarnished in any manner, it significantly affects the harmony of the whole.   So too, the behaviour of one individual either enhance or diminish humanity.

I shall now quote the thoughts of a Western writer John Donne.  He says:  “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.   If a clod is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or thine own were.   Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The brutality and humanity perpetrated against his fellow man, is a result of, notwithstanding his academic and technological advancement, his not moving from unreality to reality, from darkness to light   His spirit still grovels in the dust while his body reaches for the stars.   He is so obsessed with shadows and mirages that he fails to recognize the substance.

To be perfectly human, one must be able to see the Divine in everyone no matter how base that person is; and to see that Divinity, one must leave the periphery of the circle where we are bound by attachment to temporal and ephemeral objects and journey inwards.   There we will see pilgrims from all creeds who have seen the light.   And as we journey towards Humanity and Nobility, let us have a genuine tolerance for our brother who tries to find God by another path.   I here quote from the poet:

“Into the bosom of one great ocean

Flow streams that come from hills on every side;

Their names as various as their springs;

And thus do men in every land bow down

To one great God though known by many names”.

Let us continually seek Him, if we are to find our Humanity.

The blend of different colours enhances beauty.   How would it look if all the flowers of your Garden were of one colour, or one shape, or one specie, or the rainbow just red or blue or just one colour?   The Creator in his infinite wisdom has made diversity in all things.   We can learn from Nature, from the vast variety of plants and animals – each specie thriving in its own kind of environment of soil, climate and weather; each flower displaying its own unique beauty to delight the eye and gladden te heart.   So too, in the realm of Humanity.   We have one skin which is transparent as can be seen in the Albino, but Nature has endowed us with varying degrees of pigmentation to allow us to adopt more comfortably to our environment.

Another point I would like to make is:  man is a gregarious animal.  He needs to socialize and to communicate with others of his kind, if he is to grow and develop and to find fulfillment.   But here he has to make good choices.   He must choose Satsang, the company of the wise.   Association with the wise will, as Bhagwan Baba so eloquently puts it, will dilute his evil tendencies just as sewer is diluted when it reaches the sea.

In our highly civilized and specialized society, man has become more interdependent.   He needs the service of his fellow men for survival.   It takes the service of more than a thousand men to produce the loaf of bread which you have for breakfast.   So you can understand how many millions of workers it will to take to produce all the amenities we need for a good standard of living in today’s complex society.   We have to go beyond the community, beyond the state and beyond the country.  In times of famine, pestilence, devastation by war, natural disasters of various kinds, we seek help beyond our borders.   Foreign countries render humane assistance in money, food, medicine and valuable human resource to help alleviate the suffering of their fellow men.

I shall now tell you of an incident of man’s Humanity to man, how others feel for others as they feel for themselves.   It was Christmas, the Season of goodwill when gifts were shared among family members and friends;  I turned on the television, and by chance I saw a show where the host was giving much needed articles to the poor and needy who had previously asked for help.   A young woman did not ask for anything for herself, but for warm covering for a homeless couple who lay on the cold sidewalk of a city in this rich and great country.   She got her request and took the gift to the delighted and grateful couple.  Another young woman used her $20.000 legacy to help the poorest children in the slums.   She took them to places they could never have dreamed of seeing.   Their little hearts were warmed by the generosity and compassion of this stranger who became their neighbour.

But what moved me more deeply was a little act of kindness from an old woman who made her living by collecting empty soda containers for recycling.   A hungry man after soliciting unsuccessfully the help he needed from other men who were engaged in the same activity, approached her and stretched out his hand to her.   Immediately, she took out two dollars from her pocket, gave it to the man and told him to meet her again in the morning.  A television crew was out that morning and filmed the incident.   She was awarded with a gift of five thousand dollars.   She did not expect reward.   What little she gave was from the little she had and from a generous heart.  It was more than the rich could have given from their thousands.

Your religion teaches that there is no forgiveness of sins;  but be careful how you interpret this and refrain from helping the poor and needy and those who despitefully use you.   Always bear in mind of Swamiji and the sadhu who used to abuse him every day;  how he never retaliated, was never angry with him, and one day he sent him the choicest of the fruits a devotee had offered to him;  how the sadhu was filled with remorse;  and from that day became one of Swamiji’s most devoted followers.

You practice humanity when you help the hungry, the homeless, the sick and suffering.I missed one of my opportunities to practice Humanity in a street of Georgetown, Georgetown, Guyana when a man stretched out his hand to me to ask for help.   I looked at him then went on my way.   But something struck me;  I had seen despair on the man’s face.  I turned away quickly, it was just a matter of a few seconds, hoping to find him and to give himhelp, but he was gone.   I searched for him a while, but he had vanished like a shadow in the night.   That incident and the look on my brother’s face is haunting me to this day.   I wrote a poem about the incident.   It runs thus:

A wretched stranger met me by the curb

With hand out stretched to beg for gold;

I passed him by without a word

And left him sad and unconsoled.

When on the way to seek my own

My conscience pricked me to the bone,

I hurriedly retraced my steps

To cheer my neighbour;

He was gone!

I sought him frantically among the throng,

But he had vanished like a shadow in the night;

I stood awhile in guilt and pain and shame,

My Lord came knocking,

I tarried, then opened, but oh! too late.

Sir Patrick Renison one of the great governors of the colonial era, once said:   “The Brotherhood of man is not only a fact of nature but a Divine command.   If God is the Father of all mankind, then all of us are brothers and sisters.   How many blood transfusions from some person of another colour have not been given to save the lives of others?   And because of our natural affinity, we find it easy to adapt into the environment and assimilate the language, customs and culture of other peoples.

Now, how can we add luster to Humanity?   Here are a few examples of great people who by their love, sacrifice and compassion have been great Humanitarians, and have helped to make this world a better place:

Mahatma Gandhi who gave up everything he had to serve his country, his people and his God.

Saint Francis of Assisi, who abandoned wealth and a comfortable existence and became a poor monk in order to serve the poor and suffering.

Mother Teresa, who left her home and country at a young age and went to India to help the sick and suffering.

Dr, Albert Schweitzer a man of four doctorates who left civilization and went into the jungles of Africa to help the sick.

Father Damien, a Catholic priest, who worked among the lepers in Hawaii for many years and eventually contracted the disease.

Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president who abolished slavery and set free thousands of slaves in America.

George Washington Carver, a U.S scientist, son of a slave who spent many hours in the laboratory to discover the many uses of various plants for the use of man.

There are many, many more that could be added to this list.   We cannot all be great like the persons mentioned above, but we can all do things within our capacity, to show our Humanity.  We can surely show love and compassion and as one writer puts it: ”write kindness in the heart of one individual”

So never let us miss an opportunity to do a good deed with good intent; for as the song says, “we do not know in what guise He will come to test us.  Good deeds enhance Humanity of which every human being is a significant part of the indivisible whole.

In closing I will leave a thought in simple verses.  It runs thus:

Little drops of water, little grains of sand,

Make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land.

Little deeds of kindness, little words of love,

Make this earth an Eden, like the Heaven above.

Namaste !   Om Shanti!  Shanti!  Shanti1

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