One World Under God – Guest Author Sulekh Jain, Ph.D.
One very beautiful Hindu aphorism “Vasu dhaiva kutumb kum”, means that we all are one family. This signifies that no matter where we are from, where we live, what religion we belong to, what language we speak, what kind of food we eat, what customs and traditions we follow, what gender we are and what caste we belong to, and what economic status we have, we all are human beings as one large family under one GOD
This reminds me of one real incident in my life. Twenty years ago, I was living in Houston, Texas and our granddaughter was going to be born soon. Our daughter in law was already in labor at a Hospital and my wife and I was eagerly waiting at our house for a phone call from our son as soon as our granddaughter is born. The phone call came after midnight at about 1.00 am. Immediately, my wife and I rushed to the hospital which took us about 30 minutes. By this time the just born baby ( our granddaughter) had been cleaned, her parents had seen and touched her and the nurses took her into a dark room where many other recently born babies (maybe about 20) were there too.
Both my wife and I looked into that dark room through a big glass window to figure out which one of the babies was our granddaughter but in that dark room, it was difficult to figure out and we could not clearly identify her out either because all children looked alike. There, standing by the side of that window following thoughts came to my mind.
Right now all the children look alike because they all speak the same language (just crying only), all of them have same dress (no clothing), have same food habits (just mother’s milk), have the same religion (no label of any religion came with to this world), same color of blood and born at the same place but in a day or two these children will go to their parents/guardian’s homes. From that very day onwards the process of change to teach them to a particular language, food habits, dress, religion, customs, and traditions will begin and over time they will acquire all of these markers or labels based on their parent’s beliefs, habits, customs, traditions, circumstances, and the environment. This means if one child is born in a Jain family, the child will adopt the food, language, dress and religious habits of his/her Jain parents. At the same time, if a child whose biological parents are Jains but due to some circumstances he /she is adopted by a Christian family, the child will be raised not as a Jain but as a Christian. In the case of an orphan, the story will be quite different.
My brothers and sisters, when born, we all had the same aforementioned traits but it is from society during our upbringing, we acquired so many different traits and labels. I am emphasizing the word acquired traits. We did not come into this world with differences (except that of facial shape, feature, the color of skin etc.) but throughout our lives, most of us start identifying ourselves not with what we came with but with the acquired traits (from the society). These acquired traits are not real ME because all these were given to me by society. This is what I call shaping, conversion or molding. These acquired traits and labels (such as caste, color, language, religion, dress, food habits and country of origin etc.) for us all should not become the basis of differences, walls, conflicts, hate, intolerance, and wars. My way is the only way and all else is highway should not become the norm. We all belong to this big village where we should live/coexist in harmony, compassion, interdependence, co-existence peace, respect, care and support to each other.
None of us are born with a particular/specific religion and different GOD. We all are under one GOD who is the same for all of us and is everywhere. The GOD for us all has the same beauty, omniscience, tranquility and full of infinite compassion, care, love, mercy, and forgiveness for all.
How come we forget who we are in reality and identify with which we are not? How come the above-mentioned aphorism Vasu dhaiva kutumb kum becomes just a slogan and a façade?
Gandhi Ji said “I don’t belong to one religion, all religions belong to me. This is my country that is your country; these are the conception of narrow souls. To the liberal mind, the whole world is a family”.
Saint Kabir said “Water is the same in all pitchers even if the pitchers may be of different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Essentially all the scriptures and faiths in the world say three things; let your heart be filled with the supreme soul, let your mind be full of compassion and let your body be engaged in helping others. All lands are holy. There is no Arya (moral) or Anarya (amoral) bhoomi/land”.
This is what defines one world under GOD…A Jain Prayer teaches
Satveshu Maitrim Gunishu Pramodam Klishteshu Jiveshu Krupa Paratvam
Madhyastha Bhavam Viparita Vruttau Sada Mamatma Vidadhatu Deva
O, Lord! Make myself such that I may have a love for all beings,
Joy in the meritorious, unstinted sympathy for the distressed
And tolerance towards the perversely inclined.
O, Lord! May my soul always find fulfillment, in friendship and love
towards all beings,
In all the virtuous, in compassion toward all suffering creatures,
And in remaining neutral towards those hostile to me. This is my prayer.
A Buddhist Prayer teaches – Evoking the presence of great compassion let us fill our heart with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings. Let us pray that all living beings realize they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life.
Sulekh Jain, Ph.D. is a retired senior executive from GE’s Aircraft Engine division. After multiple visits to Vegas in the past, Sulekh, along with wife, recently moved to Las Vegas permanently. Sulekh is the Past Secretary and President of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA). Sulekh is instrumental in establishing a Jain studies program in 16 universities across the United States. Dr. Jain also authored a book “An Ahimsa Crisis: You Decide, which can be accessed as an eBook free of charge at www.isjs.in For further information, please contact Sulekh via email: firstname.lastname@example.org