A New Post in the Series - Satyam Shivam Sundaram
A series featuring inspiring words from various sources, words that speak of timeless truths, words that remind me of the deeper and hidden truth behind surface events and phenomena, words that shine light when all seems dark, words that are just what I need
- for this moment and for all times to come.
Shanti (Peace) by S. H. Raza
Where is this world going? What is happening to the world? What kind of human beings can do such a horrendous thing? Is the humanity dead? Is civilization dead? Questions like these and many more have been floating around in many people’s minds, hearts as well as their social media accounts for the last few days.
Why are we not asking the question – Why? Why is the world the way it is now? Why is it all happening? Why is the humanity dead? Why, why, why?
Perhaps because a part of us knows that we don’t want to hear the answers for they may be too uncomfortable for our preferred sensibilities and ideologies. Perhaps because a part of us knows that we will not be able to face the answers for they may totally destroy our cherished illusions about human nature and the world reality.
Perhaps because a part of us knows that we don’t have the right to ask the ‘world’ outside this ‘why’ question without first asking it of ourselves.
Or perhaps because we don't even know that underneath the ‘why’ question lurks the most uncomfortable ‘what’ question – what if this is all there is to the Existence? Or perhaps we do know this, albeit vaguely, and that’s why we don’t ask – why? Or perhaps because we feel that this question of meaning of the Existence is too ‘out there’ meant for philosophers and abstract intellectuals, not for our sensitive little hearts and politically correct mind-sets.
But the children in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2014, the children in Kaluchak, India in 2002, the children in Beslan, Russia in 2004, the children in Chencholai, Sri Lanka in 2006, the children in Oslo, Norway in 2011, the children in Qabak, Iraq in 2013, and many more children in many other parts of the world whose lives, laughter and innocence were brutally silenced and snatched away in the most barbaric way compel us, no, demand from us that we ask the hard question – why?
The children who became silent victims of ruthless violence, perpetrated by any nation, any group, any theology, any ideology – the bombings in Middle East, the communal riots in India, the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, the genocide unleashed on Yazidis, and many more including the war on terror — force us to face the most uncomfortable truths about human nature, and ask the question – why?
Why has the world become so barbaric? Why is the world becoming more inhumane with every passing decade? Why have we failed to do anything about it?
When will we ask the question – why? Of ourselves, of the world?
When will we get rid of our illusions?
Man’s illusions are of all sorts and kinds, some of them petty though not unimportant,—for nothing in the world is unimportant,—others vast and grandiose. The greatest of them all are those which cluster round the hope of a perfected society, a perfected race, a terrestrial millennium. Each new idea religious or social which takes possession of the epoch and seizes on large masses of men, is in turn to be the instrument of these high realisations; each in turn betrays the hope which gave it its force to conquer. And the reason is plain enough to whosoever chooses to see; it is that no change of ideas or of the intellectual outlook upon life, no belief in God or Avatar or prophet, no victorious science or liberating philosophy, no social scheme or system, no sort of machinery internal or external can really bring about the great desire implanted in the race, true though that desire is in itself and the index of the goal to which we are being led. Because man is himself not a machine nor a device, but a being and a most complex one at that, therefore he cannot be saved by machinery; only by an entire change which shall affect all the members of his being can he be liberated from his discords and imperfections.
One of the illusions incidental to this great hope is the expectation of the passing of war.
So long as war does not become psychologically impossible, it will remain or, if banished for a while, return. War itself, it is hoped, will end war; the expense, the horror, the butchery, the disturbance of tranquil life, the whole confused sanguinary madness of the thing has reached or will reach such colossal proportions that the human race will ﬂing the monstrosity behind it in weariness and disgust. But weariness and disgust, horror and pity, even the opening of the eyes to reason by the practical fact of the waste of human life and energy and the harm and extravagance are not permanent factors; they last only while the lesson is fresh. Afterwards, there is forgetfulness; human nature recuperates itself and recovers the instincts that were temporarily dominated. A long peace, even a certain organisation of peace may conceivably result, but so long as the heart of man remains what it is, the peace will come to an end, the organisation will break down under the stress of human passions. War is no longer, perhaps, a biological necessity, but it is still a psychological necessity; what is within us, must manifest itself outside.
… Only when man has developed not merely a fellow-feeling with all men, but a dominant sense of unity and commonalty, only when he is aware of them not merely as brothers,—that is a fragile bond,—but as parts of himself, only when he has learned to live not in his separate personal and communal ego-sense, but in a larger universal consciousness can the phenomenon of war, with whatever weapons, pass out of his life without the possibility of return. Meanwhile that he should struggle even by illusions towards that end, is an excellent sign; for it shows that the truth behind the illusion is pressing towards the hour when it may become manifest as reality.
~ Sri Aurobindo, War and Self-Determination
To see previous post in the series Satyam Shivam Sundaram, click here.
To see all posts in the series, click here.
Linking this with ABCWednesday, W: W is for Why, When