Commas and Fullstops….…
By Acharya Sachidananda on 27-07-2017
On the TV next day was the news of violent clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities in western UP. Atma Prakash remembered such clashes that used to occur regularly at Hyderabad during his school days.
Many teachers and students used to look forward to such clashes as they would get holidays to enjoy….
‘Guruji, some say that Islam is a religion of violence and wars…How do you look at it?’ Atma Prakash asked the Baba that day…
‘A jaundiced man sees everything yellow, my son…When there is selfishness, greed, lust and violence within us, we also use our religions and scriptures to satisfy them… It is not religion that is to be blamed. It is the followers of a religion who make that religion good or bad, peaceful or violent…’ said the Baba reflectively and continued….
‘The very word ‘Islam’ means peace. It also means submission to the will of God. To my mind, Islam is a great world religion of peace which has also shown the path of peace…..
‘This religion of Prophet Mohammad is highly misunderstood and misinterpreted by many of its own adherents….
‘I had the opportunity to study Islam in a deeper way… and to interact with some very enlightened Islamic scholars and sufi saints. Their life and ideology were very inspiring… At Delhi, at Lucknow, at Ajmer, and at Hyderabad… I could meet very many enlightened Muslims scholars and saints… But I am sad to say that these enlightened masters are overshadowed by the uneducated and fanatic mullahs and moulavis who seem to rule the roost….
‘Son, please remember, every religion has specific cultural and historical backgrounds, as well as unique social and spiritual contexts. Islam was born in the cultural and historical backgrounds of Arabia….
‘Culture and language have deep relationship. Scriptures, including the Holy Quran, were written by prophets and sages, inspired by the Spirit of God, but in their own languages which were conditioned and influenced by their cultural backgrounds…Once we understand this truth, we will not be fanatic about the ‘Word of God’ or about the ‘Book’ but will try to imbibe the spirit behind these words.. and books….
‘I had met a Muslim group at Mumbai who claimed that they were the true Muslims following the Holy Quran without even changing a comma or fullstop! I could only sympathize with them….
‘I feel such individuals and groups are often missing out the spirit behind the scriptural words because of their obsession with commas and fullstops….…
‘You can read the book, ‘The Prophet of Peace’ by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, one of the most enlightened Muslim scholars of this century. It will help you to understand how this great religion of Prophet Muhammad is being distorted by fanatic Muslims…..
‘I also had a very interesting experience with a Christian group many years ago… I was invited to speak to them by a dear friend who was organizing a seminar for them. I had quoted to them the parable from the Holy Bible about a master giving five talents, three talents and one talent to three of his servants before setting out on a long journey… On his return after years, he asked the servants for accounts.. The one who was given five, made it ten and was blessed… the one given three made it six and was also blessed. But the servant who was given one talent did not use it at all and was punished…..
‘One of the pastors from the group jumped up with an open Bible… He accused me for ‘abusing the Word of God’… He brought the Holy Bible and showed me that the second servant was given not three talents, but ‘two talents’. He created such a fuss on the issue..…
‘He missed out the spirit of the message and was clinging on to the words… This approach leads to conflicts and violence… and to religious fanaticism…
‘Please remember, dear son, religions and their scriptures are for humankind. They are there to guide us in our forward, upward and Godward journey in this world…
About The Author
Swami Sachidananda Bharathi is an Indian Air Force officer turned spiritual guide and an apostle of peace and love. He is the patron of 'Indian Thoughts'. He represented India in the 'Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders' held under UNO, in 2000. He has founded Dharma Bharathi Mission.