By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 19-02-2015
There is a report today (February 19, 2015) of a judgment from the Supreme Court of India that acquitted a husband whose wife was driven to suicide after strained marital relationship on account of his ongoing illicit relationship with another woman. In effect the highest legal authority in the country seems to opine that the husband's behavior may be immoral and illegal, but it does not establish or tantamount to cruelty that should drive a wife to suicide. Living in a democracy, and as someone who practiced clinical psychology over thirty years, I respectfully disagree with the judgment as reported online in the Times of India. The judgment is reminiscent of the times when slavery was immoral but legal in the United States of America or caste discriminations were immoral but legal in India. It may be interesting to note that various forms of legal slavery were in India and in the USA in most of the 20th century in the guise of casteism and racism. Practical enslavement is widely prevalent under dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies, or autocracies in large areas of the world. I grant that it is difficult to establish the kind of cruelty that should lead one to suicide. In fact as a psychologist I may argue it is not cruelty but poor self-esteem that leads one to suicide. Certainly I do not want to get into deep waters. The simple reality is that the husband broke the marriage vows that he made to his wife. The woman may not have married him if he had the intention to have an illicit relationship with another woman. It is not uncommon for a married woman having an illicit relationship with another man to be murdered.
Moral, civil or criminal law comes in the context of human relations or transactions in established societies. The process of humanization in established societies fine tunes human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 as a global expression of human rights to which every human being in the world is entitled. In 1976 the Bill of International Human Rights was declared International Law whereby human beings all over the world can be indicted for their criminal activities against humanity. Human beings created in the image and likeness of God took so long to establish basic human rights that spell out ingredients necessary for humanization.
As a person who spent most of his life in institutionalized or non-institutionalized religious settings, I began to seriously wonder what established religions did to further human rights and humanization. Clinging on to authoritarian and autocratic power structures in the name of God, the representatives of these religions only slowed down or interfered with human rights. They do not have the vision or the insight to see that grace is built on nature, and that the more human and humane one is the more divine one can be. As more and more people are tuning off or turning away from established religions and their irrelevant and superstitious rituals and practices, I have been working on a viable spirituality beyond religions in the context of the unity of humanity. We are all God's children; we are all one in the Great One (God). We all have one God however we conceive and name that Power or Entity. Religions seriously need to take the task of humanization as true humanization in the context of one's faith is nothing else but divinization. Only humanization can prepare one for a true union with divinity for which all humanity relentlessly yearns.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.