Human Beings, Humanity And Education For Spiritual Advancement
Human beings have long suffered entrenched prejudices most of which were created by the powerful and resourceful to subjugate others whom they considered ‘inferiors’
If the expansion and extension of basic education had effectively achieved its purpose and really prepared people to accept the reality of the existence of religious diversity, the planet would have been a far more cohesive and peaceful place for human habitation and civilisational evolution. However, there is no better strategy other than universal education visualised so far that would pave the way for peaceful existence of all human beings on earth, irrespective of not only the religious diversity but innumerable other diversities and differences as well. Human beings have long suffered entrenched prejudices most of which were created by the powerful and resourceful to subjugate others whom they considered ‘inferiors’. Caste system that humiliated and deprived innumerable human beings of their dignity and natural rights for ages, the ‘legal’ practice of slavery and apartheid were all creations of some groups human beings who combined together to further their vested interests and privileges that they allocated to themselves. Obviously, it meant usurping the socio-economic and cultural inheritance of others, inflicting deprivation on them and forcing people to live a sub-human life. Arthur Healy’s famous research presented as novel under the title “Roots” brilliantly traces out how human beings could frame inhuman ‘laws’ and implement these without any remorse or hesitation. The upward march of human evolution surpasses aberrations and inflictions and it chooses its own pace of progress. The wrongs stir human ingenuity and people emerge from within this very unequal system totally convinced of the need to usher in reforms and strive to abolish traditions and practices they find abhorrent to the very purpose of human existence on the planet earth. An Abraham Lincoln is born; achieves his purpose, stirs the conscience of the world and is assassinated.
One Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is born in Gujarat, gets educated in England and goes to South Africa to earn his livelihood. He is repeatedly humiliated for being a man with a particular colour of skin. The greatness of the person lies in his vision: his throwing out from the first class compartment at the Pietermaritzburg railway station was not only his personal humiliation but that of all of the coloured people! And they were not confined only to South Africa or Africa but were suffering globally. Here was the case of internalisation of the essence of India’s highest levels of knowledge, wisdom and spirituality: eternal unity of all human beings! What, at the most, would have been a personal effort to redress the wrong done to an individual, was converted to a large scale struggle against one of the most reprehensible of the injustices being inflicted upon fellow human beings for no fault of theirs! On return to India from South Africa, Gandhi realised how demeaning and humiliating life the untouchables of India were living for ages together! He launched a sustained struggle against it with all the moral strength at his command. He was fortunate to have several stalwarts who were sincerely and seriously devoted to the cause he had undertaken.
They gave him rock-like support. A life devoted to achieve equality of human beings, consistent struggle against caste system and persistent endeavors to achieve communal harmony paved the way for a far better human existence for generations ahead. He got the bullet on his chest and that is another story on how tough was the task he was in the process of accomplishing. His principles survive and motivate millions even today. Come another day, a Martin Luther King Jr experiences the same pain as Gandhi had experienced in South Africa. Blacks; the Negros; had separate buses, separate cafes in the most sought-after destination of the young of today as the land of fulfilling all of their dreams: the United States of America! It had all the prejudices that would send shock waves amongst the young persons of today.
Martin was convinced that it was the path shown by the Mahatma from India that alone could save the US from the inhuman and unacceptable practices. It was his conviction that made him tell all the deprived and deficient and humiliated in the US, and also world over, that “We Shall Overcome”! He, thus, saves the perpetrators of colour prejudices from committing further sins on fellow human beings and, in the process, gifts human dignity to millions and millions of coloured people. A Barrack Obama becomes the President of United States, a feat unimaginable before the advent of King Jr. Martin’s fate, however, was no different than his moral mentor Mahatma Gandhi. In far away South Africa, Nelson Mandela emerges to complete the unfinished task of banishing apartheid that had begun in the days of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s stay in South Africa. Imagine three decades of incarceration in the jails of a hostile and brutal government that treated him as his enemy number one! All along he maintained his courage, morale and belief in his principles. This shall ever remain another of the great examples of the indefeasible and indomitable strength of human soul.
Things were happening on the debit side of the humanity also. History just cannot ignore the emergence of Hitler and Mussolini who inflicted incalculable criminal miseries on millions and millions of human beings. Humanity would also never forget the unimaginable cruelty inflicted on men and women, young and old, children and infirm when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was Joseph Stalin who murdered millions in his ‘United Soviet Socialist Republics’ and the world watched silently. Not only that, he was a Hero to communists wherever they could come together; India included; to ‘ameliorate the sufferings of the common masses’. In China, Mao-tse-Tung had no hesitation if few millions were butchered just to let his writ loom large on entire China. And, strangely enough, both Stalin and Mao are still adored and admired.
The war of Vietnam is another instance when the US, the most advanced of the nations, attacked civilians with Napalm bombs. This very nation was ready to attack Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons. Earlier it attacked and destroyed Iraq for ‘weapons of mass destructions’ (WMDs) which it could never trace out even after the killing of Saddam Hussein, who himself butchered his own countrymen indiscriminately. Violence was never as prevalent in the world as of today. It is accentuated by ever-growing mutual distrust and expanding religious bigotry and fundamentalism. All of it creates huge and unmanageable security concerns globally. It immediately leads to production and purchase of more and more weapons. Even today, human beings do not hesitate to create conditions that would lead to higher sales of weapons of human destruction. Every year, they give the Nobel peace prize. Every year more and more people die in terrorist attacks. Obviously, the efforts of the sensitive, enlightened, empathetic and principled fall far short of the machinations of the wily and the wicked. Change on this front requires an attitudinal transformation, which, could come mainly through the ‘right education’.
The need of the hour, and of the 21st century, is to define and delineated the contours of right education that would lead to right knowledge and right conduct. It is the right faith that leads to the acquisition of both of these traits in requisite measure. The corner stone is the realisation that spirituality is the essence of religiosity and it could become the key to achieve the much sought-after transformation, the lack of which results in violence, wars, killings and sufferings. Let the search begin to find the content and process of education that imparts spirituality and prepares everyone to lead a humane value-based life.
By J S Rajput