Invoking Ahimsa (non-violence) and Shanti (peace) globally

Peace talks: Does religion help or hurt? Mideast peace talks resume this week, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveling … Continued

Peace talks: Does religion help or hurt?

Mideast peace talks resume this week, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveling to Egypt and Israel for negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Is religion helping or hurting the attempt to forge peace between the Jewish state and the Palestinians?

There is no getting away from religion in the Middle East. Conflicts in the region have arisen in the name of religion. And, I question if it is the religious beliefs. My understanding is that at the core Christianity, Judaism and Islam are about peace. So it must be something beyond the core beliefs, where the differences are perceived to be. Something related to the religious identity? History? Or the external expression of the religions.

Today, the Mid East issues have become the problems primarily of the Abrahamic faiths. As a Hindu, I have often wondered if including the practical spirituality of the Dharmic (eastern) traditions would help or hinder the process? What if the Dalai Lama was included in the dialogues? What if the Hindu spiritual leaders were consulted? What would they say about peace and its practice at the ground level?

I understand Ahimsa, non-violence in all aspects, is the first value of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. Having just organized a national Yogathon in the nation with the Hindu temples, and working with many spiritual leaders, I see that Yoga has crossed many lines of religions and cultures, not only in America, but across the globe.

The powerful Vedic Hindu statement – Ahimsa Paramo DharmahNon-violence is the foremost duty to the extent that it supersedes all other duties, was repeatedly emphasized by Mahatma Gandhi during India’s struggle for independence. Coincidentally, Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement started in South Africa, on September 11,1906, the launch of the modern Non-Violent Resistance Movement, which inspired America’s Civil Rights movement. Thoughts have no boundaries.

And now, possibly, a Middle Eastern Gandhian movement of Civil Disobedience? Could a nonviolent resistance on a large scale help change the political environment and achieve the two-state solution?

Could and should these invoked values of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Shanti (peace) be sustained? Could these Yogic values of the Hindu and eastern Dharmic faiths (Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh) beneficially augment the attempt to forge peace between the Jewish state and the Palestinians?

I think they would!!! They must!!!

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  • woodstock-41

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  • FarnazMansouri2

    I would be interested in knowing what the author’s Hindu religion tells her about India’s three million Dalit (“untouchables”).The word “Dalit” means oppressed. It is the name the Dalit have given themselves. They are enslaved, sold, indentured, human sacrificed, raped, tortured, with impunity.Dalit Freedom Network”End human trafficking. Make slavery history.”

  • AnAmigo

    FarnazMansouri2, you are an anti-Hindu hack.Joseph D’Douza, whose site you link to, is also an anti-Hindu tool who works for proselytizing missionaries that want to convert Hindus and destroy India’s indigenous culture. That 3500+ year extant civilization of India gave the world many gifts, including the Indo-European languages (Sanskrit being the root language), the number zero and the decimal number system, arts, cuisines, many great religions, deep philosophies and a wide range of mathematical and scientific contributions without which the modern science and technology would not have taken root (as it did with the European renaissance.)Your hackery is in full display from your ignorant post. There are 150 million members of Scheduled castes (what you anti-Hindu hacks call as “untouchable”; India outlawed untouchability and caste-discrimination in 1947, as soon as it acquired independence from the imperial and colonial thugs that occupied and looted India, and subjugated and enslaved all Indians for most of the preceding 1000 years) folks, not 3 million as ignorantly.And they include luminaries such as:The SC&ST folks in India are a free people with all the same rights as any other Indian people, and are beneficiaries of a very generous quota system India created once it became independent.When the colonizers finally left in 1947, India’s literacy rate was an abysmal 12% and that of the SC&STs’ was likely well below 5% (maybe 1% or 2%). Today, those numbers are approximately 60% and 50%, respectively, which is strong progress made, given the poverty that was induced on India. The Islamic imperialists and western colonizers reduced a 33% share of world GDP that India used to have in 1000 AD down to a destitute 3% by 1947. And who do you think helped educate the masses and put India on a path of (ongoing) development? Mostly Hindus teachers, largely dominated originally by Brahmins (Brahmins have a 3000 years long tradition of advancing, maintaining and disseminating scholarship, even through the most trying of times), at pittance for wages in millions of public schools in India, as public service.You should be ASHAMED your anti-Hindu bigotry, not to mention the incivility of trying to hijack a positive (albeit too simplistic, in my opinion) post by Ms. Anju Bhargava.

  • Secular

    I think that Ms. Anju Bharagav’s approach is the only one that would work. Now before all of you scream WHAT, I would hasten to add that it is not for all the Vedic, & Dharmic clap trap she espouses. All that is unadulterated bull manure. It will work because the palestinians due to the recent actions have gotten a lot of bad PR and some deservedly, some not. But facts are facts. To undo then they have to work hard and t will not be easy. It will take a long time. The reason it will work is the slow march of human race towards equality and fairness. If there were a plaestinian Gandhi, given the fact that Israel is a democracy and if there were a true Palestinian Gandhi tere is no doubt Israeli peace movement will be able to push the peace process to the peak. This would also mean that the palestinians should be willing to follow their Gandhi, that is the key. All these theatrics are just a waste of time and money.

  • woodstock-41

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  • woodstock-41

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  • AnAmigo

    I know this is a continuation of an off-topic (for which I apologize), but to follow up on something FarnazMansouri2 brought up below, and which I partly addressed in my previous comments, available evidence confirms that this so-called “Dalit Freedom” Network is indeed a proselytizing organization, whose chairman Joseph D’Souza conducts conversions of Hindus into Christianity. The use of “Dalit” causes is a very profitable guise for both finding converts, as well as to fund-raise, which this particular proselytizing group does plenty of in the US.This guy, D’Souza, globe-trots, smearing and selling out Hindus, Hinduism and India all over the place, all for 30 silver coins; to be precise, $3.1 million in 2008, which is a lot of money for an average fella in India to be handling, but tiny compared to India’s $1+ trillion nominal GDP (India has 1.2 billion people), and a tiny drop even within the billions of dollars of social expenditure the Indian government spends for the benefit of its SC&ST communities (SC = Scheduled castes = “Dalits,” as referred to by anti-Hindu hacks and propagandists. ST = Scheduled tribes = Tribal area denizens).Organized conversions are essentially hostile assaults against the targeted native cultures and faith traditions (Hindu culture and faith, in this case), and they rupture the family and social fabrics to create stresses and strains that would otherwise not exist in those societies. Therefore, good Christians should oppose organized conversions and not fund the groups that perform them.If someone wants to give a helping hand to those in need, as Jesus’ teachings implore all of us to do, genuine (and non-proselytizing) social work organizations are better ways to go. The following are a couple of such projects in India:1. Prajwala: a prostitution/sex-trafficking prevention and rehabilitation organization founded by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan (Ph.D. in social work):2. ILP (India Literacy Project):Thank you.

  • AnAmigo

    Correcting a typographical error in my preceding comment: the paragraph that begins with “Your hackery” was meant to end with the following:—not 3 million, as you ignorantly claim, exposing your pitiful ignorance on this matter. And here you are, masquerading as some kind of a champion of the so-called ‘Dalits’? Be honest and admit it, denigrating and destroying Hinduism is your real goal.

  • AnAmigo

    @FarnazMansouri2’number raped only last year’Since your credibility has been compromised from your having linked to a proselytizer’s propaganda website as your source of information, and since your biases seem to be preset, claims like this can not be taken seriously (at face value) or given much credence.’The number of mostly enslaved Dalit is 250,000,000.’Not exactly. The SCs (so-called “Dalit”) are about 150mn, and the STs (“Adivasis”, i.e tribals) are 100 mn.You say, ‘I don’t know what your agenda is..’ and ‘Try to take this in, Facist’Heh. You don’t know what my “agenda” is, and yet I am a ” `Facist’ ” to you? Dissonance.’250,000,000 people are becoming radicalized, slowly but surely.’SC&STs hold a HUGE political clout in India (if you didn’t know that, you are not informed well enough to debate on India intelligently), and so they’re going to revolt against themselves and their own country? you seem to be rooting for India’s fall, which you shouldn’t be. India, for all its faults, real or imagined, is indeed a functioning democracy, assuming that the electronic voting machines they are employing aren’t being rigged. Those neighbors of India that are antagonistic towards India, and who would ruthlessly selfishly rule the planets of Indians if India falls, are oppressive regimes with brutal pasts and tendencies. Indians are better off resolving their conflict between themselves using non-violent methods. No one is “enslaving” the SC&ST; Many of them are probably poor, but many of the non-Dalit Indians are poor as well. Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?Surprised? Reality often doesn’t match the propagandized perceptions that people carry. It therefore helps to question ones own assumptions and presumptions from time to time, in order to keep your perception of reality as close to being real as possible.

  • AnAmigo

    @FarnazMansouri2’number raped only last year’Since your credibility has been compromised from your having linked to a proselytizer’s propaganda website as your source of information, and since your biases seem to be preset, claims like this can not be taken seriously (at face value) or given much credence.’The number of mostly enslaved Dalit is 250,000,000.’Not exactly. The SCs (so-called “Dalit”) are about 150mn, and the STs (“Adivasis”, i.e tribals) are 100 mn.You say, ‘I don’t know what your agenda is..’ and ‘Try to take this in, Facist’Heh. You don’t know what my “agenda” is, and yet I am a ” `Facist’ ” to you? Dissonance.’250,000,000 people are becoming radicalized, slowly but surely.’SC&STs hold a HUGE political clout in India (if you didn’t know that, you are not informed well enough to debate on India intelligently), and so they’re going to revolt against themselves and their own country? you seem to be rooting for India’s fall, which you shouldn’t be. India, for all its faults, real or imagined, is indeed a functioning democracy, assuming that the electronic voting machines they are employing aren’t being rigged. Those neighbors of India that are antagonistic towards India, and who would ruthlessly selfishly rule the planets of Indians if India falls, are oppressive regimes with brutal pasts and tendencies. Indians are better off resolving their conflict between themselves using non-violent methods. No one is “enslaving” the SC&ST; Many of them are probably poor, but many of the non-Dalit Indians are poor as well. Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?Surprised? Reality often doesn’t match the propagandized perceptions that people carry. It therefore helps to question ones own assumptions and presumptions from time to time, in order to keep your perception of reality as close to being real as possible.

  • AnAmigo

    Response to FarnazMansouri2:Part 1 (of 3):the first case (Nalanda and Jehanabad districts) is a case of poor food distribution (I am guessing, to meet some famine like conditions in those areas of Bihar in 2009). There is nothing casteist about the deaths in this case (since I read that as your implication, i.e. bundling everything into a “those evil Hindus” meme, which you should not do), unless you are hell-bent on reading and projecting it that way:PATNA: Starvation has claimed five lives in two drought-afflicted districts in Bihar, despite measures taken by the State government to provide 1.26 crore food grains to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.And don’t ignore the fact that the lives of many hundreds of people were probably saved by the government’s 1.26 crore (Rupees) food program. What you should not do is to project a poverty/starvation situation into an “evil Hindus” narrative. That’s what proselytizers and other profiteers do. You should do better than them.

  • AnAmigo

    Response to FarnazMansouri2:Part 2 (of 3):Your second link. Yes, I am firmly on the side of the victims of the horrible atrocity (which was apparently, indeed, a result of casteist tensions and violence) in this case and in every other case where innocent people get brutalized by despicable thugs. However, the wheels of justice have been turning on this case and 8 people have been convicted (2 received life sentences, and 6 rec’d 25-year rigorous imprisonment jail sentences, as things stand):The verdict in the 2006 Khairlanji court case was announced on 15 September 2008. Bhandara Sessions court has held eight people guilty of murder and acquitted three.List of people held guilty of murder: * Gopal Sakru BinjewarList of acquitted people: * Mahipal DhandeYet, your reporting of the story did not report this fact (your UNHCR link is 2007 dated), leaving readers to conjure up some kind of an “evil Hindus” visualization. You should refrain from misreporting and (perhaps unintended) mischaracterization.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    AnAmigo,Misspelled LADDER.Also, I desperately do not wish to see India fall. Quite the contrary, I wish to see it shine, like a star.

  • AnAmigo

    FarnazMansouri2, my previous comment (“part 3 (of 3)”) and an original longer version of this comment went into the moderation queue, and they have not yet appeared. I am trying to post a brief version now in order to give a quick response to you. I may post a longer response later, if the mod-queued versions do not show up.My main point originally was that you need to stop hijacking all posts by Hindu adherents on this forum with off-topic anti-Hindu attacks (I have seen you do this in other posts by Hindu panelists here). Since this wasn’t the post for discussing the so-called “caste system” and SC&ST, you were in the wrong. You should admit your error, move on, and not repeat the behavior (I think that such incivility is beneath you) in future posts.Thanks.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    AnAmigo,Re: Your postI did not post on the apprehension of the culprits, but did post links. Aren’t there a couple of details YOU omitted?At all events, as I posted, I’ll forward a bibliography and more quotes within the week.Unfortunately, I can’t seem to scan in material from a manuscript that was sent to be as hard copy for review. It will be published by a major university publisher, which I’m sure will interest you.Frankly, I still don’t understand what your point is. Clearly, you are not saying that the Dalit do not face caste discrimination, are you? Would you care to give the labor breakdown?Or do these folks have the same rights as everyone else in their respective countries?Why do you fight me on this? Is this situation good for these countries? For anyone? The Dalit are becoming radicalized, slowly but surely, in India. What hell would that unleash? Why must it be?

  • Secular

    AnAmigo, Your observation about Ms. FarnazMansouri is on the money. Whenever, she finds a post, from a person of Indian origin, and the post does not comport well with her long held opinions, she blasts off this tirade about the exploitation of Dalits at ad nausseum. For past two days she has been at it with me. For some reason, just because I am also from India she believes I am a close saffron bigot. For a professor of something she has a poor grasp about what these fora are about. She is not constrained by the topic of the thread. She seems to suffer from some kind of Primadonna syndrome on this blog. We will have to suffer her, although that wears thin very often.