India’s Muslims and Hinduism’s moksha

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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When Muslim civil rights activists rallied in India against the unfair targeting and treatment in the name of fighting terrorism, it evoked moksha, the fourth and final objective of life in Hinduism.

For Hindu’s, moksha means the state of liberation; the final release from entrapment within the wheel of perpetual birth, death and life. It also means to be one with atman, or the Ultimate. This deep unity entails a radical egolessness and unselfishness that liberates a person to genuinely regard others as fully equivalent to herself/himself. All sense of self-preference – instinct to do what is

necessary to survive and keep one’s self safe – disappears.[1]

Thousands of years before Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Hinduism developed into a vital religion, giving meaning to millions of people. Even though it has no identifiable beginning and end or founder-prophet, no fixed doctrine, no single authoritative scripture, no specific institutional organization, and its practices and beliefs vary, the ultimate goal is still a profound union of one’s soul with moksha and to treat others equally.

Though it has evolved with the Bhagavad Gita’s “many paths to salvation”, Ramakrishna’s reforms to alter the caste system and suttee (widows’ suicide), and Mahatma Gandhi’s respect for all life – along with a vision of social and religious equity [2] – the final goal is to experience liberation with the Ultimate, authentically considering others as identical.

Shabnam Hashmi, the noted Indian activist, believes that in an attempt to arrest and eradicate terrorism, Indian officials sometimes unfairly target Muslims and falsely arrest and charge them. Other Islamic activists claim there have been illegal and indefinite detentions and disappearances in the name of combating terrorism.

In some places, waves of counter-terrorism activities have made some Muslims feel unsafe even in their homes and while worshipping in mosques. Coupled with political, economic and social neglect and discrimination, some have either left their homes or fled the country. As in other places around the world, a climate of fear exists.

Before unity can occur with the Ultimate, there is the “forest dweller” stage, or wandering mendicant. Seeking wisdom through meditation and reading religious texts becomes a priority. Meditation is the exploration of consciousness and how one perceives the world. It calms and purifies the mind so that wisdom inherent in and common to humanity can be realized. [3]

The global war on terror – its labeling of Muslims as terrorists and linking Islam with terrorism – has deforested the dweller stage. It has distorted the ability to study and meditate, to perceive the world correctly, and to unite with moksha and humanity. It is far from wisdom. It is anti-Ultimate, since Islam and Muslims also abhor terrorism.

Although there are 140 million Muslims in India, the majority of people are Hindu. To pursue moksha takes great risk, especially since it strives to regard others as fully equal and alike. It also entails a sense of trust, of abolishing within oneself fears and insecurities, some imagined or false.

Sadly, state governments and their military and intelligence agencies can aid in increasing anxieties and suspicions. This can result in a kind of extreme response that can easily hurt and harm others. Terrorism is horrific, unimaginable, and extremely anti-Ultimate. India has tragically suffered from terrorist attacks. To be truly liberated and secure, should it try and pursue a policy of moksha?

Again, this would require a great risk, an extraordinary life, but one that is necessary to experience the Ultimate. In pursuing and modeling a policy of moksha, one that has the effect of motivating a state and its people towards policies and behaviors incapable of harming another because this would be tantamount to harming oneself, liberation and unity with the Ultimate, including genuinely regarding others with equality and fairness, might help encourage other nation-states to do the same.

@ המוסד Rezim 88 קומו ….! To Mossad 897

 

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