Sunday, March 22, 2009


Unity in diversity has become a catch phrase for civilised people who celebrate differences and wat to end civil disruption, communal violence, religious conflicts and international tensions.

The principle of unity in diversity has its origins in the concept of inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference. Although the Vedas enjoin; everything is non-different from the God who is the Supreme Soul, this creates logical enigmas. For instance, if everything is one, why do not I eat my kith and kin? Further, how can Brahma be complete since it also presupposes negation of everthing material?

The idea of simultaneous oneness and difference may pose problems for rationalist, but it is easily resolved when one accepts an omnipotent, omniscent and omnipresent god. In other words, essential truth contain paradoxes, and we cannot know everything by reason and deduction.

For omstance, our body functions as a holistic unit, but we constantly make distinctions between stomach, legs arms, eyes, heart and head. Significantly, within overselves, there is unity and diversity.

We want to relate to ourselves and others, and yet be separate. To retire to a remote Himalayan village, dance merrily on the streets, or find a cave, distant hermitage or ashram where we can just contemplate mystic phenomena for the rest of our lives. Would it not be wonderful to be rid once and for all of responsibility and unceasing duties, and be a renunciant?

Readers of the Gita learn that the true mystic is 'not he who lights no fire and performs no duty'. This theme recurs in Vedic literature. "When one thinks that the living entity is non-different in all respect from the Supreme Lord, there is no doubt that he is in ignorance".

Great sages of the past have taught us that renunciation is incomplete unless we use everything in god's service. Rupa Goswami has written: "When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everthing in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything, without knowledge of its relationship to Krishna, is not as compete as his renunciation."

One can be active but do learn how to dedicate all your activities to god. This is the perfection of renunciation, the deeper understanding od meditational life, and the key to reconciliation between all people. Duty as a sacred principle is joyous to perform. Gita has said: "life dedicated to duty is life fulfilled."

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