The Punishment for Fighting about Religion


Some of my thoughts these days...

Probably like you, I have been following the news about the war in Ukraine with shock and disbelief during the last days. Most of the time I feel speechless trying to cope with the facts and process my emotions and thoughts. I feel overwhelmed by the challenge this poses to the people of Ukraine, those who stayed and those who fled leaving everything behind. Women and children on the run, leaving their husbands and fathers behind to fight a war defending their country, nation and sovereignty against an overpowering aggressor, not knowing if they ever see each other again, while Russian bombardment is turning cities to rubble.

I feel also overwhelmed by figuring out what is the right thing to do for the Western alliances, short-term and long-term, and by meditating on the reasons for everything.

The Punishment for Fighting about Religion

I recently read the novel Shantaram (by Gregory David Roberts), where I came across this passage:

“Their punishment, for fighting about religion, was that each had to learn one complete prayer from the religious observances of the other. ‘In this way is justice done,’ Qasim Ali said that night, ‘because justice is a judgement that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. You can see by what we have done with these two boys, that justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them.'”

I should add that the actual punishment also included that the two boys – who were actually friends, but happened to get into a fight by mutually feeling offended by the other’s remarks about their Gurus, Mohammed and Ram – were to clean the latrine of their slum while joined to each other at the ankle with a tie…

The True Motivation for Aggression

Although the question about the right immediate actions is difficult and severe enough, I sometimes wonder about the true motivation for attacking a neighbouring “brother-country” and the hidden aspects of the history behind it. Every conflict is fed by a historic (or karmic, if you like so) motivation, often hidden and/or forgotten, a wound that has not experienced the kind of justice mentioned in the above quote.

Let’s continue to give our attention to what is happening in a balanced proportion, donate and help practically if possible, meditate for understanding, peace and light in all of us, and enjoy regular yoga and meditation practice.

The quote is from Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts, Scribe, 2003

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