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The mind of religion: Belief and Bias

From one individual to another, the physical construct of the Human Mind does not change. Yet, it is every-day knowledge that no two people behave the same way, exhibit similar capabilities or believe in the same values. This phenomenon is best exemplified by our religious persuasions.

In many remarkable ways the human mind mirrors the functioning of religion, a system established by tradition to keep societies within virtuous paths and to help us distinguish the right from the wrong.

It is interesting that despite the diversity of their cultural contexts, religions from all across the world are united in their purpose: to spread the message of peace, love and happiness.

It is fascinating that unknown to one another and separated by vast geographic and social distances, great minds thought alike as they divined a moral framework for human behaviour. It is much like the “Human Mind,” which essentially works similarly across the globe though they have never met each other and despite massive differences in their geographic, social and cultural contexts.

As the Indian civilization evolved, people were classified by their roles. Brahmins were to preach and teach; Kshathriyas to rule and protect their kingdoms, Vaishyas to engineer growth and generate wealth through business and the Sudras for attending to the day to day tasks of running a state. Unfortunately, a system devised for well-organized governance degenerated over years into the abhorrent caste system.

The fact, however, is that historically the human mind has functioned cohesively across continent. For example, kings in India lived, ruled and functioned not very dissimilarly from their peers all around the world though they could never have met one another.

On my latest tour of Italy, I realized that Rome is a classical example of a city telling the story of an entire civilization, its epic journey down the ages, through periods of wars, peace, great influence, grandeur and decadence. The ancient Greeks worshiped a whole pantheon of gods each associated to a planet and a dedicated temple. Special offers and rituals were prevalent much like it is in modern day India.

Michel Angelo’s paintings depict the original Christian view of god. They depict pure innocence and the actions that led to sin— factors responsible for happiness and sadness, good and bad and the very idea of Heaven, Hell and death. They even show the passage of life after death into hell through a gate guarded by two gods. One who keeps account of the good and bad deeds of person (Chitragupta in the Indian context) and the other who punishes (Yamadharma raja).

Months dedicated for prayers live Ramzan find their equivalent in all other religions as well. The ultimate prayer in every religion is for universal safety and happiness.
“Sarve Bhavanth Sukhinvaha/Sarve Santh Niramayaha/Sarve Bhadrani Paschantu/Ma Kaschit Dukha: Bhagbhavet”.

In the simple words of a powerful Vedic prayer “Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu” is the ultimate path for universal peace. To propagate, promote and establish this fact every religion has gods, apostles, prophets and gurus. This clearly denotes that: All are one/All religions are ONE/All Gods are also ONE

It’s ignorance of this fact that creates differences and divisive human prejudices. Though there is so much in common, we prefer only to look at the differences in cosmetic attributes like skin, colour, height, weight, sex, place of origin, religion, language, caste, creed and economic state forgetting that we are all ONE and products of a single parentage and lineage.

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