To consider Living together as a challenge only for Religions is like considering a severe famine a challenge only for one household in a village whereas it has affected every household in the village. Each and every person; young, old, rich, poor, etc. is affected, no one is spared. Throughout one’s life-span, the problem of living together affects all aspects or facets as one may say of one’s life, personal, familial, social, educational, religious, political, economic and at every level across the confines of family, society, village, town, city, nation or international.
The problem is not of ‘being’, but of ‘living’. In reality, even ‘being’ has become a poser and that is why one has to struggle even for existence. Whereas‘being’ is a gift of God to man, ‘struggle for being’ is gift of man to man.
To write, to speak, to meet and discuss the subject of ‘Living Together’ has become an important topic of this century. In my opinion when we say ‘living together’most of us mean and understand it as ‘being together’. To live together we need to be at the same level with the other; we should have the same basic / deeper spiritual understanding, but unfortunately, we are incapable of attaining that level.
Today everybody, all thinkers, all intellectuals, all countries are in a dialogue in an effort to try and encourage all to be together.
We find one constantly living in dilemma; one can’t be alone and can’t be with the other or accept the other. No one seems to have any clue to this problem.
Philosophy teaches me that “to be is to be related”. My being is dependent on the being of the other. The other has to be there when I am there and we have to be together. ‘Being’ means merely existing and this apply to everyone and everything on this planet. ‘Living’ means life and life means energy, desire, activism and growth.
Today we know that every atom has energy within and in this atomic age distinction between matter and spirit is blurred, yet we don’t acceptthe life within all atoms. But what do we perceive when we mean life? We perceivereceptivity, response, and development. Life can be molded or shaped in a better way for betterment.
The research of Sir J. C. Bose of life in plants, vegetation and trees is of immense importance. Life in birds, animals and other creatures make them of special importance. Everything else in the world merely exists.
Today, when even mere existence is a challenge, development and growth obviously become a challenge. Naturally, being, living and growing together have to be even more of a challenge.
The question arises, why is ‘living together’ a challenge?? Together is, with ‘the other’. The other will have opinion, desire, like, dislike, systems, etc., so one has not just to live together, but to live with the entire package. So, to live together is a constant challenge.
Delving more on this, I have come to an understanding that the problem is not so much with ‘living together’, but with ‘the other’.
The problem starts when a child is borne. For a child, in life, the first ‘other’ is the father. For the child, except mother, everyone else is ‘the other’. Then comes siblings and the the feeling turns into sibling rivalry.
When the child grows old enough, he starts feeling detached with everyone else in the family - problem of living together.
Contractual relationships and divorces are on rise, why? problem of living together.
Demand for more ‘Old age Homes’ reflects the same problem..
By now, we know what we mean by life: it means energy, desire, activism and growth.When two lives are united with the same for the same goal with the same system and same receptivity, then this could be called ‘living together’. It requires common purpose, focus in the same direction and developing, growing together. This would require subjective changes, inner changes, without which ‘living together’ is not possible.
Humanity pins its hope on the religion to bring about such a transformation.
Today religion is understood to be nothing more than observance of a set of prescribed rituals. Let us put aside the ritualistic, dogmatic and superstitious aspects of a religion, and try to understand the religion in its purest form.
Religion is that which:
- Awakens and nurtures self-respect and selfless feelings in human beings.
- Lays down moral orders and makes human beings aware of their duties.
- Rationally introduces all pervasive Godand acknowledges and accepts the devotion to God to be above the religion.
- That spiritually sustains an individual and the society.
Therefore man expects the religion to bring about the required change due to its inherent strength and blames it for his own failure and forgetting the failure of other factors.
Just for the sake of understanding, 75% part of religion is its philosophy and 25% is the rituals. People focus only on the rituals. Rituals would differ from religion to religion and region to region. Rituals alone can’t transform individualsand bring about the desired internal changes. Philosophy is ignored. It is the philosophythat needs to be understood and followed. At this stage and level, all human religions are same.
- Awaken and nurture self-respect and selfless feelings in human beings.
- Lay down moral orders and make human beings aware of their duties.
- Rationally introduce all pervasive God and acknowledge and accepts the devotion to God to be above the religion.
- Spiritually sustains an individual and the society.
Understanding of this philosophy of a Religion and devotion to God Almighty can give solution to various Challenges and the religion can help in:
- Removing ‘the otherness’ of ‘the other’ and bringing about selfless intimacy with ‘the other’.
- Acknowledging and accepting the other with the common Divinity within.
- Creating selfless relationship needed for togetherness.
By accepting the pervasiveness of the common Divinity in all human beings, we can resolve almost all the problems facing the human society and we can live together as one Divine family.
Swadhyaya family started treading this difficult path of ‘living together’ almost 75 years ago. Today it has millions walking together. The fountainhead of Swadhyaya, Revered Pandurangshastri Athavale, my father, has successfully unified the likes, dislikes, opinions, etc. of different people and lovingly led them in one direction towards a common goal of living and working together selflessly in a divine family under fatherhood of God. This family of millions is spread across the five continents and contains cross section of the society, including people from villages, towns and cities, educated and uneducated, people well established and people still in settling stage, children, youth, seniors and the elders, men and women, all of them live as children of one God and work selflessly in a spirit of devotion to God.
These Swadhyayees, get spiritual satisfaction, get a purpose of life and experience transformative internal changes,
If anyone asks me whether I represent Hindu Religion? I do not have any answer. If anyone asks me whether I believe in a religion or not? I don’t have any answer either. Because, Swadhyaya and I believe in that Human Philosophy that includes the Philosophy of all the religions.