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Din-i-Ilahi 2.1 - Dialogue Between Hindus & Muslims
Conferences, dialogue and threat of court action are useful, but by themselves, cannot bring about positive changes. We must dig deeper.
I was inspired to write this article upon reading media reports on religious discord in India and then I read about a Forum of Religions at the upcoming G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
At first glance, this article may appear India-centric, but hiding just beneath the surface, in plain sight, is a complete scientific framework for a better and more peaceful world, and that should be of interest to the Bali Summit on Religions.
Media just reported on the Indian Supreme Court’s edict on hate speeches. Said the court, "This is the 21st century. Where have we reached in the name of religion?" the court said, hearing a petition on hate speeches and directing authorities to act against such instances by themselves or face contempt charges. “Contempt will be initiated if the authorities fail to act," the court said.”
Indian media also reported that the proposal for a dialogue between RSS Chief Shri Mohan Bhagwat and several prominent Muslim organizations to thwart communalism has found favor with both parties.
Relatedly, Indonesia will host the upcoming G-20 summit at Bali in November. With the efforts of Indonesian President, Mr. Joko Widod, a Forum of Religions (R-20) will be held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
Specifically, Muslim World League of Saudi Arabia and Nahdlatul Ulema of Indonesia are sponsoring the “Revealing and Nurturing Religion as a source of Global Solutions” Conference in Bali during November 2-3, 2022.
In his blog forumias.com, Wasim Akram writes, the sponsoring organizations reject fundamentalism and the radical interpretation of Islam. They are calling for building a consensus on “common principles of human values, tolerance and peace to immunize against the dangers of extremist ideology.
Continues the blog, The R-20 will move from Muslim-majority Indonesia this year to Hindu-majority India next year and Catholic-majority Brazil in 2024. It can help the three world religions, together with Buddhism and other important religions, evolve a universal value system.
The universal value system is already on hand but, as this article explains, it is not amenable to the products of reason. Progress can be made but that will require a deeper understanding and a willingness to transcend reason.
Conferences, dialogue and threat of court action are all products of reason, which while useful, cannot bring about the required positive changes in the society.
What will, is explained in the following paragraphs.
When I was a pre-teen growing up in the town of Bidar in the erstwhile Hyderabad state, there would be violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Leaders of both communities would gather at our home where my father, the late Shri Bapusaheb Deshpande, would mediate. Multiple incidents over the years are indicative of the fact that the dialogue had only a marginal effect.
My father had left Law College in the decade of 1910s to immerse himself in the freedom struggle for the ensuing several decades, and later served a year in jail. He was a friend and close associate of the late Prime Minister, Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao. Government of India subsequently awarded him the title of “Freedom Fighter” posthumously.
Relatedly, in the sixteenth century, Mughal Emperor Akbar made an attempt to develop a syncretic religion which incorporated the elements of various faiths in an attempt to reconcile the differences that had divided his subjects.
According to Wikipedia, the Mughal emperor himself converted to Dīn-i-Ilāhī, along with some of his close officials, leaving Islam, and encouraged others to become adherents of the new faith.
Going by the present situation, the emperor’s noble initiative has not succeeded.
So, why should the proposed dialogue succeed this time?
It can, provided there is an openness of mind, a willingness to think outside the box, and to embrace the ideas in this article.
Incarnations and prophets of all religions have prodded their followers to strive for just one (and the same) thing: To strive for a shift from negative emotions to positive emotions. That is, to rise in emotional excellence.
Positive emotions include unconditional love, kindness, empathy and compassion.
Positive emotions are closely linked to the S component of the mindset: truthfulness, honesty equanimity and steadfastness,
Negative emotions encompass anger, hatred, hostility, resentment, frustration, jealousy, fear, sorrow and the like.
Negative emotions are closely linked to R and T components of the mindset: attachment, ego, lying, cheating, and causing injury in words and deed.
The proposed dialogue between Hindus and Muslims should begin with this hypothesis: Both religions prod their followers to strive for higher levels of emotional excellence. The differences are only in the practices of how to bring about the desired change.
If there is a consensus in this hypothesis, then, the proposed dialogue between Hindus and Muslims will likely succeed, provided the ideas and concepts in this article too are embraced. If not, the dialogue is doomed to fail. The same is true about the R-20 initiative in Indonesia.
The following paragraphs present corroborative explanation for the hypothesis and shows how communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims, and indeed across all faiths, can be achieved.
To begin, we must investigate if God exists, since we are talking about religions, and are desirous of bringing about religious harmony.
UNDERSTAING THE MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE
There is a consensus in the physics community that the universe came into existence pursuant to the big bang event, some 13.8 billion years ago. Then, the universe was an incredibly small (about 10-33 cm in diameter), unbelievably hot and immensely dense energy phase. This energy phase then created the universe.
Physicists have also concluded that on the other side of the energy phase, there is absolutely nothing, a void.
This is as far as science can take us.
Science cannot know how “nothing” can produce “something”, the energy phase of the big bang event.
Physicists have also concluded that the nothingness of the void cannot be anything else but undifferentiated consciousness.
Says His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, The universe may end one day, but consciousness will remain for it is eternal. His Holiness received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Various faiths give different names to undifferentiated consciousness: God, Allah, Paramatma, etc.
UNDERSTANDING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE
Without the intervention of the creator, life cannot take root either.
Darwin’s theory of evolution asserts that all life on our planet began with a single-cell organism, which evolved into ape-like creatures over billions of years, who then evolved into human beings over millions of years.
Science cannot explain how the single-cell organism sprang to life.
Put it another way, given all that is contained in the human body, scientists have not been able to create life. The missing elements are consciousness and energy. Consciousness and energy come into us when we come out of the mother’s womb and take the first breath and leave us when we exhale for the last time and die.
CONSTITUENTS OF CREATION
Saamkhya hypothesis asserts that all creation comprises of five principal elements: (1) Prithvi (Earth), (2) Jal (Water), (3) Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Akash (Differentiated Consciousness & Energy).
There are temples dedicated to the five principal elements in India, four in Tamil Nadu and one in neighboring Andhra Pradesh.
The Saamkhya hypothesis further suggests that all creation is endowed with three components: S, R, and T.
It is difficult to reconcile for how inanimate objects can be endowed with consciousness, energy and the S, R, T components until we realize that the S, R, T components are linked to the two emotions.
Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose had proved that plants feel pain and metals feel stress. He is considered as father of radio science. He was the first Indian Fellow of IEEE (US).
GOAL OF LIFE
We all came from the source and should want to return to the source. Yogis and Buddhist monks have understood this.
The Tibetan word, “thukdam” refers to a Buddhist meditative practice in which an accomplished meditator is absorbed in the process of inner dissolution of the five principal elements and consciousness back into the Primordial Light after clinical death (Wikipedia).
His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains, “When an ordinary person dies, there is a dissolution of the five principal elements (at the moment of clinical death). My senior tutor, Ling Rinpoché, remained in thukdam for 13 days. Recently, a monk at Kirti Monastery remained in this state for 37 days.”
Continued His Holiness, the body of the meditator in thukdam can remain warm and free from decomposition for many days indicating that the Earth, water and fire elements have remained. This is an observable reality that must be investigated scientifically.
Russian neuroscientists, collaborating with His Holiness, examined 104 monks in meditation, and observed a monk in thukdam for 37 days at the Gyutö Monastery. A forensic physician examined the physical body at various stages after death. The scientists noted that the body of a person in thukdam was in a quite different state from the body of someone undergoing the ordinary process of death. They said this was the first scientific evidence of the phenomena. See this video clip of a Buddhist monk preparing to enter thukdam. In little over six minutes, the monk relinquished his body consciously.
TOWARDS COMMUNAL HARMONY
With this background, we are now ready to discuss communal harmony.
The citations of monks in thukdam are extreme examples in that they may not be of general interest, but the phenomena of thukdam is of interest nonetheless, because the monks traverse through a high level of emotional excellence on way to their destination.
The shift from negative emotions towards positive emotions is not an intellectual exercise and it cannot be brought about with any products of reason; the required positive changes have to come about from within.
Regardless of faith, if you are endowed with the feelings of Shraddha (faith), bhakti (devotion), vishwas (trust) and samarpan (surrender), then, prayers in a mosque or temple could be sufficient to bring about a positive shift in emotional excellence.
If not, meditation is the pathway to achieve the desired shift. Buddhist monks and yogis have proved this.
Choose the meditative practice that is best suited to your faith and disposition.
Since emotions can now be measured, progress can be audited (EQ Radio, Bio-Well). This is important as the measurement provides a sense of comfort to the practitioner that the practices are working serving as an impetus to continue with the practice regularly.
Clearly, children of today are adults of tomorrow, and therefore, the ideas and concepts in this article should be introduced in schools. This will also be supportive of religious harmony.
Religious discord is only one of the myriad of significant problems facing humanity. Among others are, a rise of political extremism, racial and caste discrimination, poor performance in human activities, etc., etc.
The root cause of all of these problems is that humanity continues to insist on limiting itself to the products of reason (sciences, laws, and policies). These approaches are important and useful but they must be complemented with the understanding and practices to transcend reason where the solutions often lie. This is how ancient Eastern seers made breakthrough discoveries.
Meditation is the appropriate tool to transcend reason which brings about positive changes from within for a better and more peaceful world.
This article is written with the explicit blessings of H. H. Guru Mahan, Founder, Universal Peace Foundation, Thirumurthi Hills, TN, India. Guru Mahan has been going into three weeks of meditation with no food for the past thirty-two years for global peace. Guru Mahan’s Guru was Muslim.
The author thanks Jim Kowall, a friend and coauthor of several of a book and several articles for his review and feedback.
The author also thanks Tony Belak, former Ombudsman, University of Louisville for his feedback and editorial assistance.
1. Kowall, James P., Why the Foundations of Physics are Built on Nothing but God , Medium, October 27, 2022
Deshpande, Pradeep B., East Meets West: What It Will Take to Be Vishwa Guru, amazon, 2022.
Deshpande, Pradeep B. and Kowall, James P., The Nature of Ultimate Reality and How It Can Transform Our World: Evidence from Modern Physics; Wisdom of YODA, amazon, 2015.
Deshpande, Pradeep B., Six Sigma for Karma Capitalism, amazon, 2015.
Deshpande, Pradeep B., A Flaw in the Theory of Evolution: A Perspective, ThePulse.One, September 14, 2022.
Deshpande, Pradeep B., Scientific Framework for World Transformation, Dialogue and Alliance, a Publication of Universal Peace Federation, New York, 33, 1, June 2019. (Dialogue and Alliance is a publication of the Universal Peace Federation, a New York City-based international organization with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Cultural Council).
Kowall, James P., The Physicist’s Dilemma: Ultimate Reality Non-physical nature of consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research, 5, 4, 2014.
Kowall, James P. and Deshpande, Pradeep B., The Role Consciousness Plays in Creation, The Pulse.One, November 24, 2021.