Monday, August 11, 2014

The Greatest Commandment

Majority of the tribe and scribes in the Middle East can identify with the passages from one book or collection of passages; a Christian like me calls it the Old Testament while the rest differently. It is from this book the greatest commandment of all emerges:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”

Religion is once again giving me goose bumps and it sure looks crazy to quote from it at this point. But then as everyone knows, religion can also be a tool to manipulate and to basically make people cooperate by making them feel different from the rest. And over the years men has perfected this art and especially in this age that provides them with sophisticated technology to aid them in this task. Religion gives many the powers to control what they cannot otherwise.

Now how are humans from each religion different?

1. The blood which runs in each is red in color.

2. The anatomy of a human is: a pair of legs, hands, eyes, ears that helps them touch, feel, hear, and basically know the world and its wonders.

3. One laughs when one is happy and cries when sad.

4. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted for what he/she is.

5. Nothing but food suffices when one is hungry and nothing but water when one is thirsty.

6. The minute one ceases to breathe, he/she dies.

I pointed out the similarities since it is a futile to attempt to do otherwise and I am very sure it is a challenge which no expert in this world has successfully undertaken.

And how do differences emerge? This takes us to the commandments that I first quoted and mainly the second one: love your neighbor as yourself. How easy it is to read but how difficult to implement! Hence let me once again quote the following text that I chanced to read from a religious site. Let me refrain from giving the link and also hope that the author forgives me for plagiarizing.

The one common denominator to all of your experiences with difficult people is you. In my case, it is me. People we call “difficult” are really people who we consciously or subconsciously identify as being “different”. Different from who? Different from us, of course!

We implicitly assume we are the standard of reference by which all other persons must be judged. To the extent that someone differs from us in any way, they could become a candidate for our scrupulous examination. They may or may not pass our “test”, based on our standards, and of course, we are the sole judge. Just remember that the other person has reserved a similar right to judge you by their standards, and may have concluded that you are a difficult person to live with.

When we understand that “difficult” means “different”, and we accept that God made us individually with different fingerprints and different DNA peculiarities, we are ready to focus less on the differences between us and more on the similarities that unite us.

Times are difficult but it can be made easy only if we focus on the similarities that human beings share in this world and focus less on the differences that humans have thrust upon themselves under the guise of religion.

Peace is what majority wants but it is this same peace that a few wants to take away for their own selfish wants. 


  1. Problem is that politicians world over have played religious card with politics.So it is in India.
    Look around and see if what we see in the Middle East is human?Who doesnt want peace? It is religion,it is politics

  2. Hmm I, guess with your daughter away you are finding time to get into philosophy and religious thoughts.
    I guess there needs to be some correction in the two commandments you quoted. The first is fine, but the second is not in the original ten. The “love thy neighbor” is the revolutionary thinking Jesus brought in his sermons. The original ten talks about not bearing false witness against one’s neighbor, not coveting his wife, his servant etc.
    Have you noticed the wordings in the first and the second commandments?

    1-“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2- “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
    “ For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”. That tells us the words were created by man. Which God if, he actually is the caretaker of life would express mundane sensibilities like we mortals?
    We take religion and its words literally, didactically and fail to understand the spirit. The turmoil and tragedy is because of that. What you mentioned about the physiological aspect that is common to all human beings and life is absolute truth. But then as Shakespeare said in his play, “Jews also bleed”, can be rephrased to tell the Jews and the Islamist fanatics who dance the frenzy in the Middle East that,”it is not only Jews and Muslims who bleed”. That statement must be also directed at the Hindu goons and fanatics who are eager to claim that they are the rightful owners of this country.

    1. It is the recent happenings in the ME that has prompted me to pen these thoughts. The killings are brutal and all in the name of religion and for God?

      The second commandment is in the old testament and Jesus was only reminding his fellow Jews. But then as you say, it is futile to quote religious texts when the same is used to kill and hate men. It is also futile to think that religion will go away, so one can only implore upon the same books to drive sense where there is nonsense. :(

    2. Hopefully Indians will have better sense than to go along the same lines, if not, there will never be peace.

  3. You may be better placed to speak about the contents of the 'Ten Commandments'. But reading your reply to my comment I scoured through the book of Exodus, did not see the line3 about loving the neighbour.That novel thought is certainly that of Jesus, for the old testament is more aggressive in its diktats.

    Remember , not one Muslim country stood up to speak against these terrorists ISIS. So much they talk about Muslim brother hood. Not one Muslim country spoke against the Israeli terror on Gaza.

    1. It is not from the 10 commandments but forms an important part of the Old Testament. You can find these exact words in Leviticus 19:18.. in fact, if one were to live by Leviticus 19:9-18, this world would have been heaven on earth!

      As for ISIS, it sprang up suddenly and countries in the ME are reacting.
      ISIS getting out of hand would mean trouble for all since it can trigger sectarian violence. As for Gaza, have we not heard much against Israel?

  4. Yes you are right, the Levctus do mention ,'"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD'.
    But look at the contradiction( I feel it is better to tread carefully when we read these scriptures),"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,...."

    Hmm this is quite odd to profess nobility and declare threat of vengeance and the meanest form of quality- "jealousy"

  5. Yes.. one need to tread carefully or fall into a pit

  6. one needs to give space to others and yes we need to see similar things

    1. Seeing the basic similarity that we are all humans and letting the others live.

  7. Interesting post and discussion with Anil. For Vedanta folks, the most valuable lines are these:

    I Am that I Am (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ehyeh ašer ehyeh) is a common English translation of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah.

    There is endless commentary on this in Advaita circles. It is said that the sound of our every breath reaffirms this (SoHam in Sanskrit)

  8. Tried to read on the same.. a bit profound.

    God is a mystery to many and it is the same mystery that is being exploited under the guise of religion :(

  9. It is said that the only thing that hasn't changed in us since birth is the sense, "I am". The pure, unalloyed "I am", not the identification with body or with our different roles in life. Here is a good read on the subject: I Am That.
    It is entirely free of religion. Amazon reviews are worthwhile.

  10. Thank you for pointing me to Nisargadatta Maharaj. Until I get hold of the main book, I am trying to read some pointers.

  11. i loved this post! nice one :)

  12. I loved this post! There is only one energy that we call by various names. :)


Blog Archive