By Anuttama Dasa
Krishna explains in the Bhagwad Gita, “Whatever action a great man performs, others will follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” On January 6, in Washington, DC, we saw the truth of this statement.
Each of us is great in our own fashion. We too, each of us, big and small, impact the world. We have that power. Just as the US President Lincoln counselled in his second inaugural address, “If God wills that it, the civil war, continue … until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn by the sword.” We, too, are responsible for our actions and will draw our individual and collective ‘pay’. Jesus said, “As you sow, so shall ye reap.” Or, as Vaishnava Hindu tradition warns, our karma, both good and bad, will always find us.
The world’s great religious and moral traditions call upon us to love our fellow human beings, to protect all forms of life, seeing such as sacred and connected to the Divine. We are also called to cleanse our minds and our hearts so that we can be agents of the good. So, let us live these ideals, and not just give them lip service. Will we, as individuals, families, races, religions and political parties, take the leadership role God expects of us to “bind the nation’s wounds?” Will we recognise the sisterhood and brotherhood, and the spiritual sanctity of all citizens, black and white, red and blue, rich and poor, powerful and powerless? Will we honour, promote and protect them as such?
The chaos and crisis that exploded in America’s capital recently was not the result of one man, or a few thousand vigilantes. It was the result of years of vitriol, of planting seeds of divisiveness and hate, of reveling in the unfair and unlawful treatment of others for selfish and materialistic gains.
Each day, each moment, we have the power to choose kind or hurtful words. We have the power to be examples of light or darkness to our children. We have the power to say that the hate, spiteful words, selfish acts, abuse and anger must stop. And, to commit that it will stop first with me – with my words and actions. We have the power to promote policies in our homes, neighbourhoods, workplaces, nation, media, political parties and in our houses of worship that are fair to all – not just that benefit a few. We have the power to stand up for what is right, or to choose to stand down and accede to violence, hate and anarchy.
Let us wake up today chastened, yet wiser. Let us learn from yesterday’s crisis. We, too, can help set the world on a better path. We too, as President Lincoln called upon us, must act with “malice towards none … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
The writer is with Iskcon, USA
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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