21st September 2001 23-20 CET
Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) visited 'Ground Zero' yesterday. This
'charismatic warrior', who so often has touched the hearts of millions
around the world, once more had some gems of truth for us all.
I remember the young Cassius Clay speaking, when asked on an
english television programme in the 1960's about the subject of
'racial discrimination.' This was the time of the Civil Rights
movement, Martin Luther King, and obscene scenes of
institutionalised violence and repression in the southern states.
He spoke of every person being like a flower in God's field, different
but complementing each other - the individual adding to the beauty
of the whole.
He spoke yesterday of the fact that ALL the major religions contain truths.
So, here's one that seems appropriate to the subject of 'fundamentalism':
Ponders on objects of the sense, there springs
Attraction: from attraction grows desire,
Desire flames to fierce passion, passion breeds
Recklessness; then the memory - all betrayed -
Lets noble purpose go, and saps the mind
Til purpose, mind and man are all undone."
As a young man, about 20 years old, Gandhi read the Bhagavad-Gita
for the first time (fully) whilst studying in England. He read the Gita,
the Koran, the Bible all in one year! The above words made a deep
impression upon him (he writes in his autobiography). They are
from the Gita (Chapter 2) but could just as easily have been from
the Koran or the Bible.
Fierce passion, whether fundamentalist or otherwise, betrays the noble
purpose/s that are the foundations of the major religions and the
truths that they contain. Purpose, mind and man are all undone
in the emotional and often violent recklessness that follows.
Those that desire to wage 'holy war'...or 'unholy war'... are more advised,
by all the great religions of the world, to wage that war within themselves
.... where, to quote Gandhi again, 'most of the devils truly reside.'
Those that use their knowledge and power to inflame the passions
of those who trust them..they are the greater devils, huh?
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