Who is stronger?

Column Window Seat : Jayarama Korikkar

Other day I saw a clipping in Twitter. A missionary activist was caught marketing Christianity within the premises of a Hanuman temple in Andhra Pradesh. Outrageous, right? What business any right thinking human has to invade to market his beliefs at the very place where people of another faith worshipped their God?

It did not startle many of us though – we remember the malapropism at Andaman Nicobar Islands couple of months ago? Quest to establish the “Kingdom of Jesus” by a fanatic missionary activist saw him venturing into a tribal island breaking all barriers of law and humanity to die a pitiable death to the poisonous arrows from Sentinelese tribesmen.

We keep hearing about the stories of such imperious lot trying to force their beliefs on other. There is a method which is adopted to convert the innocents and illiterates by using magic and black magic. The modus operandi is different when the ‘prey’ is wise and well to do. Such people are targeted in a more sophisticated and cunning manner. In countries like US who are champions of secularism and equality of all, their constitution itself prohibit people from other faiths assuming the high office of head of state which forces aspiring politicians from other faiths to convert to Christianity early on in their life so that one hurdle is off from their path to power.

Is it not plain one-upmanship? My faith is superior to yours; my God is superior to yours. Even that is tolerable to some extent. But it gets into your skin when the attitude is to somehow kill your beliefs and get you into believing what they believe to be truth.

What right a religious fanatic has to sneak into the place of worship of another faith and advertise his belief there? What right a religious lunatic has to venture into the forbidden tribal lands to establish a Kingdom of Jesus there? If our country was as religiously fanatic as his own, probably it would not have taken us such misadventures to get them to believe in the same God that we believe in.

If someone gets his peace of mind and tranquility by praying before Jesus Christ, let him follow his beliefs; if someone finds solace in praying beneath the domes of masjids, let him pray God from there. It becomes intolerable when such tolerance is taken to be a weakness; when virtue is considered to be a weakness.

Still, I feel we are on the right path of ‘live and let live’. We follow a belief which taught us –

आकाशात् पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् ।
सर्वदेहनमस्कारः केशवं प्रतिगच्छति ॥


Akāśāt patitaṃ toyaṃ yathā gacchati sāgaram |
Sarva deva namaskāraḥ Keśavaṃ pratigacchati ||


Just the way every droplet of water which has fallen from the sky moves sea-ward; every salutation given to every God reaches Keshava, the God!

That reminds one of the Sadhu who was meditating in a forest. A King who was in one of his conquests, passes by his hermitage and asks for water. When the sadhu did not wake up from the meditation, the King feels humiliated and threatens the Sadhu, “I can burn your hermitage down in a minute!” to which the Sadhu replies without losing his calm, “Even after you burn my hermitage down in a minute, I can excuse your foolishness with a smile!”

Who is stronger?

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