Yesterday’s newspaper had a clip about an Iranian mother, who forgave her son’s killer. The killing happened in 2007, and though it was rather difficult for the mother to look beyond, she slapped the killer as he waited his execution, and removed the noose off his neck.
Apparently, Iran has a Sharia law wherein a victim’s family can stop a convict from their death sentence in return for blood money.
Later in the day, I stumbled on a piece about Kurt Vonnegut, and his views on compassion,
“I am so smart I know what is wrong with the world. Everybody asks during and after our wars, and the continuing terrorist attacks all over the globe, “What’s gone wrong?” What has gone wrong is that too many people, including high school kids and heads of state, are obeying the Code of Hammurabi, a King of Babylonia who lived nearly four thousand years ago. And you can find his code echoed in the Old Testament, too. Are you ready for this?
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
A categorical imperative for all who live in obedience to the Code of Hammurabi, which includes heroes of every cowboy show and gangster show you ever saw is this: Every injury, real or imagined, shall be avenged. Somebody’s going to be really sorry.”
Being a secular atheist, he later mentions what sort of a good man Jesus should have been for he said, “’Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.’ What kind of a man was that? Any real man, obeying the Code of Hammurabi, would have said, ‘Kill them, Dad, and all their friends and relatives, and make their deaths slow and painful.’”
Thats so true, is it not? If all of us do classify ourselves in the loving, forgiving category – how far can we actually go for love and compassion?
I doubt if many of us can actually go even a mile?
Reflecting on these two articles I read, I was only taken to the Delhi rape case, where the world bellowed on the need for justice, and few even propagated ‘Castration’. I remember how I was discussing Karma Theory and my inconsolable doubts on how God can justify rape, or any other things that we think are quite brutal.
I had got two answers back then –
1) From Phyllis Krystal’s book, where during her meditative session with Hi C, she was able to experience true freedom, and how everything from up above looked like a wonderful tapestry. Though a moment ago, in the limited conscience, it looked all messy – with murders, rapes, wars, etc. From that plane she was free of the world, and could observe it in full perspective, knowing how everything was inevitable for the very essential learning.
2) A talk by Lightstorm – wherein he mentioned if we are present at a scene where molestation happens, we should never attach ourselves to the victim, or get angry at the molester. If we are at a place at a particular time, there are only 2 probabilities – a) you need to learn something from that experience, or b) the universe wants you to allow your learning to unfold in front of others, and that we should simply do what is right, without any feeling of hate, say stop the act from being committed, and act with the feeling of oneness and LOVE.
The intellectual mind would demand more logic to such answers.
My friend Deepa once said to me, “In this time and age, none of us can really do just one path. Karma, gnana and bhakthi needs to be blended.”
That was my additional answer.
If we do desire to know the absolute truth, we do what we think is right (karma), then question the dogmas for our cerebral satiety (gnana) and be open for any answer, if the answers bend us to our limits, let faith take over (bhakthi). She was right, we need all three, and eventually when we go beyond our rudimentary ways of living, we would perhaps see the joy of it all.
I mean, they didn’t simply say, “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti”. Its cos we all can reach such depths of profound oneness.
Like they say, sometimes all we need is a good question, and the answer will make its way to us.
For now, we might not have all the right answers, or the right questions even. We will get there surely. As for as compassion goes, we have received the baton, and an answer to ‘how far can we stretch ourselves’ will be worth living.
Do we dare?