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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Tolerance Vs Acceptance - Understanding the Indian Way

A message to ALL INDIANS

Lets see what are the definitions at Wikipedia

Tolerance is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

Acceptance is a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest. The concept is close in meaning to 'acquiescence', derived from the Latin 'acquiēscere' (to find rest in)

Acceptance is fundamental to the core dogma of most Abrahamic religions: the word "Islam" can be translated as "acceptance", "surrender" or "voluntary submission", and Christianity is based upon the "acceptance" of Jesus of Nazareth as the "Christ" and could be compared to some Eastern religious concepts such as Buddhist mindfulness. Religions and psychological treatments often suggest the path of acceptance when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state.

 India is built on "Acceptance of All"

India is a nation that is built on Acceptance of everything, every person and every moment as is. In fact, Indian philosophy talks of infinite manifestations of the supreme in everyone and in everything. We all are the one supreme self - connected comprehensively, completely and unambiguously to each other - because we are all one. The problem, as per our philosophy, is the way our consciousness took the path of manifestation into the mind or the ego of the "I". 

When I accept all versions of everything and everyone to be just a manifestation of me - the supreme - then it subsumes that "I" tolerate everything as is and everyone as is.

One can tolerate something without accepting it, but one can never accept something without tolerating it. 

Acceptance and Tolerance - from Indian history and philosophy

India had rule of sultanate from 1206 AD to 1526 AD for 320 years.  Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi to establish the Mughal empire in 1526 AD. The empire ended officially with Bahadur shah zafar after the 1857 revolt against the  British Empire's East India company. By the time India gained independence from British, the society would have seen extreme atrocities and hardships imposed on the natives by the rulers. The rulers brought with them their own form of religion - a particular way of living and following the rules of living. The native Indian society was built on multiplicity of paths and the philosophical underpinnings of the society were so broad and all encompassing   that all those who invaded India, even subjected Indians to various atrocities could not but realize the amazing quality of Indians in "acceptance". The strength of India was in its "acceptance" of anything and everything as a way of life. A true live and let live society. In fact that makes the society robust. The invaders were initially surprised but slowly some of them realized the strength of acceptance. Akbar the great - the greatest Mughal emperor realized the strength and tried to assimilate various religions and in fact taking a cue from Indian philosophy started din-e-ilahi. However, the old forms - one way to achieve the God - set of ways to be accepted as religious-sociology-cultural rituals - including various laws and eating habits - were imposed through a uniquely peculiar "conversion" of natives to "new faith" - by force or by lure of better life - under the rule of "new faith". The faith based government is peculiar form of governance the invaders bought with them.

Before the invaders - India itself had developed newer forms (more logical - more scripted) of religions in the form of Jainism and Buddism. The Ashoka the great in fact had taken the teachings of Buddha and taken them to all parts of the world towards east - China, Japan, Bali, Srilanka, Burma and so on. The approach of this proliferation in contrast to the Islamic approach was based more on "explanation" and discourses rather than violence based or greed based conversion. The religion called "hinduism" was coined more as an all encompassing explanation to distinguish from Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism later on. However, it must be mentioned the "acceptance" of all forms and all paths continued to be the core philosophy of India.

Conversion requires Non-acceptance 
When one is born in a particular faith or a particular condition/family one gets indoctrinated in that faith/philosophy. To convert someone from a different faith it is essential to define, develop, describe and design communication, highlighting the unique benefits of your "product" over the existing or the native's path/faith. It is what we call in the modern business parlance "marketing".

However, if your faith says everyone is God; we just forget that we are God and whole idea of this birth and subsequent births for all of us is just to find out the basic truth - one basic truth that we all are one and this existence is just a pure magical dream woven by each one's mind.  We just have to get-up from the sleep to find our true self. With this message, there is no need to sell anything to anyone. There is no marketing. Its all that is. Each one's own journey and one's guru - internal or external - will lead one to this realization - whatever path, faith, God one want to believe in. It is clear, as per this philosophy, that we are all going to "accept" everyone's journey. No need to superimpose my path, my view or even my awakening. Even the Vedas also doesn't say anything about the a particular way.

For those who may be interested in Mahavakyas (the great sentences) - there are a few in number - one can look at the link here

Just reproducing below

Sanskrit: English:
1. Brahma satyam jagan mithya Brahman is real; the world is unreal
2. Ekam evadvitiyam brahma Brahman is one, without a second
3. Prajnanam brahman Brahman is the supreme knowledge
4. Tat tvam asi That is what you are
5. Ayam atma brahma Atman and brahman are the same
6. Aham brahmasmi I am brahman
7. Sarvam khalvidam brahma All of this is brahman

This reading immediately can tell one - that the Indian philosophy is completely based on "acceptance of all".

Conversion to "my" way requires non-acceptance. From this non-acceptance emerges the concept of "Tolerance". The soft part of these "religions" says - and articulate that we should not accept other paths but "tolerate" them.

So the concept of "TOLERANCE" is an alien concept in Indian philosophy.

It has come to India from outside. India has been built on "ACCEPTANCE". The Tolerance or non-tolerance is an forceful import into Indian philosophy - not by the specific religions or faiths - but by the proponent of those faiths/doctrines/religions who want to increase their numbers - the number of people following their faith - through conversion.

They start with a marketing of the faith being superior in multiple ways. Then they tell the concept of "Tolerance" of other faiths and cultures as a mark of superiority. But through the articulation of Tolerance they sow the seeds of non-tolerance - a threshold , a limit, a line, - that when crossed - the followers of faith should be allowed to punish in the name of the specific god or the god-messenger. No religion talks about killing in the name of religion - it is the threshold of tolerance created artificially that creates the conflict.

Just following the path of acceptance of all - the Indian way - will lead to a harmonized society and perhaps a harmonized world. If the acceptance path is not followed as in the case of Pakistan - which declared itself an Islamic state - the tolerance thresholds start getting narrower and narrower and in fact very ad-hoc. This ill-defined tolerance threshold limits are the key reasons for faith/religion based conflict. How many "Hindus" and "Christians" exist today in Pakistan compared to how many were there when we got independence from British, is a statistic to be taken in by all Indians - and deeply thought through.

This post is on the growing debate on Tolerance or rather increasing non-tolerance in the recent discourse. I presume that artists, celebrities, writers, key intellectuals, actors who are protesting by giving away their awards/recognition etc - understand what they are doing. However, it is my hunch, and may be a peculiar to think of "why" they are protesting. Hope this post will help all.

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