When the Conscience is sold!

Oftentimes I have wondered why there exist people on the face of this earth who are so desperately bent upon killing others. Why there is so much animosity towards another tribe, creed, sect, religion, region or race? Even simple logical thinking would tell one that it is such a bad thing to kill another on the basis of the aforementioned differences.
Ghastly scene during one of the many riots in India
In world history, there have always been oppressors and suppressers. People who have oppressed others for long and dominated others. People who have suppressed the rights of others for their own selfish gains. Such constant oppression and suppression has led to depression and desperation amongst the victims - slowly leaving them with only one way - resorting to violence as a means of venting out the frustration. I was recently reading some material on the riots in India. Whether it was about the Kashmiri Pandits being tormented and driven out, or whether it was about the Hindu - Muslim rioting that has caused India to bleed multiple times or whether it was the Jewish persecution by Hitler and co, they all spoke of the same story - one group treats the other like slaves and then the other group rises in revolt.
But, what has all this got to do with the title of this article?
Well, it is only when the mind is filled with thoughts of vengeance and revolt that the conscience is blurred. Take for instance the Jehadi mindset. Many of the Muslim brethren who take to this violent path are found to have such an inveterate belief and conviction that Allah (God) will be pleased. This, inspite of the Quran having many quotes where it is said that all of creation are God's children and that the true Muslim should honour all as such. However, the problem is greatly because of the kind of upbringing and childhood that such groups go through.
Imagine the state of mind of a child growing up in the valleys of Afghanistan where there are bombs exploding around him most of the time. There is no access to formal education, the only things he learns are what he hears from the elders around him who themselves are torn in war and strife. He sees people dying around him in drone attacks, people carrying guns like you would carry your laptop to office everyday. What else do you expect the child to take up and learn - he doesnt have a choice. We see in our homes that our own little children tend to imitate what the elders in the house do. In the case of children who are born in a warring nation, in a hostile community or in a belligerent society, they are bound to grow up playing with guns.
In such scenarios, it becomes the sole responsibility of the leader of the tribe - be he a religious, sectarian or secular leader who largely conditions the minds of the people. Whether it was the persecution of the Jews or the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits or even the Sikh riots of 1984, the main people who mattered were the people who were at the helm of affairs of the religious, political and ehtnic communities. This is where the problem lies. The rest of the people who actually get involved and whose lives are affected - not just theirs but several generations after them - are all a victim of the 'sold conscience' if I may call it so. The people so blindly believe in the leader that whatever the leader says becomes the right thing to do. They forget to ask their own conscience. They forget that God is within each of them, ready to guide them on the right path.
Swami's Words:
I am reminded of a conversation I had with Swami - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - my God, my Guru and my everything - during my 1st year MBA in Baba's college. I was sitting in the middle of the white marble block in the center of the Sai Kulwanth hall amongst 500 other students when Swami suddenly called me and struck a conversation. I went upto Him, knelt down and began to reply. During the conversation, Swami asked me what the youth of Hyderabad were doing and I humbly replied that they were visiting an orphanage and teaching 'Neeti Nijayathi' to the children there. Neeti, Nijayathi can be loosely translated as Morality and Honesty. The conversation continued:
Swami: What are Neethi and Nijayathi
Me: Swami - morality and honesty
Swami: What is morality?
Me: Swami, to do the right thing.
Swami: What is the right thing?
Me: Swami, whatever people in society say is right becomes the right thing to do.
Swami: Oh, even the Naxalites and terrorists are a society. People in that society think it is the right thing to do and therefore take to arms. Will it become right then? Is that morality?
I was silent. Swami continued
Swami: Satyame Neeti, Dharmame Reethi, Tyagame Khyati - ee mooditiyokka sammilita swaroopame manava jaati (Truth is Morality, Righteousness is the Way of life and Sacrifice is honour. The combination of these three constitutes Humanity)
Satyame Neeti, Dharmame Reeti, Tyagame Khyati

Look - just because 10 people say something is right doesnt make it right. What is right is right, what is wrong is wrong. Even if the whole world disagrees, that is the fact. How will you know what is right? Ask your conscience. It will tell you.
Me: Swami, the militants and terrorists also think that they are doing the right thing and in accordance with their conscience. Otherwise, why would they feel that they are killing in the name of God and that by indulging in such acts, they would be gifted heaven.
Swami: No no. They are not listening to their conscience. They are listening to someone else. They have bartered their conscience to another and believe that what the other person says is right. (Swami had used the telugu word taakattu pettaru)
So, it is not right to say that what they are doing becomes right and that they are following God's command. Firstly, you should know what God's command is . Even if you listen to someone from outside, you have to see if your conscience agrees for Conscience is the voice of God.

Well, that was a beautiful conversation and I realised that day that many of the wrongs in the world arise out of selling your conscience to someone else and crucifying it on the cross of religion, ethnicity or regional differences.
People may say that how is it that I believe in what Swami said. Was I not also letting my conscience off the hook and listening only to Him. Well, let me tell you that the thing that Swami said is totally in tune with the voice of my conscience. Just that it was a lot clearer.
That is the reason why Swami always said, "Dont follow the body, dont follow the mind, follow your Conscience". For, that is the only way to peace within and without.
I humbly pray that Swami gives me the strength to listen and obey my conscience each time.

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To read about a wonderful interaction alumni of SSSIHL had with Swami , read http://venugopalbh.blogspot.com/#!/2013/05/alumni-session-in-poornachandra.html

To read a tribute to the Sadguru in the form of Swami's interactions with youth, read http://venugopalbh.blogspot.in/2013/07/gurudeva-tribute-on-guru-poornima.html

To read an amazing story of how Swami brings about transformation in young minds, read http://venugopalbh.blogspot.com/2013/03/transformation-by-divine-alchmeist.html#!/2013/03/transformation-by-divine-alchmeist.html


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