A Realization by Vrinda Tarneja, USA

A Realization

by Vrinda Tarneja, USA

“Character isn't inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.” Helen Douglas, an American politician, was absolutely correct. Our life is a series of steps, actions, thoughts and decisions that make us who we are and what we become. Succumbing to anger or hate and letting them creep in our minds we enslave ourselves. Intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice keep building walls around us and make it impossible for our heart to reach out to others in need. Prejudice, malice, hate, intolerance, disrespect…all these are self-made barriers that has only resulted in bloodshed throughout the world. Today we are fighting in the name of God, killing on basis of skin color, and hating due to different opinions on everyday matters. However, I believe love, compassion, and tolerance can re-revolutionize our world. Yet, we have to do something about this because this is our world.

We have to shatter these barriers that we have build against other ethnicities, and the only way to achieve this is by foremost understanding that we are all the same. Sure, I may belong to a different religion than others, but does that really define who we are? Aren’t we still the same? Doesn’t the same color of blood run through our veins? The truth is that we are all the same on the inside with different wrapping paper covering us on the outside.

Recently, my school, Fairport High School, celebrated Brotherhood-Sisterhood Week and it was inspiring, fun, and most of all powerful. This week celebrates C.A.R.E: Civility, Awareness, Respect, and Embrace. Each day we celebrated and preached about each of these aspects and I heard stories that sent chills going down my spine and formed tears in my eyes. Yet, there was one presentation that really touched me: a presentation which addressed prejudice, discrimination, and hate. The emcees started of the presentation by asking anyone to stand up if they had heard racial or religious comments in the hallways of Fairport High School, and to my surprise each and every student in that packed auditorium slowly stood up. That moment was a shocker and an eye-opener at the same time. I had always prided myself in saying barely no prejudice occurred at my school and there was so much love, but that was me being naïve. But this is what is happening in every school in the world. No matter how much love exists amongst classmates, there has always been a little bit of prejudice that is sometimes overlooked or unheard of. The cause: ignorance.

Ignorance. This is what is obstructing the world from eliminating the differences between people with diverse backgrounds. Many of us don’t even know the person before we start making wrong inferences. I think one would be surprised how similar we are to one each other. I also believe only after we understand and accept other people’s viewpoints can we eradicate the hate. Even if we don’t agree with someone else’s beliefs, we need to respect it. To develop understanding and cooperation among people with diverse backgrounds we have to strive to be more aware, respectful, tolerant, and compassionate. If these few qualities were so easy to imply in one’s life, then there would be no problems in the world. But they are not. This takes practice and drive. To put into simpler words, these traits are the building stones in bridging our differences and bettering our world.

These characteristics are what our mission of universal brotherhood is built upon. Loving selflessly is the need of the hour. This is why Baba ji has been travelling day and night; to spread this message of oneness. We have to try to follow the path that he has so gratefully bestowed us: a path that is paved with the qualities of tolerance, respect, and peace. And if we do falter, we have the sangat to help guide us at all times: only we have to take the first step…

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