injustice to one is injustice to all - part 1

America is going through some tragic times. What happened was wrong, what’s happening is wrong. And it’s time to take a stand and work towards fixing this problem together. 

It doesn’t matter whether you live in Germany, Australia, India, Japan or any other country, we are all in this together. What affects one, affects the entire world community.

It’s funny that we’re all 99.99% identical genetically and how only that 0.01% difference in our DNA — the one that makes us unique and different from each other — can create incredible gaps and hostility between us. 

We have to rise above our lower nature, the one that discriminates and holds prejudices, and see people for what they are — people. 

This is not just an issue about being a Black or White American. If we probe further and dive deeper into this, at its core, it’s a human problem. It’s the problem where the evil within us eclipses the goodness within us. As much as we’d like to put labels and separate the good guys from the bad ones, the truth is that we are all humans driven by our own instincts and impulses. 

Now is a good time to zoom out and see this world and humanity as a whole. The Stoics believed in the concept of sympatheia, which essentially translated to the notion of a well-integrated, interconnected cosmos in which everything in the universe is part of a grander whole. In his personal reflections, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other—for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance.”

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit maxim found in ancient Hindu scriptures, highlights the same notion of oneness. It simply means that “the whole world is one family.” It’s a social philosophy that advocates oneness in diversity and inculcates a spiritual understanding that the whole of humanity is made of one life force and each of us has the Universal Consciousness within us.

In this fast-paced world filled with noises and distractions, it’s easy to forget the notion of sympatheia and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, and get sidetracked. It’s easy to focus on our problems, our life and just taking care of our loved ones and the people around us. It’s easy to think small, to surround ourselves with people who are like-minded and the people that we care for. It’s easy to care only for our country and its development, not caring about other countries in the world.

But the truth is that when others suffer, we suffer. When the world goes through pain whether it be due to a crisis or an injustice, we go through that pain as well. Marcus Aurelius too referred to this when he wrote that what’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee as well. We are all connected, one way or the other. We have all witnessed this in action and continue to do so with the ongoing pandemic.

PS: Click here to listen to the complete essay on The Karma Yogi Podcast.