What can we learn from other cultures about peace?
India. 1940s. Gandhi was fasting as a protest against the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus. A Hindu man came to him, “I killed a Muslim child!”
“Why?” Gandhi asked.
“A Muslim man killed my son,” he said.
The Hindu man is desperate. He’s certain he’s going to Hell, but Gandhi says he knows a way out of such a destiny.
“Find a child. A child whose mother and father have been killed, and raise him as your own. Only be sure that the child is a Muslim, and you must raise him as one.”
It’s unknown if this man followed Gandhi’s advice, but if he did he would have successfully ended the never-ending cycle of hate.
Basically, this never-ending cycle is the necessity of revenge. It’s, perhaps, the hardest task humanity faces. It’s inherently lack of love, and it’s deeply intertwined with our pride and ego.
The never-ending cycle of hate has many layers, of course. The lightest example of it would be animosity between children pulling each others’ hairs.
Another layer would be hazing. It’s so stupid and derogatory that it’s amazing how it survives through the following semester. However, the opposite occurs. The hazed become the hazers, maintaining the never-ending cycle of hate.
Obviously, this cycle isn’t logical, or rational, nor grounded on common sense; otherwise, it would be a non-issue in our society.
The Hindu man’s crime is evidently in the denser layers of the cycle of hate. His crime can be considered unforgivable to any sane person such as ourselves, especially to the child’s parents. The victims always think it’s in their right to retaliate. With that mindset, we’d hurt one another indefinitely, strengthening the cycle of hate.
Then why Gandhi, and other great moral leaders of mankind, don’t engage in the discourse of sane people like us? This makes me wonder… are we truly sane with that mindset? A sane person wouldn’t allow the cycle of hate to be never-ending, a sane person would stop it.
How different would the message of Martin Luther King be if he advocated revenge against white people? How powerful would the message of Jesus be if he preached to love only your friends?
Following Gandhi’s example, what would a cheated on woman do? What would a underqualified manager do to an overqualified employee? What a father would do to his daughter’s killer?
Usually, those questions are met with retaliation and negative solutions. The fact is that humanity has a tendency to perpetuate the never-ending cycle of hate.
Gandhi understood that true forgiveness and self-forgiveness come not from words, but through action. So, he prescribed the Hindu man a healing therapy: to raise a Muslim child as his own. It’s said that to raise a child is like raising yourself up again.
Gandhi knew that by doing this the Hindu man would then transform his self-hatred, intolerance and sorrow into self-love, understanding and happiness. Like Chico Xavier once said, “We can’t go back and make a new beginning, but we can start anew and make a new ending.”
Thus, Gandhi demonstrated, not only to the Hindu man, but to all of us, the pathway toward forgiveness.
“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person,” said Louise Hay.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate,”said Martin Luther King.
The concept of reincarnation helped me to forgive others and to forgive myself more easily.