Every Moment Is a Gift

One lesson of Sept. 11: It is only by the grace of God that we wake from our sleep each day.

Reprinted with permission of Hinduism Today.

PARMATH NIKETAN, India, October 17--September 11 was a tragic day of unprecedentedproportion. Never before in the history of the world had one group soblatantly, so callously, so mercilessly struck at so many thousands ofinnocent people.

We were in Munich, Germany on the Vishwa DharmaPrasaar Yatra, travelling first to the Caribbean, then to USA and Canada,then to UK and then to Europe, spreading the messages of peace, unity andVasudhaiv Kutumbakam, that "The whole world is one family." In the midst ofthis yatra, we heard the shattering news. Times like this and acts likethese almost render us speechless with sadness. It is only after the sandhas settled back on the beach after the storm, that we can bend down andexamine the pieces of that which was crushed in the tempest.

Those whoengage in these unforgivable acts of terrorism, intimidation and violenceclaim that they are fighting a jihad, a holy war. However, the term "holywar" is itself an oxymoron, a paradoxical fallacy. A war can never be holy.Only peace is holy. That which is holy is peaceful, loving, pious andcompassionate. War, by its very definition, is none of these. The terroristsclaim they are fighting a war in the name of God. However, there is no suchthing. War -- especially those acts which kill innocent people -- cannotpossibly be undertaken with God's consent or to win His favor. How can we --in God's name -- kill His children, His creation? Could you possibly killyour sister or your brother and claim you did it for your mother or father'ssake? Or that you did it in order to win your parents' appreciation? Thiswould be absurd.

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Rather than fighting a true "holy" war, the terroristsare using God's name in order to justify their own evil, violence andaggression. To me, the true jihad is a holy war within ourselves, a waragainst that which is unholy within our own hearts, a war of annihilatingour own egos, our own jealousies and grudges.

However, simplycondemning the acts is not enough. That which happens must happen for areason. That which happens must have a lesson inherent within it. Let usthen look at what we can learn, what reassurance we can gain from thistragic event. What can we take from this which will both help us growindividually as people as well as help us grow as nations and as a world?

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