Righteousness and Indignation

Over the last couple of days I have come across instances where people have expressed outrage over an insult of their religious faith or cultural knowledge, whether real on imagined. Sometimes, this has resulted in unconscionable behavior of tormenting the offending party. These people express righteous indignation at any perceived disrespect or misuse of “their” religion/culture. Earlier, I would have been in the same shoes and perhaps done it myself. But now I actually find it amusing.

What is righteousness? Why do we feel the need that “I” need to do something about this “outrage” that has been done by “someone” against “my” religion or culture. I have started to observe this as a manifestation of the Ego-Mind. It is not that “someone” that has caused offence, it is one’s own sense of attachment, one’s Haume – the “me/myself” that needs to do something to feel important. And usually, what these moral judgements accomplish is spreading negativity and pain all around. Don’t get me wrong, sometime one needs to speak up. I’m not advocating that one should let others walk all over and accept any and all provocation. But real courage is not in showing aggression, but showing restraint, accepting ones vulnerabilities and consciously working to transcend it.

A friend shared the movie “Being Nobody” by Ram Dass, a white American Spiritual Teacher who has been on the path of eastern spiritual philosophy for last couple of decades. Through all that searching, talking, teaching and learning, the thing that finally broke the camel’s back was what he explained as the final hurdle in self-realization.

Being Nobody, Ram Dass

According to Ram Dass, eastern spiritual philosophy refers to this as the “Golden Chain”, this need to express righteous indignation at whatever one feels is wrong or incorrect in this world. He goes on to say, “Righteousness and being right is one of the last obstacles in getting into the Inner Temple”. Its a very interesting documentary to the say the least. Its not available online in India, but I think in US and UK its available on Amazon Prime.

Of course, if one has full knowledge of a great injustice or physical harm being perpetuated, then as Lord Krishna or Guru Gobind Singh ji said, it is our duty to defend the downtrodden. But, I think most of us are not in that position. This endless “outrage machine” of our restless minds that is being perpetuated through the political and social constructs of our time, especially the Social Media, has had a deep and damaging effect on our collective psyche. So if one really and truly wants to walk on this path of Oneness with the Universal Energy, then they need to break out of the Golden Chain of self-righteousness.

Na Kao Murakh Na Ko Syana, Vartay Sub Kich Tera Bhana.
No one is a fool and none learned, all follow his (Divine) will/blessing.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh Holy Book and Guru.

I came across these lines through a beautiful teaching by Bhaiji of Amrit Vela Trust on how to avoid jealousy or envy. We need to build awareness that others may not be at the same level of understanding, whether of life’s learnings or spiritual wavelength. By measuring someone ahead or behind, using the yardstick of our own progress, we are actually disrespecting our inner self and the Guru’s blessings.

We need to accept, with grace and humility, the lessons The Universe is throwing our way. I know it is easier said than done. But try we must, because there is no other alternative.

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