Inter-civilisational relations

Asians settling into Western nations take with them deeply-held values which had evolved autonomously (that is, without being taught to them by an authoritarian priesthood) over a long period of time. These reflect durable civilisations, which allow us to reach out to our Creator in our own way, and in our own time. While we seek the benefits of modern materialistic Western nations, we are justly proud of our respective spiritual heritage, each of which accepts that there are many roads to the Heavenly Abode of the Celestial Father/Mother. With rare exceptions, we do not flaunt our heritage; there is no real need to do so.

Hinduism is the oldest unbroken civilisation of mankind, containing many deep philosophies and a complex cosmology, as well as sound guidance for living. Refer the longest epic in the world, the Mahabharatha. No other institutional religion has sought to place its structures of faith within an attempt to explain the Cosmos. The other ‘forest religions’ of India could be described objectively as regional offshoots of Hinduism (reflecting local thinkers), without any intent on my part to denigrate any of them.

The religions of East Asia, while not as mystical, refer to caring personal conduct and responsible governance against the background of the mystery of the Void. I have read some beautiful poetry in this arena of faith.

That such a large proportion of the adherents of Hinduism, its sister faiths, as well as the religions of East Asia, live in such terrible poverty, with no real hope of betterment, is surely not the fault of these religions. Look at the record of Christianity and its successor, Islam. They all offer hope, and some spiritual solace. For an explanation of poverty, one must look at the politicians and the greedy exploitative powerful people who have harnessed them, and ask ‘Why does this have to be so?’ Such greed diminishes the available opportunities for moral improvement. But then, has anyone taken his wealth with him when he dies?

It is worth remembering that the peoples of Asia colonised by Europeans (including the USA and Russia) did have viable economies before they were destroyed by policies to benefit the economies of the colonisers. For instance, opium was produced in India to be inflicted upon the Chinese. One can wonder whether the Law of Cosmic Justice is now at work. One can also wonder why the ‘neocons’ of the West continue their attempts to influence the peoples of the ancient civilisations; will this shopkeeper mindset prevail for ever? Or, will Christ be remembered at last?