Hidden Footprints of Unity
by Raja Arasa Ratnam
reviewed by Cynthia Collins
“The bottom line is tolerance and fair treatment by all, to all, irrespective of origins, language, religion.”
This book describes the conflicts and unity of different religions as they, and the people who practice them, search for a common ground in Australian culture. It focuses on the spiritual aspect of what was White Australia during British rule. It can either be read as self-contained or in conjunction with Ratnam’s previous books, Musings at Death’s Door and The Dance of Destiny, that deal with the prejudices of language, race, politics, and employment during the same time period.
Ratnam grew up in British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore). His environment embodied multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious tolerance. That changed when he moved to Australia at the age of 19 in 1948. He watched the country change from “white” British rule to one where the different races, languages, and religions are celebrated as a part of the variety of cultures. He goes into a lot of detail of discussing the various religions of the world as well as the beliefs of psychics and scientists. He questions the obvious and not so obvious, and wonders if those who condemn other religions are hiding their own fears of insecurity.
This is a well-written book and recommended for anyone studying comparative religion, sociology, Australian history, civil rights, and ethnic cultures of Australia. It would be appropriate for high school and college students, civil rights and religious leaders, and historians. The author uses a quote from Hippocrates made 2,500 years ago to make his point. “There is one common flow, one common breathing. All things are in sympathy.”
RECOMMENDED by the USR
(There is little more that I can add to the above review. Given the history of mankind to date, is there any prospect that we will ignore the boundaries set up by geographical separation, as well as by religious institutions? Indeed, is there any need to keep separate the members of the diverse religions of the world?
When one gradually pushes aside the dogma of religions – which historically were created in diverse geographical regions to bond more closely their followers, and to attract others – and this will happen with material and mental security, will we recognise that, at the core of each major religion, there are only 2 beliefs? These 2 core beliefs are shared by all the religions (except Buddhism). They are: that we have a Creator for all that is; and that, as co-created, we humans are thereby bonded to one another.
Is there then any place for a chosen tribe, or an exceptional nation, or a path to God which is private to believers in certain religions, or a special door with special rooms in Heaven for specific religions? Ultimately, are we not all one?)