9/11…….yes, I vividly remember the day here in Calcutta, India on the 11th of September, 2001, when on casually just flicking the channels of the TV set suddenly my eyes got glued to the image of cloud bellowing out of the twin towers of New York, the most notable and respected of the tallest structures in the world……..and the breaking news floating constantly below the screen. I couldn’t believe my eyes what I saw, even hard was to believe what I heard…….the word was spreading throughout the world by then thick and fast……..that the twin towers were under attack from perpetrators, in the most shocking way possible known to humanity. I was already feeling the shivers, couldn’t really fathom what I was hearing, 9/11 became the most unbelievable and extra ordinarily sad spectacle of direct attacks on the basic ethos of humans as a whole…………it still stays in our memories and will always forever……we felt the anguish and despair in every home, in every country, as this global event really got us into thinking, this could happen anytime with anybody anywhere………..and that thought was strikingly alarming…..
As the day progressed, we all took our seats permanently in front of the TV set, as that was the only medium most prominently making us aware of what had actually happened and as the events unfurled slowly in front of our eyes, our senses received the biggest jolt, of fear, anxiety, suspense, horror, and eventually a deep sorrow, as we started realizing the ghastly truth of the loss of fellow beings, our fellow beings, the perpetrators’ fellow beings……………millions lost their lives that day, many families were broken, many precious lives were just being taken away in minutes, both in those towers and in those planes, and in surrounding areas during rescue operations………the very basis of humanity and peace got a big jolt on the 9/11.
Our land, India, is a land of mystics, spiritual figures, great nation builders, freedom fighters. And, while talking about freedom fighters, I will go on another 9/11…….and that was the day in 1893, when the first World Parliament of Religions convention took place in Chicago…….and the opening address was given by non other than the towering personality of the great icon of India, sage, revolutionary, freedom fighter, Swami Vivekananda……..the event was said to be the first global interfaith convention of the world where thousands of religious leaders gathered………through his speech, he called to the world to put an end to divisiveness, discrimination, hate, apathy, and embrace, brotherhood, sisterhood, the inclusiveness of all religions and faiths to respect each other and grow cohesive together, for the betterment of humanity as a whole.
These are some of the excerpts of the message he gave out…….
“Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid….” he said.
“In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: help and not fight, assimilation and not destruction, harmony and peace and not dissension.”
And then again, 9/11 in New York………shattered all the ideals Swamiji fought for throughout his life………and from this great land of ours which has given the greatest practices of peace, Buddhism to the world, I can only affirm my belief in The Buddha and his relevance in the face of all hatred and animosity engulfing our society at large and threatening the basic foundation of humanity the world over.
Buddha’s message of attaining enlightenment for all beings through finding out the real root causes of suffering, through practicing kindness, compassion and love, is the need of the hour. His message of peace applies to not only individual peace but peace for human race throughout the world. As I look back to the ghastly incidents of that fatal day, and remembering all who were subjected to that inhumanity, my mind reaffirms me to practice peace, and do everything possible for upholding peace for all in whatever way possible………..Buddha’s findings through his enlightenment for putting an end to human suffering should be a guiding light for all of us to follow, to put down the fires of hatred, anger, jealousy and foster inclusiveness, and a strong human connection for peace through enlightened minds.
Peace is the only chance that we have to take all the times, and never let it go. Such days like the 9/11 should not come anymore, this is an affirmation that we shall have to take collectively. It is not difficult for this world to become one and united in humanity, the difficulty that arises is out individual perspectives. And that’s where Buddhas’ message runs supreme. It’s us that we need to take care about first, giving peace the biggest chance in our own minds and then spread it around through awareness and education. Suffering arises out of suffering, and it is best in our constant efforts to follow the four noble truths in Buddhism to address this eradication of suffering and ensure a healthy life and surroundings throughout the world……….and live peacefully as best we can.
And remembering Lennon……….the messiah of peace for our modern world………long live….