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Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Other 9/11s

The South and North Towers of WTC came down, the Pentagon was attacked, 3000 people lost their lives, victims came from 90 countries, the fire at Ground Zero burned for 99 days, prohibited items on aircraft cabins increased to 65 from 30... we know the gruesome tale of 9/11 2001 and its appalling aftermath.

This 9/11 understandably has left an unpleasant and hard-to-erase mark on collective consciousness of mankind.

Interestingly however I discovered that history has gifted us really momentous and indeed glorious 9/11s – events that in a manner of sorts did shake the world, but shook it not to plunge it into depths of deep depression like it happened in 2001 but to raise it to exalted heights of renewed inspiration.

Swami Vivekananda, the powerhouse of a patriotic saint, stunned the packed hall in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago with his electrifying eloquence, overwhelming warmth and overpowering wisdom on this day. It was 9/11 1893.

We know how the jam-packed audience of 7000 American men and women continued to applause unceasingly for two full minutes when this Oracle from the East rose to the rostrum and said, “Brothers and Sisters of America”. That of course was the beginning but what he said after that on this day was indeed prophetic.

Among other things, at one point towards the end of this historic address, he says:

Sectarianism, bigotry, and it's horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful Earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.”

When I reflected on this I said to myself “Isn't this what 9/11 2001 all about?”

In fact, even though 3000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001, civilian deaths due to the so-called 'War on Terror' has taken away atleast 14,000 to 120000 lives every year since 2001 in various countries from Iraq, Afganistan and Pakistan to countries in Africa and Middle East.

And the US government in the last decade has spent 3.2 to 4 trillion dollars on war and war-related expenditure. And the count is still on.... even as the economy of this country struggles to find its ground.

If only 9/11 1893 was accorded a little more genuine respect than mere enthusiastic applause, then probably the world could have been saved from a 9/11 2001 and its terrible aftermath.

R K Karanjia's Book
Again, as if to emphasise this utter futility of fighting hate with artillery, history has it that Gandhiji started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa on September 11. This was 9/11 1906!

And here is the cherry on the top. R K Karanzia, the eminent journalist who had first published an article deriding Bhagawan in his magazine Blitz, came to Swami, had the opportunity to not only see Him but also interview Him and later published this revealing conversation in his periodical with the title “God is an Indian”. This happened on September 11, 1976!

Karanjia asks Bhagawan if there would again be another massive Mahabharata-type of war to get rid of the evil forces, and Swami replies:

It is to prevent such a catastrophe that this Avathar has come....”

What is the solution to the escalating conflict between wealth and power on one side and poverty and weakness on the other?” he asks again.

And Swami says, “This barrier can be broken by creating a feeling of equality and oneness between the rich and the poor... When man realises his essential Divinity, he will acquire equal-mindedness towards all beings... This fundamental oneness has to be made manifest through the persuasive expanding power of love.”

Sounds philosophical, but isn't this profoundly practical too!

If any of these previous 9/11s (from 1893 to 1906 to 1976) had received even one-hundredth of the attention that 9/11 2001 received, then probably as Swami Vivekananda said “human society would be far more advanced than it is now” in true sense of this statement.

1 comment:

  1. the coincidence is incredible. But again, hasn't it been said than nothing in life is a coincidence. its all preordained. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. provokes us to introspect. Sairam, V aunty