Saturday, February 16, 2008

Conversion Acceptance

I am writing to express my views about the controversy regarding conversion which has been raised among the Parsi Zoarastrians.
Let me begin by saying that the laws of the universe are truly universal and apply to every cell living or non-living. In these circumstances how is it that we are so unique and different in our outward manifestation? Is this the reason that we have created man made boundaries of religion, language, nation,caste, colour etc.? If these boundaries were rigid and to be followed then God would not have universal laws applicable to all. On the other hand the difference and uniqueness of each one of can be explained as different stages of evolution of each one of us from gross to subtle manifestation from non living to plant to animal to human to divine.
Coming to the aspect of religion. I feel that religion is simply mans interpretation of God i.e. Universal consciousness. Essentially all religions stem from one source and at different times the Lord manifested on earth and guided men to follow certain values. Without exception these values have been universal and have included truth, non-violence and purity in thought word and deed. Conflicts in the name of religion arise when one claims superiority over the other. While one religion actively seeks to coerce and convert the others to its faith, the other seeks to bar anyone knocking at the door of their faith. It is an insult to the memory of the prophets of the various religions to believe that the message given by a prophet was not universal. In my view it seems far fetched and perverse to believe that Zoaraster, Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Mahaveer, Mohammed, GuruNanak and the countless prophets before them and the ones to come spoke only for their own sect or the ones to come will speak for the followers of the religion in which he is born. They all had a message and this message was for all at that time and for times to come. It is a matter of chance that we are born to a set of parents following a particular religion. We are taught the laws of this religion as interpreted by our parents and religious leaders. As we grow we learn about other religions and we use our discrimination and intellect to accept the good or reject the bad in ones religion.
My view that while there is no need to headlong plunge on a course of conversion from one religion to another. However, there is a need to become a good hindu, muslim, sikh, christian, parsi, buddhist, jain etc. i.e. to accept the good values and reject the bad customs. If in this journey, one is attracted to the values of a faith different from the faith of ones birth, there should be no objection to voluntarily convert to that faith. Zoaraster, Christ, Krishna, Mohammed and all the prophets spoke to and spoke for humanity for all times. Laws of religion are open to change and interpretation and like everything in the universe change is essential and inevitable. A seed evolves and becomes a tree and a tree gives the seed. There is no beginning and no end to the universe there is only evolution and involution. Just as the message of the Gita Bible and Koran benefits all, let us allow the Khrodeh Avesta and Gathas benefit all. I am certain that entry of new adherents to Zoarastrianism will enrich both the original Parsi and the new convert. We are not superior to any of Gods creation on the basis of our religion, caste, race or colour. I am a father of a child born with Down’s Syndrome. My daughter does not understand the labels of man made religion so she loves universally. Let us all learn from these children to accept God as one love all our brethren unconditionally. Let us share and propagate the good in our religion and make it truly universal by the force of universal love and inclusion not hate and exclusion.

Dr. Vispi Jokhi