Considering some riots that occurred recently, it could be seen how complex are the causes can be. Such riots arose in the forms of violence, robberies, and destructions, not only to private properties but also to the public, state, government properties, or even the religious symbols. At first perhaps it is doubtful to say that they are religious conflicts but actually it is difficult to deny due to the facts that the destructions of places of worship which are sacred and contains religious symbols.
There is also a possibility that some other factors were taking part in causing such conflicts. For instance, interaction between the natives and the immigrant relations is an important factor, which obviously can be seen inIndonesia(Sambas, Kupang,Ambon, and Poso). This can also be observed in other parts ofAsiaand the world. Some of them are affected by issues such as economic gap between the natives and the immigrants. In this situation the possibility is that the immigrants work harder than the natives and therefore they are more successful in the economic activities.
At the other side, there were also conflicts between people and authorities which show the distrust among the people towards the authorities. The destructions of police stations, government offices, or even regional parliament buildings prove such the existence of such issues.
These occurrences show that we are faced with a crucial problem which is the culture of violence. This phenomenon is much worrying. Ironically, the violence are not only conducted by are people who tend to act unlawfully, but also cruelties done by the state itself. There were some incidents where people experienced torture by the state and government officers during interrogations. It is usually named violence by the state.
Those occurrences show us that the abilities of people are decreasing significantly to deal with pluralities. This tendency is very dangerous and enables local and small incidents to turn into larger scale of mass riots which is essentially irrelevant and unpredictable. Some supporting factors are the complex and multidimensional crises that subsequently make people so “easy to be burnt” like the dry hay in the dry season.
PLURALISM : AMONG REALITY, AWARENESS, AND ATTITUDE
Plurality is an existential reality which is formed by the natural differences of humans and their social lives. Nobody is the same as others, even if they are twin. There are no identical similar fingerprint to show that there can be completely similar individuals in this world.
Global society consists of many people. If it is believed that there is a traditional society that is homogenous, such homogenous elements are actually relative. As there are certainly different factors which prove that heterogeneous elements exist, even if in a tiny quarter.
A society, however, is not just a gathering of statistical organic creatures, but a dynamical organization that continually changes. Such changes are various and enrich the complexities of differences. The said natural pluralities then develop either socially and culturally and produce various visions about life and the future.
To certain extent, the plurality could be seen as the richness but in its development it may also contains diametric and antagonistic characteristics. The challenge faced by human beings is not how to wipe out the differences, but how to manage creatively by balancing between the cooperation and competition harmoniously. In this perspective, the management of conflict becomes very important.
MULTICULTURISM : AN UNDOUBTEDLY NEED
The plurality can have following forms – horizontal and vertical plurality. The first form appears in ethnical, racial and religious difference, while the second one appears in the different roles of the authority and the people. Among the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated. This vertical plurality is not meant to be related with the institutions practiced by certain traditions which treat people discriminatively according to their social strata. Plurality in such context can be a plurality which can develop the respect of human rights.
Social mobility that is supported by advancement of transportation and telecommunication technology makes the contacts among people more frequent and intensive across the traditional borders. The difference of capabilities, economic background, educational backgrounds, and opportunities to access the resources makes individuals get advantage in life. Further, it makes vertical plurality work in different forms at political, economical, and educational level. Giving that plurality possess two kinds of potential consequences, there is a need to increase the consciousness to accept the differences as a natural in cultural reality. As long as it is functional and do not prejudice against the human dignity. In this perspective, we will deal with the concept of pluralism.
Pluralism comes from the awareness and readiness to accept the differences and manage them as a unit. In the context of our multiethnic society, it should be realized that every ethnic community has its own cultural identity. In addition, the existence of various religions has enriched our nation’s plurality.
The motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as attached on Indonesian symbol of state (Garuda Pancasila) affirms that Indonesian people embrace the principle of pluralism. Pluralism which is meant here is not extreme pluralism (which is the reaction of monism) but pluralism by the attitude of readiness to accept the differences, is not just an objective reality but also a dynamic potency which enables the progress of society in the future. Plurality that contribute the spirit toward the social system in which every cultural elements of the world interact one to another naturally, enriching each other, eventually creates an open, multicultural, and democratic pluralistic society.
RELIGIOUS PLURALITY : BETWEEN EXCLUSIVISM AND INCLUSIVISM
Pluralism in the context of religious life is not only signed by the existence of various religions that existentially have different traditions but also signed by the plurality of interpretations, sects, or faith. Further it also manifests itself in two kind of possible attitude: inclusive or exclusive, with their own figures, organisations, and religious and spiritual communities.
We always have to bear in our mind that, the religious plurality is a very sensitive matter. It relates to the belief and faith regarding an absolute truth, an ultimate truth, concerning the salvation in life after-death. This is manifested in some forms of practices, theological concepts, rituals, or even social activities.
There are some options we can consider when faced with such realities:
- First, accepting the existence of the others based on the principle of peaceful co-existence. This option requires an attitude of non-interference;
- Second, developing socio-religious cooperation through some activities that symbolically show and promote the peaceful and reciprocal respect in the interreligious relations;
- Third, identifying, developing and formulating the common views of religions.
In other perspective, we could also place the religious pluralism in the spirit of “manyama braya” which put the brotherhood based on religion, nation, and humanity. Each of them do not have to conflict with another, each of them has its own place and relevance in their lives, position either as an individual, a state citizen, or a world citizen, and therefore not necessarily fall into the dilemma situation.
GETTING OUT FROM WORLD OF SUSPICION AND HOSTILITY
We do not know yet when we will be able to get out from this grasping situation. Such crises have crumbled the relationships among religions. The religious figures are faced with the challenges that sometimes are laid beyond their competence. While the people and the societies have been covered with suspicion about one another. Negative perceptions arise among people that enable the potency of national disintegration. Every group feels threatened by the other group. Such tragic cases got people get into deep trauma that requires adequate time to overcome. While the possibility to happen again is always exist.
THE HINDU THEOLOGY : PLURALISTIC AND DIALOGICAL
The Hindu point of view regarding pluralism and dialogue is the basis of peaceful interreligious co-existence as contained in holy mantras of Veda as following :
Sam vo manansi san vrata san akutir namansi, ami ve vivrata sthana tan vah san namayamasi (Atharvaveda, Kanda III, Sukta 8, Mantra 5)
(We bend together your minds, together your courses ‘vrata’, together your designs; you yonder who are of discordant courses, we make you bend ‘them’ together here)
Sahrdayan san manasyam avidvesan krnomi vah, Anyo anyam abhi haryata vatsan jatam ivaghnya (Atharvaveda, Kanda III, Sukta 30, Mantra 1)
(Like-heatedness, like-mindedness, non-hostility do I make for you; do you show affection ‘harry’ the one toward the other, as inviolable ‘cow’ toward her calf when born)
Yena deva na vivanti no ca vidvisate mithah, Tat krnmo Brahman vo grhe sanjnanam purusebhyah (Atharvaveda, Kanda III, Sukta 30, Mantra 4)
(That incantation in virtue of which the gods do not go apart, nor hate one another mutually, we peform in your house, concord for ‘your’ men ‘purusa’)
Sanjnanam nah svebhih sanjnanam aranebhih, Sanjnanam asvina yuvam ihasmasu ni yacchatam (Atharvaveda, Kanda VII, Sukta 52, Mantra 1)
(Harmony for us with our own men, harmony with strangers-harmony, O Asvins, do you here confirm in us)
San gacchadhvam san vadadhvam, San vo manansi janatam, Deva bhagam yatha purve sanjanana upasate (Rgveda, Mandala X, Sukta191, Mantra 2)
(Meet together, talk together, let your minds apprehended alike; in like manner as the ancient Gods concurring accepted their portion of the sacrifice)
Samano mantrah samitah samani samanam manah saha cittam esam, Samanam mantran abhi mantraye vah samanena vo havisa juhomi (Rgveda, Mandala X, Sukta 191, Mantra 3)
(Common be the prayer of these ‘assembled worshippers’, common be the acquirement, common be the purpose, associated be the desire. I repeat for you a common prayer, I offer for you with a common oblation)
Samani va akutih samana hrdayani vah, Samanam astu vo mano yatha vah susahasati (Rgveda, Mandala X, Sukta191, Mantra 4)
(Common, ‘worshippers’ by you intention; common be ‘the wishes of’ your hearts; common be your thoughts, so that there may be through union among you)
THE SPIRITUALITY OF HINDU BALI : RESPECTING THE PLURALITY
After 9/11 almost 3000 people were killed, then followed by terrorist attack which are widely known as Bali Bombing Tragedy I and II in Kuta and Jimbaran. Some terrorism attacks also took place in several places across the world. Those are some main reason why the people in the world pay more attention to the importance and urgency of developing the pluralism and tolerance within our life nowadays.
Religious fanatics claim the belief that only they themselves have the absolute truth. Such fanatism contains the potency of violence and hate. When they are implemented, although by small number of people, may cause a huge damage to humanity.
In this context, the spirit of Hindu Bali is hopefully able to contribute its concepts in order to develop the tolerance and building the friendship for achieving the world peace. The pantheism religions such as Hindu Bali can live together with other religions. Its dissemination does not bother the continuity of culture of the recipient society.
In pantheistic societies, the strange values and ideas are acceptable (Arnold Toynbee & Daisaku Ikeda : Perjuangkan Hidup). In Hindu Bali’s concepts, any change in whatever form is accepted as long as it is compatible with and based on Dharma (The Eternal Truth: Sanatana Dharma).
The experts in religion history state that there is no evidence of intolerant in Hinduism. Conflicts are rarely found and the religion dissemination occurs smoothly without tension. Special characteristic of Hindu is a religion of philosophy and therefore respecting the truth of other religions.
Some people even say that such characteristic of toleration in Hinduism is so excessive that enables the mystical religions thereinto (Harun Nasution: Islam Rasional). But some opinions say that tolerance in Hindu means the time prolongation of loss and destructions of Hinduism. Such kind of opinion is proper to be regarded as ignorant.
Based on such Hindu theological concepts, the Hindus are usually more open in recognizing various aspects of God and recognizing the same God in other religions. There is no friction between them and other religions. They do not think that the other religions have been cursed and there is a need for salvation. The Hindus recognize that even one same God is possible to be worshipped in various ways, that is simple, and no problem at all. A Hindu could interact sincerely with anyone regardless of their religion (Stephen Knapp).
In Bali, there are some traditional Muslim villages that existed since the era of kingdoms inBali. There is Pagayaman village at Buleleng, Loloan village at Jembrana, Kepaon village at Denpasar, Nyuh Kuning and Sidemen village at Karangasem, and Gelgel village at Klungkung. Some of those Muslim communities are originated from Blambangan at East Java, South Sulawesi, andLombokIsland. These Muslim communities live together with other communities peacefully. Even, Pagayaman community use Balinese traditional names in front of their Muslim names.
As the king’s servers, these communities enjoy the king’s protection. The King gives them special settlements, lands for mosque buildings. On their pilgrimage to Mekkah (“Haji”) the King gives them support. The Muslim community at Kepaon until now keep their close relationship with Puri Pemecutan (“The Castle of Pemecutan”). In every Traditional Hindu ritual ceremonies, those Muslims of Kepaon contribute, participate, and provide their assistance.
In addition, these communities are able to maintain and implement their own religious traditions, because the Hindu communities around them are not bothering. The Hindus have never tried or influenced them to become Hindus. The Hindus also respect their faith. That is the way they live together harmoniously and peacefully.
LOKSAMGRAHA : THE CONCEPT OF COMMON WELFARE
Hindu always promotes and builds the social justice. The concept of social justice in Hindu is known as Loksamgraha. This concept contains the following attitudes: friendship, loyalty, sincerity, solidarity (especially to the poor), It is very relevant to mention this concept in this very honorable meeting (Conference of Leaders of Religions inAsia).
The problem we are facing now is that in many cases and conflicts, some people say that they act for and on behalf of their faith or religion. Religions are used as justification of violence. In the name of their religions, they take the measures which are actually not conform or even contradict with the taught of religions, which always teach love and peace.
Veda mantra SARVE BHAVANTU SUKHINAH has the meaning that, the individual interest is not the only concern, but the public interest or common interest is as important as or even more important than individual’s interest. Loksamgraha concept as a process can be started from an awareness that we all are brothers.
In WASUDEVA KUTHUMBAKAM concept, it is mentioned that all of us are essentially the same. The suffering of someone is essentially also the suffering of the others. The happiness of someone is essentially also the happiness of the others. That are Thou (Tat tvam asi).
A prosperous society contains all prosperous individuals and families. It is the time to unite ourselves and build a more just and peaceful new world by widening the meaning of Yajna. It is not only devotion to the God but also to the mankind, based on Daya (compassion) and Dana (charity). (Sarvepalli Radhakrisnan)
Based on the above description we eventually come to the following conclusions: The Hindu theology in Holy Vedas is called Brahmavidya or the knowledge about God. Brahmavidya contains the knowledge about various aspects of the God, primarily regarding His relation with all His creation especially humankind in order to generate a humanitarian, pluralistic, and peaceful life.
Humanitarian life is signed with and based on belief and faith is originated from the God and finally will be back to the God as well. Consciousness that atman (soul, spirit) which enliven all creatures is originated from God, has arisen from the concept of namely Panca Mahavakya Upanishad that are: Tat tvam asi (That are Thou), Aham Brahman asmi (I am Brahman), Ayam Atma Brahman (This self is Brahman), Prajnam Brahman (Consciousness is Brahman), and Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahman (All indeed is Brahman).
The Holy Vedas and all Hindu Texts teach the mankind to be aware and realize the plurality, to grow the real and sincere brotherhood by and among the humankind. And to develop the attitude of dialogue and unity for achieving the common objectives of mankind that consist of harmony, peace, and welfare.
There is a Balinese concept widely known as Tri Hita Karana which means ‘Three Causes of Harmony’. They consist of : The harmony between mankind and the God, The harmony between the humankind themselves, and the harmony between the humankind and its environment.
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