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For Sanantan Hindu Dharma, Varanasi, also known as Kashi, the city of light, is the Centre of the Mandala. In the flood of dissolution at the end of the Age,Varanasi is said to remain untouched, held aloft on Shiva's trident. Thus it is the City Indestructible, a beacon of light for all.
In this beautiful spot, evening arati was being performed to Ganga Ma (River Ganges) at Dasashvamedha Ghat when the bomb went off, killing a little girl and injuring twenty others, some critically. It was heartbreaking to think of this act of violence occurring in such a sacred place and at such a holy time. Yet as reported by Central Chronicle, the people have remained calm and there had been no outbreak of communal violence. The peace-loving Muslims of Varansi and Uttar Pradesh are not being made to pay for the actions of a few extremists.
When I see one religious group targeting another in the way innocent worshipers, tourists and children were targeted Tuesday, it reminds me of how important it is that we overcome these divisions and separations. So often we try to make peace through war, to impose peace through occupation. Yet war and occupation can never bring peace because peace is inseparable from liberty and justice. As Pope John XXII said, the four pillars of peace are truth, justice, love and liberty. Peace will come only when we respect those who differ from us just as we do those who share our views. Our hope of peace will perish just as the tender little girl perished in the bomb blast, unless we reach into our common humanity and share love and support beyond these divisions. We saw an example of this recently when both Turkey and the Palestinian Authority came to the aid of Israel during the forest fire. When we reach beyond our divisions, we sow vital seeds of peace.
Creation, like a prism
Fragments the pure white light of truth
And folk in different lands
Catching sight of different colours
Have taught that, 'it is green',
Or 'it is gold.'
Today, from the seeds of light
Scattered over the earth
We reap a rainbow harvest.