Growing up in India, the theme of “Unity in Diversity”, was a common refrain in our social studies and civics text books. For a country with twenty-two states (at the time I was a student), many of them with their own languages (and many more dialects), customs and sub-cultures, interpretations of Hinduism and many other religions, it would seem that theme of “Unity in Diversity” would be indispensable to keep the country together. In fact, I remember writing many essays in middle school and doing many projects celebrating this theme.
When I moved to the United States, this country seemed, on the surface, very “homogeneous” as compared to the widespread cultural diversity that I grew up with. The more years I spent here, the more I realized that diversity has many aspects. It manifests differently in different countries and cultures, and, of course, there is tremendous diversity in the USA – one just has to look a little bit beneath the surface. External diversity can conceal internal homogeneity, and vice-versa.
Yes, it is indeed a herculean task to weave a thread of Unity in the face of external, visible diversity, as it exists in India. Perhaps an even bigger task is to inculcate some aspects of Unity in the heart of diverse people, diverse cultures and perhaps even diverse religions. This revelation was brought home (again) to me in a wonderful conversation that I had with my good twitter friend, @EdwardColozzi on Friday afternoon. Edward has been a wonderful friend of the #SpiritChat community, almost since the inception of the weekly chat. He is a Career-Life counselor, and a big believer in Unity and the concept of “One Spirit”. The topic of “The Spirit of Diversity” is inspired by our conversation about the discovery of “One Spirit” among our diversities.
Some of you may be aware that Science has been hard at work to identify this fundamental commonality – sometimes referred to as the search for the “God particle”. While Science remains hard at work, we can approach this from the Spiritual side. One proclamation of this Unity is made in the Advaita philosophy of the Vedanta ~ which states that there is the One, indivisible, and we all are manifestations of the One. An analogy would be that of the One milk, and the many products (cheese, yogurt, sour cream and so on) that are manifestations of milk… I am sure that you can come up with some analogies of your own too 🙂
Well, I believe I have said enough to frame our “Spirit of Diversity” discussion. A few questions that come to mind are – where does this Diversity among us come from? Why is Diversity necessary at all? And what would happen if all this outward Diversity were to disappear? Why is it important to understand the nature, the spirit of Diversity? And where does Love fit into the equation of Diversity and Unity?
I invite all of you who have read this far to join us on Sunday May 5th at our regular time of 9amET in our weekly #SpiritChat discussion on twitter. Let us celebrate our Diversity as we contemplate the ideal of Unity.
Namaste. Be well.