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April 03, 2005

May peace be with you.

Today, I am grieving the pope. I did not think that I�d feel sad about the loss of Pope John Paul II but I am sad that he is not there anymore. I felt sad about Sankaracharya being arrested but felt that somehow, he might come out unscathed by the scandal and in my fantasy, everything would be set right.

On the other hand, losing John Paul, makes me feel like I lost my own grand father. A kind, loving and stern grand father of mine.

My daughter wondered why I am so affected. We are Hindus and not connected with Pope, right?

I feel that a great saint, a spiritual person of any religion brings the same message - peace, love and compassion for all life and when they leave this earth, we are the losers. It does not matter that we did not worship Christ the same way Christians do but the loss is ours as well.

As I continued to reflect on my daughter�s wonderment, I began to understand my grief a bit better. I am a Hindu by my beliefs and religious practices. But underneath my Hinduism, I am a human being. Inside my human body, I have the same blood that flows in every other human being. It is pretty much interchangeable and does not have any religion, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation boundaries. Once the blood type matches, I could give blood to an unknown person and they can receive it. The same way, the air inside me is shared with everybody else on the planet. Not only human beings but animals, birds, bees and trees share the same air. When I stop breathing that air for a few minutes, I�d fade and die just like many other living beings. I feel the spirit is like that blood or air that is shared among all of us. Just like there are different blood types, there are different religions. But the air is universal. We all breathe polluted air or pure air. So the religion might be different but the spirituality shares the same spirit.

I am a Hindu and also a Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Jain, Sikh, and a Jew in spirit. The prayer of any religion brings out the similar energy in me and touches the same deep silence within me. When I feel arrogant, I pride myself in my tolerance. When I am really in touch with it, I feel ashamed and work harder in developing more tolerance. When I am my arrogance, I experience being Hitler, Gengis Khan and the universal oppressor. When I accept my arrogance, I find a tiny crack, a small gap in which humility is growing.

John Paul the Second was able to find many such cracks in which humanity is alive in all of us. He demonstrated his own humanity at times with his conservative views but it is clear that the Holy Spirit blessed his actions of great courage - showing support for the Solidarity party in Poland that begun the fall of communism in the world, offering apology for the Church�s behavior, going into a mosque, praying with Jews� his courageous acts are many.

It was interesting for me to know that John Paul II was not the first choice of the cardinals. Many favorite cardinals did not get the two-thirds majority in the Sistine Chapel after John Paul I died after 33 days as the Pope. In some ways, John Paul II was the consensus candidate who was destined to do great things for humanity.

I am glad I lived at the same time he lived and may peace be with you, John Paul and thank you for who you were and who you are... May your journey to the Holy Father be joyful and peaceful...

Posted by pkaipa at April 3, 2005 10:35 PM

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