Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Winds of Change in Ramazan

We need to change the current trend of affairs in today's world. The world is suffering from an acute case of mismanagement. global powers intervene in the affairs of nations only to secure their interests. It seems that nothing is in its place.The ongoing escalation of violence in many parts of the world, the widening gap between rich and poor nations, the scourge for more wealth and prosperity among the rich and insecurity, poverty and hatred among the miserable masses has taken the world to the verge of unsustainability . The world has not become a better place for people after the world powers intervened in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Palestine,  in Libya, in Syria. Now, Snowden tells us that the details of our lives are all under the scrutiny of the US intelligence apparatus, the so called  leading country  of freedom and human rights in the world is now accused of controlling everything to maintain its supremacy and control over the wealth, resources and peoples of the world. What can we do as humans who aspire for justice and peace. 
 In  2004, as the Vice President of Iran  and during the Khatami Administration , I was invited to deliver a speech at the University of Seoul. The conference hall was jammed with students and academics who were curious to hear from a woman Vice President from Iran.

In that session I spoke about the common aspirations of human societies , about the fact that many global challenges including environmental degradation and the widening gap between rich and poor nations are rooted in the distorted lifestyles that we humans pursue. We need to improve ourselves individually and collectively in terms of  consumption patterns,  destruction of the natural environment, violence, war and abrogation of human rights.Today we come to the conclusion at the international level that we need to change lifestyles and attitudes in order to correct the current unsustainable trends. I mentioned the need for an inner journey to correct the attitudes and behavior that has become so detrimental. The Four Journeys of Mulla Sadra could be taken as a model , where four stages of cognition and spiritual upliftment were included, I noted. I was fascinated to hear the very intelligent questions and the level of understanding that Korean students displayed to concepts which came from a very distant country and culture but which touched common human values and aspirations. 
The inner journey we all aspire for may begin with the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a chance to change the monotonous routine of our self-centered and egoistic lives . It is a chance to see beyond the material limits of the self and by closing doors on material senses and desires, to open a door to the mystical realm of the spirit. Ramadan is the month when Muslims refrain from eating and abstain from desires. One should endeavor to refrain from lying and all other sins during this holy month. Ramadan is a time for the inner journey for perfection.  Ramadan has benefits for both the mind and the body as well as the spirit. Eating, sleeping and work behaviors are all altered during this month paving way for a new lifestyle during the whole year ahead.
Ramadan tells us that in order to change the world people need to change their lifestyles, their attitudes, their desires and behavior needs to change before they can change their society and change the current trend of affairs in today's world. 

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