DIVERSITY, UNITY, DIVINITY

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From the viewpoint of eternity, everything in the world always appears only more or less temporary. All our experiences of its changing diversity must seem fleeting and insubstantial. Yet to all of us living and acting in this world, it mostly shows itself to be stable and often inert.... a real existence for us, which has its own momentum and laws, packed with an endless variety of things and thoughts, challenges and goals.


THE FACT OF NATURAL DIVERSITY

Diversity characterises everything that makes up the natural world, not excluding human beings or our societies. Human culture and civilisation has always aimed at finding a greater purpose in all this to fulfil it. Without the millions of species of different organisms, plants and animals, the ecology of nature becomes impoverished and can suffer serious breakdowns. Without the many sorts of human activity, the ever-changing pattern of occupations, enterprises and pastimes, the present level of world development could not have been achieved. Thus, variety is clearly 'the spice of life'.

The lesson I see in the fact of this diversity is to perceive everything for what it is and to respect and enjoy its uniqueness. Each moment in as unrepeatable historical event. Each thought, word and deed has specific meaning and consequences in its specific context. Each person is a special individual acting in a private drama. Life's richness comes from this profusion of nature and life and is experienced best through wonder and expanding one's vision all the time to include others and to appreciate their otherness for what it is, not liking them for what we want them to be.

Without this basic experience of diversity, I cannot see how the truth can be known or the unity of all beings be realised. As Sathya Sai Baba urges that we should. At the same time, unity must be sought and realised.


UNITY IN SCIENTIFIC THEORY

Because each object or being has its own raison d'Ítre or function (it's dharma), also in cases where science is unable to determine what it is - we must always examine carefully the multifarous facets of nature and their interrelations before we can build up any sound conception of the unity that is expressed in and through all the many things. The sciences all work on the assumption that all the apparently distinct and different natural phenomena they study in great detail are the expressions of underlying universal laws. Thus, natural science always searches for unity in nature. Its most general theory necessarily assumes a constant energy that is inherent to any physical event that can occur. This uniform energy, though it can never be observed as such is always an assumption. Yet it is a necessary one, as there simply must be a unifying factor in all things and events.

However, the sciences have so far failed to explore the nature of human unity. Neither group unity not social unity are much understood and even less is know to the psychological sciences of the experience of unity and its importance to the growth of a healthy personality. Without the guiding vision that we can experience increasing unity with all that it - and without the insight that 'Unity is Divinity' - it is impossible to see how unity of pupose in human society can be understood and generated.


SOCIAL UNITY & DIVERSITY

Both unity within a nation and international unity are important. As Baba has pointed out, India was conquered by foreign invaders only because disunity prevailed among its various peoples. Also, international unity, such as in the United Nations' institutions, is studied in Sai colleges. Baba contends, however, that it is the good motives and behaviour of many people which bring about a greater communal unity, not formal or political decisions at the top. Mutual tolerance and respect can be exercised at the national or supranational level only when it is backed up by the mass of the population.

Ideas of unity, like most other sublime ideas also propounded by Baba have existed throughout the ages. But Baba's renewal of the call for human unity and, further, our own union with Divinity, is effective because of the power of love is daily demonstrated in practice by him in many ways.

Unity means true understanding of other put into action, which makes it an expression of love. The many amazing manifestations of this beneficial power worldwide - both direct and subtle in nature - have been spreading and reinforcing faith in spirituality since the time of Shirdi Sai Baba. Astute observers can discern the influence of Sathya Sai Baba's teachings in the revival in many lands of selfless spiritual practices both within the older religions and in a range of newly emerging forms.


PURE IDEAS AND UNITY

An idea of unity is somehow present in the human mind, just as is the idea of good and God (even though a person denies that these ideas are true). The fact that such ideas are inherent in us, as if imprinted in our souls, led thinkers like Socrates, Plato and others to conclude that they reflect a higher reality. We are constantly reminded of that reality to some extent by the diverse phenomena of the sensory world in which we are repeatedly reborn. The higher ideas, such as those of beauty, virtue, truth and goodness, are gradually developed and enlarged in our minds when we see examples of them in the outer world. Our perception becomes purified through such ideas or ideals of unity, until the oneness of humanity, of all creation and of God becomes increasingly evident to us.

Practising the ideas of unity involves repeatedly seeing ourselves as part of a greater unit, be it a team, a nation, an organisation, a nation, the world civilisation or God and acting according to it. By making room for others' progress rather than pushing oneself ahead, by competing only so as to excel and not to beat other and also by self-control and avoidance of selfish individualisation, unity with others comes to be an experience and a reality.


UNITY AND DIVINITY

Diversity is not in contradiction to unity, but to division and disharmony. Unity is found precisely in diversity and vice-versa. The greatest instance of diversity in unity is, of course, the entire Cosmos. All the elements of the universe - a bewildering complex of vastly different entities - are held together as one coherent, regulated whole. What other cause can be conceived as capable of designing, creating and maintaining this unitary diversity than Divinely Omnipresent God? That Infinite Consciousness and Love is certainly no 'superfluous idea', as materialists still assert. In short, Unity is Divinity.

Unity and diversity are found at all the different levels of cosmic evolution, while the highest expressible idea, Baba tells us, is Advaita or the teaching of the individual's realisation of unity with the Godhead in non-discriminating total Being-Awareness-Bliss. By wondering at and venerating all the manifestations of the Divine Will, recognising and embracing whatever is unique, different and good for its purpose, we approach unity.

(Robert Priddy. May 1994)

The above material is the copyright of Robert Priddy, Oslo 1999