Despite being thrashed, assailed, stoned and even torched again and again since time unknown, it refuses to fade away.  Unabashed, the Evil is at work, making humans fight each other and unsettle the human world.  “Where has it come from?  Who had created  it ?”, the mind wondered.   The framework of humanity rested on such a foundation that made humans lead an amicable life and facilitated mankind reach the pinnacle of success and glory.  This foundation, once the mainstay of human society, has long sunk into oblivion,   paving the way for conflict, hatred and mistrust to take over and make the world  soak in violence.  Violence, no matter under whatever guise it takes place, is despicable in that it makes humans suffer, it hurts   humans and it kills humans.  Even so, almost the entire world is in the grip of violence.   While it is   present in different forms and shades, the most gruesome and currently plaguing the world and the humanity, is terrorism.  Who created  terrorism  and  terrorists ? Where   they get their sustenance from ? What course the humanity is taking in the face of all that is happening all over the world ? “Why is all this  happening ?  The core of human civilization was peaceful co-existence that  was based on affection, warmth and mutual trust.  Then when and why have they turned hateful and distrustful of each other ? What went wrong in the course of journey humans embarked upon  since the time of inception.  When and how the Evil took over”, asked the mind.  Dismayed over not getting  answers but only lots of justifications coming forth, the mind brooded for a while and bent on getting to the crux, vows to make a  sojourn into the past.   And off it went a million years back in time with a speed greater than that of light.  It traversed widely and explored thoroughly and perceived the situation  well and truly excepting once when got stunned on having come face to face with a truth that was eternal but did not agree with the prevailing belief.  Having done the job, the mind, amazed but reassured and despair making way for hope, sets out on a journey way back home with an account willing to share with one and all  through the lines following next.

So, it happened long time back antedating several billion years, creating all matter, energy, senses and everything animate, inanimate, movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, perceptible, imperceptible and whatnot.

But enigmatic that it was / as had happened deep into the past / the mind was at a loss to gauge / the what, why, when, how of it all / savants say Big Bang it was / cogent though, but don’t yet know / who  to blame for had it caused / was it Evil or the God / or  might it have been someone else / neither Evil nor the God.

Such being the realization, the mind deemed it fit to only go for what  followed the splendid phenomenon. So determined, the mind having embarked on the journey jumped into the period of the great cosmic event that besides creating other marvels, also produced Earth a few billion years ago and gave birth to innumerable organisms on the Earth with the human species supposedly having made its appearance  more than a million years ago.

As with other beings, humans too were born and raised  in the lap of nature and drew sustenance  from it but unlike other beings, humans were endowed with intellect, reasoning and exceptional capabilities and, therefore, could visualise the omnipresence of a supreme entity which precipitated and orchestrated everything in the Universe.  Each creation, animate or inanimate,  had come with a purpose and a role to play.  Humans, with remarkable acumen and a highly evolved mind, were the only performer to spruce up the earth through innovation, furbish it by making use of creativity, make it colourful by using imagination and turn it into a haven by nurturing  the ideal of ‘live and let live’.  To achieve this all, the savants and the thinkers were to lead the way every so often.  The Sages and  polymaths descending on earth from time to time, acted  as pacesetters and preached the virtues of fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy as a mandate coming  from the All Powerful by practising which alone the humanity could survive.  Like the nine human sentiments,  the feeling of fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy also dwell in the human mind.  The sages aroused that feeling and the virtues of fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy together composed the Religion of Humanity, the religion in the purest form which the ancient people followed with devotion and  adopted it as a way of life thus laying foundation of a  socio-religious system that promoted peace and brotherhood among people.  This served as a tool of unification of people from diverse backgrounds making them come close to each other.  Moving freely from place to place, humans roamed around the world, mingled with different people, grouped themselves into  societies, formed communities, set up localities and established settlements.   World  was like one great nation for all humans. Religion, the epitome of fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy, reached the minds and hearts of people all over.  Meanwhile, their social and cultural life also began taking shape.  Customs and traditions were evolved making their social life active, orderly and meaningful.  While customs symbolized certain practices prevailing in a society which the members were expected to follow in order to fulfil their obligations, traditions denoted the way of doing certain things and conduct oneself in the society.  Apart from customs and traditions, rituals also came into existence.  Excepting  some differences caused due to the variation in local conditions and differences in customs, traditions and languages, rituals were essentially the same everywhere as people sought to invoke forces of nature through them.  Humans everywhere acknowledged the forces of nature and worshipped them.   Rituals were basically an extension of  nature worship and had developed through the ages.  They were somewhat mystical in nature and broadly dealt with spirituality, supernatural and also carried various rites. As  human groups were continuously on the move, their customs, traditions and rituals kept sharing elements from each other.

Religion, the guiding light, radiated the light of  fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy  which dispensed peace and tranquility to humans.  Life moved on like the  flow of a calm river for million of years until  cracks began to show up.  What started causing ripples in the serene water ?  Something unpleasant that started out eating into the  fabric of human society. And that was Sectarianism precipitating conflict and disharmony among people.  Fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy, the virtues of Religion, started waning and the evils of sectarianism – self-indulgence, bigotry, fanaticism and dissension – began to grow.

While  exploring the earth for newer avenues  humans came in contact with other groups and got mixed with each other thus setting forth amalgamation of  different groups and cultures.  The process kept  multiplying forming big and dominant groups with smaller groups merging with them. The combination of  customs, traditions and rituals which they practised were referred to as cultures and later these groups with a specific cultural identity became different sects, faiths and cults.  Thus the humans who initially started out as family groups, turned into bigger groups by merging together  and eventually became parts of sects,  faiths or cults. This completed a cycle of societal development supposedly happening at different periods in different parts of the world.  Nonetheless, a number of smaller groups still existed.  Many of them were inhabiting the remote and inaccessible areas and had opted to remain so.  Even today  many such groups living in primitive conditions exist across the continents.

Period of time elapsed. Societies, colonies, villages and towns having been established, humans were gradually heading towards a settled life.  In the process people from different backgrounds and cultures came to settle down together giving rise to settlements with cosmopolitan atmosphere, thus adding a new phase in the development of human society.  With the passage of time the needs of the growing human population were also growing.  Every aspect of human life was undergoing change.  The notion of trade, commerce and politics was developing, causing competition and giving rise to struggle for survival and supremacy.  The sects, faiths and cults did not remain unaffected by all these developments.  The business class, the political system and the royalty, all began taking interest in the affairs of these sects, faiths and cults which enhanced their clout even more, thus paving way for their institutionalisation and empowerment.  Consequently, their influence grew and they became dominant.  With the sects becoming dominant, the influence of  fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy – the virtues of Religion – gradually started waning and eventually became non-existent.  By this time scores of sects, faiths and cults were in place to subdue the Religion by obscuring it through the veil woven from customs,  traditions,  rituals,  languages, dogmas and colours of all kinds.  Finding  the moment right and favourable, the dominant ones among these sects, faiths and cults took on the mantle of religion and began to profess as such.  The true Religion was usurped.

The true Religion is objective.  It is a gift from the All Powerful.  It is universal as it belongs to the entire humanity.   Sects, faiths and cults are subjective and belong to certain segments of society as these were created by humans and only catered to the needs of those who adhere to them.  Religion radiated bliss and happiness; sects and cults often  evoked hatred, violence and antagonism.  Religion has remained the same throughout but sects have kept changing.  The birth and rise of hard-core militant outfits and terrorist groups all over the world is the legacy of the sects and cults.  There are said to be a little more than four thousand faiths, sects and cults around the world.  Perhaps none of these can claim of being monolithic.  They stand dissected into sub sects, each vying with the other for supremacy and presuming itself to be the only source to  reach God.

God bestows blessings by way of  supreme bliss, extreme tranquility and gratification.   He is only accessible  to those who follow the true Religion, the religion of humanity which comprises fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy.

There had been efforts to link  rituals, traditions, customs and languages to particular sects,  cults and faiths. The Rituals, traditions, customs and languages  have evolved along  the human civilization and were deeply ingrained in the psyche of people.  They were with the humans much before the sects, cults and faiths came into existence. There have been people belonging to one faith but speaking different languages, following different customs, having different traditions and practising different rituals.  Conversely, one may come across people belonging to different faiths but speaking same language, following same customs and practising same rituals.  Scriptures of more than one faith can be found written in the same  language as these faiths shared a common place of birth and a common language that existed  there for centuries.

What has been observed heretofore is enough to deduce  the extent to which these sects and cults were misused to create  bitterness and mistrust among people. However, that is one side of the story.  It has the other side too and looking at it, the role of sects, cults and faiths cannot be ignored.   There is nothing  good or bad in itself.   It is the intention that matters.   The accomplishment of the sects, cults and faiths is proportional to the intention and capability of their handlers at the helm.   A cult provides a way of life  to  people it represents. It promotes a community feeling among the followers and confers a certain identity upon them.  Using the clout they have with the people  the cults can turn the leaning of disruptive elements from hooliganism and violence to creation and restoration.

Problems arise and resolved.  Problems are part of life.  But when the cause of the problem stems from social or faith related factors, it assumes serious proportions.  Misuse of sects, faiths and cults is one such problem.  Who are those who take recourse to such misuse and why they do so, is not hard to discern. There are numerous terror groups wreaking havoc all over.  Various terror and militant groups are carrying out  violent and aggressive activities almost everywhere.  They even seem to be hell-bent on destroying the cultural heritage of the world and have even no hesitation in wrecking the  historical and archaeological artefacts.  Misuse of  shrines by terrorists and militants for unlawful activities is not uncommon.  It is not difficult for such elements to mobilise people in the name of sects and cults so as to trigger communal  flare-up by exploiting their sentiments.  As of now, the humanity is in the grip of  sectarianism and countless sects, faiths and cults are dominating the lives of people.  The virtues of the true Religion – fraternity,  harmony, forbearance and empathy – have been rendered obsolete. Sectarianism is ruling the hearts and minds of people.  The terror groups, by taking shield behind cults and faiths, are causing widespread grief and suffering to innocent people through their activities.  The world  is virtually being held to ransom by those striking in the name of sects, faiths and cults.  This problem concerns not one region, not one nation but the entire world.  The problem is complex.   Nevertheless, if people of the world unite in order to resolve the problem, all complexities would come crashing down like a shack of sand. It is the people of the world who can cause a sea change and make the sects, cults and faiths know their position as  servant and not the master of society.  They are to serve people by rendering spiritual services, showing compassion and doing acts of benevolence and altruism. The devotion, trust and conviction which their followers pose in them is their inner strength.  Imposition of self-seeking persons in their affairs is fraught with danger as they might use them to further their personal ends. These are the elements that are creating all the ruckus, unrest and violence.  Such elements operating in the guise of saviour of sects, faiths or cults, in fact lie in ambush all the time and unleash violence and bloodbath when the moment comes, all in the name of religion.  By committing such felonies they might quench their thirst of blood but leave a trail of destruction behind by causing loss of lives and damage to property and make innocent people suffer untold miseries, besides turning the atmosphere distrustful and hurting the humanity gravely.  If such elements are allowed to get sustenance, they tend to grow so ferocious as to wage a virtual  war against the whole world and hold the world to ransom, all in the name of some sect, faith or cult.  If it is happening today in one part of the globe, tomorrow it might happen in other parts as well.  This threatening trend needs to be contained.  This is high time the people of the world unite and rise to block the tide of violence and destruction.  It will be a turning point for the four thousand sects, faiths and cults, hitherto pulling in as many directions, to recoil and shrink to their fitting sizes and roles and make them fall in the lap of true religion, the Religion of Humanity and affirm the virtues of fraternity, harmony, forbearance and empathy.  It’s so happening and that will make the Evil defunct by depriving it of the sustenance. The Evil will stand vanquished and the event will mark the victory of the Religion over the forces of hatred, violence and destruction thereby clearing the way for Religion to regain its lost glory and ground and lead  the humankind along the path of peace, certitude, ecstasy and blessedness in times to come.