“People should first be taught what they are. Are they their bodies, or something else? That is the beginning of education. Now everyone is educated to think he is his body. Because someone accidentally gets an American body, he thinks, ‘I am an American.’ This is just like thinking, ‘I am a red shirt,’ just because you are wearing a red shirt. You are not a red shirt; you are a human being. Similarly, this body is like a shirt or coat over the real person—the spirit soul. If we recognize ourselves simply by our bodily ‘shirt’ or ‘coat,’ then we have no spiritual education.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Science Of Self-Realization, Ch 2a)
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Friend1: I think the definition of “offensive speech” is rapidly expanding.
Friend2: What do you mean? What are you basing this opinion on?
Friend1: In general, the kind of statement which can get a person fired. Namely, a person of prominence.
Friend2: Like a television star?
Friend1: Right, or an athlete. They have endorsements, after all. It’s gotten ridiculous. The modern term for it is “cancel culture.”
Friend2: I am offended and never listening to you again. How dare you say such a thing.
Friend1: Meanwhile, most of the offended are not patrons. That is to say I am outraged over what someone said and I demand that they be fired, but I never actually heard of this person until now.
Friend2: Another aspect to the illusion that is maya. I’ve read where many of these cancel campaigns are really run by a handful of people. They develop algorithms to post messages to make it look like millions of people are outraged.
Friend1: The offensive speech usually relates to gender, ethnicity or race. It seems the divisions run deep and date back many years.
Friend2: Since the beginning of time. Shastra teaches that this is the real skin disease. A person identifies with their gross body, which is temporary.
Friend1: I know that spiritual education is the only cure, but is there a kind of quick hit that can get a person’s attention right off the bat? You know, without going into the difference between matter and spirit, the Brahman energy, seeing the spiritual equality of all beings, etc.
Friend2: To me, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says it best. If you are bigoted towards another race today, know that there is every chance you will end up taking birth as a member of that race in the future. Moreover, you might have been in your adversary’s position in a previous birth.
Friend1: You know, that is really important to realize. Because people tend to identify with their ancestors of many generations prior. They look back in history and the treatment of a particular race and then demand restitution.
Friend2: Fixing the wrong, even though neither you nor I were living during that time. They may not even be my ancestors, since members of my family came to the country via immigration. I might share the same race with people from one hundred years ago, but my family history is different.
Friend1: The concept would be, “Don’t hate your enemy, because one day you might become them.”
Friend2: Oh, for sure. It is a way to view life in their shoes, as well. A different perspective. Truly understanding both sides. An intelligent person makes their decision after considering the various points of view. Otherwise, the easiest thing to do is hate.
Friend1: Point the finger of accusation. “You are a sinner,” however a sinner is defined.
Friend2: There is the additional complication that the differences are in one sense real. People inhabit different body types, and those have different qualities. We are the same on the inside, but obviously there are tendencies depending on the type of body you accept. There should be unity in diversity. Everyone working towards a common cause. Strength through peace and love, directed at the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of the material and spiritual energies.
Hatred from this side to see,
Thinking that different from me.
But in future possibly to become,
Change through reincarnation done.
Understanding the proper way,
Hearing what others have to say.
Since a single father everyone to share,
Only from spiritual education aware.
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