Radhanath Swami on ‘Unity is Strength’
“One of the greatest powers in all fields of life is unity.” – Radhanath Swami
The topic of unity has been pondered, reflected, and pursued since time immemorial—how to create unity within this world? One of the greatest powers in all fields of life is unity.
But there is a fundamental problem: there are so many diversified distinctions between living beings. Everyone has their own conception of their identity, and this creates a natural conflict among those who look different, think different, or act different.
There has always been conflict between the castes, not only in India, but all over the world, though the castes may go by different names in different places. There is the educational class, there is the administrative class, there is the working class, and there is the class of trade and agriculture in every society. Also, there have always been distinctions and conflicts between nationalities,
between races, between religions, between generations, between sexes, and between philosophers.
On practically every level of the world, there is reason for conflict. Even within a family, there’s the older brother and the younger brother and that creates conflict.
“As long as everyone has their separate, independent interests, there will be conflicts.” – Radhanath Swami
There is an example: if you throw a stone in a clear pond of water, wherever that stone falls, it will create a circle, and that circle will expand, expand, and expand. If you put another stone and throw it into another part of that water, it will create another center, and from that center, the circle will get bigger and bigger. However many different places you put stones, there will be different circles, and they will all collide and create a tumultuous situation in the water. But if you throw every stone in the same place, because there is the same center, there is no conflict amongst the circles created.
On December 7, 1944, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Before that Churchill had been pleading with America to get involved in World War II because Hitler was conquering one nation after another. Since America was still reeling from a major depression, it was hesitant to enter the war. But when the bombs came to their own backyard, they realized, “We have to fight this. Whether
we like it or not, we are in the world war. It’s not a matter of choice; it’s a matter of emergency.” Because of the unity that resulted amongst the allied nations, they won the war.
That is the strength of unity.
In India, one man, Mahatma Gandhi, unified the nation in such an incredible way. What could one little old man, who had taken a vow of ahimsa, nonviolence, do to the British Empire? At that time the British Empire was the most powerful force on earth, but this one small, old personality had the power to unify millions of people and that unity compelled the British Empire to give up.
Michael Jordan, one of the most popular and famous basketball players in the world, spoke something very interesting. He was in a game and there were just a few seconds left before the game ended. He was in a position from where he could easily throw the ball, and if he made that score, he would have established a world record in the history of basketball for making maximum
points in a game. Everybody was so excited, but to everyone’s great surprise, he passed the ball to one of his team mates who stood closer to the basket and that person made the point and they won the game. The newspapers asked him, “Why did you do that? You could have gone down in history.” And he said, “I am not concerned with that. When I’m playing, I’m only concerned with the
team. If you want a strong team, every team player has to think in terms of the team first and one’s individual interests last; otherwise, the team cannot be a champion team.
” He continued, “Even though it was an easy shot for me, it was an easier shot for my teammate. So my passing the ball to him meant a greater chance of our team winning the game. That is more important than I going down in history.” Because of this team spirit that team won almost every championship in that decade. That is the strength of unity.
– Radhanath Swami