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Sunday 19 January 2020
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Letters to the Editor

Religious studies can curb crime

THE EDITOR: In these troubling times where crime seems to be ever increasing, we need to seize every opportunity to remember God and to spread His teachings, no matter the religion.

Guru Purnima was celebrated on Tuesday. It is a spiritual tradition celebrated annually by devotees to revere and express gratitude to their gurus and spiritual teachers. These teachers are those who have attained enlightenment and have shared their wisdom on the concepts of self-realisation.

This tradition is usually celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Yogis and other Indian or Eastern religions. However, when one studies the meaning of Guru Purnima it can be celebrated by all religions.

Guru, according to the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, comes from the Sanskrit root gu, which means “darkness” and ru, which means “that which dispels.” So guru is a spiritual teacher that dispels or removes darkness from his or her devotees’ lives.

Jesus Christ is a guru. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a guru. Lord Krishna is a guru. Sage Vyasa is a guru. Buddha is a guru. Paramahansa Yogananda is a guru and since Trinidad can boast of being home to many major religions we all have equal share in celebrating this beautiful tradition.

In light of this, I believe that religious studies should be made mandatory in all schools – from primary level to Form Six. Spiritual lessons teach students how to behave, about God, the journey through life and death and introduce morals, ethics and heroism to hungry minds.

Since most schools do not have a mandatory religious studies class, Guru Purnima is a tradition that can become very important to us. It gives devotees a chance to reacquaint themselves with the teachings of his or her guru but it can also be a learning experience for those who are not familiar with similar teachings among the religions.

TT is becoming a textbook for horrific atrocities and no politician seems able to curb it. Let us consider reintroducing religious studies into our schools as a mandatory subject like mathematics and English language. What have we to lose?


San Fernando

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