The world today is rising against inequality. In such pressing times, let us not miss a key insight into a society facing prejudices: that all biases spring in the smallest unit of society – the human mind!

Whether it be bullying on school playgrounds or sexism at the workplace, all of it begins in the space between our ears. And while laws and protests may instill fear in a prejudiced society, they do not wipe the biases we harbor in our heads.

Considering the numerous biases in our own minds, an important question arises: Do people with no biases and a true sense of equality exist – or ever existed?

Our ancient scriptures suggest a resounding yes!

After having explored and mastered their minds, rishis or the seers of past arrived at an extraordinary realization – that all of us are one. Their treasures of ideas have been assembled in various scriptures. Following are a few  thoughts which will make you see the concept of equality in a new light:

1. The truly learned see with equal vision a scholar of humility and learning, a cow, an elephant, and a social outcast. – The Bhagavad Gita

The verse in sanskrit:

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śhuni chaiva śhva-pāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśhinaḥ

According to The Bhagavad Gita, everyone is equal to the wise one. An animal, a learned and wise person or someone who does not fit in – everyone is equal. When a person has such an equal vision, he/she cannot possibly be biased against a particular gender, race or a section of society.

2. I regard them to be perfect yogis who see the true equality of all living beings. – The Bhagavad Gita

The verse in sanskrit:

ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśhyati yo ’rjuna
yogī paramo mataḥ

According to Lord Krishna, the ideal of equality is possessed by the perfect yogi. Here, a yogi does not refer to someone who practices yoga but someone who remains equanimous and stable-minded even under extreme conditions. In this article, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares about the eight qualities of a yogi.

But, what realizations does a wise one or a yogi have that brings him or her such an equalist vision? The next few quotes explain.

3. Despite the body, we are all one. – The Ashtavakra Gita

The verse in sanskrit:

eko hum dehavanapi

All our differences are based on the body – this person  is black, that person is smarter and so on.

The Ashtavakra Gita states that despite the body, we are all one!

4. The whole universe is indwelled by Isha or divinity. – The Isha Upanishad

The verse in sanskrit:

Om ishavyasamidam sarvam yatkincha jagatyam jagat

So, what makes us one? The Isha Upanishad says the presence of the divine consciousness in every being and nook and corner of the universe is what makes the seemingly disparate world, one.

5. The same consciousness that shines in the sun also dwells in the little worm that crawls in a hole on this earth. – The Yoga Vasistha

The verse in sanskrit:

Yaiva cid bhuvana bhogabhuushane vyomni bhaaskare
Dharaavivarakosasthe saiva citkitakodare

The all-pervading divine consciousness is present in the gigantic sun and in the minuscule worm. The same energy drives both. Similarly, cutting past our prejudices, the divine consciousness pervades everyone equally, regardless of intelligence, social or economic status.

6. Just like a cloth is a thread, in reality, that way the world is just consciousness. – The Ashtavakra Gita

The verse in sanskrit:

Tantumatro bhavedeva pato yadvadvicharitaha
Atma tanmatram evedam tadvadvishwam vicharitam

A cloth may have beautifully painted flowers at one place and it may be plain white in color at the other. Yet, the thread is same everywhere. Irrespective of its varied appearance, a cloth remains a cluster of a single thread. Similarly, the diverse world is made up of that one divinity.

7. Just like in the sugarcane, the sweetness is present throughout the cane.
That way I am all-pervading throughout this world. – The  self-realized King Janak in Ashtavakra Gita

The verse in sanskrit:

Yathaivekshurase klriptam tena vyaptaiva sharkara
Tatha vishwam mayi klriptam maya vyaptam nirantaram

What if you were told that the all-pervading divine consciousness is not an esoteric idea of the divine but in you as well?

Upon self-realization, King Janak identifies himself with the subtlest aspect of existence that pervades the universe. So, he realizes that He is present in every being of the world; his servants, his ancestors, his wife, his countrymen – were all Him.

Now, you cannot be biased for or biased against your own self, can you?

8. He who constantly sees all beings in the Self (God) and the Self (God) in all beings does not hate. – The Isha Upanishad

The verse in sanskrit:

Yastu sarvani butanyatmanyevanupasyati srvabhutesu catmanam tato na vijugupsate

When hatred disappears, how can prejudices and bigotry stay?

Considering the differences in race, ideologies, wealth and so on, a world of equality is impossible. However, the quotes above show the possibility of us treating everyone with love and respect. It is because when there are no biases in our mind, everyone in the world can truly be seen for the life that they are.

Written by Vanditaa Kothari