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Understanding the value of diversity

KYALAMI - The Vedanta Institute of South Africa encourages people to reflect on the true value and inherent purpose of Heritage Day.

Vedanta is derived from two words, ‘Veda’ meaning, ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Anta’ meaning ‘end’.

Vedanta literally means culmination of knowledge. It is an ancient philosophy which enunciates the eternal principles of life and living.

The Vedanta Institute holds weekly classes in Kyalami.

Linestha Chevan, director and Vedanta philosophy teacher at the Vedanta Institute in Johannesburg, said South Africa is a magnificent nation which is diverse in its people, traditions, belief systems, cultural values and way of life.

“As South Africans we often fail to understand the true value of this diversity,” he said. “We become complacent in the colourfulness of our people and their lives, a complacency that does not allow us to gain the true value of distinction and difference.”

Chevan said any family, community or nation that has failed to unite as a while, did not fail to do so due to distinction and difference, but rather due to lack of understanding of these distinctions.

He mentioned that differences are inherent in the world but understanding these differences is a crucial and often neglected step in the process of uniting.

“A community or country that remains ignorant of the diversity of its members feels a sense of ‘otherness’ and develops a resistance towards them,” Chevan said.

“This resistance manifests in action. It is no wonder that we are a world riddled with terrorism, militancy, vandalism and war.” Chevan said Heritage Day is a day that affords each South African the opportunity to share their heritage with others and in doing so, assists the nation to understand and gain value from the rich culture that has moulded each member.

“Let us use this Heritage Day to understand the true value ingrained in our culture,” Chevan said.

“With the knowledge that we come to possess and share, we will find that our differences are the most powerful tool to establish a unified South Africa.”

Details: linestha@vedanta.org.za; www.vedanta.org.za

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