Way and Wayfarers

“Their punishment, for fighting about religion, was that each had to learn one complete prayer from the religious observances of the other. ‘In this way is justice done,’ Quasim Ali said that night, his bark-colored eyes softening on the two young men,’ because justice is a judgment that is both fair & forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. You can see, by what we have done with these two boys, that justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them… The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men. It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men – it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone – the noblest man alive or the most wicked – has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.”

Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.

But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise

beyond the highest which is in each one of you,

So the wicked and the weak

cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.

And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,

So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong

without the hidden will of you all.

Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.

You are the way and the wayfarers.

And when one of you fall down he falls for those behind him,

a caution against the stumbling stone.

Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him,

who though faster and surer of foot,

yet removed not the stumbling stone.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet