Today was Flag Day. In the U.S. if you don’t know, this is supposed to be a day to honor the stars and stripes of our national flag. I am not much for sentimental patriotism, anyone will tell you. So today I posted a photo on Facebook of a brilliant orange flag flapping in the wind with a clear blue sky behind it. On the flag was a golden Aum symbol. It’s Flag Day, I displayed my flag. I headlined the photo with the phrase “Happy Flag Day.” Officially I got one response, from another Hindu who enthusiastically supported my show of love for the Universal scope of dharma.
Other than that, I get the feeling that this was seen as disrespect toward the red, white and blue, the American flag. But why should this be so? You can not tell me that it’s what the American flag represents that was being done a disservice here. The American flag may represent liberty and justice in your head, but Aum literally IS Liberty. The red, white and blue represents a man-made construct of a country which has man-made borders, whereas Aum is never made and never dies, and there are no borders.
Disrespectful to those who died for our country’s flag? Again, I think not. How can that be, when the man made, often fictional ideals for which we are told they died are a direct result of the “otherness” created when one guy throws up a flag and on the other side of a line in the sand another guy throws up a different flag of a different color, both representing man-made ideals?
In response to this, one might say “what if someone drew a line in the sand next to your Aum flag and put up another flag with a crucifix on it? That would be fine. The Aum flag is not a Hindu flag. Aum is beyond all religions, many aspects of which are man-made ways of connecting to the Eternal and Formless. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims all say Aum, its just that each of these sects pronounces it differently. Aum. Hum. Amen. Amin. Same thing.
Aum is the best way to truly pay due respect for those we’ve lost, and to most clearly envision the ideals of liberty and justice, and anyway I think we have far too many Nation-worshiping holidays in the states. That, to me, is true idolatry. All they do is perpetuate an unhealthy sense of “otherness.”