Recently, a question was asked in the comment section by Mr. Sandeep from Toronto.
Could you please help me elaborate the following?
"All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything."
The modern science has also shown that the basic fundamental building material of every living or non-living being is the same. In this regard, there is ‘oneness’ among everything and every creature.
Yet, there is a difference in the degree of this ‘oneness’.
Though there is ‘oneness’ among all the creatures, yet some life forms are considered higher than the others because of the higher level of their intelligence, such as human beings.
And though, philosophically all human beings are equal, practically some difference has to be maintained considering certain factors that we may call ‘different degrees’.
Take the example of the family members or teachers and Gurus. There is oneness among all people because of the common factor that all are human beings. But yet there is a difference in 'degree". Teachers and Gurus should be respected more because they have more knowledge and experience; parents should be respected more because of their place in children’s lives.
One should treat every member of his or her family equally; with ‘oneness’, but at the same time, the proper relationship between the father, son, husband or brother, and mother, sister, wife or daughter must also be maintained.
A soldier and a commander have ‘oneness’ in the fact that they both are an integral part of the army, yet there is a difference in degree of their status.
In one of my previous articles, I gave another example about the gold ring. A ring, a necklace and a bracelet all have 'oneness' in the fact that they are all made of gold but their ‘degree’ would vary according to the amount of gold used in each of them. So their value might be different even though there is 'oneness' of gold amongst them.
Similarly, every individual is part of the ‘whole’. There is oneness, because all are of the same kind....humans, and part of God. But some people may have more qualities of truthfulness, kindness, benevolence, faith, honesty, Seva, Bhakti, and Vishaalta etc. than others, so they would be naturally considered higher in degree, though 'oneness' is still there among all.
If we remember this secret of oneness, we will not discriminate or hate anyone, even though we may respect someone more than others because of the difference in 'degree'. The ‘degree’, which is not based on the grounds of race, color, creed, religion, or language etc. but based upon purity, intelligence and higher qualities.
Perhaps this is what Swami Vivekananda meant in his statement.
Perhaps everyone who believes and advocates the ‘Oneness among all’ means the same.
But at the same time, if one denies the respect to the elders that they deserve by raising the slogan of ‘oneness’; by claiming to be equal and not less, then it might be mere ‘ego’ on one’s part.
I hope this answers your question.