Those who declare a nation as a form of community to be of the highest value are called nationalists. Nationalism is a great force that can effect overturns, revolutions and is often characterized by the ideas of national supremacy and exclusiveness. It has extreme forms, such as chauvinism, very close to racism, and can lead to acute internal and inter-state conflicts.
And lastly one is called a humanitarian if one considers respect for such values as personal freedom of choice, right to freedom of expression or personal fulfillment as a criterion for evaluation of social relations.
Unfortunately, all these “isms” are nothing more than very attractive forms of karmic bondage. Sri Isopanisad, however, gives a very interesting solution: if one actually wants to live for any of the above-mentioned “isms”, one should put the Absolute Truth in the center. There is no harm in becoming a family man, or an altruist, a socialist, a communist, a nationalist or a humanitarian, provided that one executes his/her activities in relation with isavasya conception, that is, with the understanding that any activity should have a higher purpose. And thus, it should lead to eternity, knowledge and bliss. By developing such a state of consciousness, one becomes saved from the greatest danger, the danger of gliding down again into the evolutionary cycle of birth and death among the 8, 400, 000 species of life.
A Funny Story
A European atheist once got lost during a trip through Africa. After a while, he came upon a savage tribe. A tribal chief reading the Bible came into his view. Having approached the chief, the European remarked,
“Is it the Bible that you are reading? This book is completely outdated. No one reads it anymore.”
“Lucky for you, a white man, that a missionary came to us a fortnight ago and I’m reading the Bible now. Otherwise, you would have been roasting on fire.”