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Interfaith Harmony
Let us first of all know how much journey have we covered?
The Vedas advocated harmonious society and peaceful inter state relations. Rig Veda says: Truth is common to all religions. We have the ancient philosophy of Vasudevam Kutumbakam. Teachings of Zoroaster, Mahavira, Buddha, Confucius, Tao, Shinto, Jesus, Mohammad, Guru Nanak, the Sufis, Bhakti Movement, Akbar,  Dara Shikoh and the recent efforts of  the Catholic Church. Now most of the Muslim countries are also opening up. The American President Barrack Obama and leaders of European Countries, and in India, thinkers like Karan Singh, are promoting Interfaith Dialogue. Why? Because the world peace is a scarce commodity since there are acts of violence, leading to tension.

Who is creating it? And why there is religious divide.
It is wrongly presumed that religion is to blame. Infact we can blame neither God nor religions. Guru Nanak said: Veda and Puran are not wrong. It is we who are wrong. All our religions talk of the same basic issues - One God, Prophets, Holy Scriptures and Prayers. Where lies the fault? Its an open secret. The politicians have vitiated the entire atmosphere. But every effort in the Interfaith Movement is a new effort and a new initiative. Every initiative for peace is a new initiative in the Interfaith movement. Let the present effort cross the narrow state boundaries and exclusivism.

The goal is to establish a peaceful and harmonious society. This can be achieved without involving the State machinery. Although we reject the division of the society into four castes, yet it is possible to accept the theory of Varan Ashram Dharm. Today the society is divided into castes and sub castes. Who is to blame; certainly not the Prophets and the Holy Scriptures.  See the fate of every religious community.

What will be the fate of Indian democracy? It is clear that politicians and their religious surrogates are responsible for this divide. The culture of the modern world is out of balance. To restore that balance we need to explore the common culture of common consciousness for the common good. There is need for a common understanding among different religious leaders. This is the next step we need to collectively take towards unity.

Let the religious scholars hamour out universally acceptable principles of common consciousness for the common good, i.e., Interfaith Paradigm. Interfaith conferences are useful but are not enough. There is need to change the mindset of the religious leaders and to involve and educate the masses.

There are two simple approaches to establish peace in the society.
(i) Obey your Prophets/ Gurus and the Holy Scriptures.
(ii) Observe the Preamble, Directive Principles, Fundamental Rights and Duties as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
But we are a smart people and our leaders are smarter still. Our Spiritual Masters will shed tears. They will ask us. Is it this, that we taught thee?

We only pay lip sympathy to our Religious Masters and ignore the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. As regards the religious concepts, we remember them mechanically. Just a dip in the Ganges is not enough.

What have our Gurus and Prophets taught us? God is one. Rig Veda, Jesus, Mohammad and Guru Nanak said the same thing. Guru Arjan Dev said: Some call him Ram, Rahim, khuda and Gusian. The Quran said: All his creation has come from one soul. Kabir said: Awal Allah Nur Upai Qudrat de sab bande, Ek Nur te sab jag upje, kaun bhale kaun mande.

All religious prayers since Vedas emphasize the philosophy of Vasudevam Kutumbakam, and Sarve Bhavanto Sukhinao. The Quran says: Rabe Almin. Please recite the Arti - Main Sewak tu Swami. Guru Nanak gave the idea of Sarbet ka Bhala. The paths are different but the goal is the same. The style of our prayer and places of worship may be different.

The Holy Quran advocates peaceful coexistence. God sent Messengers to all people with the command to serve God and eschew evil (Qr. 25.24). Don’t differentiate among them (2.285). Therefore, every Muslim is under the instructions to respect the great men of all religions (ibid 2.285). All of you are together one (4.25). This clearly implies unity in diversity. The believers should call upon the followers of other religions to unite for the sake of truth (3.64). Although the Muslims are enjoined to spread Islam to non Muslims, there is no compulsion in religion (109.6). Recite what has been revealed to you in the book of your Lord and all differences will cease.

The Sikh Gurus are philosophers of ecumenism and reconciliation. Adi Granth was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev in 1604. Its composition and contributions are diverse. The foundation stone of Golden Temple was laid by Hazrat Mian Mir, a Muslim divine. Guru Arjan dev says: Koi bole Ram, Koi Khodai, but all those who recognize the will of God can understand the meaning of these revelations. Guru Nanak made the highest contribution to Interfaith dialogue and communal harmony. Of all holy places, the most sacred is the heart wherein the name of God lives (Sukhmani Sahib, Canto 3). The Lord dwells in the positive mind (Canto 4). Unity and no duality (Canto 11).

Sabna jian da eko data. God is the only one benefactor, I should not overlook it (Canto16). You should have the power to see mankind’s equality and the realization of oneness in diversity (Canto 22).The praise of the Lord and his name is the only subject matter which all scriptures have addressed (Canto 24).

A Hindu who mediates on Brahma, a Muslim who praises Allah, a Sikh, who sings songs of devotion to Akal Purakh (Timeless Being), a Christian, who magnifies Jesus, a Jew who magnifies Adonai, and a Zoroastrian, who honours Ahura Mazda (The Wise Lord) are all in essence, generating devotion towards the one they consider to be the supreme power. They may have differing interpretations of God’s nature, name and ways, but in a united way, they are all reaching out to the same Creator.
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