SESSION EXCERPTS - SESSION III
3RD OCT 2018
Religion and religious scriptures of the world as ‘true life-guiding scriptures
Pandit Gadgil gave a unique twist to the event by starting it with a Sanskrit chant. Not only that, he then commenced to give his whole speech in Sanskrit, a great feat indeed. The rousing speech was accompanied by such perfect hand gestures and thoughts that its essence was understood by all present. He thanked Prof Dr Vishwanath D Karad and lauded the monument that he had built while repeating the fact that the whole world is in fact one.
Shri Ezekiel Isaac Malekar
When Simon Perez, the erstwhile leader of Israel visited India he made it a point to meet Shri Ezekiel who is the Rabbi for the Delhi Synagogue. He asked him if he considers himself to be Israeli or Indian. Ezekiel replied that while Israel was in his heart, India was in his blood. Speaking in fluent Hindi and even using Marathi quotations seamlessly, Shri Ezekiel went on to explain that India was the only country to never engage in any anti-Semitism, whether state or individually. For 2000 years Jews have managed to live peacefully in India and before the state of Israel came about, the largest Jewish synagogue in Asia was situated in Pune, The Lal Dewal. He said he is a Pune boy and misses the city terribly and cannot go to sleep without thinking of the hymns and chanting of the temples resent there. He says that there are 10 commandments of the Israelis, 5 each ion a tablet that Moses got possession of. The 5th commandment states that love and respect your parents, which according to the learned Rabbi is the best one. He states that the 3 most important pillars of Judaism, which can be applied to other religions and individuals as well, are prayer, repentance and charity. He also stressed the power of the 103rd Psalm as written in the Torah.
Meher Master Moos
Meher Master Moos started with an invocation in the Iranian language to the God Ahura Mazda. She then stressed on the tenets of Zoroastrianism which are good thoughts, good words, good character and good deeds. She further went on to state that right thinking leads to righteous speech which is a very important thing considering that speech is integral for the maintenance of peace. She says there is a divine universal law and due to it a person can use free will positively or negatively. Though free-will is to be used positively, no one can stop a person from using it negatively. The pleasure or the pain is all on you. Basically there is no divine retribution so to say. She then went on to elaborate the work done by her University, which is the only Zoroastrian University in the World. Though Zoroastrian, it is secular in nature as evinced by the fact that they gave Benazir Bhutto an honorary doctorate for being the first woman leader of an Islamic country. They have also honoured scientists from Kazakhstan who work on water purification and they are keen to maintain ties with Central Asian and Iranian countries considering that these regions are traditional strongholds of the Zoroastrian faith.
His Holiness Acharya Lokesh Muni
The learned Acharya started with a joke because he accidentally went to the wrong podium. He claimed he wished to ease the neck pain in people who have been just watching one podium but was informed of the neck pain the cameras will have if he changed position. It elicited a ripple of laughter amongst all present. He stressed that all religions are essentially the same for they teach similar things albeit in a different language. He says that the biggest attraction for Jains of any denomination is to attain what we could conceive as Moksha or Nirvana. But as the Great Mahavir said, if your brother sleeps on an empty stomach while you sleep on a full stomach, there can be no moksha for a person. Thus ensuring everyone well-being is the only way to achieve Nirvana. The best way to do so is to give up the one practical valuable that you think you cannot do without.
Don R Clarke
Don R Clarke belongs to the church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, colloquially called as Mormons. He loved his visit to India so far claiming that nowhere else was he treated with as much regard and deference as he had in this country. He then talked about Mormonism. The head of their church also sends his love and regards to this event. There are four books considered holy by the Mormons namely The Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, The Pearl Day Prize and the book of the Doctrine of Covenants. Further, he states that the top commandments of Mormonism are to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love thy neighbour as if they were your own self. These are the benchmarks of the Mormons that can be imbibed by the World as excellent lessons. He ended his speech with a charming prayer where he displayed the value of humility and hard work over just words and ego.
Bhante Rahul Bodhi
A Buddhist monk, Shri Bodhi likened the Buddha to the first scientist ever who analyzed and revealed the mysteries of the Human Mind. He stated that prayers, scriptures and worship are just inspiration while introspection is the only way to understand the truth in the real world. He further stated that Buddha means logic and science for it is still an essentially atheistic faith in the traditional definition of Godhood.
Arif Muhammad Khan
Arif Muhammad Khan gave a striking analogy where he likened the different religions and faiths of the world to be rivers and rivulets that eventually merge in the sea, with the sea being the ultimate truth that all of these religions talk about. He spoke of his idol Swami Vivekananda who said that his ideal is preaching unto mankind that we are all divinity and how to make it manifest in every movement of our life. He believed that all religions mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the infinite and each of these marks a stage of progress as he wrote to Sister Nivedita in their correspondence. He then quoted an Islamic scholar who lived 700 years ago Ibn Arabi. Ibn Arabi said do not praise your own faith exclusively so that you disbelieve all the rest. If you do this you will miss much, nay you will must the point. As the Quran says, east belongs to god and the west belongs to god. In whichever direction you turn to you will find god. Everyone praises his own god. The only thing we can rely on irrespective of our religious beliefs is to do good to others for merit, else it is demerit no matter how it is looked at.