Overcoming Religious Conflict
“Baba Virsa Singh reminds us of and indeed belongs to the chain of the great saints and sages of India who have brought the people together through their extraordinary powers, which include the power of love. We should learn from him the vital lesson of loving and helping not only people within a particular religious community but all those outside it and establish the religion of humanity which is the cornerstone of all great religions and the only road to survival.”
Dr. S. A. Ali, Founder member of Hamdard University
His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh's Challenge to Religious Leaders:
"We are responsible for the war and conflict if we don't teach our people peace!"
"If you want peace on your borders first break down the barriers to peace among your religions and awaken peace within. Create a climate mutual love and respect"
"Celebrate each other's holidays. Share each other's scriptures."
In a stunning statement His Holiness BABA VIRSA SINGH of Gobind Sadan challenged the religious leaders gathered at the Millennium Peace Summit in New York, to first solve the conflict among them selves by awakening within and recognizing that the message of all traditions is one, saying that "if the religious leaders of today try to solve conflicts they are only breaking off twigs and not getting at the root of the problem."
"As long as they maintain that theirs is the only way, their prophet is the only one and their scripture the only teachings of God how can they bring about peace?" Baba ji says.
"My message is that all prophets have come from one Place. There is one God, and they have all brought His message.
Solve these issues and peace will come: First overcome your feeling that 'My prophet is greater than your prophet.' Then end border conflicts.
The leaders are not able to find the source of ills of the world. The disease lies in the current state of religion itself.
Religion means love, love and service. It is said, 'Love your neighbor.' Border states are also your neighbors.
It is said, 'Do not deprive anyone of their rights. Do not attack anyone.' But in order for this to occur there must first be a spiritual awakening. People must be taught how to find peace within through meditation and prayer. Now everyone is still filled with worry and conflict. Unless people themselves change, what can either they or their religious leaders do to change the situation in the world? This inner awakening must become a practical reality.
When a religious leader delivers a lecture, the question should not be what books they have read. The question should be whether or not they themselves are spiritually enlightened.
Dharma [spirituality] is a very powerful force. It transforms people's minds, transforms their lives, and transforms their inner habits. It is only this inner power of spirituality that can change people."
Babaji suggests a simple cure to religious conflict: "Celebrate each other's holidays."
For many years Babaji has held large celebrations for all the prophet's holy days at his center on the outskirts of New Delhi. As a result, people from all traditions have been taught love and reverence for each other and the teachings of each other's traditions. In the process, age-old hatred has been overcome.
"The lay people are not at fault. If this movement were taken to the villages that Jesus came from the same place where Guru Gobind Singh came from, that Jesus came from the same place where the Prophet Muhammad came from, that Moses came from the same place where Guru Nanak came from, then these conflicts would end.
Religious places belong to everyone. Where there is truth, it is for all. Where there is love, it is for all. Where there is prayer, it is for all. Where there is worship, where scripture is being read, it is for all."
Throughout the world, religion has become a great fort built out of hatred. All the prophets have taught us otherwise.
Just because the priests, pujaris, or granthis are sitting in temples, mosques, churches, or gurdwaras, it does not necessarily mean that they have realized God. They are managers. Anyone can enter management. Did a priest become a religious manager by their studies or was he or she chosen by God?
One person is not ready to congratulate another on the other's prophet's birthday. When Christmas is celebrated, the other one will say, 'This is Jesus' birthday. What does it have to do with Sikhs? Jesus belongs to Christians, not to Sikhs.' To the contrary, Jesus belongs to the whole universe. Guru Gobind Singh is not the leader of a sect but a teacher for the whole universe. When we look with enlightened wisdom, we will see that this is true of all the prophets."
A Plan for Peace
"Charge the religious leaders with this duty: They should go to their religious places and celebrate the holy days of each prophet. They should gather their whole congregation and explain, 'This prophet brought this message of love, this prophet taught this about love.' When each congregation unites behind this theme, then society itself will come together."