Faith in Service of Humanity Conference

Inaugural Session

16 February, 2003, 5:30 p.m.

Conference photos

Mr. Swaranjit Singh, President of the Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, gave the welcoming address in Gobind Sadan’s beautiful auditorium, describing the work of Gobind Sadan, where faith is the basis for service to humanity, without any sectarian distinctions.

Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resources Development delivered an excellent inaugural address. Dr. Joshi described scientific research into what happens in the brain during meditation. It seems that something happens to the activity of the brain so that the portion that analyzes outside inputs is cut off, and the meditator discovers himself or herself in a great void that is spread throughout the universe. In Vedanta, it is said that ‘I and the universe are one. I myself merge into the universe. I am part of something bigger, something greater. There is something Superior, something higher that I experience.’ People from other religions describe the same phenomenon, by different terms.

Dr. Joshi continued, “This human structure is so designed that it will always seek something higher—call it Ik Onkar, call it Brahm, call it Allah, call it whatever. That Ultimate Thing is responsible for giving us values, faith, confidence. In whatever way you meditate, in whatever way you have faith, you are one with humanity. The thinking that I and you are different is the cause of modern ills. When I feel that my religion is superior, and yours is inferior, then wars start. The process of having faith is different, but the result is the same. I and you are manifestations of the same Creator, the same Ultimate Truth. We are all children of God.”

“The net result is, in whatever way you may practice this faith, you are one with the humanity, you are one with the universe. Therefore, faith is the biggest source, according to me, for understanding humanity, for being one with humanity. So long as there are differences, differentiated understanding that I and you are separate, there is no feeling of service. . . . When I feel that I and you are one, then I can’t tolerate any harm to you. If there is any harm to you, then I will come to you and serve you.” [But] “The superficial kind of faith has to be avoided—that my faith is superior and his faith is inferior. That is dangerous. . . . This concept of faith should spread all over the world: that faith unites us, not divides us. At this time, the whole world is divided. If you have faith, this world becomes a lovely planet.”

The next speaker was Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of Minorities Commission, Government of India. He said, “We should all be thankful to Baba Virsa Singh Ji that every time he calls for a new and very significant subject for research. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, being a top scientific teacher, is the first person who took the courage to introduce this subject tof spirituality, to see to it that students coming through schools and colleges should have knowledge that India supports commitment to one’s own faith.”

Reverend Charles White, first President of the North American Interfaith Network and Member-at-Large of the Commission on Interfaith Relations of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA, spoke about the impact of Gobind Sadan. He said, “It is impossible to speak about the impact of Gobind Sadan in just five minutes. Since I was here twelve years ago many new buildings have come up. But I am again reminded of the peace of mind, peace of heart, that I have experienced here. When I first came here, Babaji gave me an inlaid picture of Jesus and said, ‘You love Jesus and I love Jesus, too.’ The message of Gobind Sadan is that all prophets come from the same place. Peace can truly come if we can continue with the message that the prophets all come from the same place. If we accept that there is one Almighty, Who is sending us messages, giving us hope, giving us love—If people of the world would unite around this message, we need not resort to war. I believe that this is the impact that Gobind Sadan is having increasingly around the world. Gobind Sadan is having the impact that God would want it to have, because it is a God-filled mission. It is making known in very practical ways God’s love for all people and for the whole world.”

Also present on the occasion were such luminaries as Sri Sangh Priya Gautam, Union Minister of State for Agro-Industries and Rural Development, Mr. Tilak Raj Behar, Union Minister for Health and Transport, Roman Zhilenkov, First Secretary Political, Russian Embassy, Sergey Vanyukov, Deputy Director of Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Dr. J. S. Rajput, Director of NCERT, the esteemed delegates from Russia, America, and India who would be participating in the seminar, and other noted scholars, guests, and members of the print and electronic media. The stage secretary was Dr. S. S. Joshi, Professor Emeritus of Punjabi University, Patiala. The four hundred guests were then treated to a lovely dinner in the garden.