New Delhi 25 September, 2004
Speaking as a grandmother, I can say that grandmothers and grandfathers everywhere feel that not a single child or grandchild more should be lost to the path of violence.” These were the words of Margaret West, a Canadian writer and workshop leader who was participating in the international forum held today at the Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, on the subject, “How can peace and cooling emerge in the world?”
Also participating in the Forum were thirty citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Estonia, who have come to Gobind Sadan, a farm-based interfaith community on the outside of Mehrauli, for large-scale celebration of the 510th birthday of Baba Siri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak, and a renowned ascetic whose blessings and guidance were sought by Sikh Gurus, Kings, nawabs, and people of all castes and religions.
Bhai Mohan Singh, President of the Gobind Sadan Institute and Chairman Emeritus of Raubaxy laboratories, welcomed the Indian scholars and international guests to the forum, explaining that in addition to the formal activities of the Gobind Sadan Institute, “Gobind Sadan is an informal school for spiritual training under the extraordinary guidance of His Holiness Baba Virsa SinghJi. Babaji is continually meeting with people from all religions, all social levels, and all parts of the world to teach them the truth of dharma and to encourage them to transcend the boundaries which human beings have made in the name of religion. Babaji helps people to find God through their own prophet, and at the same time to respect all other prophets. He has undertaken this crucial mission ever since childhood, and thus for decades has been helping to bring cooling of the tensions which have been inflamed between people of various religions.
His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh encouraged the audience to abandon rigidity and narrow-mindedness and embrace the universality embodied in the Guru Granth Sahib. He urged people of all faiths to not only bow at holy places but to put the teachings into practice. “Don’t be afraid”, he said. “It is only when we leave the Guru’s hukam that things go wrong. Don’t worry – leave worry to Him who takes care of all creatures. From today, get up early and recite the Name of God to clean and strengthen your mind. See His light inside yourself. Recognize your true source, and emphasize love.” He warned against considering oneself a saint, for a saint is like God. “The word Khalsa should also be used very carefully, for Khalsa means saint—it means one who has completely renounced anger, greed, and criticism, whose character is very high. Keep yourself busy in honest work, for an idle mind is Satan’s workshop.”
The inaugural address was given by Andrei Belianinovy, Russian Minister of State for Defense Production. He observed, “Terrorism is born from money. Only if wealthy countries will carefully control the use of their money can peace come in the world.”
Vladamir S. Mokry, Vice-Governor of Samara Republic and a Committee Chairman in the Russian Parliament, said, “Russians can become good people if they listen to Babaji’s teachings and act according to them. We appeal to Babaji to give His blessings so that the people in our Parliament will be such that they will spread peace in Russia and all over the world.”
The international guests sat for hours at a special all day havan (holy fire), held on 22nd September in honor of Baba Siri Chand’s Birthday. Then on 24th September they were taken to Gobind Sadan’s largest farm on the banks of the Ganges, called “Shiv Sadan.” Svetlana Smirnova, another Russian Parliament committee chairman who is attending the celebrations at Gobind Sadan, recounted, “I saw at Shiv Sadan how hard people are working there, and how lovingly they live together in brotherhood. I will tell people in my country about them. This is my third visit to Gobind Sadan. I have learned a lot from Babaji about religion, and I will share what I have learned and ask people to follow the same in order to bring peace and spiritual uplift to our country.”