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A United Nations of Religious Groups / One World Interfaith

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September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
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Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Author Topic: A United Nations of Religious Groups / One World Interfaith  (Read 15739 times)
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« on: May 11, 2011, 06:54:34 am »

Hindu-Christian Interfaith Dialogue :

A Few Glimpses

Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya
 
I have great pleasure in extending a warm and hearty welcome to His Grace Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President, Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican; His Eminence Cardinal Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Mumbai; H. E. Cardinal Simon Pimenta and Msgr. Felix Machado, Under Secretary, Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican and all other dignitaries on the dais.
 
India is the birthplace of many faiths and has accommodated and nourished multiple religions. She has provided a common roof to major world religions for their sustenance and growth. The intricate mosaic of diverse faiths, beliefs, traditions and languages in India is indeed amazing.
 
India cherishes the values of non-violence, detachment, frugal living, non-covetousness, love and compassion to all living beings. Veneration of elders, hospitality, simplicity and peaceful coexistence are some of the commendable features of Indian Culture.
 
The plurality of faiths in India has made her receptive towards all religions. By and large Indians are not only religious by their nature but they also freely partake of the practices of all religions and thus manifest in their daily lives, unity in diversity.
 
The religions have to undergo change in changing times. Sir Arthur Keith says, “No creed is final. Such a creed as mine must grow and change”. One may argue that religion is God-made phenomenon and hence man cannot and should not interfere with it; rather he has to make an attempt to fit in its design. However one cannot deny the reforms that take place from time to time in religions in order to respond to the changing world. If a religion remains static it would lose its relevance for the life of mankind.
 
If we peep into the past we find that people had not only suspicion but also contempt and hatred for other religions. Pride in one’s own religion and prejudice against others’ religions resulted in frequent occurrences of persecution, crusades, jihads and inquisitions. History has witnessed horrible bloodshed in the name of and for the sake of religion over the ages.
 
As the inhabitants of the world came closer due to rapid progress in science and technology, people became more appreciative and sympathetic towards others. Gradually people came to know that one has to admit and accept coexistence of religions. Existence of one’s own religion alone is not the reality in the true sense; the co-existence of multiple religions is the reality.
 
People are now thinking of religious freedom, they showed willingness to mix with the people from religious traditions different from their own; they made attempts to listen to others’ religions, to read about others’ religions and deepen their knowledge and to identify and strengthen the similarities, the differences being treated as specific to that religion and accepted as such.
 
The above interaction amongst religions paved way to adoption and assimilation of the good aspects of other faiths. Thus Vivekananda emphasized the service aspect of religion and made Hinduism more practical through his novel interpretation of Vedánta. Buddhism shifted its emphasis from the ideal of individual Nirváïa to emancipation of the whole of the mankind in its journey from Theraváda to Maháyána.
 
With the onset of the 3rd Millennium of the Christian Era, the world is becoming a “Global Village”. Rigid barriers of different practices are disappearing, and I do feel that the world is ready for the birth of a “UNIVERSAL RELIGION”. Indian Ùástras had proclaimed, bhavatu viùvameka nèãam/  Let the world be a single nest because all religions are meant to lead us to the Ultimate Reality. This Ultimate Reality may be pursued differently by different people. The Vedic seers said, ekam sat vipráç bahudhá vadanti / “Truth is one, the wise speak about it in different ways”. The pioneers and visionaries of different faiths  want to break out of the narrow bonds of religions or sects. Each individual should have freedom to practice his own faith as a matter of choice. Further an individual should not be compelled to be tied down to only one faith and should be free to adopt the practice of various religions of his choice depending on his temperament, attitude and perception. This would create a climate in which all of us can live in peace and harmony.
 
The first Christian ascetics in Syria borrowed many religious practices from Indian monasticism, especially of the wandering and mendicant monks. Their stress on personal prayer and the ‘taste of God’ experienced in the depth of heart shows Indian influence. The Second Vatican Council inspired contact, dialogue and cooperation with the followers of other religions.
 
It is extremely heartening to note that Vatican created a special Department “Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue”. On this occasion I pay my humble tribute to His Holiness, the Pope for having inspired the entire process. This Conference being inaugurated now is a sterling example of Interfaith Dialogue initiated by this Pontifical Council. This process has aroused an intense interest to understand each others’ view points with great reverence and has been a very satisfying and enriching experience.
 
My personal experience of Hindu-Christian Dialogue is encouraging. The Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham has successfully organized five interfaith dialogues, namely, International Seminar on ‘Hindu Christian Cosmology and Anthropology’ wherein Ùáñkara Advaita was discussed in depth. This was in collaboration with the Institute for Asian Studies, University of Turin, Italy and the Inter religious Monastic Dialogue, Italy in October 1997; it was followed by International seminar on ‘Persons of Peace in a Troubled World’ in collaboration with the Institute for Asian Studies, University of Turin, and DIM, Italy, at Parma-Rome (Italy) in October 1998; International Seminar on ‘Religious and Ethical Foundations of Family and Social Life in Hinduism and Christianity’ in February-March 2000; International Seminar on ‘Mahávákyas in Hinduism and Christianity’ in February 2001; Interfaith Dialogue Symposium on ‘Bhakti in Hinduism  & Christianity’ in collaboration with Focolare Movement at Castel Gandolfo, Rocca Di Papa, Rome in June 2002. Every seminar is a step ahead in the field of Dialogue. The present seminar is on ‘Meditation’. The next Conference is proposed to be held in April 2004 in Italy.
 
The new climate of interfaith dialogue has opened the door for a non-confrontational discussion of practice of neighbours’ religions. Thus the clouds of suspicion and apprehension are getting dispelled and fresh breeze of open-minded reception to other faiths flow.
 
Meditation is a search for the Ultimate Reality. It is a “search within”. Meditation is experience  beyond everything and it transcends religious barriers. It is a pathway to God realization. There is no difference of mine or thine, of caste or creed in this divine experience. Hence it is a meeting point for all of us, and proves to be an ideal theme for dialogue.
 
In Hinduism meditation is an unbroken flow of thought directed to one single object. Several texts such as Pátaòjala Yogasütra, Yogavásiúûha throw light on meditation.
 
Concentration (Dháraïá) is defined as holding the mind on to some particular object. When the mind is able to remain in the state of concentration for some time, that state is called meditation (Dhyána). Meditation is defined as the unbroken flow of thought. It is compared to the pouring of oil from one vessel to another. The flow of oil is steady and unbroken.
 
The difference between concentration and meditation is that in concentration the mind is also touched by other ideas about the object of concentration while in meditation there is only one single idea.
 
The Yájòavalkya Smøti states that there are two types of concentration- concentration on Reality with attributes (Saguïa) and concentration on Reality without attributes (Nirguïa).
 
The Yoga texts describe various objects of meditation. These objects may be external objects such as a flame, an idol or Om, the sound symbol of Supreme Reality. Alternatively, the objects of meditation may be internal objects. There are seven centres of consciousness within the body and the aspirant can concentrate his mind on these centres. The aspirant is free to choose any object for concentration. He has to visualise the form either within the body in the spiritual centres or outside the body.
 
Om is considered as the most powerful and sacred symbol that can be chosen for concentration. The Máïãükya Upaniúad contains a detailed exposition of Om. Om has three sounds – A, U and M representing the waking, the dream and the deep sleep state respectively. The silence that follows after utterance of the word Om represents the fourth state (Turèya), the state of pure consciousness. Meditation on Om enables an aspirant to elevate himself from the mundane to the transcendental.
 
In Christianity meditation is not just concentrating one’s own thought on Lord, work is also a form of meditation. The Desert Fathers first took up work as an aid to prayer. During the long hours of solitary meditation work, such, as plaiting baskets or making rope was undertaken in order to avoid distraction; it was like an ‘anchor for thoughts’. In due course the Desert Fathers thought that if they divide their time between vocal prayers and work, the alternation would make the concentration on God easier. Everything in the monastery produces the ambience conducive to prayer, such as the isolation of the monastery itself, the work by which the monks support themselves, the reading and learning all have their function to make the monastery a sanctuary where God is ‘seen’ in the darkness and stillness of contemplation (Thomas Merton, The Silent Life, p. 33-34).
 
In ancient times the Vedic Øúis practiced meditation in the solitude of lofty mountains and deep forests. The Christian monks also practiced meditation in solitude of deserts and forests. However, it is in the midst of hustle and  bustle of daily life that the modern man has to learn to meditate. Meditation constitutes a link between man and God. Whatever place one may meditate, God only responds in the deep silence of inner-most depths of the heart.
 
We in Somaiya Vidyavihar are trying to provide a Value Based Education to about 25,000 students. We believe, that peace, understanding and harmony among different faiths is an important component of value system. We, therefore, consider it appropriate that we play host to the International Symposium for Hindu-Christian Interfaith Dialogue.
 
Before I conclude, I would like to express my gratitude to His Grace Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President, Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, Vatican, Italy; His Eminence Ivan Cardinal Dias, Archbishop of Mumbai and H. E. Simon Cardinal Pimenta for having graced the inaugural function.
Thank you,
http://www.somaiya.edu/third(Interfaith).htm
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