GRISHMA PATEL – BMS , Persuing MBA at Thakur Institue of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their ideas about the cosmos and human nature, they tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

The term harmony derives from the Greek ..µ…a (harmonía), meaning “joint, agreement, concord”

Religious harmony is brought about through realizing that ‘Truth is One but the Paths are Many.’

When we realize that the goal of every religion is essentially the same – the search for Truth then we can foster an attitude of open dialogue and mutual exchange of ideologies rather than imposing our beliefs on others by force.

Through the correct practice of religion we should develop not only harmony between faiths and nations but a harmony or state of peace within ourselves and gradually a harmony or experience of Oneness with something greater than ourselves!

This is Religious Evolution – which starts with Harmony or Peace.

ABOUT INDIA…..

India is one of the most diverse places in the world geographically, religiously, culturally, and lingually.India has become home for all great religions of the world since many centuries.Swami Vivekananda has rightly said that India follows the principles of “Sarva Dharma Sambhaav”.this notion implies that we have respect for all the Dharmas. he has used the metaphor of comparing all religions to rivers that flow into one same big ocean i.e. one big Almighty.

Hinduism is the largest religion that is followed in India comprising of 80%;followed by Islam ,the second largest religion, accounts for 13% of the population; Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism taken together account for 3% of the population; and Christianity accounts for 2% of the population. other religions such as Zoroastrianism and Judaism, have a centuries long history in India.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that religious tolerance and the ability to evolve, despite differences, is the basis of India. As said by him, “We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.” Dalai Lama, said India, where different religious traditions “live harmoniously”, is a model to other parts of world, and should continue to keep this tradition. “India is a model. Different religious traditions live peacefully and harmoniously. Please keep this tradition,” Dalai Lama said at the valedictory of the year-long celebration of the 1,960 yea r-old Malankara Orthodox Syrian church in Kochi.

Describing India as ‘Arya Bhumi’, the Nobel Laureate said “we consider this country spiritually very, very important.”

In the last 2000-3000 years, different religious traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism, flourished here” India has great heritage. There is harmony a mong different religious traditions. India is a land where people of different religious faiths can live peacefully and harmoniously here he said.

For thousands of years, India carried the message of ‘Ahimsa’ which was relevant even today, he said, adding, “We should ourselves create inner peace by practising love and compassion in daily life.”

In the 21st century, people everywhere talk about money and material value. That is also important. Material wealth provides physical comfort. Mental comfort is possible only by faith, he said.
“A disturbed mind is very bad for health, while a healthy mind and health body go together. Material wealth alone will not bring happiness,” the spiritual leader said.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AROUND THE WORLD…..

Religion is the outer cover, with a Prophet, a holy book, a set of doctrines and beliefs, distinct customs and traditions etc. But the inner core of religion is Spirituality, where there is a great deal of commonality. Also, ethical and moral codes are more or less common, though there are differences in emphasis and a few exclusive features. The Ten Commandments of Moses, the Sermon of the Mount of Jesus, Teachings of Prophet Mohammed, Eight codes of conduct of Buddha and teachings of Indian Saints and Sages, based religions, are the same.

There are fundamental differences between the Semitic religions and those born in India. Concepts of creation, heaven, hell and theology are quite different. Christianity and Islam do not believe in rebirth. Hindus accept that all religions are different paths to the same God. Sri Ramakrishna declared that he realized God by observing the principles and practices of Christianity and Islam. Islam is against idol worship. But Hindus, though believing in one Supreme Being, pray to hundreds of Gods and Goddesses as different manifestations of the one God. Various factors divide mankind, such as, race, ethnicity, colour, language, nationality, ideology and religion. Among these, religion is most emotive. Scholars propound that religion is responsible for making man a civilized being, spiritual growth and for taking mankind nearer to God. But it is a sad fact that more people have been killed in religious conflicts and battles than in wars for conquest of territory. Religion has been misused for political and personal gain. Cruelty has been inflicted on millions of human beings and animals in the name of religion. Millions are being sacrificed even now. Politics divides people, and politics is in command in all nations.

Religion preaches ethics, good character, virtues and values. So Religions ought to unite. But in practice they divide due to lack of understanding of the purpose of religion. Also wrong interpretation by followers of the teachings of Prophets and founders result in tragic consequences. Politicians have always used religion to gain power and to acquire territory and followers.

But certain developments during the last fifty years may help to break down the barriers caused religious fanaticism and extremism. Technology has brought peoples of the world together. Rapid transport, Instant communication, IT and E-mail, Computers and associated gadgets have enabled peoples all over the world to know more of each other, thus removing ignorance and opening up their minds to facts. Globalization of business and trade has compelled industrialists and mangers to focus on growth, profits, raw materials, markets, talents etc, and to ignore all the divisive factors. MNCs are operating in many nations where their managers are drawn from all over the world. Narrow loyalties to nationality, race and religions are waning. 200 million tourists leave their home and travel all over the globe every year. They see for themselves how others think and live. Finally, education levels are going up which removes rigidity and opens up the mind. Genuine secular and democratic governments try to reduce religious conflicts. The need to separate religion from politics is being recognized. These are favorable factors which promote inter-religious understanding

What is religion? George Bernard Shaw says ‘Religion is a great force – the only real motive force in the world’. There is a common misconception that religion means ritualistic religion and nothing else. The word religion actually means laws, both natural and moral, that ensure right living .Religion stands for an integral development of the personality, a comprehensive view of life.

Only human species has the ability to transmit information and knowledge from one generation to the next. This ability has given man his cherished civilization and culture. An enquiring mind naturally seeks for an order, for a unifying principal behind the apparent diversity. It is well known that faith infuses energy and grit, without which no worth while progress in any field of activity is possible. Today we all are at the verge of atomic destruction and when every body is busy in the mad rat race of materialistic pursuit, religious harmony will be a relief .We should make an effort to peep into the prominent religions of the world and find out a secular message for the man kind .Our aim should be to enlighten and educate the masses about all the religions, so that the message of universal brotherhood is spread throughout the world. This is where schools can play an important role. Incarnations, Saints, Prophets and Sages have appeared in different parts of the world from time to time in order to teach men how to live in harmony. These great souls, on the basis of personal experience explained the essential ideals and values in life and taught how they can be achieved. In addition to their moral and spiritual teachings, almost all the religious teachers and reformers of the world gave out a plan and a system of their own on which human society would best be organized .It was thus that every faith helped to establish customs and conventions, with rites and rituals, amongst the communities of mankind and gave birth to a particular type of civilization and culture which naturally differed from others. This is how different religions came into existence.

When all the religions teach us to livfe in harmony,then why is there so much of hatred in the world.all the religions should come together to achieve peace and harmony in the world,so tha we can make the world a better place to live