Naina Dhar – Bachelor’s of Engineering (Biotechnology) , Persuing MBA at Thakur Institue of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

Religious Harmony has the capacity to bring about the change of attitudes needed to ensure peace and sustainable development which, we know, form the only possible way forward for life on planet Earth. Today, that goal is still a long way off. A global crisis faces humanity at the dawn of the 21st century, marked by increasing poverty in our asymmetrical world, environmental degradation and short-sightedness in policy-making. Religious Harmony is a crucial key to solving this crisis.

India has been home for centuries to all great religions of the world. Swami Vivekananda says that what makes our civilization great is the fact that it is based on the idea of the co-existence of faiths – Sarva Dharma Sambhava. This notion implies that we have equal respect for all Religions, for all faiths. Elaborating this idea Swami Vivekananda used the metaphor of many rivers flowing into one mighty ocean. According to Swami Vivekananda “The whole world of religions is only a travelling, a coming up, of different men and women, through various conditions and circumstances, to the same goal. Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them.” Religion and gratitude are connected in two ways:

1. The very core of every religious tradition is gratefulness; and,

2. if we have caught on to this basic unity of all religions, we will be grateful for the variety by which they express and celebrate their shared essence.

This provides a firm basis for religious harmony.

Thankfulness is a virtue highly praised by all religious people. But gratefulness goes even further. As the mystical essence at the heart of every spiritual tradition, gratefulness unites different religions at their very center. Each tradition flows from its source in the founder’s own experience of communion with ultimate mystery.

This experience wells up again and again in the hearts of all followers throughout the generations. It finds expression in the full response to life as gift, which is nothing other than grateful living.

 We humans experience spiritual reality under three aspects: as the unfathomable mystery that surrounds and transcends our life, as our own innermost being, and as the life breath and love energy that flows through the universe and holds all things in harmony.

Different traditions emphasize different aspects of this continuum. This alone creates a great diversity, within which historical, geographic, and cultural conditions make for amazingly rich variations. The closer we are to the heart of our own tradition, the more freely we will appreciate the forms in which others celebrate the supreme mystery for which every human heart longs.

According to Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, India, where different religious traditions “live harmoniously”, is a model to other parts of world, and should continue to keep this tradition. In India different religious traditions live peacefully and harmoniously 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 among different religious traditions. India is a land where people of different religious faiths can live peacefully and harmoniously here. India’s tradition is very relevant in today’s world,” 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.

The world economic order is changing rapidly due to advancement of science and technology. The world has been transformed into a global village. Due to the process of globalization & technological explosion business world in India & abroad are facing global challenges i.e. Challenges of survival, challenges of change, challenges of competition & customer satisfaction.

Present Scenario:

At present we are living in age of corruptions, greed, conflicts, violence & terrorism. Age of darkness & impurities, which is an extremely explosive troubled times where the context of human life is changing every moment.

Modern Civilization & Civilization’s Crisis: We have reduced the world to its present state of Chaos, by our prejudices, by our egoistic behavior and by our self centered activities towards nature and towards human being.

Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century :

The problems faced by humanity are many but the most pressing are or the problems of meeting the basic needs of the vast majority of the people removal of illiteracy and the gap between the rich and poor.

1. THREATS TO THE ENVIRONMENT: The Threat of Environmental Destruction & global warming & climate change are the great’s threat to humanity.

2. The Threat of Increasing Population. : growing population, vanishing resources.

3. The Threat of Increasing Poverty: the global food crisis & intolerable economic inequality are also main threats of human survival.

4. The Threat of human survival: the threat of nuclear war; &

5. The Cultural threat of Human values: Erosion of Human Valves & Ethics due to mind pollution & cultural pollution are also affecting our society.

Can we overcome these crises through a focus on Religious Harmony?

Globalization & Transition of Values: There is a transition from ‘Vasudheva Kutumbkam’ to globalization, which has changed the concept of values in present day education system & in the society. The present world is faced with many urgent problems – such as political, economical, educational, social & cultural problems due to deteriorations of values.

Human values (cultural, moral & spiritual values) are eroding at very fast rate resulting in declining the quality of life of the people. At the dawn of the new millennium, what is required most is Religious Harmony & Values of Nonviolence & Non-Possession for Self development, business survival & growth.

The ethical principles prescribe a code of conduct, which requires an individual to be an ideal person who respects every religion.

To meet these challenges & to save the humanity from further destruction we have to change our attitude from ‘Culture of Materialism’ to ‘Culture of Spiritualism,’ & we have to change our attitude of possession to non-possession.

This is a real agenda, ‘Agenda of Social Transformation through ‘Ethics & Nonviolence’ and this is a two-fold task of:

1. Creating a Social Ethical Consciousness i.e. ‘Social Transformation for Nonviolence Attitude & lifestyle ‘ through self-transformation by the Principles ‘Ahimsa’ Nonviolence & ‘Aparigraha’- Non-Possession.

2. Creating a Global Peace Consciousness – ‘World Transformation ‘ based on principles of Ahimsa, Compassion, forgiveness, friendship, tolerance& equality etc .

Conclusion: Global Peace is Oneness of Humanity. World Peace & Human Unity can only be achieved by Religious Harmony. World peace starts with peace in self, in family, in our society, in our cities and extends beyond all political borders. We must teach our children and ourselves the importance of Religious Harmony for creating peace in ourselves and in the minds of the children. World peace is possible and a natural part of mankind’s evolution and it can be achieved only through Religious Harmony.