PRIYANKA GUPTA –  , Persuing MBA at Thakur Institue of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

All religions describe the beginning of all things, they give lessons about how to live our lives, and they describe our final destiny together with predictions about the end of times. The principle underlying the beginning of existence is similar in all religions, whether theistic or non-theistic. Even science has a similar view on the origin of the universe and its development, being one ultimate source everything evolved and expanded from. Where beliefs start to differ, depends on the properties, given to the ultimate source of our origin. At least all religions agree, something cannot come into existence out of nothing, so the universe must have an ultimate cause. If we call this ultimate cause the Highest God, then what are the properties of this Highest God? Can it think, love, communicate and act? Does it rule us, serve us, or is it merely the source of natural causes and conditions in our lives, without a conscious will? Depending on how we imagine this, we see this Highest God either as some sort of a super human being/creator, or as the source that caused existence. Though it seems to be an important question, it is by far not the most important. The most important is the key point, whether the Highest God has a will of itself, whether it thinks and loves, whether it has sent its Word into the world through messengers, and whether it intervenes in our lives through actions.

“India is a model; Different religious traditions live peacefully and harmoniously. Please keep this tradition. 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”. For thousands of years, India carried the message of ‘Ahimsa’ which was relevant even today, “we should ourselves create inner peace by practicing 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”. 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 Harmony Initiative was born of a dream to touch the lives of every elder person across India, irrespective of gender, class or region. Our aim is a national movement to improve the quality of life of these ‘silver’ citizens, to ensure that society and government cannot ignore them any longer, and equally, spur them into greater self-reliance. The need is unquestionable. India is home to one out of 10 senior citizens in the world. This population, estimated to be over 80 million at present, is projected to grow to 137 million by 2021. We firmly believe that the elderly are not a spent force. Indeed, silver citizens are active and proud.

The Harmony Initiative, launched in 2004, has three main facets: Harmony, the magazine, the Harmony Interactive Centre and the website www.harmonyindia.org. All three works towards urging Silvers to live life to the fullest and reinforcing the spirit of Harmony: Celebrate age. Over the past two years, we have realized that we need to learn more about Silvers if we are to make a real difference to their lives. That is how Harmony’s Research Division took shape. We believe it is imperative that voluntary organizations, self help groups and other agencies streamline their efforts in the areas of research, teaching, training and advocacy, and join hands with government to evolve policies and programmes that work on the ground. This can only be achieved with appropriate research, the first building block in the process of enabling and empowerment. It’s time to ask some important questions: Have existing statistics helped us understand the conditions of our elderly living in different socio-economic situations? Have studies enabled government to frame effective policies and programmes? Given the high population growth among this segment of the population and wide variety and change in their profiles, do we need alternative approaches in research? We need to consider these questions, as we urgently need accurate answers.

Today, the goal of ensuring peace & sustainable development 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. Culture is a crucial key to solving this crisis. Our cultural values, which often include particular religious beliefs, shape our way of living and acting in the world.

“If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.” So had preached Gautam Buddha, the Enlightened One: “If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation; if there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

“Peace comes through harmony and harmony is derived from the beauty of human character.”Harmony has its own magnificence with profound sense and true reality.

Harmony is inbuilt in human nature; rather conflicts are created by us” is an inspirational message for peace through harmony. An individual’s harmony is only a part of universal and social harmonies that guide the world toward perfection. The contributors have focused on the fundamental elements of social harmony by presenting resources, processes, structures, classes, and human character. They have pointed out three inseparable qualities of harmonious relationship – necessity, sufficiency and coherence – through the four PIOT resources, viz. people, information, organizations, and things. The panoramic outline of harmonious culture and civilization includes cell, language, thinking, worldview, nitty-gritty, and so forth. They all somehow conclude that harmonious character must be there for creation of the ABC of harmony, which corresponds with the spirit of harmony.

Harmony is inseparable from disharmony. It advocates for a confluence of civilized beings and propagation for a benevolent wok. To have religious harmony and true respect for other beliefs, it is not enough to find common ground on what beliefs have in common. It is also necessary to acknowledge this common ground as the most important element in beliefs, and have it prevail over all other assumptions and rules within a belief system. To truly acknowledge this, would mean to reconsider religious laws and rules, not in line with the main scripture, to correct misunderstandings caused by false human interpretation, and to consider rituals and worship at least equally important to living the teachings.

Knowledge influenced by 3Ps of power, politics and property. But, the output lacks clear thinking on religious harmony, socio-cultural harmony, political harmony, science and technology harmony, philosophy of harmony, economic harmony, system harmony, peace harmony, art harmony, and security harmony, etc.

The ABC of Harmony will eventually be nurturing a gigantic tree, the peoples, if the governments and the UN jointly establish appropriate schools worldwide. It is a primary criterion for creating harmonious consciousness imparting education for world peace. Practical teachings in an integrated form could create an invaluable guideline to develop harmonic mind, harmonic behavior, and harmonic thinking for all.

The ABC of Harmony needs to be adopted by all governments and world institutions so that its prescriptions may be conveniently heeded. There is need of harmony at home, work and community; it is required in the region, in the nation and on the earth. The fusion of social democracy in the countryside and market economy in the urban centers may soon be a role model for universal harmony, no less so for socially, culturally, economically, and politically sensitive and conflictprone countries like Nepal.

“India is a model. Different religious traditions live peacefully and harmoniously. Please keep this tradition. 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 practicing 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.

“A disturbed mind is very bad for health, while a healthy mind and health body go together. Material wealth alone will not bring happiness,”