Managing Director’s Note: all Contributing Scholars begin writing by answering the following question as their first post: Why are you committed to building relationships with those from different religious or ethical traditions? Their answer to this question is below.
I grew up in a Hindu Family. However, religion to me was merely a set of traditions and rituals, which I followed unconsciously as a part of social and cultural decorum. I never reflected on any doctrines or scriptures, as I was unenthusiastic and unprepared to discern their deep underlying meanings. I enjoyed the festivities, rituals and prayers yet without the slightest inkling of how spirituality would shape my personality, career and perception about human life in the future.
I never genuinely thought about spirituality prior to my association with Krishna Pranami faith, a faith that enlightened me about the value of human life, sufferings in this world, Self, the Lord, His form and Abode. It got my prompt attention and warm embrace for its acceptance of all other scriptures -Torah, Bible, Quran, and the Vedas and revealing their inherent meanings while giving answers to all of my spiritual inquiries.
“My Family’s sect was the Pranami. Hindu, of course. But in our Temple, the priest used to read from the Muslim Quran and the Hindu Gita, moving from one to the other as if it mattered not which book was being read as long as God was worshipped.” – Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi Movie 1982)
Tartam, the vision of universal peace and harmony revealed by Guru Devchandra, the founder of Nijanand (Self-Bliss) aka Shree Krishna Pranami faith outlines the identical beliefs of many scriptures and states where contentions occur due to adherents embracing only the externalities and not diving into the core messages of their scriptures. It aspires to mitigate religious conflicts and contends that since the Lord is one and the same for all, contentions between faiths are unwarranted.
“People sing his glory by different names and wear different costumes as a part of their rituals. However, the fighting in the name of God is incongruous because the Lord is one and the same for all.” – Mahamati Prannath
As a seeker of truth, I believe that being conscious of our true self is the first and foremost step towards discovering the Supreme reality and that spiritual understanding reflects in our virtues but not in rituals and externalities we associate with. Integrity and harmony in thoughts, speech and action, non-violence, compassion towards all living beings as the manifestation of Universal life and treating others with dignity and love cater divine realization, the principal theme of all religions.
I do not aspire to promote this faith as much as I aspire to disseminate its message of universal acceptance, equality, and harmony, as they are the underlying messages of all scriptures. Realistically speaking, all faiths divinely ordained are replete with guidance for humanity to live in coherence with others. Therefore, we should seek to find similarities to harmonize our relations and soothe our hostilities. We can find more reasons to embrace humanity making this world a safer place given that we proceed with unyielding tenacity and unbending ardor to make such potential a reality and I am willing to take that lead.