The role and leadership that the global interfaith movement has provided to address the Millennium Development Goals and find peaceful solutions to combat conflict, enabling us to live in a safer world, provides us with a great deal of optimism, told the UK’s Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh during World Interfaith Harmony Week of 2012.
Transcript of address at the observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week at the UN General Assembly Hall on February 7, 2012. (Taken from a recording made by the United Nations.)
Fusion of the Sacred and Secular
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh
Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh. May Satguru bless us all. As a Sikh I am honored, privileged, and humbled to be invited to this auspicious gathering, to share with you some guidance from our Dharam [religion, devotion, wisdom] as I understand it.
Within the context of common ground, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our Exalted Scripture, begins with “Ik Onkar” – explicitly emphasizing that there is only one God responsible for the entire creation. “The whole of the human race is but one large family,” states Guru Gobind Singh Ji, our tenth Guru. With this universality of the Almighty, we humans have common origins, a common destiny, and common goals. Pain, suffering, grief, and tears are all common to us. We inhabit the same planet and share the same common environment. We all aspire to be better human beings wishing for happiness, prosperity, success, and peace which unfortunately delude us mainly due to our negative values of lust, vengeance, greed, possessiveness, and arrogance. “The world is burning with the fire of these,” states Guru Nanak Dev Ji, our first Guru, and pleads to God, “Save us, wherever, with whatever means possible.”
Global issues demand global solutions, which in turn require global infrastructure to facilitate action. Our Dharam recommends positive empowerment of individuals and organizations, supercharged with common religious faith values. The UN should create permanent structures to facilitate engagement between the world of politics and religion as the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace does.
Fusion of the sacred and the secular for the common good is vital. The need for just and fair national and global financial systems is a pre-condition for more justice and fairness in all countries. In order to end poverty and address the financial crisis, we must enact international standards of responsible lending and borrowing, coupled with a debt workout mechanism.
Every human act originates in the mind. The human mind is a very powerful force with the capacity to be either one’s best friend for doing enormous good, or being one’s worst enemy capable of creating limitless havoc and destruction. Humans are recommended to know their roots and origin in order to realize their mind’s vast capacity and potential to do good. The empowering of minds using values and virtues and living in God’s presence is recommended.
The role and leadership that the global interfaith movement has provided to address the Millennium Development Goals and find peaceful solutions to combat conflict, enabling us to live in a safer world, provides us with a great deal of optimism. However, restoring the honour and dignity of religion is a prerequisite to interfaith engagement and cooperation. Freedom to practice religious faith freely should be lovingly promoted by all, for accelerating healing. It is imperative to fuse the sacred and the secular in order for humanity to share the bounty of our common good. Humanity must promote an abundance of compassion and love. We Sikhs are reminded by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in our early morning prayer that “loving and reaching God, entails loving His entire creation.”
As religious and secular extremism becomes more sophisticated, exercising compassion becomes a vital necessity. The existing Charter for Compassion followed by the proposed Charter for Forgiveness can significantly assist in this. States Bhagat Kabir Ji in our scripture; “Where there is knowledge and wisdom, there is religion. Where there is deceit there is sin. Where there is greed there is famine. Where there is forgiveness there is God Himself.”
At the Sikh Gurudwara I serve in Birmingham, UK, we have held biannually eleven unbroken days of continuous prayers for the past 36 years, invoking God’s blessings for all of humanity to coexist in love, peace, and harmony. It should be heartening to know further that millions of Sikhs throughout the world end their daily supplication prayers seeking unreserved peace and prosperity for all.
May World Interfaith Harmony Week touch hearts and influence minds. Never before has there been greater need for us to share the message of common ground so we can realize the ideal of working for common good.
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh
Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh is a Sikh faith practitioner. A civil and structural engineer by profession, he took early retirement to answer an inner calling. Bhai Sahib is third in line of spiritual leaders and serves as Chairman of the Sikh registered charity, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha. “Bhai Sahib” is a conferred title, acknowledging his contributions towards faith propagation and the conservation of sacred and historical Sikh shrines. He is an International Trustee of Religions for Peace and a recognized “Interfaith Visionary,” holding the Hollister Award from the Temple of Understanding. He promotes intra- and inter-faith cooperation and peacebuilding through shared values.
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh is a Sikh faith practitioner. A civil and structural engineer by profession, he took early retirement to answer an inner calling. Bhai Sahib is third in line of spiritual leaders and serves as Chairman of the Sikh registered charity, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha.
Source: Supplied: (United Nations Transcript, 66th General Assemby)
Photo Credit: UN Multimedia