Hindu Council of Australia’s Interfaith forum a platform to draw on commonality amongst different faiths

By Neena Badhwar

The Hindu Council of Australia conducted a forum on Interfaith on Saturday, 27th of May, 2014 at Auburn Town hall.

Attended by the community the forum had presentations by selected panelists comprising academics, experts from different faiths invited to speak on topic of the day: ‘Dharmic traditions inspiring peace to  the world’.

Akshay Naik, a Sanskrit scholar spoke about dharma – ethics by which to live by and help make this world a better place. He spoke    two kinds of dharmas: material and spiritual, because we are a combination of matter and spirit.

Dr Huzan Daver took the audience back 2500 years ago when Zarathustra brought in Zorastrian philosophy, one of the most ancient religion of the world which originated in Persia. Dr. Daver took everyone through a mediation session which was relaxing as everyone felt transported to an era gone by with universal values that survive till today. “Sad though it may be that now only 80,000 of us Parsis remain in the world who were persecuted in the 9th century and took refuge from  the kind Indian king Jadhav Rana of Gujrat. And we Parsis have given a lot to India in return.”

“Our purpose is to fight evil and impart happiness to all God’s creation,” she said, “We believe in atmavichar – self reflection and have no communal form of worship – just simple meditation and self reflection.”

Harpal Singh talked about Sikh faith, the youngest religion in the world,  and how it had imbibed the spirit of brotherhood, love and service to humanity. “What better message can a religion give than Sikhism which  promotes and inculcates interfaith to one and all. It recognises co-existence through religious beliefs,” he said.

Ravindra Dholakia talked about Jain philosophy which believes in Ahimsa – non-violence. “We make a mistake that our body and soul are one. If only we could separate the two the world would be a much better place to live in.”

Radha Krishna Das, principal of The Australian School of Meditation & Yoga talked about Atma (soul) and its transmigratory nature. “the body houses the soul yet  we see the body, the cloth as you. Not the real you. God resides in all of us as father, mother and the rest and Krishna is the real friend of each one of us.”

Sri Ramnuja Acharya, a Hindu priest and teacher of Yoga and Vedanta said at the bottom of all faiths, religions and philosophies one will find that there is commonality amongst us. “When we study and experience various faiths, at the bottom of them all we will find there is no difference.Truth is One only sages find it through different paths. The ultimate experience is one which makes us feel joy in the heart.”

Yogesh Arya, an Arya Samaj purohit talked about karmaic debts and how though puja we can offer service to humanity and thus God.

It was quite an amazing session where all these people have devoted their lives to serving the humanity and thus help discuss how to achieve peace by practicing our faiths in their true sense.

Hindu Council of Australia’s Interfaith dialogue is a much needed platform that we recommend should be attended and supported whole heartedly by the community.

 

 

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