15th Annual Interfaith Meet | Mohanji
Setting the context for the interfaith meet
Greetings to all of you. All the dignitaries on the dais, and especially Sushilji Maharaj, for bringing me here as a chief guest, which is really an honour for me. Now, so many people have already spoken, and I think you’re pretty clogged in your head with a lot of words. I would like to say only a very few things. We are here to commemorate the teachings or the presence of Vivekananda.
What I remember is that every master from the past, if you take – everybody had a core strength or a core point in their life. Vivekananda, when he met Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, asked him, “Did you used to see the light?” He said, “Yes when I was a child, when I used to close my eyes, there used to be a light on my third eye. That light used to spread and dissolve me, and I used to go to sleep.” That light made Narendra [into] Vivekananda.
Like Jesus, soon after his baptism, on the mountain, he spoke the Sermon of the Mountain, which I consider the core of Jesus [Jesus’ teachings]. He said,”You are the salt; if you lose your flavour, what can we do with you? You are human beings. If you lose humanity, what’ll we do with you? What’ll the world do with you?”
This is exactly the point. If you ask about Buddha, three things affected him. One was old age, sickness, and death, and he couldn’t stand the pain of these three things. When he meditated and became Buddha – when Siddhartha became Buddha, somebody asked him later, “So, there’s still death; there’s still old age, and there’s still sickness. What happened?” He said, “I started experiencing them as inevitable.”It means you started accepting life.
Unity in diversity
Bharat simply means acceptance. We’ve accepted everybody, every culture, every tradition, and every different flavour of the world. That’s our strength. Being united simply means we are strong; we are one – Bharat first. Please remember two things we cannot change from life. One is birth. You have no control. One is death; no control. Some day we’ll die, and in between the thing called life, if you see only differences, you are making hell on earth; simple.
I travel to different countries, and we’ve activities in different places, but I understand the same heartbeat everywhere. The same philosophy, same mind, same desire, same inclinations and patterns. There are eight billion people out there officially now, and probably more, and all these people ask for one thing, a peaceful existence. It’s our right as spiritual leaders and religious heads to deliver that. It’s a huge responsibility. That’s what I feel.
We are united to take care of this responsibility. It’s not a right – we aren’t talking about rights. We should forget about rights. We already have them because we are alive. We are walking; we’re talking; we are eating, drinking, and sleeping. We do have rights, and we are experiencing them.
We cannot ask about rights anymore. Is your heart beating? You have a right; you’re experiencing that right. But responsibility – that’s what makes the nation. That’s what makes you beings of the nation, citizens of the nation. If you hold a passport of a country, you are responsible towards that country. First. The motherland, any country for that matter.
Invaluable bits of wisdom from Mohanji
There are people from different nationalities here with me, and they are all responsible for the passport they are holding. We’ve to really talk. I always believe that if all the spiritual heads and religious leaders decide that there’ll be no war, there’ll be no bloodshed, and there’ll always be ahimsa (nonviolence), I’m sure it’ll happen. I repeat, if everybody takes one decision, there’ll always be ahimsa. It’ll happen; it can happen.
Why is it not happening? Because we are seeing differences, which is an aberration, which is actually nonsense. Secondly, there’ll be no dearth of food in the world if all the religious heads and spiritual leaders decide nobody should sleep hungry. We have the power; we have the strength; we have the unity; we have the people.
Why do people follow us? Why do people come to us? Because they’re getting something. This has to be clear in all the spiritual leaders’ minds and religious heads’ minds that it’s important, not just your community; every community should remain peaceful and not hungry. I’ve proved it.
We have an ashram in South Africa, and in that locality, that’s more or less a place where the Indians first landed. We have the place there, and we started our activities there. The main thing we do is annadaan (food donation). 80% of the crime rate has been reduced there. Can you believe it? It’s in the police record. 80% of the crime rate has been reduced.
Bhojan (food) before Bhajan (chanting or singing holy songs)
This is what we do in many countries. We make sure nobody sleeps hungry. Forget about spirituality; God and all these things will come later. If you’re hungry, you can easily become agitated, angry. Then you can’t control people. If somebody is hungry, you can’t tell, “Please sit down and chant some mantra now.” Nobody will chant. Nobody would care.
We must make sure. It’s the responsibility of all those people who have the power to talk, to do and to perform continuously and consistently. Then you can actually reduce the crime rate of the world. I know, I’m talking from actual experience; I’ve done that. Secondly, when we always talk about rights, please remember we are actually digging our own graves because when we, as one community, talk, what about the other people?
There are 1.3 or 1.4 billion people in Bharat. All are the children of Bharat, not just people. I always believe; we have ACT4Hunger in the world in many countries. Act 4, the digit 4. These are beings of the water – we feed them; in the world, beings of the sky, the birds and the beings in the sky, we give food to them. Beings of the earth – that means earthly beings, animals and human beings. The sick and the old, the mothers and children. Motherhood is precious; we must respect it. If we respect motherhood in the world, there’ll be no wars.
This cannot be a man’s world. When we concentrate only on man’s requirements, or predominance or supremacy, there’ll be wars. A mother will never want a child to be killed, any species you take. For any species, a child is precious to the mother; we must respect it. This is why this unity started. I respect all the office bearers who’ve put this together, and Sushilji Maharaj invited me, and I’m really grateful.
If we respect motherhood in the world, there’ll be no wars. When we concentrate only on man’s requirements, or predominance or supremacy, there’ll be wars.
Actually, I didn’t participate in many conferences in India, and I can feel the heartbeat, the determination and the purity of intention of this particular platform. This platform – every brick has been laid by many people from the past, and these people have to be respected. As I understand, some of the people are not with us. We regard them with a heart filled with gratefulness.
Everybody, not only the honourable people sitting here but outside as well, should unite and take the responsibility to make Bharat a heaven, which it has always been. Through acceptance, through connection, through delivering, we’ve collected people, and we’ve nurtured them, respected them, and like Macaulay told the Queen, “There’s nobody sleeping hungry here.” That’s exactly the point; nobody should sleep hungry.
Be alert, aware and active
Please remember one thing. We are alive today. How do you want to deliver the world tomorrow? What’s the relevance of Vivekananda’s teachings today? I’ll make it very brief: alert, aware, and active. Be alert; you have to be alert. You have to always remember who you are. Not as a citizen, not as the thing you see in the mirror, or not as somebody whom you are called – as a name, or a form, or a position or a relation.
You are that light that Vivekananda saw in his third eye, which was bright, which consumed him, and he actually became Vivekananda. That’s what you are. Remember – alert, aware, active. These three things we must remember.
Secondly, if you exist here, you should deliver within your capacity to the world now because tomorrow, we don’t know whether we are alive. When I survived an accident in Slovenia recently, I was in critical care. I wrote to them saying the show should go on. I wrote to them saying that my death doesn’t matter; if I have to leave, I’ll leave. But if the heart is beating today, it’s beating for a purpose, and the purpose is the world. When you give yourself to the world, the world gives itself to you.
If you can dedicate yourself to the world, the world itself will give to you. The world gives things to you; you’ll never have a dearth of anything. Please remember – to become a legend, it’s very important. You should trust in yourself and move with that trust. From Vivekananda’s teachings, one thing please remember, be practical before being spiritual. Be practical before being spiritual. In the name of spirituality, you can never discriminate. If you do that, that’s ignorance. We don’t understand; we don’t know.
This is a great occasion we have today; the day is amazing. We have Vivekananda’s memories with us. Also, today is Adi Shankara’s birthday, and if I understand right, today is also Ramanujacharya’s birthday. All have come together. Two days later, Sushilji Maharaj’s birthday.
So, we are amidst all the birthdays, celebrations, and cheerfulness. It’s important that we celebrate life. You have this life; celebrate it! Whatever people say, don’t worry; celebrate it. While celebrating, don’t hurt anybody. No hurting through thoughts, expressions, and actions. If you follow ahimsa and follow the practice of annadaan, you’ll be purified inside. You’ll feel great, and also you’ll deliver yourself as a classic, authentic individual in this world.
I’m always with you, and I’m committing the Mohanji Foundations of the world with the programme – whatever we can do, whatever assistance, whatever possibilities we can do. I’m deeply honoured that I could come on the stage amongst all the dignified, honoured spiritual leaders and religious heads, and I’ll always remain grateful. Thank you so much.
Read about this event here.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Geetha K.S