on Dec. 13, 2008
ISKCON spiritual teacher His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami was invited to speak at a discussion on “Exploring the Practice of Reconciliation: Muslims’ and Hindus’ vision of Understanding, Tolerance and Peace” at the United Nations headquarters in New York on December 3rd.
The event, organized by the U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace (USFMEP), follows on from a November 14 meeting between Bhakti Charu Swami and the UN’s Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns. It aimed to discover our commonalities through spirituality and consciousness.
USFMEP president Salwa Kader opened by honoring the victims of the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, which claimed more than 180 lives and left over 300 injured. She said she hoped justice would prevail to end violence, adding that humanity is fundamentally good, and that the true meaning of Islam was surrender of one’s ego.
In Bhakti Charu Swami’s moving speech, he also cited the Mumbai tragedy, saying, “This problem is particularly difficult to deal with because it is happening in the name of religion, which is actually meant to establish peace and harmony, love and trust, understanding and sympathy.”
It is our responsibility, he explained, to recognize that all religions have a common true goal - to understand God and reestablish our lost relationship with Him. Our differences can only be solved by working together to achieve that goal, while rising above petty superstitions and blind faith. “Due to difference of language, He may be identified by different names but He is the one and only one Supreme Personality, who created everything and is maintaining everything,” His Holiness said.
He appealed to all the intelligent, concerned and thoughtful people of this world to become united in a mission to recognize the ultimate goal of life.
“We speak of universal brotherhood,” Bhakti Charu Swami told the assembled leaders and UN board members. “That brotherhood can be established only with our Supreme Father in the center. We aspire for everlasting peace. That peace can be achieved only by recognizing God as the Supreme Proprietor and our greatest benefactor.”
It is due to our ignorance of God that this world is in such a precarious condition, he explained, saying: “The solution to practically all the problems of this world lie in our recognizing Him and accepting Him.”
Attendees were enthralled by the speech and posed questions on various issues ranging from peace to politics. The U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace is considering a follow-up program with Bhakti Charu Swami in April or May of 2009.