Guru Dileepkumar Completes World Interfaith Harmony Week with Festival and Gala Celebration
On Sunday, February 7, Guru Dileepkumar sponsored a 5 hour event of art, music, celebration, and education with this Gala conclusion of United Nations 11th World Interfaith Harmony Week . Following a week of 100s perhaps 1000s of events worldwide to commemorate this noble ideal, Guruji succeeded to convene the world’s senior-most, and most preeminent founders and leaders in the field. Please watch as much as you like of this important and inspiring event here:
Bawa Jain, Secretary-General of The Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders that opened at the United Nations in August 2000, used his presentation time to give an historical overview of the interfaith movement in our time. Kusumita P. Pedersen, chair of the Interfaith Center of New York, and a trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, offered scholarly thoughts on the subject concluding with special emphasis on the present urgency of environmental concerns.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann, President of Twelve Gates Foundation, Offers Presentation on The Mission of Interfaith
Here in this short video below are the remarks of Twelve Gates President, Dr. Kaufmann. (The video quality suffers in one or two places from minor zoom interference)
Guru Dileepkumar Thankappan:
Thank you. Our next speaker is Dr. Frank Kaufman, President of the Twelve Gates Foundation, and an advisor of great value to our community.
Dr. Kaufmann is a professor at UTS seminary, and a longtime personal friend. I always find it very interesting to see how Dr. Kaufmann is able to mobilize spiritual reality in a unique and different way. This is my thought for Frank.
There are so many people in this world who carry around big titles, professor this, doctor that, and are said to lead great organizations. But at a certain point, they lose. Evil burns them up, But for him, no. Dr. Kaufman the floor is yours.
Thank you very much for your kind words Guruji. Thank you also for organizing this event, and 10s of events. We all are grateful for, your tireless dedication to this noble cause.
I would like to thank all those who spoke prior to me from whom we’ve learned today. I thank these speakers, not only for your messages today, but also for the work you’ve done in the world throughout the course of your lives. Our world, and all of us are better for your contributions. The wisdom we hear in the moment of your speaking, comes from a life of dedication.
I also would like to thank the musicians who performed for us today. Music music is a direct window to heaven. In these moments all things are resolved for a moment and we are at peace.
And so, thank you, Guru Ji for putting together this remarkable event today.
Because this is an interfaith event, and involves an effort for religions to work more closely together, I would like to speak just about religion just for a moment.
For some reason, all human beings, everyone ever born ever, is either tempted by or has in our inner nature, serious problems that we bear. 1. We tend to be proud. 2. We tend to be idolatrous. And 3. We tend to be brutish.
In our pride, we fail to surrender to God, the all loving, the infinite, the divine. We have an inclination to make ourselves more important than God. In idolatry, we tend to connect to things less than God and make them absolute in our lives. And in our brutishness, we are either brutish toward one another, or we are, as Professor Pedersen just pointed out, brutish toward our planet, our home, our mother.
Religion has the mission and responsibility to address these problems. They teach us how to become closer and closer to God. As we succeed in this effort, those horrible characteristics, dissolve and subside. As we come closer to the love of God, we no longer are inclined to put ourselves higher than God. As we come closer to the love of God, we no longer are inclined to attach ourselves to matters that we believe are more important than that relationship. And, as we come closer to the love of God and inherit the love of God and begin to treat one another compassionately, and begin to treat our earth with care and gratitude.
Every religion does this. All religious believers, by following their leaders, their scriptures, and their traditions, grow closer to God, and little by little, these horrible qualities we all have subside and decline. For this reason we are grateful for every religion. We are sorry that, for many understandable reasons, religions clash with one another. We are grateful that around 1890 or so, religions began to wake up to the fact that it is a bad idea to clash with one another. We slowly began to understand that the care of our brothers and sisters is in the hands of people we should support. The interfaith movement we are celebrating today, is about 130 years old. It is the ongoing awakening to the fact that every single religion, helping all our brothers and sisters to rise out from these horrible conditions of being prideful, idolatrous, and brutish, are people whom we should support and for whom we should be grateful. We need to help and support one another. That is what this work is. That is what we are grateful for the opportunity to do.
There are different parts of life and growth. Religion is meant to address just this part, our pride, our idolatry, and our brutishness. If we go to the gym, we go to make our bodies better or if we learn nutrition. If we go to school, we go to make our minds better. As for religion, we involve ourselves in order to bring one another closer to God so that those problems can go away.
The greatest threat to this all important work lies in the fact that there are those who are hostile to this effort to bring people to God. There are teachings, teachers, activists, and ideologues who hate God, hate religion, and hate all efforts to keep God involved in human affairs. These are teachings and ideologies of revenge, of separation and conflict, and of materialism and anti-theism. This force stands against our shared goals and purposes, and our efforts and desire to save one another, whether it be through Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, or any faith path. Every one of these traditions is trying to help rescue God’s children. And while this is going one, there are those who are committed with utmost passion, pouring billions of dollars against these efforts.
As we work together, to support one another, and advance the ideals and mission of interfaith work, let us be cognizant that we need our solidarity and our mutual care and protection. As Imam Ali just said, we should fight for one another, and protect one another. We should stand as one to protect our brothers and sisters from those who are hostile to the very mission we share as an interfaith community.
Thank you very much to Guruji for a moment to have a word with all of us. I am very grateful for your invitation to be at this fantastic and edifying event. Thank you.
Thank you for these inspiring words. Frank is a person who always is at the other end of my phone. I can call or text you any time. This is my friend in New York City.