Muslims allowed to do Namaz at Talgajarda’s Ram Mandir: Morari Bapu
Religious leaders and communities tend to come together to mark occasions calling for unity, but they rarely find concord and oneness, decried Morari Bapu, a renowned Ram Katha exponent and spiritual leader.
Speaking at the 4th International Seminar on ‘Peaceful Co-existence with Focus on Religious Symbols in Islam and Indian Religions’ organised by the Indian branch of Al Mustafa University in association with Jamia Hamdard, Bapu said that while there are a lot of people who are Hum Safar (co-travellers), we need to become Hamdard, meaning we need to understand each other’s pain.
The idea should be to travel together “without wanting to overtake or push aside anyone” and to finally find “oneness” in people.
Highlighting the need to shun narrow mindedness, Bapu gave his own example and revealed how he has offered to allow Muslim leaders visiting his home town to do Namaz in Ram Mandir at Talgajarda. “I tell them I will throw open the doors of Ram throughout the day for you to do Namaz despite the custom of the temple being shut at certain times to allow Gods to rest,” he said to a resounding round of applause. He also disclosed how Muslims have stayed and conveyed Namaz in precincts of his Gurukul at Mahuva, a town close to his village.
Bapu said that Buddha had symbolised religion through Chakra or the wheel. This meant that Dharma must keep evolving, else it will become like a stagnant pool of water that breeds insects. The Kathavachak said that in Gita while people had gathered for war, he hoped that in the new age we come together, but never for war and rather for peace.
He said that Dharma was universal and imbedded in “truth, love and compassion”.
“Truth leads to fearlessness, love to sacrifice and compassion to non-violence. No religion would dispute this or have objection to such a harmonious message.”
Bapu quoted Kabir saying “Kabir kuan ek hai panihari aneka” (there is but one well, whereas many have lined up to quench their thirst, so says Kabir - on underlining unanimity of the divine).
He also narrated lines from Ram Charita Manas, “Sab Nar Kare Paraspar Preeti” – may all beings have goodwill for each other.
Bapu felt that the world has seen enough reddened eyes of rage, and felt that now we must see the pink of love. “May followers of all religions increase, but let these followers also blossom like flowers. Let this world be a like a beautiful garden. Peace will automatically descend upon it,” he concluded.
Iran was handsomely represented by ambassador Hon’ble Gholamreza Ansari, and Iranian Minister of Parliament and former Speaker Hon’ble Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel.
While His Excellency – the Iranian ambassador – recounted how transitions in history like the World War II tend to be bloody, he felt the time for the next transition has come and the new century would see the rise of Eastern civilizations like China, India and Persia. In this scenario it was pertinent that religions like Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Islam underline the message of peaceful co-existence so that the next transition does not witness bloodshed.
“Differences are the blessings of God. But God also gives wisdom to resolve disputes through dialogue,” Ansari added.
Meanwhile, Haddad-Adel talked about how symbols are indicative of a deeper meaner, but unfortunately these get obfuscated and people remain entangled in gross meaning, while the intended sublime message escapes understanding. Explaining further the point, he said that while we tend to see a finger, we miss looking at the moon that it is pointing to.
From the Indian side, other religious leaders like Shahi Imam of the 17th century Fatehpuri mosque Molana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed regretted that while Islam as a religion imbibes the message of peaceful co-existence, Muslims were associated with terror these days.
He felt divisions and unrest are caused due to lack of thorough reading and real understanding of religious books.
Dr Syed Kalbe Sadiq, Vice President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, related accounts from the life of the Prophet to stress the need for tolerance. He narrated how Prophet Mohammad had allowed a delegation of Christians to worship at a mosque and reprimanded his devotees who felt they would be disturbed by Christian prayers and bell gongs.
Jain representative Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni of Ahimsa Viswa Bharti emphasised that religion should be a unifying force and should have no room for hatred.
He added that “while the method of worship can be different, but faith should help us accept the existence of others”. Muni ji realted how Bhagavan Mahavir used to say that there could be “mat bhed but not mun bhed” (difference of thought but no difference in the heart).
Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, recited some lines from the Guru Granth Sahib to press the message of unity like “Nanak naam chadi kala, terey bhaney sarvat da bhala”. ("O God! Through Satguru Nanak , may your name be exalted and may all humanity prosper according to your will).
He further added that there is “Ek Pita Ekas Ke Hum Barik” (we are the children of one Lord), as espoused in the Sikh holy scriptures.
A total of 100 articles were received by the University from across the world on the subject of ‘Peaceful Co-existence with focus on religious symbols in Islam’ of which 30 have been accepted for presentation in the academic sessions.
The sessions on March 03-04, 2014 will delve deeply into subjects like ‘Comparative Study of Religious Symbols in the Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Persia, India and China’, ‘Significance of Cow in Mythology and Art of Iran and India’ and ‘Influence of Religious Symbols on Social Cohesion’. The seminar will also investigate the Islamic approach on religious symbols, the metaphysical meaning of Kaba, religious symbols of Buddhism, the impact of symbols on art and architecture, as well as insignia in Marathi poetry among others.