A confluence of ideas
The 11th edition of the World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality was organised on December 21 and 22, 2018 at the Westin Hotel, Kolkata, India. This spiritual gathering was jointly organised by SREI Foundation and Kanoria Foundation and the theme for this year was ‘Spirituality and Humanity.’ Many religious leaders and dignitaries were present at the confluence. Excerpts from the first day’s session of the 11th Edition of the World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality have been published in the previous issue.
The second day’s session was inaugurated by the chanting of GanapatiNamahShloka and was followed by a lamp lighting ceremony. A cultural performance by the children of the Tagore International School added a distinct taste to the beginning of the second day of this confluence.
Welcome Address by Dr. H. P. Kanoria, Chairman, Kanoria Foundation
Good Morning! Jai Hind! Jai Vishwa! Happy Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Dignitaries on the dais, eminent guests and speakers, divine brothers and sisters. I welcome you all to the 11th World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality. I extend my grateful thanks to all the dignitaries and distinguished guests and students for gracing the confluence for the last 11 years. The name of the confluence is Humanity, Power and Spirituality. The focus is on Humanity. Humility is awakened through inner strength and spirituality awakens our inner power. We are all divine and definite and perfect. But illusions are there - that is the ‘maya’ - and that is the matter for which we are becoming the victims of ‘maya.’ Through divine spirituality we can awaken the spirituality within us. Our inner power will awaken and we will have the power to face all challenges. Life is not a bed of roses but is a life of adventures. With inner power, we can face the problems in life easily and march towards success. And another aspect of is outer power. Spirituality balances outer power. If one has authority or money or some other muscular power, one becomes egoistic. In the Mahabharata, the 100 children of Dhritarashtra become bad and egoistic because of their perception of power. There is a story in the holy Vedas that semi-Gods and semi-Goddesses and human beings were unhappy, despite God has given all the richness and natural bounty to them. They approached the supreme God Lord Vishnu and narrated their unhappiness and sorrow. Lord Vishnu asked the semi-Gods and semi-Goddesses to show empathy, sympathy and kindness without ego and to human beings, he urged them to work hard with devotion and righteously, selflessly and fearlessly, live with simplicity and austerity and share their wealth with the poor. From our earnings, we should give ‘daan’ to the people who are suffering. Lord asked them to protect mother earth as well. If we go through the Bible, we also find Jesus Christ was busy with plants, and in Quran, the colour of the flag is green and that indicates that we should protect mother earth. Also in the Vedas, green is the colour of the heart that means love. Thank you all.
Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi Saheb
Chief Imam, All India Imam Organisation, New Delhi
I forward my heartiest congratulation to Dr. H.P. Kanoria and SREI Foundation and wish them success. Dr. Kanoria spreads the message of humanity through this programme. Many people have money but the Kanoria family has set up bright examples in terms of humanity. The relationship between him and his workers is itself an example of humanity. The Kanoria family organises this event with a lot of passion and heartfulness.
People need humanity in the present scenario. Islam gives a message of peace and love. As the chief Imam of India, I do not support terrorism. We have to resist terrorism. When humans make weapons to kill other humans, then humanity gets murdered. I believe if one prays selflessly for others, one would definitely reap the goodness of that prayer in life. Let’s love each other, let’s pray for others.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
India is the only country which accepted religions from the whole world. But in India, there is only one culture and that is the Indian culture. We tolerate all, accept all and respect all. I have attended many religious ceremonies where I never heard any religious leader disrespecting other religions. But fights generally occur between followers of various religions. They fight with the name of those who never fought and with the name of those who preached humanity.
Arjun Ram Meghwal Hon’ble Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Parliament Affairs, Govt. of India
Once Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar introduced a sweeper as his brother. People did not agree with his statement and said that Vidyasagar being a Brahmin could not be a brother of a sweeper. He said to them that if he cleaned the dirt of the mind, the sweeper cleaned the dirt of the earth. Hence the man is his brother. Once a journalist asked Swami Vivekananda why he did not wear a coat like a gentleman. Swami smiled and said, “In your culture a tailor makes a gentleman and in our culture a character makes a gentleman.” Swami Vivekananda connected spirituality with power.
Sukhendu Shekhar Roy
Hon’ble Member of Rajya Sabha
I always feel lucky whenever I attend Dr. H. P. Kanoria’s confluence. I am a political activist for the past 50 years and I am not competent enough to throw any light on the subject which is being discussed today. But in order to deliver my duty as an invited speaker, I would like to add a few words. According to the humanists, humanity has two definitions, one is pertaining to the human race and another is humanity that is ideal for compassion, brotherly love, fraternity, fellow feeling, philanthropy, humanness, kindness, understanding, sympathy and tolerance. Spirituality relates to spirit, the essence of life and the metaphysical world of creation. Humanity stands for human wisdom while spirituality is the human process for self-discipline.
Dr. Udit Raj
Hon’ble Member of LokSabha
Religion has been the cause of conflicts and bloodsheds. With passage of time, conflicts are increasing. Religion is the state of mind to be one with the God, and it is the contact between individual and Super Natural power, if one believes in religion. Thus, even if we are religious people, we are none to control and dictate what or what not. This is a highly personal issue but it has been regimented.
Religion is the main cause of conflict and quarrels, miseries and sufferings. In the eyes of the God, everybody is equal. When everybody is equal, then how can women be restricted from entering a temple? And that is precisely what is happening in India. Religion is to make us, shape us, and to help us to realise things of life, to give us freedom. Religion has been reduced to rituals. Religion does not rest on rituals, does not rest on robes. God cannot be reduced in turbans, or in bangles, and in scarf and cap, and in temples. But that is what we have been doing with the God.
In reality, humans are not there in the centre of religions. Instead, the attention is focused on rituals and offerings. The religious heads are often more materialistic than others. Indian temples are full of wealth and the religious leaders here are the richest people. The concept of heaven preached by many religions is actually an illusion and we must strive to make this earth as heavenly as possible.
H. E. Stjepan Mesic
Former President of the Republic of Croatia
We are gathered here when the time is crucial and decisive in the world. I am the former President of Yugoslavia and that of Croatia and I know what I am going to speak about. For a long period of time, we had been living in belief or rather an illusion that we had finally built a solid foundation and a clear international framework where our spiritual intellectuals were working towards what humanity had to offer. With a heartful of optimism, we expected further spread of democracy and democratic institutions all around the world. Many times, we sat on the edge of a big war but we never fell into it. Moreover, in those days, the UN acted as a functioning body.
Time is precious. Unify and not divide. Reconstruction of the paradigm must begin now. We have to activate all our intellectual potentials and find inner strength and convince all decision makers around the world to sit down together and ease tensions. We also need to activate all religious mechanisms and religious dialogues to usher in world peace.
Sister BK Ashmita
Sr. Rajyoga Teacher
Om Shanti.Greetings of peace. As I understand, the topic for the panel discussion is spirituality, the panacea for growth for all nations and the world. So when we talk about growth, we see many hurdles, many obstructions, many issues and problems. But how big are these problems? Actually, problems themselves have no dimension. Dimension of a problem is determined by the dimension of your thoughts. So if your thoughts are intense and if your thoughts are huge, you can diminish or shrink the size of your problems.
Manisha Kanoria Lohia on the launch of the book ‘iSpark - Aspire to Inspire’
I welcome you all to the World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spiritualty. This book ‘iSpark - Aspire to Inspire’, is all about children and I feel it’s very important for us as parents and as elders to bring up children from the time a woman is pregnant. It is a very important period when the nine months of pregnancy is more like a ‘sadhana’ for a woman that she does for her child. It is like nurturing a seed. Nurture it well and automatically it will sprout. We have to keep nurturing the seeds with our good thoughts and vibrations and energy.
My extreme gratitude to my father and mother here because they have played an extremely important part in our growing up and we have been blessed by their right values and thoughts. I feel inspired by their values to focus on children. I feel they are like buds and we can only make them bloom into flowers by being positive about them and this iSpark magazine is an attempt where we are trying to give them a lot of not only information but stories that they can relate to. And this is even more important as we are living in individual families now. The joint family system is slowly disintegrating. In this magazine, we are trying to connect children to their roots by talking extensively about the rich legacy of our Indian culture.
Founder and Editor, India in Details, New Delhi
I think that we can try to understand family, spirituality, and happiness in two different ways. We can look at this at a micro-level and we can also try to understand it from a global perspective. We need to understand that I and we are not two different things. They are both correlated. A healthy society can be formed only if there are healthy individuals. In the US, a study by the Columbia University indicated that having a family dinner together helps the children in staying away from substance abuse. We need to understand that being tolerant is not enough. We should try and go a few steps further and learn how to be accommodating.
A typical Hindu is a great example. I have seen Hindus praying in Gurudwaras, in Jain temples, in Buddhist monasteries, in churches and in Muslim shrines. How accommodating and respectful is that. It is a heightened level of spiritual awareness of a typical Hindu which enables him or her to find divinity everywhere. Spiritual awareness is deeply ingrained in Hindus. It has been passing on through generations. I am a Christian and I feel so blessed that I have an opportunity to live in India and experience these spiritual vibrations.
Now let’s focus on the second perspective which is the global perspective. Traditionally, India’s definition of a family is not limited to loved ones. It is also about the entire world which is a family according to the principles of ‘vasudevakutumbakam.’ If we can encourage more people to focus on this, we should be able to reduce all sorts of crimes and wrong-doings globally. Events such as these can help in the process.
Founder and CEO of Global Adjustments
To remember how to build the inner core I thought of a word that I hope all of you will take away with you. It is SREI. What is SREI? It is the SREI Foundation which allows us to come up here today and have this wonderful confluence.
S Stands for silence with the self. It could be 10 minutes at the start of each day. R stands to relate with others. E, which is the next alphabet, stands for excellence. That last alphabet is I. I naturally stand for India but it’s an India with spiritual understanding that we need to focus on.
Secretary, SantNirankari Mission
Here in this confluence we are talking about the divine vision but unless we see the divine we cannot claim to have divine vision. Human birth is considered a unique and a rare thing in the universe and this uniqueness and rarity lies not merely in the birth of human being but in the achievement of the purpose for which it is actually meant and that is self-realisation. The one who is not at peace cannot foster peaceful co-existence and world peace. If a man loses faith in God, he actually loses faith in himself.
Sister BK Padma
Good afternoon and Om Shanti. I was just thinking, let’s talk about the self and let’s have some experience of spirituality. How many times do you feel connected to your inner being? My own self is my own feelings, my own thoughts, my behaviour and my emotions. And the self is the seed of my life. And this is a beautiful seed which grow with the help of spirituality. Spirituality means my value system.
How many of you like to experience peace in your life? I think everyone will raise their hands. And happiness? Respect? Love? Yes. These are the core values we all share together. And this is being spiritual. When I become peaceful within myself, in my thoughts and feelings, I am becoming more spiritual. I grow with happiness and love and respect.
Hon’ble Governor of Meghalaya
In this spiritual confluence, we will have to rubbish certain thoughts that were poured into our ears in this left wing city. Dr. Kanoria had conceived this confluence quite some time back and he holds it every year. And the time and money he spends for this shows his seriousness of purpose. Let me share my thoughts that I have on this subject. Have we not heard in this city that religion is the opiate of the masses?
But do we feel that man no longer needs religion? As a matter of fact, we feel quite the opposite and the sense of religion among people has been firmer, it has grown firmer and has not lessened to any extent.