Second Hindu Spiritual & Service Fair, 2009 - Inauguration (Thursday, December 24, 2009)
True Religion should be Catalyst for Universal Unity: Barnala
TN Governor S S Barnala Opens Second Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair, Lauds GFCH India for Promoting Harmony among Civilizations
Karnataka CM Terms the Fair an â€œUtterly Original Ideaâ€
Over 100 Hindu Organisations Showcase Service Activities
Chennai, Dec 24: Maintaining that religions in India have played a greater part in building up the life and civilization of people, Tamil Nadu Governor Shri Surjit Singh Barnala today said true religion should be catalyst for universal unity.
Inaugurating the second Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair at Thiruvanmiyur here, he said religions and different faiths should bring about an understanding among the people and foster unity among faiths.
Over 100 Hindu spiritual and service organizations including Ramakrishna Mission, Aurobindo Ashram, Ramanahram, Kanchi Mutt, Sringeri Math, Mata Amritananadamayi Math, Art of Living movement, Swaminarayan movement, Patanjali Yogpeeth etc are participating in the faith, organized by the Chennai chapter of the Global Foundation for Civilizational Harmony (India), an Eastern initiative for conflict avoidance.
Congratulating GFCH India, Shri Barnala said, â€œreligions and different faiths should bring about an understanding among the people and foster amity among the faiths. There should be no room for inter faith disputes and social disharmony. The efforts taken by the Foundation to dedicate itself to promote harmony among faiths and civilizations at global level deserve commendationâ€.
Asserting that the services rendered by Hindu spiritual organizations have been immense, he said, â€œappreciating all faiths and respecting all religions is the need of the hour. True knowledge of religion brings faiths together. Cultivation of tolerance for other faiths will promote unity and religious harmonyâ€.
In his special address on the occasion, Karnataka Chief Minister Shri B S Yeddyurappa termed as â€œutterly originalâ€ the idea of showcasing spiritual organizations as socially conscious service organization.
â€œThere is a general perception that Hindu spiritual organizations are not socially conscious and lack motivation for service. This myth needs to be demolished in order to gain the rightful place for these organizations in the global order of thingsâ€, he said.
The Chief Minister said, â€œarticulating the need for an Eastern Emphasis, in the civilizational dialogue and discourse of the world, and showing the Indian civilization and our faith groups in the right perspective is indeed the need of the hourâ€.
Striking an emotional chord, Shri Yeddyurappa said the unveiling of the statues of Tamil poet saint Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore and Kannada poet saint Sarvajna in Chennai has â€œheralded in a new era of friendship and cooperation between the two people and two statesâ€.
â€œBoth spiritualism and service are two sides of the same coin. There is no service without spirituality and there is no spiritualism without service,â€ he said.
In his introductory address, GFCH India Trustee Shri S Gurumurthy delineated the various initiatives taken by the GFCH India including working with Darul Uloom Deoband to organize anti-Terrorism rallies across India to dispel the idea of terror affecting the image of one community.
He said 90,000 schools were being run by the 100 organisation participating in the fair, constituting 1/8th of the total schools in the country. These organizations also ran 25,000 hospitals and clinics and 4.5 lakh rural development projects. It was essential therefore to demolish the myth that Hindu spiritual organizations were not socially conscious, he said.
Shri Vellayan, Chairman of the Murugappa Group, one of the key sponsors of the five-day event stressed on the intense and intimate relationship between spirituality and service to humanity.
Proposing a vote of thanks, noted danseuse Padma Bhushan Dr Padma Subramniam, said service to humanity was service to God (Makkal Sevai, Mahesha Sevai).
GFCH India, which is a partner organization of the United Nations' Alliance of Civilizations, was launched on January 22, 2008 by former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam in the presence of leading spiritual leaders of all faiths including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev, Maulana Mahmood Ali Madani, Cardinal Oswald Garcias, Paramhamsa Nithyananda and others.
K G Suresh