The week Down Under is still unraveling its amazing energy in our lives, as we connect with those we met in Melbourne during the "world's largest interfaith gathering."
The Hinduism today editorial team is just today completing an article for the next edition of the magazine, which you can all look forward to reading. For today, we offer a phew photos and some reflections on the event.
Some 200 religions were said to be represented among the 6,000 who attended.
It is not uncommon for the great saints and acharyas of Hinduism to meet one another at massive gatherings, especially within India, but the Parliament of the World's Religions proved to be something special.
Yes, there were great Hindu leaders there, but they were not just mingling among themselves. They were discussing issues with the world's leading rabbis and bishops, imams and leaders of dozens of world faiths.
1. That intersection of religions holds the potential for cross-pollination between faiths, and the creating of links and understandings that may, if pursued thoughtfully, even bring into focus solutions to the many plights facing the human race.
The issues in Melbourne were staggering: climate catastrophe, poverty, wars, justice, the rights of indigenous peoples, interfaith harmony and more.
But the mood was sanguine, and the voices of hope bold.
In cloistered chambers Hindus were both teaching and touching the hearts of humanity, though its leaders.
In the halls business cards were exchanged, harbingers of collaborations yet to come, conversations yet to happen.
The swamis from around the world had a poised presence and a powerful message of peace, compassion and tolerance.
In all, one had the impression that the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists were not only a colorful delegation of their traditions but a unique voice of the Parliament, one that was more internal, more grounded in the powerful possibility of a change of consciousness as a key among the solutions that the human race must embrace.
A Buddhist message of peace provided a fitting climax as the Dalai Lama urged humanity toward higher ideals, gentle means and a sense of the oneness of all.
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Hindus believe in each individual as a soul, a divine being who is inherently good. We all have a threefold nature: instinctive, intellectual, intuitive. Develop the intuitive/spiritual/soul nature with compassion, devotion, penance. Use the intellect to help subdue the instinctive mind. Guilt is not a part of Hinduism. There is no eternal hell. You have a continuity of consciousness when you transition to the inner worlds. There is no devil, but there are mischievous "asuras."