Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, one of the world’s leading Indian philosophers, was invited to represent BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) as a traditional scholar of Hinduism at the inaugural G20 Religion Forum, dubbed the R20, in Bali, Indonesia.
The invitation was testament to the worldwide commitment of BAPS, known in London for the world famous Neasden Temple, to fostering genuine dialogue, mutual understanding and wider collaboration amongst diverse faith communities, and coincided with the centennial anniversary year of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who was a lifelong advocate of global religious harmony.
Bhadreshdas Swami had been invited by the organisers as one of the key speakers to address the audience of over 400 esteemed delegates from around the world. During his address recently, he paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s message of interfaith harmony from the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit in New York City in 2000.
In speaking about fostering peaceful conflict resolution and global religious harmony, Bhadreshdas Swami drew upon the universal timeless wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Bhagwan Swaminarayan and various schools of classical Indian thought. He concluded with the driving message of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj: “In the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘The whole world is one family’ – let us reach out to extend the circle of global harmony.”
Two other speakers from India also spoke eloquently about religious harmony – Swami Govinda Dev Giri Maharaj, Treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, and Swami Mitranand Saraswati, Director of the All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra.
Dr Timothy Samuel Shah, one of the lead organisers of the summit and Distinguished Research Scholar in Politics at the University of Dallas, US, thanked Bhadreshdas Swami for “bringing the knowledge of a great, great ancient philosophical and theological tradition into the heart of the first annual G20 Religion Forum in your beautiful address”.
Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, co-chair of the R20 summit and Secretary General of the world’s largest Muslim organisation, expressed his personal gratitude to Bhadreshdas Swami and other Hindu leaders of India for constructively joining in the proceedings of the summit: “It shows you are prepared to struggle with us for solutions. You came with a pure and sincere heart to contribute something positive, something noble for all of humanity and the future of our global civilisation.”
Info: Inter Faith Week