Pujya Swamiji Receives Ambassador of Peace Award
Pujya Swamiji received the prestigious Ambassador of Peace Award yesterday at a function organized by the United Nations Center for India and Bhutan and the Universal Peace Federation. The award was presented by Dr. Chung Sik Yong, UPF Chairman of Asia, and the Director of the United Nations Centre, Mrs. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman. The Award was presented to Pujya Swamiji in honor of His contributions to interfaith harmony, at this special time of the United Nation’s World Interfaith Harmony Week, which is celebrated annually during the first week of February. Pujya Swamiji is the founder and chairman of India Heritage Research Foundation, a foundation actively engaged in interfaith harmony work for more than twenty-five years. He is also the co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, a new alliance of interfaith leaders working to bring water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to the people of the world. Additionally the other organizations He has founded, including Ganga Action Parivar, Project Hope and Divine Shakti Foundation actively serve all people, of all religions, all colors, all cultures and all castes.
Honourable religious leaders and dignitaries present included Dr. Najma Heptulla, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Former Deputy Chairperson Rajya Sabha and Former President of Inter-Parlimentary Union, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasiji, Chief Imam All India Imam Organization, Acharya Lokesh Muniji, President and Founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, Shri Paramjit Singh Chandhok, Chairman Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Revd Dr. Monodeep Daniel, Chairperson of Delhi Brotherhood Society, Ven Lobzang Lama, President of Asoka Mission, Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, Honorary secretary of the Judah Hyam Synagogue, Hon Ek Nath Dhakal, Former Minister, Goverment of Nepal and Convenor of South Asia Peace Initiative, Dr.Robert S Kittel, Director of Peace foundation UPF Asia, HE Balmiki Prasad Singh, Former Governor of Sikkim and Chairman of UPF-India, Amb Ashok Sajjanhar, Former Indian Ambassador and Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony, Rev Dr. R Clement Rajakumar, Vice Chairman of UPF-India and Krishna Adhikari, Secretary General of UPF India.
Pujya Swamiji said, “There are three points that are key to interfaith harmony. The first is to worship your own but respect all. The second is that we must work to convert the violent touch into a velvet touch during times of conflict. We as interfaith leaders must come together in the places and times of conflict speaking the language of love, demonstrating peace in action. When we are in peace, then we exude peace, manifest peace and share peace. If we are in pieces, what do we share? Only pieces. Third, our prayers must be catalysts for action. We must take the prayers out of our temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches and into the streets, where we should work together to end inner and outer pollution. We must not only pray to the Creator but also honour, respect and safeguard the Creation, including not only our human brothers and sisters, but also all creatures and all of the natural world.”
The function concluded with a sacred water blessing ceremony by the leaders, in which they poured waters of the world’s rivers onto a globe, a symbol of the whole world.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji explained, “Water is the life, from the 9 months we spend in the womb of our mother, to the rain which irrigates our fields, to the water which quenches our thirst and relieves our parched throats. It is no longer enough for our religious leaders to exhort their congregations not to kill each other with bombs and guns. Now, it is time for us to realize that if our brothers and sisters are sick and dying due to polluted water, air or soil, or due to hunger or thirst, their blood is on our hands just as if we had thrown a grenade into their place of worship. Through the water blessing ceremony, the leaders of the world’s religions come together to pray that all people in the world should have access to safe, sufficient and life-giving water, and to pledge to exhort their congregations to make choices and engage in actions that safeguard the air, land and water for all people.”