Peace Through Dialog 2007 - Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj : Religious Understanding

Published: 13.10.2007
Updated: 23.03.2017

JAINA Convention 2007
Federation of Jain Associations In North America

Acharya Sushil Muni Ji

His Holiness Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj was an exponent of Ahimsa and well respected for his peacemaking efforts. He founded International Mahavir Jain mission, an NGO with UN and Siddhachalam, Jain Tirth. He also founded the teaching system 'Arhum Yoga' the science of sound vibration according to the ancient Arihant tradition. A spiritual guide to JAINA and Jain centers in North America, he left his physical body in 1994. This article is from his talk at the Temple of Understanding in New York City on September 29, 1986

Religious Understanding

I am thinking of the name of your organization - Temple of Understanding - and feeling that all the world's problems are coming from misunderstanding, from confusion and narrow-mindedness.

There are no differences between religions, although philosophically we can discuss many. For example, some people believe that God is Supreme Being separate from us. They have accepted the king system. God is king and we are his subjects, and by his grace we can attain anything. Others believe in a kind of 'democratic' system where God is not alone - every soul is God. There is only karma covering this divinity or perfection. Remove it and you are God.

There is need for understanding. Lord Mahavir taught that truth has many angles. If we want to know reality, then we must accept the totality of truth. We have to accept all dimensions of the truth - they are all parts of the truth. We can't describe total truth in one word. Actually, we can't describe truth. It can only be indicated a little bit.

We must be careful when we are judging people and ideas. No one is bad, no one is good. No one is only one thing. For example, you can say you are a father, but you are also a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, an enemy also. There are so many angles.

The same is true in accepting all the angles and dimensions of ideas. This is Anekant. We must not think that one system of belief is the end of truth. Truth has so many angles. Understanding shows us the way out of narrow-mindedness and separatism. And we have to understand perfectly.

When we are thinking "I am Jain" or "I am Buddhist" - this is the start of problems. We are not Jain, we are not Buddhist, we are nor Christian. We are human. The enlightened ones came on this earth and gave us the light of their beautiful ideas. We can benefit from the light of all the great masters and the religions that followed in their traditions. Accept this kind of understanding clearly, perfectly and with respect.

If anyone is speaking against us, then there is some truth there. We should not decide rigidly that someone is our enemy just because we don't share same ideas. When I was in Punjab this year, I met with terrorists several times. We are following Nonviolence, and they are following violence. Still, I decided that we must begin to grow nearer to them in order to discuss and understand all points of controversy. A very good result came from these talks, and I will continue this work when I return to India in December.

Wherever you go, don't think against others. Respect all opposing ideas. Don't think that only supporting people and ideas are perfect for you. Be humble and open-minded. Be understanding and you will also gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
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  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Sushil Kumarji
  3. Acharya Sushil Muni
  4. Ahimsa
  5. Anekant
  6. Arihant
  7. Body
  8. Federation of Jain Associations in North America
  9. International Mahavir Jain Mission
  10. JAINA
  11. JAINA Convention
  12. JAINA Convention 2007
  13. Jaina
  14. Karma
  15. Mahavir
  16. Muni
  17. Nonviolence
  18. Punjab
  19. Science
  20. Siddhachalam
  21. Soul
  22. Tirth
  23. Violence
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