Religious leaders participating in the four day world peace festival in Bodhgaya in Bihar have made an appeal to end to war in Ukraine.Their message favouring peace, harmony and brotherhood assumes significance given the fact that it was in Bodh Gaya that Buddha attained enlightenment.
Speaking on the second day of the festival in Bodhgaya,one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the world, Syed Naseeruddin Chishti who came all the way from Ajmer described India as the most beautiful country in the world. He said that people belonging to different religions live in India in the same way that flowers of different types and colours bloom in a garden. He appealed to everybody to all citizens to live peacefully.
Syed Naseeruddin Chishti tweeted:
“ ON THE MISSION TO PROMOTE THE ESSENCE OF SUFISM - PEACE , LOVE , HUMANITY & COMMUNAL HARMONY”— Syed Naseruddin Chishty (@ChairmanAISSC) March 17, 2023
“Vishwa Shanti Maha Utsava”
in Gaya (Bihar)
on 17th March 2023. pic.twitter.com/24ROUJ2BKf
Acharya Goswami Sushil said that he always wanted to visit Gaya. “ It is a matter of pride for me to be attending the world peace festival. Sanatan Dharam always encourages love, affection, brotherhood and harmony. A lot is going wrong in India today in the name of religion. In such times, a festival of this kind will serve to reduce distances in society.’’
Likewise, Acharya Lokbhushan Maharaj representing the Jain religion said that non violence has played a crucial role in world peace. He said that if a person has a feeling of non violence, he will develop feelings of love and affection instead of hatred.
Addressing participants at the festival, Ven P Silvi Thero who represented the Buddhists, said that such peace festivals need to be organised across the country to encourage peace and brotherhood.
While leaders representing six religions spoke in one voice in favour of peace and harmony, Janata Dal United national general secretary Aafaq Ahmed Khan said the entire humankind needs peace. He proposed that Russia and Ukraine reconciliate their differences in Bodh Gaya, the land of Buddha.
Former Chief Minister of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi said that religion always shows the path of goodness. He said that every religion is equally good. “ Nobody should run down another religion to project his religion as the best. Our character and conduct should reflect the special characteristics of our religion. My message is that of brotherhood. The initiative taken by Peace Association of India to give a message of peace is indeed praiseworthy.’’
Among other religious leaders who spoke at the festival were Sampoornand Saraswati, Pandit Ramacharya ji Maharaj besides Bikkhu Pragyadeep from Buddhist stream, Athar Khan and Ejaz Aslam Ahmed representing Muslims, Sardar Parampal Singh Sabra and Sardar Suraj Singh Nalwa representing the Sikhs and Father M D Thomas and Father Joy Pulkil S.J.representing the Christians and Ajmat Hussain Khan from Interfaith Forum.