|From 25-27 July 2003, 2000 students from 50 countries gathered in Edison for the 'Vaishvik Dharma Parishad'.
Throughout the three days, spiritual leaders, such as Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi, The Dalai Lama and other renowned experts addressed the Parishad.
Organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, with the support of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Parishad concluded on Sunday 27 July with the blessings from His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
A special satellite link was set up to transmit Pramukh Swami Maharaj's blessings from Vidyanagar, Gujarat, to Edison, New Jersey, USA.
We have inherited the Hindu Dharma. So we should foster it, since our rishis put in much effort to realise it and have explained it well. Hence we should develop and preserve this inheritance extremely well, just as we look after money or other wealth. In this way we should protect dharma, preserve it and use it wisely.
"How should we preserve it? Through our good actions. To preserve it is to sincerely live by it. And if one lives according to dharma, it will give benefit in life. Dharma is a subject that has to be put into practice. It is not a subject of mere speeches, talks or discussions. But it is important that one lives by the principles of dharma sincerely and staunchly. If there is good food, even then, only by eating it do we experience taste and enjoyment in it. Similarly, we may talk about dharma, hear about dharma or read about dharma but until we practice it we do not get any benefit.
"Bhagwan Swaminarayan has given a beautiful definition of dharma: 'Dharma gneyaha sadãcharaha' - Dharma is righteous living. We should perform good actions. One may be of any caste, creed, faith or country, but if one lives righteously then one's country, society and faith benefit and one benefits personally as well.
"Righteous living is purity of diet, purity of thought and purity in one's social dealings. If these three are pure that is righteous living.
"Purity in diet means not to eat meat and to be free from all addictions.
"One's thoughts should be pure. One should not even think ill of anybody, not wish anyone to suffer harm, misery or difficulties. 'Dayã dharma kã mul he, pãp mul abhimãn' - Compassion is the foundation of dharma; ego is the foundation of sin. If a person is compassionate, then he is a human in the true sense. Otherwise he is considered to be of evil nature. To attack others, loot from others and harass others is not righteous living. To be righteous one should have only pure thoughts - that everyone prospers, attains salvation and becomes happy. In this way, we should have purity of thoughts.
"Purity in social dealings means honesty and purity in one's business, occupation or any other activity. No wrongdoings should be performed. And never should one entertain such thoughts for others. One should not deal with an intention to deceive, harass or get more from others. Such thoughts are not those of purity in social dealings. Purity in social dealings means to sincerely live within the principles of dharma while engaged in business, work, conversation and all else that one does. Having such purity in dealings will benefit the individual, society, country and everyone.
"Dharma is what makes a human, human. One who does not live by dharma, who does not live righteously, cannot be called a human - humanity is required in man. Those who practice dharma develop humanity. By attaining such humanity one benefits tremendously. And that is the type of man our scriptures have described.
"In the Gita, two types of attitudes are described: good and evil. To have good intentions is dharma. That is, to do good to others is a good attitude. And to take what belongs to others, to give misery and harass others is an evil attitude. So, if one has dharma, one can be called human.
"We pray to God that may you become doctors or lawyers, or scientists and progress in other fields as well and that you all live by dharma. This is our prayer to God. Throughout the world, there is a need for good things everywhere. 'Good' means having dharma, in one's life. Whatever is like that is described as 'good'. 'Good' refers to dharma - a good doctor, a good lawyer, a good person, an honest businessman, a good scholar. So, those who attain it (dharma) can be described as good. Whatever you become, also imbibe dharma so that you become happy and can make others happy also.
"In this conference you will have heard many good things from many scholars and others. Gunatitanand Swami has said that, what you have written but if you do not read it, it is of no meaning. After writing, you must always read it. And after reading, if you do not think about it, it is of no meaning. So, whatever is read must be contemplated upon and should be consolidated forever, so that it is of good use to you.
"Scriptures give us good thoughts and inspire us to attain virtues like gnan, dharma, etc. So, whichever faith you believe in, the scriptures of that faith, the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and Ramayan should all be read. And one should always pray. God has given us a lot. He has given us this best and rare human body. God has also given us light. There is no charge for it. He has also given oxygen and does not charge money for it. Out of compassion, He has given this so that our human life becomes noble and so that we may do good things. So, we should always pray, 'O God! May we be able to do good work and serve our country and society and offer devotion to You.' Pray to God for this. Whatever your faith, you should daily visit the mandir of God and have darshan daily and pray. If not daily, then at least once a week or fortnight. By prayer, you will gain much peace, strength and courage.
"The organisers of this Global Dharma Conference have done a great job. People will gain a lot of positive feelings from this and good work will be done. So, we congratulate the organisers. Also, we congratulate all the dignitaries who have delivered good messages and guidance and thank you all."