Peace through mystic and Sufi links between different world religions was celebrated at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, in a Peace Symposium inaugurated by the Gaddi Nashin of the Holy Shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty in Ajmer, India, Janab Syed Sarwar Chrishty last Friday. Inaugurating the Symposium he said Sufi shrines are an open venue for people of all faiths in India and all Sufi orders in South Asia work with each other in a unique harmony.
Dr. Qaisar Abbas, Assistant Dean at UNT who organized the Peace Symposium said searching for common themes in world cultures and religions is the dire need of our time. “People all over the world have similar emotions and aspirations which is our collective human heritage” he said.
The scholarly, colorful and academic program included a keynote speech, a panel discussion and a Sufi Music Performance. The keynote speaker Dr. Ori Soltes of Georgetown University, a scholar in mystic traditions in Abrahamic religions, discussed similar mystic themes in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He said Moulana Rumi’s Sufi philosophy offers a universal perspective based on the concept of human love and equality.
Participating in the Panel Discussion, Dr. George James of UNT elaborated the mystic tradition in Christianity and said like Sufism, mysticism is also a Christian tradition that relates religion to personal contemplation of community of believers. Dr Ori Soltes said Kabbalah in Judaism is the first form of mysticism that strives for individual concentration and purification.
Pravrajika Brahmaprna of Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas said the Vedanta tradition in Hinduism provides an interfaith dialogue between different religions through the four Yogas of devotion, knowledge, action and meditation.
Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja of UNT said we often think of peace in grand terms, but it is the little things that we share with others in our daily life that matter the most; this includes the being kind to those we meet in life and to attempt to look at life from the perspective of others.
The unique Symposium was organized in collaboration with the UNT departments and Daanish Kadeh International, a literary organization in Dallas. The organization’s president Nadir Durrani presented plaques to the participants. The Symposium concluded with a Sufi music program by S.M. Rehan group of Dallas who performed Sufi and folk music in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi languages.
Also Reported by The News, Pakistan.
Also reported by Daily Jang, Pakistan ( http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/mar2011-daily/31-03-2011/u66933.htm):