the major plenary session, at the Grand Ballroom of
the Waldorf Astoria, titled Bridging Religious
Divides, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thami,
Emir of Qatar; Mr. Klaus Schwab; The Chief Rabbi of
Israel, Meir Lau; H.E. Frances Cardinal Arinze; H.E.
Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia; His Grace George
L. Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and H.H. Pujya
Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji) answered
questions posed by Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder
and president of the World Economic Forum.
Swamiji's question was as follows:
is the fundamental virtue to overcome discrimination, hatred
and violence. But we must be intolerant of the intolerable,
like terrorism. How do you define the fine line between the
requirements for tolerance and intolerance?"
me begin with a very short story. There was once an 80 year
old man who went to see a great sage. The old man said to the
great sage: �I am 80 years old. I don�t know how many
years left I have of life. Please can you give me some piece
of wisdom for how I can best live out the remaining years so
that my life is fulfilled and righteous. The sage said,
�That which is harmful to you do not do it to others. That
which is intolerable to you do not do it to others.�
is the essence of life. Listen,
follow it, and implement every moment of every day. In this
way your life will be in peace, not in pieces.
You will become better not bitter. Intolerance makes
you bitter, not better.
tolerance is the crucial first step. But it is only the first
must not stop there. Then comes acceptance Then liking
Then love. When you love you exude love and manifest
love. Then you spread love.
love everything is possible. In love we don�t even notice
each other�s faults.
tells us that Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam � the world is one
many other religions say, �Love thy neighbor as thyself.�
If we simply try to tolerate each other it will not be
that easy to overcome hatred and violence.
is not the opposite of hatred. Love is the opposite of hatred.
must appreciate each other value each other and respect each
other as different colors of the rainbow of life. Each color
adds something irreplaceable to the rainbow.
If there is only blue it is not a rainbow. If there is
only red it is not a rainbow. A rainbow can only be formed
when all the colors come together in harmonious union. If
tolerance is as far as we can come it is an important step for
at least we won�t kill each other.
But, it is only the beginning, not the end.
We must try to truly see each other as brothers and
sisters in this home of Earth.
Eliot said, �The responsibility of tolerance lies with those
who have the wider vision.�
Here, today, are the leaders of the world�s
religions. It is the responsibility of these leaders to lead
their followers toward a greater broader vision of family.
Mahatma Gandhi said, �You must be the change you wish
to see in the world.� So today as we gather and pray for
peace harmony and tolerance we must commit ourselves to not
only praying for these goals but we must also commit ourselves
to ACTING and WORKING toward these goals.
you also asked how do we decide what to tolerate and what not
which defy the natural inviolable ethical laws such as killing
of innocent people the victimization of women and children
torture oppression and injustice are intolerable in any
things must naturally be not only un-tolerated but they must
be punished and stopped.
The fine line can be drawn at the place where that
which someone is doing impinges upon anyone else�s right to
life, to health or to peace.
Mahatma Gandhi said �There should be no tolerance for
tyranny or domination. There should be no tolerance for
suppression or destruction of truth.� If someone does
something or believes something with which we don�t agree or
understand but which isn�t violating anyone else then we
must tolerate it. We
tolerate the action, but love the person!
But, if someone is doing something with which we
don�t agree AND that action is violating the basic human
rights of another then it must neither be tolerated nor
allowed. We went
today to offer prayers at Ground Zero and as we stood there
surveying the land which bears witness to anger hatred and
intolerance it was clear these sorts of acts must not only be
stopped on the surface through punishment of the criminals
through increased homeland security measures etc. but rather
that these acts must be stopped at the root.
tolerance and love to our children must be considered as
crucial aspects of parenting as providing food and clothing.