Sikh scholar speaks of Guru’s peace message at Vatican

New Delhi: Sikh scholar Mohinder Singh took Guru Nanak’s message of peaceful co-existence to the world stage last week. The occasion was International Prayer for Peace, a two-day congregation of representatives of different faiths to appeal for reconciliation in Syria. Attended by 350 delegates, it was hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio and officially supported by the Head of the Roman Catholic Churchn Pope Francis.

Back from the Vatican, Mohinder Singh, honorary director of Bhai Veer Singh Sadan, said: “It was a fascinating assembly of believers and non-believers. For the first time, the Head of the Catholic Church openly welcomed a dialogue between believers and non-believers and between faiths.” Mohinder Singh, who represented Sikhism at the conference, took part in a panel discussion on “Dialogue between Religions: A Road to Peace”. He shared the dais with Jean Pierre Delville, Bishop of Belgium; Yahya Sergis Yahe Pallabicini, Imam of Milan; and Tep Vong, patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism.

“For me it was an occasion to recall the fundamental message of Guru Nanak to his followers, to listen first and sermonise later. I narrated an incident from the Guru’s life. When the Guru visited Multan, he was stopped at the city’s entry by a group of holy men who showed him a bowl full of milk, indicating that the city was full of saints and there was no place for more.

“The Guru smiled back, saying he was like the jasmine petal that floats on the milk without taking any space,” Mohinder Singh said in his address at the Vatican.

The Sikh scholar was part of a select group of faith leaders who had a special audience with the Pope.

Among the delegates was a Holocaust survivor David Barodman and Italian journalist Antonio Ferrari, released by Syrian militants after six months in captivity.

Mohinder Singh, who is also member, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, said the highlight of the event was the presence of all Cardinals across the world, whom the Pope had invited for the first time.

The conference culminated in an appeal for peace in Syria followed by a procession. “The event marks a change in the attitude of the Catholic Church which had hitherto believed that all solutions lie in Christianity,” said Mohinder Singh, who presented the Pope with his book on the Golden Temple and invited him to visit the Sikh seat of worship.

Source: The Tribune

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