hursday was the first annual meeting of Guru Sangamam – ‘A Confluence of Gurus’. Last year, 17 of us met and this year about 100 gurus came and participated, representing a wide variety of traditions and a large segment of the population in many ways. This is a very historical event, never before has such a thing happened.
India as a land, as Bharat, as Hindustan, is something which has been recognized for over 12,000 years. Though at many times we have been over 200 political units within the subcontinent, everywhere in the world we were always recognized as one nation. India is not a land that was born in 1947. So politically, we were different and culturally we are so different. Every few kilometers that you travel in this country, you will see that we look different, dress different, eat different – we are different in every possible way. But still, what has held us together as a nation for thousands of years is just the fundamental spiritual thread; that every human being born in this land is seeking his ultimate wellbeing or his liberation.
Over the last thousand years, external invasions have come and tried to dominate this culture in so many ways. If you look at other parts of the world, wherever these invaders went, they have had 100% success. This is the only country where after hundreds of years of occupation, they still could not change the fundamental ethos because spirituality did not have one organizational head. It was not one organization or an authority transmitting the spiritual process. Every family was a spiritual process by itself. From parents to children, the spiritual process went on. For the first time, we are reaching a place where parents do not know what to tell their children. For the first time, we are facing a generation of people who may not pass the spiritual process on to the next generation. So the responsibility and the place that spiritual leaders of today have is much bigger than it ever was in the past. This is the fundamental reason for Guru Sangamam.
Never before has the world been as ready for what India has to offer because everywhere else in the world, there is an imposition of belief systems. This is the only culture which has always encouraged seeking. It does not matter what the scriptures say, what the gurus have said, what the avatars have said, an individual person can still seek his own truth. In ancient times, people always looked up to somebody to be told what to do. But for the first time, humanity is in a place where everybody wants to seek; everybody wants to craft his own life outside and inside – within himself. So we have put Sanatana Dharma on a larger span as it was originally meant; that Sanatana does not only mean eternal, it also means universal and all-inclusive – it does not exclude any human being. This is the only country where, within the same family, five people can worship five different gods and still stay together. In many places in the world, you would get killed for this. This is a country where we have even given the freedom to create your own gods. If you don’t like the existing ones, you can create your own. You can worship a rock, a tree, a mountain, your mother, anything.
The idea of forming a Guru Sangamam like this is to present to the world that our diversity is not against each other, our diversity is a possibility, so that every human being has his own way of seeking. There has been such a tremendous repository of knowledge, possibilities and methods for human emancipation and wellbeing. I feel it is time we assimilate and present this on one platform. This does not mean each spiritual leader has to give up what he is doing and do the same thing. Everybody does their thing, but we state the many ways for the same purpose to be fulfilled. A human being needs this – one way is never going to work for all human beings.
India has always been the spiritual gateway, but we have been losing that in the last 30 years. A tremendous loss has happened. What the sword and gun could not do, MTV is doing. So it is time that we present ourselves on a platform where all varieties are available for people to choose. And today, the internet is one of the biggest platforms upon which people assemble – people meet, mingle and exchange ideas. Every day, about 400,000 people type the word ‘spiritual’ on the net. So it is time we present the spiritual traditions of India on a powerful platform, that if anybody seeks spirituality, this should be the direction that they turn to. We have already fixed the date for the next meeting for April 4, 2013 and we are very sure there will be over 500 representatives from across the world. We can establish this if all of these leaders stay together and make this happen, and this is very much a doable thing, the necessary technology and competence are with us.