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N.P. Jain: Making Peace a Reality

Address at the Opening Plenary, UPF Assembly 2007, New York, United States, September 21, 2007

All of us have a role to play both individually as well as collectively, whether we are diplomats, academics, educators, social reformers, administrators or public relations people. We need to be imbued with and inspired by the all-comprehensive spiritual vision of godliness.

An ancient Chinese proverb says: "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

This is what the Universal Peace Federation has set about doing. We are not here to highlight or criticize the inadequacies of the governmental and intergovernmental actions but to provide them with the wider and all-embracing vision for peacebuilding and human development.

A universal culture of true love develops through a culture of heart on the foundations of respect for the rights of others as well as preservation and promotion of the sanctity and dignity of the individual. The world cannot live by bread alone. It must develop a stable value system—at once moral, ethical and faith-inspired.

This leadership has to come from the "Peace UN," or "Abel UN," whose time has come to emerge as the interfaith voice of global civil society. It will reinforce and reinvigorate the vision which created the United Nations Organization on the debris of the Second World War.

Rev. Dr. Moon has repeatedly said, "All humanity should walk the path of love. True peace and a world of joy cannot be realized without true love."

The global crisis has many manifestations. Among them the principal elements of concern are:

(1) Search for true and stable peace. Peace should no longer be seen as mere absence of war. The edifice of a true and stable peace has to be built on the foundations of eliminating violence, hatred, hostility, ignorance and poverty and finding common ground for universal true love.

(2) Elimination of intolerance and exploitation at all levels. Spread compassion and cooperative coexistence irrespective of color, ethnicity, religious affiliation, language, sex or cultural background.

(3) Constructive interfaith engagement for promoting the true love philosophy of "living for the sake of others" and building bridges of understanding, mutual reciprocity and synthesis in the inspiring spirit of interdependence. The starting point has to be with the building of a culture based on family values. Only a happy family system can create a world of harmony and happiness. Rev. Father Moon has very inspiringly articulated that the "Abel UN" recognizes the central significance of the family as the basis of a good society. A truly stable world peace can be achieved only by a culture of true love that links us together as one family.

"Living for the sake of others" ennobles the hearts, minds and conscience of each one of us. Swami Vivekanand, a great Indian and a great global citizen, said in his address as the Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 in Chicago: "They only live who live for others. The rest of us are more dead than alive."

The Jain Prophet Lord Mahavir said in his sermons 2600 years ago: "Let us wake up and cut through our ego-self to the gentle spirit in us that knows no arrogance, condemnation, revenge, hatred, hostility or punishment. It mobilizes the mighty power of all-inclusive compassion, love and forgiveness."

Mahatma Gandhi, the 20th-century apostle of nonviolence, used to recite the following Vedic prayer at his daily prayer meetings:

Not for any kingdom do I long,
Not even for the kingdom of heaven,
Not even for freedom from the endless cycle of birth and death.
For one and only one thing do I long:
To free human beings
From their agony and pain
To wipe away their tears.

(4) Saving the environment by respecting as equals all other living beings as well as elements of nature. All living organisms, big or small, are bound together by mutual supportiveness and interdependence. They are and should remain in a harmonious and judicious balance with nature. The divine balance of harmony among them is at the root of all religions. The world is in peril today because humans have mercilessly exploited the environment, devastated and depleted it, disturbed nature's balance, and brought mother Earth to the brink of satanic disaster.

We humans have, indeed, a lot to learn from nature in terms of practicing selfless compassion. A tree never eats its own fruits; a river never drinks its own water; a cow never drinks its own milk. If they can live for others, why not we—the humans who are far more awakened, more superior and more advanced than all other living creatures or elements? Living for the sake of others has to become a fundamental pillar of our spiritual perception, knowledge and conduct.

Allow me to compress my concluding thoughts on the relevance of the Universal Peace Federation and our current task and challenges at this Assembly of the Universal Peace Federation in the form of a poem:

Gathered here is
The global civil society
Representing an innovative alliance
For peace and amity
Endeavoring to transform
The dream of vibrant peace
Into a living reality

The pursuit of a true love order is rooted in genuine compassion in action and not in showcase piety. We may not have enough, but millions do not have even that much. To bid farewell to exploitation is the task of a civilized society.

The root cause of violence is the global spread of ignorance, terrorism, disease, immorality and poverty. The UPF has a task of formidable variety in fighting to give civil society an eloquent voice in global governance, bridging divides, overcoming prejudices, and making the voice of peace powerful and mighty.

UPF - Assembly 2007