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S. Goswami: A Paradigm Shift


Namostvanantaya sahasramurtaye,

sahasrapadaksa sirorubahave

sahasranamne purusayasasvate

sahasrakotiyugadharine namah

“O Divine Couple with infinite name and forms!

To bless us you have innumerable feats of existence,

hands of grace, eyes of vision, minds full of ideals.

O eternal being! we bow down to you!”


Dear Sisters and Brothers!

There is not much dispute to the fact that there a global crisis. There are many reasons for that. Primarily a crisis arises when we lack resources to deal with a situation. Generally speaking it is true. But why the lack? And what is that lack?

The resources probably are not in short supply. What we are lacking is the capability of recognizing them. Humanity has always been fortunate to have resource persons—leaders like Krishna, Buddha, Zarathustra, Moses, Jesus, and the Prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon them. They all were able to understand the mistakes of the past and identify the problems of the present.

The good times and the bad times for humanity depend upon the success and failure of its leadership. Water shall always flow downwards—whatever the shade of religious, social, economic, and political systems and ideologies. Leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., were capable of not only analyzing the past but also grasping the possibilities hidden in the womb of the future and applying them to their own time. Whenever there has been a paradigm shift, it has always been futuristic.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon is one such leader available to our time. He is much ahead of time yet very much in his time. His vision of the “Abel UN” is the logical outcome of his lifelong commitment to dialogue, which is not confined to interfaith or intrafaith but always includes a willingness to talk to scientists, politicians, artists, and the business community.

The UN has been and still is a useful institution, in spite of being incapable of delivering what it was to deliver. This inability of the UN has a definite reason. The UN has always felt shy about shaking hands with the most powerful human institution, i.e., religion, which is at the top of the power pyramid in human affairs. Time and again we have seen the united military and political power of the G-8 countries helpless against decrees issued in the name of religion. In the past and not so distant past, the arrogance born out of ignorance by leaders in not making an alliance with religious forces and institutions has been mostly detrimental to peace and prosperity.

Rev. Moon has seen humans suffer in this estrangement between the spiritual and social-political-economic processes. Thus challenged, he moved with conviction to remarry them through the “Abel UN.” Rev. Moon has remarkable ideas and projects to demolish the dividing walls and build bridges. The “Abel UN" is a vision of a larger proportion than even the Bering Strait Project.

How can an “Abel UN” serve humanity? I share a news item from my country, India, which went unreported in the media. Varanasi (Benares) is one of the most holy Hindu cities. A couple of years ago, the sanctity of its most popular temple was violated with a mindless bombing. Hundreds of pious innocent children, women, and men lost their lives. The head of the Hindu temple immediately appealed to his people to remain peaceful, pardon the culprits, and not retaliate violently.

This voice, sane and coming from the heart, was heard by the people; one of them was the Muslim head of Varanasi. He came to the temple and asked the priests to reopen the temple while the dead and the wounded were still being cared for. He attended the lamp ritual, received the grace, and immediately decreed in public that Islam does not support such a sacrilege and that those who committed this crime, even in the name of Islam, were not Muslims and should be prosecuted under the law of the land. As a result, there was no bloodshed and no loss of business.

When dialogue enabled the Hindu mahant and Muslim mufti to talk with their mind and heart together and act responsibly, humanity was the winner. So were the Hindus and Muslims. The losers, ignorant criminals, struck again upon Varanasi just a couple of months back. Again, realizing the benefits of this truly religious approach, Varanasi did not lose its peace and consequently its prosperity.

Similarly, interfaith leadership at an “Abel UN” or an interreligious council at the UN can do a great service. Varanasi is a living example of thinking globally and acting locally.

Rev. Moon has wonderfully used this paradigm. Hindus speak of basudhaiva kutumbakam—the whole earth is one family. This faith in the family system is based upon spiritual virtues and values. If a family is to thrive, then love, service, sharing, and so on are the key guiding words. Rev. Moon has lived this paradigm.

Whenever there has been a paradigm shift, the movers and shakers moved their own right foot ahead, and the rest followed. What is the paradigm for such leaders? Caitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1533) was convinced that “humility like a blade of grass, forbearance/forgiveness like a tree, no desire for honors, while always respecting the others are the characteristics of those who can serve humanity.” This paradigm is apparently too simplistic, yet it is very, very difficult to translate it in practice. Rev. Moon practices it.

The Universal Peace Foundation, Rev. Moon’s extended family, can and should act to empower humanity and its institutions. In the past, we have repeatedly made the mistake of not listening to such visionaries; they were mostly rejected. But history proved otherwise. Our ignorance and arrogance could not stand the test of time. They, the so-called rejects, created history. At this juncture, can we afford to miss Rev. Moon’s bus? No. This bus has not only a very capable driver but an able co-driver as well. I look forward to listening to his son, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, as well.

NOTE: On March 7, 2006, one of three explosions in Varanasi hit the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, one of the most highly-revered temples by Hindus. The Mahant of Sankat Mochan Temple Veer Bhadra Mishra welcomed a delegation of Muslim leaders headed by Mufti-e-Benaras Maulana Abdul Batin who came to the temple to express condemnation of the attacks.