Intro: Over 300 elders of nearly 40 countries and 73 different cultures from across the globe participated in the Fifth International Conference of Elders of Worlds Ancient Cultures and Traditions in Mysuru from February 1 to 4. The call of the Conference was ‘Children of the Mother Earth Unite’.
At the time when Islamic jihadis and church-funded outfits are seen promoting intolerance and terrorism across the world, the four-day conglomeration of Elders representing 73 different ancient cultures and traditions of the world in historic city of Mysuru from February 1 to 4 was an important step to save the world from destruction and to promote peace and tolerance. The theme of the conference was “Universal Wellbeing: Sustaining Nature, Culture and Communities”. More than 300 delegates from 40 countries across the globe participated in the conference, organised by International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS). Organised with the prime moto Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related), it was the fifth conference since the year 2003 when the first such conference was organised in Mumbai.
It was the 5th conclave. The First Conference was held from February 4 to 9, 2003 in Mumbai. The Second Conference was held in Jaipur from February 5 to 10, 2006. The Third Conference was held in Nagpur from January 31 to February 5, 2009. The Fourth Conference was held in Haridwar from March 4 to 7, 2012.
The participating ancient cultures accept diversity and believe in universal peace. Since some ancient cultures are experiencing extreme challenges in their homeland, the Conference was an opportunity for them to highlight their problems before a world forum. The success stories of some of the cultures, like the Maoris of New Zealand, and other ancient cultures from European, African, South American, North American, and Asian countries were also deliberated upon. Over multiple millennia these ancient cultures have developed sophisticated systems that have been expressed through social structures, language, art, science and Nature. Discussion was held and efforts were made to find new ways to strengthen these systems during the conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Universal Wellbeing’ and it aimed at sustaining nature, culture and communities.
|“The coming together of ancient traditions can provide the basis for the wellbeing of the universe. Therefore, apply your mind and translate the conclusions into deeds and seek ways to find universal wellbeing. I assure you of all the support of Sanatan Bharat in sustaining the ancient culture and traditions.”
—Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Sarsanghachalak
Inaugurating the Conference at Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram of Mysuru on February 1 the RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat stressed the need to preserve nature and culture to achieve universal wellbeing. “The world has strived to achieve universal good through a contract scheme during the last 2000 years i.e. I benefit you only if you benefit me and if you don’t benefit me, I will destroy you. When there is a contract, diversity is an inconvenience and uniformity is most favoured. The living of diversity together is not on the basis of contract but on the basis of acceptance. Modern concept of life suggests that we need to tolerate each other. But our ancient traditions with vast experience said we need to accept each other not just tolerate. Utility is not the basis for acceptance. Different traditions look different but they are one. Oneness is the absolute truth and the permanent reality. Our traditions say we need to sustain everything, accept all nature and every other traditions,” Shri Bhagwat said.
|“The Bhagavad Gita says, ‘Let everybody do his ordained duties and the whole society will prosper’. This interdependence forms the core of the spiritually-oriented societies. The alternative developmental modal based on spirituality can be described as (a) decentralised (b) rural based (c) low energy consumptive (d) employing less capital (e) labour intensive and (f) eco-friendly. We all want a happy, prosperous and non-exploitative society. This can be achieved only when we respect the divinity in each human being as also in the environment, when we realise that each and every existence has a role to play in this world and those roles are complementary to each other. Let all the spiritually-oriented societies join hands together to usher in a new era of peace, cooperation, compassion and respect for each other. This is the only way to save the world from the brink of annihilation.”
–KS Sudarshan, fifth Sarsanghachalak of RSS
at Jaipur Conference held in 2006
He said “Universal Wellbeing” is universally accepted word, but it seems that the world is yet to realise that there can be no other way unless this is universal. If one believes this, we will strive for the universal wellbeing. Universe consists of many things apparently but they are all inter-related. The state of one thing affects the state of every other thing in the universe. This is what our ancient traditions tell us and is also what the modern science has discovered, that everything is connected. An event at one place has its ramifications at remote places in the universe, he added.
He further said the ancient traditions of the world must have gone through the experience of living together by accepting each other. This universe is one whole organism and not different parts. Hence well-being is universal and everybody has to take care of everyone else and everything else. “The universe is a single organism and to have universal wellbeing we need to co-exist as one. We need to develop the attitude of acceptance. Diversity is to be celebrated and not to be opposed. No one should be subjected to persecution and discriminated against because of their different attires or different ways of worship and dissimilar traditions. All this must co-exist together and find a way to take everybody along with us,” he added.
As part of global Yezidi delegation 15 of us attended the conference. We are working to preserve our ancient culture and to save our community from the ISIS jihadis. The conference helped us immensely in developing the positive frame of mind and approach the problem with a clarity. We are meeting all the global leaders to extend their support to save at least the very few Yezidis remaining in the world. We hope for the best.”
I work as a site manager for a construction company in Latvia. My Grandmother is a Pegan and Grandfather a Catholic. This conference helped me understand various cultures and traditions from close angle. The one important lesson I learnt is that our mind is like a mirror. If we hate somebody, it (mind) provokes us and if we love someone the mind will guide the path towards harmony.”
“I work as a Director of Communications in a company in San Francisco. Though we are Christians, we have high regard for Hinduism. All our family members are influenced by the wisdom given in Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu scriptures. We even perform puja, mediation and follow religious practices.”
I am the Apprentice of Master Ken Ludden. I enjoyed every minute here by learning real knowledge in the field of 'Meditation' which is my lovable topic. I was thinking that Tarot reading, Mystic healing was everything but this conference has taught a lesson that Upanishads and other spiritual knowledge is ultimate. —Damen Liebling from Boston
I am a Korean translator and for the first time attended the conference. I have learnt a great lesson in my life about keeping the mind relaxed even when things go against the wishes. Just go with the flow.
He said the Conference is not a one-off event organised due to temporary enthusiasm, it is a continuing process where people come together to seek sustenance of ancient tradition and ways to cohabit. “Due to the enhanced participation, there is an awareness about the need to sustain ancient cultures today. We need to find ways to utilise this awakened awareness. The coming together of the ancient traditions can provide the basis for the wellbeing of the universe. The ancient traditions are an experience and we need to re-live this experience through acceptance and not through a contract. Our lives are not for our selfish interests. It is for the contribution towards universal wellbeing,” he said exhorting the participants to apply mind and translate the conclusions into deeds and seek ways to find universal well-being. He assured full support of Sanatan Bharat in sustaining the ancient culture and traditions.
We belong to one family of Mother Earth
“To attain a Universal Wellbeing every human being on the planet should realise that all of us belong to one family called the Mother Earth,” said RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale, while speaking on last day of the Conference.
Presiding over the inaugural session Shri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji said when people usually travel to a city, they only see a zoo, a museum or a tourist place. But they need to know the habits, culture and traditions of the local people and try to know more about them. “We should gain from each other’s experience and learn from different cultures. More such conferences should be conducted so that we learn from various traditions. Our native traditions and cultures are a must in today’s world to safeguard our identity,” he added.
Full text of the Mysore Declaration
We recognize the divinity and cosmic unity of all beings and value all the various expressions and manifestations of this divinity and unity by humans throughout history.
Dr B Suresh, Vice Chancellor of JSS University, Mysuru speaking on the occasion observed that people are more engaged in social media rather than socialising and it may affect inter personal relations. He called upon the intellectuals to share their knowledge free of cost to deserved students or those interested in the subject so that society gets benefitted in a big way.
Growing unity opening new avenues of learning and sharing
Ancient traditions are all inclusive and embracing, mutually supportive of diversity. Not only respecting, but also accepting diversity was a resolve everyone expressed at the conference. Since majority of the ancient traditions in the world are at the verge of extinction, this unity and coming together is proving to be a milestone in preserving and promoting all these cultures.
Elizabeth Arajno, Mayan Elder, Guatemala, mentioned that she attended all the five conferences and look forward to attend the future conferences too. President of ICCS New York Dr Shekhar Patel, RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Suresh Soni, Spiritual leader (Vaidile) of Romuva Lithuanian Ancient Religion Community Shri Inija Trinkuniene, and Shri Saumitra Gokhale also shared the dais.
The Conference began with the chanting of Vedic mantra Sangha-chhadhvam, Sangh Vadadhvam…. and lighting of the lamp by the elders of different cultures. Shri Datta Vijayananda Swamiji also graced the dais. ICCS president Shri Shekhar Patel uprised the gathering of the objectives of the Conference. Vishwa Vibhag functionaries Shri Saumitra Gokhale, Shri Shyam Parande, Dr Shankarrao Tattwavadi, Shri Ravi Iyer, Dr Yashwant Pathak of ICCS, Prant Sanghachalak Shri M Venkatram, Prant Sah Karyavah Shri BV Shridhar Swamy, Prant Pracharak Shri Mukunda, senior Sangh Pracharaks Shri Mai Cha Jayadev and Shri Chandrashekhar Bhandary, Sanskar Bharati national organising secretary Shri PR Kirshnamurthy and many prominent social, religious enthusiasts were also present on the occasion.
On February 1 morning, an attractive procession of the delegates from world over in their ethnic attire was held in Mysuru near the Royal Palace area. It was well received by the public of the city.
The Conference concluded on February 4. Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram informed the gathering about the research being conducted to safeguard the tribal languages that do not have a script of their own and are on the verge of extinction. He also said research is going on towards building a library for the tribal languages.
A delegation of Yezidi community called on RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in Mysuru on the eve of February 1. The delegation discussed about their nature of prayers and the similarities with the Hindu culture. “We have our ancient cultural routes with India. It was a friendly meet with RSS Chief,” said a member of the delegation.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish ethno religious group whose syncretic ancient religion Yazidism is linked to Zoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian religions. They live primarily in the Nineveh Province of Kurdistan. Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia have been in decline since the 1990s as a result of significant migration to Europe, especially to Germany. The bulk of the Yazidi population lives in Iraq, where they make up an important minority community.
Dharmic traditions of the world
Before the world had even begun giving meaning to the words ancient, historical, medieval, modern and so on, there were some great traditions flourishing in different parts of the world. Interestingly, these traditions had some things common throughout the world till the introduction of the semitic religions 2000 years back. Till that time all over the world people believed in one God, but subsequently the world was divided into two distinct groups ‘Believers’ in my God, my way of life and my philosophy, those who did not believe were discarded as non-believers, pagans, heathens, kafirs and so on. Today these traditions are still prevailing in Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Bharat, Europe, Americas and other parts of the world. Even today there exists Zulus, Xhosas, Kikuyu, Masai, over thousand groups in African continent; Incas, Mayas, Lakotas, Hopis and over 500 nations in Americas; Maoris in New Zealand, Aboriginal in Australia, Pagans in Europe and Hindus in Bharat, Buddhists in whole of South-east Asia and so on.