GOBIND SADAN: SUCCESSFUL MODEL OF INTERFAITH SPIRITUAL CULTURE We bring you greetings from Gobind Sadan, where the teachings and inspiration of our great teacher, Baba Virsa Singh Ji--who left his physical body in 2007--continue to guide us as we people of many religions celebrate God in many forms and many ways. We are Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, and Buddhists from numerous countries, wealthy and materially poor, highly educated and illiterate, all living, working, and worshipping together as members of one human family which knows no boundaries, a House of God without Walls, in which all are welcome.
At the recent end of Ramadan, thousands of Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus from our community and surrounding villages gathered at Gobind Sadan’s mosque to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr together. At our mosque, all was peace and harmony, in contrast to the hatreds that still persist elsewhere among people of different religions. Babaji’s followers carry in their hearts his teaching that we are to truly love and honour the Prophet Muhammad, no matter what is our religion. Babaji said,
The Source from which all nabis and prophets have come is God. This is a point where we can all unite. Let us open our doors. There is now no scope for small doors or windows. Make such large doors that even elephants can pass through. Love the Prophet Muhammad from within, and when Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday comes, love him as well. Love Guru Nanak, love Moses, love Abraham, love Jesus, for the Prophet Muhammad has proclaimed that Jesus is a prophet. Let us do what our scriptures tell us, what our prophets speak about. Then we will see that after some time the fights will cease, hatred will end, and love, service, and mercy will come forth in us as the prophets wanted.
Until this attitude is developed in citizens throughout the world, neither peace nor spirituality will be attained.
Gobind Sadan has been solidly founded on interfaith principles by Baba Virsa Singh Ji. These were ingrained in him by Baba Siri Chand, elder son of the first Sikh Guru, Nanak, and by Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Sikh Guru. Baba Siri Chand was revered by people of all religions as a wise preacher of the eternal practical message of Guru Nanak: work hard to support yourself by honest means, share with others, and always remember God. Baba Siri Chand was a living example of his father’s interfaith credo, “There is one Father and we are all His children.” Similarly, Guru Gobind Singh declared, “Let all humanity be recognized as one human race.”
At Gobind Sadan, we have recently celebrated Baba Siri Chand’s birthday, and then Navaratri, the 9-day festival of the Goddess, asserting the triumph of good over evil. We will soon be celebrating Diwali, the joyous festival of lights, and then Eid-ul-Zuha, in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son if God so commanded, and then Christmas, when the holy garden known as Jesus’ Place at Gobind Sadan will welcome thousands of people of all religions into a paradise of lights and overflowing joy.
How can this joyful mixing of people of all religions to celebrate each others’ holy days and holy ways happen, when all around people are divided along religious lines? In his every talk, Baba Virsa Singh was continually instructing us to love all prophets, for they all come from one holy family. Babaji explained,
All the prophets have come from the same Light; they all give the same basic messages. We have made our separate religions into walled forts, each claiming one of the prophets as its own. But I think if you praise Jesus and criticize the Prophet Muhammad, God will never open His door of blessings for you. If you criticize Jesus and praise the Prophet Muhammad, God will never bless you.
It was a great day when Jesus appeared on earth. It was a great day when Muhammad appeared on earth, when Guru Nanak appeared on earth. They came from God to bless us. We are trying to divide them, but God and the prophets are sitting quietly up There. That Family is so strong that they will never quarrel.
Baba Virsa Singh therefore ordered that sacred places of all religions be created at Gobind Sadan. Havan—sacred fire ceremony-- goes on in several places around the clock, purifying the spiritual atmosphere and everyone who participates. Babaji has blessed our Hardip Singh, to pray every hour at the central havan. Prayers are also offered every night at Jesus’ Place according to Babaji’s orders, and many people are healed and blessed at both these holy places. Even leaders of countries come to pray and seek blessings for themselves and their citizens. As Babaji said, God showers great blessings on places where God is continually remembered with love.
At Gobind Sadan’s main 100-acre community on the outskirts of Delhi, perpetual reading of the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib goes on 24 hours a day, Namaz is conducted five times a day at Gobind Sadan’s mosque, puja is offered day and night at shrines to Hindu deities, and people sit in meditation before statues of Buddha and Mahavir.
Our community is full of beautiful gardens and productive fields which Babaji has created from what was a rocky, barren land. In addition to developing gardens and fields from barren wastelands, Baba Virsa Singh developed tolerant human beings. He always stressed that if we want to bring peace and harmony in the world, we should teach our children about all religions. If they learn at a young age about the lives, miracles, and ethical teachings of prophets of all faiths, as they grow up they will have tolerance and respect for religions other than their own. We would therefore request the Presidium of this Forum to integrate education about all religions into educational systems. We have been holding weekly interfaith education classes for children of all faiths for years, and we see that children very readily adopt the valuable stories and teachings of all faiths.
Secondly, we would request that the Presidium of this Forum that the teachings of Baba Virsa Singh be propagated at a world level. The life, teachings, and works of Baba Virsa Singh have been so much appreciated all over the world that there are PhD students in reputed universities in various countries doing their theses on Babaji and Gobind Sadan. The model he has created in Gobind Sadan is of proven practical value in healing the divisions in our societies. For example, in 1977 Babaji went to the strife-torn border state of Mizoram in India and brought such lasting peace between the separatist terrorists and the government that the state is still harmonious today. We would request that Baba Virsa Singh’s life, works, and teachings be incorporated formally in the system so that that people can learn the meaning of true respect and reverence for other religions
We congratulate you on the progressive thinking of your President and your Parliament for creating the ongoing International Forum of Spiritual Culture in this great country of Kazakhstan. While everywhere people are fighting in the name of peace and killing each other in the name of religion, it is very peaceful and quiet here, thanks to your leaders’ visionary efforts to uplift the spiritual level of the citizens and create a culture of harmony among all peoples.