Dibrugarh: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, while welcoming the international delegates to Assam, the land of spirituality, pointed out that this gathering came together two decades ago as a beginning. It sustained itself over two decades together; that was progress, and now the theme of working together for “shared sustainable prosperity” will spell its success.
RSS Sarsanghchalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat was participating in the inaugural session of the 8th Triennial International Conference and Gathering of Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures held under the auspices of the International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS) at the Shiksha Valley School campus in Dibrugarh on Sunday. In his keynote address, the RSS chief
congratulated the elders of the ancient traditions and cultures, representing more than 33 ancient traditions from across more than 30 countries, that they could keep alive their ancient faiths despite the highly aggressive environment around them because the world now needs their wisdom. Despite two thousand years of progress and material prosperity, the world is facing conflicts. ‘There is no peace outside or within,’ he said.
Children go to school with guns and shoot people without any apparent reason. There is envy and ego, and there are struggles due to the narrowness of minds where people are divided into “us and them, ours and theirs.” Those who wish to go beyond these groupings and save humanity end up becoming another group. Leaders and thinkers have been talking about saving the environment, but nothing concrete has come up except talks.
He noted that many theories and ‘isms’ came up, from “individualism,” which didn’t consider society important, to “communism,” which considered society supreme, with no space for individual bliss and social peace.
All theories focused on material prosperity. Religions evolved to find solutions, but they too failed. At the most, they reached the ideal of maximum good for the maximum number of people.
Because they did not look at the integral whole, they couldn’t discern the underlying element of oneness that connected all these human dimensions.
They could not reach the ancient wisdom of “Sarve sukhinah santu.” – Let us all be happy. Their idea was to compete for the best results. Naturally, the strongest won, whereas ancient traditions knew the underlying aspect of “spiritual oneness,” which the Bharatiyas call dharma. Following our dharma, there is bliss in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end. These ancient cultures realised that “all are not one, but everything is one. We can have different forms and expressions; there is no point in viewing this diversity negatively; we need to respect diversity because that is the expression of oneness expressed in different forms. This wisdom says that happiness is within, not only outside. Happiness is not in the consumption of an object, but in consuming it because you are happy.”
Bhagwat noted that an individual, the community or society, the nation, and nature are related in a spiral, each leading to the next mechanism. They don’t exist in concentric circles. Factoring in this culture can bring peace and prosperity.
He pointed out how a UN resolution in 1951 talked about the scrapping of ancient philosophies and the disintegration of old social institutions for the goal of rapid economic progress. “But in 2013,” Dr. Bhagwat pointed out, “it had to admit that integration of culture into development policies was necessary for global development.”
“We, the ancient knowledge systems belonging to different traditions, knew this. Thus, our time has come. Ancient cultures may think that we are too small and may not be able to change the situation,” he said.
The RSS Sarsanghchalak then shared a folk story, the lesson of which was that with the right wisdom, we can come together, change the situation, create a new world devoid of conflicts and environmental disasters, and bring in an era of peace with ancient wisdom.
On this occasion, ICCS launched a new academic and research journal that will focus on history, anthropology, and governance.
A souvenir with insightful articles and highlights from earlier conferences. The five-day conference will end with the Sarkaryavah, RSS Dattatreya Hosabale, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, and Deputy Chowna Mein addressing the valedictory session on January 31 and a visit to the RIWATCH campus in Roing, Arunachal Pradesh, by delegates the following day.