MANIPUR (Kangla Online): A unique programme highlighting the importance of peace and ways and means of bringing it in the north eastern region of India, escpecially in Manipur, and generally in the whole world will be held in Manipur in the month of November this year (2007). The programme, an international peace conference, is expected to be attended by many important dignitaries including the President of India APJ Abdul Kalam and Nobel laureates from all over the world.
The idea for holding this peace conference is the brainchild of His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami (also popularly known as Dr. TD Singh), the spearhead of the Krishna consciousness movement in Manipur under the banner of the worldwide organisation International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Unfortunately, Swami Damodara is no more with us as he entered samadhi at Radhakund in October last year (2006).
Swami Damodara was a stalwart figure, not only within the ISKCON society but also a cultural and spiritual torchbearer for the small state of Manipur. He was a scientist before he joined in 1970 the mission of his guru Swami Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to inundate the whole world with love of god, while he was a Phd student at the California University in the USA.
Being a sanyasi later in life he did not stay at one place for long and was constantly on the move preaching the message of love, compassion, tolerance, non-violence and mercy all over the world. But this did not remove him from his land of birth, Manipur, and he remained in touch with his disciples and friends here and for the last years of his life was involved in building a new temple dedicated to Sri Sri Radha krishnachandra at Imphal. The temple is almost completely finished and is slated to be inaugurated on November 21,2007, the same time the international peace summit at Imphal is to be held.
Although the theme of peace is not new to the state with many social organisations holding peace meets time and again in the troubletorn state, the concept of holding a peace summit with participation by Nobel laureates and other political and religious dignitaries from outside the state could only be concieved by a visionary of Swami Damodara’s stature.
In fact, Swamiji was always in close touch with many Nobel laureates the world over as he was keenly interested in creating a dialogue between science and spirituality for the benefit of mankind. He had earlier organised many such widely attended conferences in India as well as abroad. Apart from this he promoted the role of science in interfaith dialogue, reviving the interest of scholars worldwide in consciousness studies, and laid down the foundation for future research in the direction of science and religion.
Swami Damodara’s preaching centred around the tenets of age old Vedic truths and he was an ambassador of the Vedic paradigm of life. What he promoted was not something which he himself manufactured but came down in the line of disciplic succession from many enlightened sages in the Vedic tradition.
Physical and mental well being is the topmost necessity for a peaceful society and there can be no other means to achieve this more easily and comprehensively than by following the teachings of the oldest and most acclaimed scriptures in the world. Many in the western world have accepted the teachings of the Vedas and their lives have changed dramatically for the better. We Indians too must take the cue from the westeners and turn to what is our own since ages and arrest the spiritual decadence that has set in our country because of which we are facing newer problems each day.
Although peace for mankind is the theme of the peace conference there is special focus on peace in Manipur as the state is ravaged by violence. To bring peace in the state requires not only our effort but the joint effort of many people from outside the state also. To have continuing trouble in the state is a loss not only for the people of the state but also for the whole mankind at large as the state is a symbol of cultured and civilized living.
As we have failed in bringing peace in the state till now it is important to involve others to bring peace. The peace summit implies asking for the help of peace loving people to come together and promote peace in the state. In this sense, Swami Damodara promoted not a particular religion but peace as a religion. This is akin to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message of universal love as a religion. The conference will represent a give and take of ideas between people here and the speakers and visitors for bringing peace in the state and the world at large.
To cite an instance from history, the Manipuri king Rajarshi Bhagyachandra was a liberal leader who left his throne after a Brahmana was killed in his kingdom. In the same spirit we, especially our leaders, must take responsiblity for the existing situation in the state and lead by example, making a pledge to act ourselves to promote peace.
[ manipur ]