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Surat Declaration Towards Unity of Mind
Towards this direction, I participated in the Surat Conclave on October 15, 2003. I met Swamijis, Maulavis, Rev. Fathers, spiritual leaders and devotees in Surat, Gujarat, in the venerable presence of Jain Muniji Acharya Mahaprajna. I discussed with the religious leaders the vision of a developed India. They explained the rich culture and civilization heritage of thousands of years that our country is proud of; the traditional bonds in a well-knit family system, where love, affection, mutual help and service are the prevailing emotions particularly in the rural India of 700 million people.There are two components of religion. One is the theological component as put forth by saints and prophets. And the other is the moral codes, particularly the good way of life. In almost all religions, the good way of life is generally reflected by compassion and love. The signing of the Surat Declaration by 15 religious leaders was a testimony to the existence of a single noble core of all religions. This declaration has come out of two days of deliberation and discussion of the higher plane. It is a good experience for me. I have gained new insights into the ascent of man from a body running on breath and driven by sensory inputs to a networked entity on the earth, in the solar system and around the cosmos.The Surat Conclave discussed the enrichment of religions and worked by plowing the essence of religion. They saw a bridge of love and compassion of connectivity as a garland for all religions. Finally, the Surat Spiritual Declaration outlined five Garland Projects. These projects included celebration of inter-religious festivals; multi-religious community projects; education in and with the ambience of unity of religions; interfaith dialogue; and finally a national-level independent and autonomous organization managed by religious and spiritual leaders as well as scholars and enlightened citizens. Hence the developmental mission has to have a focus on the spiritual way of life. The meeting led to the release of the Surat Spiritual Declaration aimed at transforming India into a developed nation in partnership with the spiritual community.