Swamiji Chidanand Saraswatiji (centre) at the summit
INTERFAITH leaders gathered at an annual summit in India last week to discuss how to help people embrace sustainable lives.
His Holiness (HH) Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati (HH Pujya Muniji), the co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and president of the Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India, was joined by Nobel Prize winner Dr RK Pachauri, who is also the director general of The Energy Research Institute (TERI), and other community leaders at the 15th Annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) in New Delhi from February 5-7.
Each year, the summit brings together the best minds from the fields of government, business, academia, media as well as many others.
The theme of the concluding session was “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” which translates as the world is one family.
HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati said: “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam is the core tenet of the Hindu faith. One of the major behaviour changes that we can make to encourage and inspire sustainable development is to change our vision of the world from a “bazaar”, a market place, to a “parivar,” a family.
Among those who were present at the summit were Diwan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan from the Ajmer Sharif shrine Giani Gurubachan Singh, chief jathedar of the Akal Takht, Amritsar; Archbishop Dr Kuriakose Bharnikulangara of the Faridabad Diocese; Bhikku Sanghasena, founder president of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre Leh-Ladakh; acharya Rupchandra Muni, prominent Jain Monk and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, general secretary of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and president, Divine Shakti Foundation, who chaired the session.
Pujya Swamiji honoured Dr Pachauri for his work and presented him a Peepal tree. He also gave him a shawl woven by women from the Kedar Valley in Uttarakhand, a region devastated by the floods in 2013.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said, “The drive towards sustainable development and mitigating climate change needs to be not only top-down, it also needs to be bottom-up. It needs to be a movement catalyzed by change in thought and change in behavior by the people. We need information, inspiration and implementation. The greatest catalyst for change in thought and behavior is our faith. Our tradition teaches us Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam - If the world is one family then we need to live, work and choose not only for ourselves but also for our future generations.”