India-Sri Lanka, 2015

The meeting of the general body of the India-Sri Lanka Benedictine Federation (ISBF) and its commission for interreligious dialogue (BID) was held in Asirvanam Benedictine Monastery, Bangalore on 4 August, 2015. The Abbot Primate, the President of AIM, and major and local superiors of Benedictines in India and Sri Lanka were present for the meeting. Fr. Ajeesh Kunjarakattu, the co- ordinator of BID, welcomed the gathering.
This year we had two talks by eminent personalities from Hinduism and Sikhism.
Talk 1: Sikhism. Prof. Hajendra Sing Bhatia
Moderator: Fr Ajeesh Kunjarakattu
Prof. Bhatia, a retired college professor explained the following points on Sikhism.
  • The basis of Sikhism
  • The concept of God in Sikhism
  • The mission of mankind
  • The concept of the Guru in Sikhism
  • Oneness in mankind
  • Sikh personality
In his talk, Prof. Bhatia explained that Guru Nanak, the first Guru of Sikhism, propagated the socio- religious uniqueness of humanity. In Sikhism, as in Christianity, the concept of one God is prominent. According to Sikhism, God cannot be born physically, but humans can experience God in other human beings. God has no entity; he is beyond entity.
Commitment towards society is another teaching of Sikhism. Socio-religious reforms advocated by Guru Nanak are practised by the believers of Sikhism. Service to the society is service to God.
Simran-Seva, i.e., meditation and service, are the ways to experience God. Sakti-bhakti is a concept of Sikhism that means we can also attain God through temporal and spiritual power.
Sikhism is a casteless society. All men in Sikhism are known as SINGH and women are known as KAUR. The Guru Granda, the holy book of Sikhs that is kept in the middle of the Gurudware (the worship place of Sikhism) is regarded as the personal presence of Guru.
Sharing is a major idea in Sikihism. Through the Gurudwaras, thousands of poor people are fed.
Bhakti in the Hindu perspective
Dr. Thimmappa Hegde
Moderator: Rev. Fr. Vincent K
In the second talk Dr. Timmaappa Hegde Director and senior consultant neurosurgeon, Narayana Hrudayalaya Inst. of N.S., presented his ideas of Bhakti according to the Hindu perspective. The basic question Is what is God to me? God is the goal of life, and the world is the means to God. Sometimes we may wonder if we are living in a cosmos or in chaos. Seeing the order in the word, all should know that we are living in a cosmos and not in chaos.
Bhakti enables us to understand the mining of suffering. When we see the suffering of others, we should understand how lucky we are. Therefore we have to make the most of life. The purpose of human life is to fulfil our responsibility towards parents, society, and spiritual masters. We have to change ourselves from being consumers to being contributors.
Love is the path by which we discover God. In love there are not two, but only one. Lover and loved become one.
Fr Ajeesh Kunjarakattu OSB, Co-Ordinator, BID
Sr. Vinaya OSB, Secretary, BID
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