Often, people who take responsibility do not pray, and those who pray do not take responsibility. Every religion has three aspects—values, symbols and practices. There is diversity in both practices and symbols, whereas values are common to all the religions. The growth of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance in the world is happening because people are stuck in only the practices, symbols or customs while forgetting the values. 

Spirit loves diversity. There is not just one type of fruit, one type of people, or one type of animal on this planet. So let’s not confine the spirit to a uniform. Let’s enjoy the diversity in creation by honoring, respecting and loving them all. We have been using the term ‘religious tolerance’ too often. I think that these words have become obsolete now. You tolerate only that which you don’t love. The time has come to love each other’s religions as one’s own. A religion is great not just because it is mine; it is great because of what it is. This understanding, when imbued in all the priests, clergymen and others who lead people in spiritual and religious light, would put an end to the fanaticism and fundamentalism going on in our beautiful world.

Seeing God inside you is meditation; seeing God in the person next to you is service. Click To Tweet

It would be nice if, together, we all may adopt a resolution that we would educate our people to understand a little bit about every religion in order to encompass a broader vision about life. No doubt, one must go deep in one’s own religion; at the same time, having an understanding about every other religion is essential today. Without meditation and universal brotherhood, which form the very essence of spirituality, religion remains as just an outer shell. I often say religion is the skin of the banana while spirituality is the actual banana. The misery our world is because we throw away the banana while holding onto the dry skin. So we need to enhance the spiritual aspect of our lives.

Seeing God inside you is meditation; seeing God in the person next to you is service. Service and meditation go hand in hand. The previous century has been an era of uniforms and unions. Now let us move towards an era of communion. With these few words I pray and I take responsibility, both at the same time.