World congress of spiritual concord

Paramarth Niketan, Rishikesh, The Himalayas
December 5 - 12, 1993

Brief background information

1. The International Association Peace Through Culture

On January 30, 1993, Dr. Svyatoslav Roerich of Russia, died in Bangalore, India. By coincidence, it was the 45th anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. Like his more famous father Nikolai, Svyatoslav Roerich was also a great artist, a humanitarian philosopher and a towering spiritual genius. He drank deep at the wells of Indian spirituality and spent most of his life in India. Svyastoslav married Devika Rani, the well-known film actress, who became his spiritual fellow-pilgrim, and who survives him, a venerable figure in her seventies.

Both father and son undertook a most difficult spiritual task-bringing together the spiritual traditions of Russia and India. Like Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo, the Roerichs sought to create a new spirituality for the people of our time, rooted in the wisdom of the Vedas and the Upanishads, of Gautama Buddha and Jaina Mahavira, of Jesus Christ and the Eastern Christian Fathers. They created Agni Yoga as a system of deep meditation, like Sri Aurobindo’s Intergral yoga.

In the 1930’s Nikolai Roerich floated the idea of “Peace Through Culture.’’ When the western world was generally getting ready for the second World War, Roerich sought to bring together the spiritual treasures of the different cultures, in order to build together a new world order based on a network of mutually respectful cultures of great spiritual depth and profound inner peace prevailing in persons and societies. The idea found prompt and positive response from the great minds and spirits of that time, like Rabindranath Tagore, Romain Rolland, Albert Einstein and George Bernard Shaw.

The dark tidal wave of World War Two drowned out the idea at that time. Following the War, the urban-industrial culture became pervasive and took over the domination, not only  of the physical and economic world, but also of human minds and spirits; the forces of unbridled greed, agressive acquisitiveness, and the cult of instant gratification with thirst for violence, sanctioning uninhibited pursuit of money, pleasure and power became regnant; and religion and spirituality were relegated to the margins as a possible preoccupation for otherwise unsuccessful or antiquated individuals. Voices like that of Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King were silenced by the assassin’s gun.

Since the end of the war, A worldwide system of greed, acquisition, gratification and sensuality, addicted to violence and insensitive to the transcendent, has grown up; we are all caught up in this system and have become its victims. Many of us are struggling against; no clear alternatives have emerged.

It is in this context that Congress of Spiritual Concord has emerged as an ongoing movement of all religious and spiritual forces around the world, from the Alma Ata Congress organized by the International Association ‘‘Peace Through Culture” in October 1992. Until he died, Svyatoslav Roerich was the Honourary President of the Association IAPTC. Valentin Sidorov, the well known Russian writer and philosopher is the Founder-President of IAPTC, established first in the Soviet Union in July, 1989, and transformed into an international body in February 1991. Its head quarters is in Moscow, Russia.

II. The International Congress of Spiritual Concord - December 1993

The world Council of the Congress of Spiritual  Concord, set up at the Alma Ata Congress is organising a major international Congress of Spiritual Forces in India in December 1993,  and to that end has set up an Indian National Committee. His Grace Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios, the Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan of Delhi, has kindly agreed to serve as Chairman of the Indian National Committee. His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Swami Lokeshwarananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Chidananda Saraswati of Paramarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Ms. Ahalya Chari of the Krishnamurthi Foundation, Mme Radha Burnier of the Theosophical Society of India, Mother Teresa of Culcutta, and many others have pledged their support and cooperation.

The purpose of the 1993 Congress of Spiritual Concord may be briefly indicated as follows:

a. To awaken the higher human consciousness and to focus its positive energy towards peace and concord on earth;

b. To promote, enlarge and augment the growing global network of positive network of positive spiritual forces and to co-ordinate their efforts;

c. To seek together, in prayer and meditation, ways and means of transforming the foundations of global human culture in the direction of peace, justice (dharma), harmony and concord: transforming relations of human beings, both with each other, and also with the life environment, environment, and with the Transcendent;

d. To examine prayerfully, and humbly, but with critical and spiritual awareness, the foundational assumptions of our modern secular, urban-technological, industrial-commercial culture and the ideologies pervading it;

e. To generate, by prayer and meditation, positive spiritual energy to counteract the growing  power of darkness which takes the forms of unbelief and faithlessness, spiritual poverty and powerlessness mindless violence and war, irrational and heartless ethnic conflict, inhuman cruelty, terrorism in its various forms, inter-religious conflicts, oppression and exploitation, corruption and bribery, fast spreading drug addiction and the demonic drug trade linked to the political economy, deceit and dishonesty in trade and commerce, in family relations as well as in political and social life, aquisitive greed and unbridled sensuality with the morality of permissiveness which goes with both, and so on.

f. To wait together, in quietness and peace, for the life-giving Word, the quickening Spirit, and the positive Energy needed for the healing of the world and of our own selves.

The programme of the Congress will give priority to spiritual exercises like prayer, meditation and worship according to the various traditions. Great Masters will be present to introduce participants to the world’s spiritual traditions. Formal speeches and addresses will be few and brief. The accent is on quiet meditation, silence, spiritual communication at deeper levels.

We are most greatful to Swami Chidananda Saraswati (Muniji) of Paramartha Niketan, who has graciously offered to us the  remarkable facilities of the Ashram on the banks of the Ganges, at the foot of the Himalayas, the fountainhead of Hindu spirituality. The Ashram is equipped to accommodate more than two thousand people at a time. The facilities are clean, simple, congenial and convenient. Furnished apartments are also available.

There will  be no non-vegetarian food, alcoholic drinks, or tobaco smoking permitted on the premises. The vegetarian food will be healthy and wholesome. The first weeks of December will be pleasantly cool, especially in the evenings. The Ashram is between the foothills of the Himalayas and the holy river Ganges. For the adventurous there will be possibility of going up into the forest for meditation during free time, provided of course that sometimes the wild elephants may also choose the same spots for their own meditation or other activity.

III. Fees and Charges

The Congress had hoped to provide free hospitality in Rishikesh for all participants. This now turns out to be beyond our means. We have therefore to ask from Indian participants a payment of Rs. 750 per person, and from international participants a sum of US$ 150.00 per person, for six days of board and lodging, in addition to the registration fee. This amount will be payable on arrival in Rishikesh, or can be sent to us in advance.

We are trying to collect a fund for giving a subsidy of Rs. 500 per person to about 50 Indian participants who are genuinely unable to pay the conference fees in full. Those who require such assistance should write us a letter showing their need and requesting help.

 All participants, Indian as well as international, are to pay their own travel to Rishikesh. The Congress will seek to provide special trains and buses for participants at their cost, for the five-hour  journey by bus or longer (7 to 10 hours) train trip from Delhi to Rishikesh via Haridwar. One can also fly from Delhi to Dehra Dun and then take a bus or taxi.

International participants are advised to apply for tourist visas, without mentioning any conference. We will ofcourse make necessary authorisations for visas, but experience has taught us that mentioning the conference complicates the visa procedure. Visas should be applied for in October 1993.

Individual invitations will be issued only to those expressing an interest in the conference, by filling in the attached form and sending it to us as early as possible. There is a limit of 200 Indian participants and 150 from abroad. Only those selected and registered will be allowed to attend. There will be a registration fee for Rs. 100 for Indian participants, and US$ 20.00 for those coming from outside India. This fee will not be refundable and is payable before November 1st, 1993. Cheques and money orders may be drawn in favour of Sarva Dharma Nilaya, New Delhi.

Participants from abroad are expected to arrive in Delhi on the 5th of December 1993 for travel to Rishikesh on the 6th. Transit accomadation in Delhi can be arranged at the participant’s cost (ranging from $120.00 to $ 120.00 per night). Accomadation will be available in Rishikesh from the 5th to 11th, 12th being the date of departure. The programme begins on the 6th evening and ends on the 11th evening (Six full days). A more detailed programme will be available in November 1993.

If you have any questions please write to the undersigned or to the Revd. Fr. M. S. Skariah, Sarva Dharma Nilaya, 2 Tughlakbad institution Area, New Delhi-110 062.

Yours for Peace and Concord,

Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios
Sarva Dharma Nilaya,
2 Tughlakbad institution Area,
New Delhi-110 062, India