World Conference on Spiritual Sciences

The World Conference on Spiritual Sciences was held on the 3rd and 4th of December 2022 at the NDMC Convention Center in New Delhi, India. The event was organized by the Doctor’s Forum, Animal Welfare Society of India, and Gyan Sagar Science Foundation. The eminent neurologist Dr. D.C Jain served as the chairman of the conference. He is currently positioned as the Former SPL Director of General Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. He also serves as the professor and head of the neurology department, at Vardhan Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi.

Spirituality is often a confusing concept with variable definitions and understanding. The concept has particularly perplexed modern scientists and young inquisitive minds. Hence, this conference brings together a galaxy of scholars, including renowned saints, medical doctors, scientists, philanthropists, religious leaders, etc. delivered their orations on their concept of spirituality. Various aspects of the Soul, its nature, and factors upgrading or downgrading the soul, among others were discussed in depth.

The emcee of the session launched the conferences by informing the audience that representatives from each religion across the nation were present at the conference.

Jain View on Soul by Acharya Lokesh Muni Ji

Acharya Shri explained his views on the soul, using the teachings of Lord Mahavira. The human soul is covered by four vices: anger, pride, greed, and deceit. The soul, if purified from the four vices, can come closer to becoming God.

Islamic View on Soul by Imam Umer Ilyasi Ji, Chief Imam of India

Imam Ji is the in-charge of 5.5 lakh mosques in India. He explained how God is kind-hearted and merciful to us all. He praised the penances and renunciations undertaken by the Digambar (one sect in Jainism) saints. Recalling an anecdote of a Jain nun undergoing santhara, he described how he felt the Soul of that Jain nun as it was leaving the body. He urged people to pray for their enemies in the same way as one would pray for one’s family and oneself. By doing so, not only will the enemy change but we will be benefitted automatically as well. Putting the spiritual learnings to practical use, he urged people to always give space to the ambulance on roads and pray for the person traveling in it. Any act that is done without expectations, leads to a direct blessing from God.

Hindu View by Chander Dev  Ji Maharaj

Acharya Chandradev Ji said that the body and the Soul are distinct from each other. When one thinks about the body, one thinks of just oneself. But as one proceeds to think about the Soul, we broaden our perspective and think about everyone: from a little ant to the mighty elephant. Hence, the quickest way to reach one’s soul and purify oneself is to always think good for others.

Brahma Kumari’s View on Soul by BK Asha Didi Ji

She said that when we have ascribed our happiness to materialistic things. This is why something can make us happy in the short term, but not in long term, in an eternal manner. So how to find this happiness? She guided that one should apply this principle: if I am the Soul then the other person is also the soul. This will give rise to a new culture of give, give and give. After all, doesn’t Nature teach us to give?

Jewish View on Soul by Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar Ji

As per Jewish philosophy, God created humans. God is kind-hearted and compassionate. Hence, we should try to imbibe the same values in ourselves. Our soul is a form of God and is hidden inside us. This soul is pure. The need for today is to make the soul beautiful and purify it.

Sikh View on Soul by Shri H.S Hanspal Ji

He believes that there is a part of God in every organism. One’s happiness is not found in materialistic pursuits of roaming around or watching mindless entertainment, but it is to be found by chanting God’s name. Any reminder of God and his qualities brings us closer to our own divinity. The happiness that one derives from realizing the residence of the soul or the presence of God in one’s body is the only eternal form of happiness.

Buddhist View on Soul by Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok Ji

Acharya Yeshi recalled his childhood when he got the opportunity to meet both Digambar and Swetambar Jain monks. He has learned invaluable lessons from their penances.  He said that whatever knowledge we gain is not absorbed by the body but by the soul. Hence, it is important that the soul gains the right kind of knowledge. This is why, he believes that without the traditional knowledge of spirituality, modern education is incomplete. One will be able to navigate the true meaning of life, one the ancient and the modern knowledge run parallel to each other.

Arya Samaj’s View by Sri Vinay Arya Ji

The Vedas explain that soul cannot be burnt or slain or destroyed in any form. It is unchanging and eternal. Once we accept this existence of the soul, fear goes away. When Soul enters the body, it is birth and when it leaves the body, it is death. The aim of these discussions is to instigate further inquisitiveness in the audience to learn more about Soul.

Jain View on Soul by Acharya Anekant Sagar Ji

The soul is a topic of faith and experience. Our soul is extremely powerful and pure. Soul has the same characteristics as God or the supreme Soul (Paramatma). Every single living organism in this world wants happiness and its suffering to end. To attain this happiness and eternal peace, the Jain philosophy prescribes the attainment or the experience of the Soul called Samyak Darshan in Jain philosophy. This realization is can help us become Parmatma. That is, we attain all of his divine qualities of kindness and compassion within ourselves. Regardless of religious beliefs, everyone can make an effort to realize the soul. He ended his speech by giving the blessing that may everyone gain the knowledge and experience of the Soul.

Among many prominent speakers, the following people also made remarkable comments. Dr. Sudhir Shah from Ahmedabad, India expressed anatomical localization of consciousness which is equated to the soul. It was expressed that the soul exists in all living beings including unicellular organisms like the amoeba. Dr. Kameshwar Prasad is an Indian neurologist, former professor, and the Head Neurology Department at AIIMS and is presently the Director of Ranchi Institute of Medical Sciences. He highlighted the deleterious effects of alcohol on the nervous system.  He pointed out that alcohol results in memory loss i.e dementia, ataxia, neuropathy, and muscle atrophy. An eminent gastroenterologist Dr. Nirmal Kumar, former professor of the gastroenterology department at GB Pant hospital New Delhi discussed alcohol as an important cause of cirrhosis of the liver which is a fatal disease. Dr. Sharat Chandra, professor of neurosurgery at AIIMS presented on the need to include and consume plant-based food in our diets. He emphasized that the disease burden amongst us will significantly reduce through the consumption of plant food and it will also promote the harmonious co-existence of human beings along with animals and birds. Consumption of plant-based food will not only lower carbon emissions but also play an important role in maintaining the environmental and ecological balance. Finally, the delegates expressed the opinion that spiritual well-being should be included in the definition of health, which at present only includes physical, mental, and social components only.

In the end, it was discussed how in today’s world, sustainable living with harmony amongst the environment, human beings, animals, marine life, and plants is a key concern. The eminent experts in this conference dwelt on how spirituality and realization of the Soul can bring about harmonious coexistence of lives and subsequently, make the earth a better place to live.

Palakh Jain is an associate professor at Bennett University.

Payal Seth is a Ph.D. Scholar at Bennett University.

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