‘Inter-spiritual dialogues are the need of the hour’

Dr Joachim Andrade, professor of Pontifical Catholic University, Brazil, speaks during a panel discussion on ‘Mahatma Gandhi and the Differential Responses to Religious Belonging in India’ held at St Aloysius College in Mangaluru.

Inter-spiritual dialogues are the need of the hour, said Dr Joachim Andrade, professor of Pontifical Catholic University, Brazil.

He was speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Mahatma Gandhi and the Differential Responses to Religious Belonging in India’, held at St Aloysius College here,
recently.

The discussion was organised by the Political Science department of the college.

“Gandhiji had a taste of all the religions. Studying the essence of all the religions, he had brought out real thoughts and stated that truth is ultimate in all the religions. He believed that religions are various forms to experience God”, Dr Andrade said.

Speaking on the topic ’The Role of Geography in Constructing Religion’, he analysed the perception of God in various religions.

The understanding of God changes according to the demographic conditions. In the religions which thrived in deserts, listening to God’s words is given more importance while in the fertile lands, it is believed that seeing God is more significant. Such kind of beliefs are prevalent in each religion, he said.

Jawaharlal Nehru University former Professor of Political Science Prof Valerian Rodrigues said that Gandhiji’s idea of nationality was purely Swaraj. “We can achieve a clean political system when there are mature people, families and society. Gandhiji therefore preferred the purity of personality,” he said.

Presiding over the programme, St Aloysius Institutions Rector Fr Dionysius Vas opined that Mahatma Gandhi should be understood in terms of religious harmony. The value of humanity described by religions made him take a proactive approach towards non-violence.

“All religions should bring out spirituality, which is deeper and provides a vision for life,” the Rector said and called upon the youth to look into spirituality and not religion.

St Aloysius College Principal Fr Pravin Martis said along with concentrating on truth and non-violence, Gandhiji believed in ‘Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava’, giving equal importance to all religions. This gave a lot of push for democracy in India, he added.

Dr Andrade and Prof Rodrigues were felicitated on the occasion. Political Science Department Head Dr Rose Veera D’Souza and St Aloysius Institutions former Rector Dr Fr Leo D’Souza were also present.

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