Dara Shukoh’s writings a refreshing source for infusing peace and harmony, says Naidu

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today said Prince Dara Shukoh’s writings could be a refreshing source for infusing peace and harmony.
Addressing a gathering after visiting an exhibition on the forgotten Mughal prince, Mr. Naidu said Dara Shukoh, one of the sons of Emperor Shah Jehan, grew up under the unmistakable influence of the teachings of the Sufi saint, Shaik Muin-uddin Chisti.
He studied all prominent religions of the world especially Islam and Hinduism and wrote the remarkable work called “Majma-ul-Bahrain” or the “Mingling of the two Oceans” in which he said that he did not find “any difference except verbal, in the way they sought to comprehend the truth”, and both "represent spiritual effort of man to realize Truth and God”. His message is relevant for all times, Mr Naidu said.
The exhibition is organized by French political writer and journalist Francois Gautier, at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
The Vice President said the principles of Sufism are highly relevant to break down narrow prejudices and bring people together, especially in today’s world of materialism, consumerism and growing religious fundamentalism.
All religions seek to unite people and the common strand in each of them, including Sufism, is spiritualism, tolerance and respect for others. There is a greater need today to put into practice some of the meaningful teachings of Sufi saints to bring harmony between all groups of society and break down divisive walls between communities, he added.
The quest for the spirit of oneness has ironically both unified as well as divided humanity because of the difference in the external forms, rituals, texts, names and symbols. “Human history has many lessons for us. We have periods of long bitter wars fought in the name of religion. We have peaks of peaceful co-existence and depths of strident intolerance. Every era has examples of this ceaseless battle between various religious groups and also of the refreshing soothing voices of, balanced, path breaking visionaries,” he said.
"This is a constant struggle of letting the voices of harmony, mutual respect and understanding rise up. Today’s symposium is a step in that direction. We are examining the relevance of Sufism today and also recalling a forgotten prince of yesteryears. One is a philosophical strand that has through the ages has been one of the unifying influences binding people throughout its long and rich history. The second is Dara Shukoh, the Prince who exemplified an extraordinarily broad vision of cultural synthesis," he said.
“Like many religions of the world that have found in India a hospitable home, Sufism has also been a part of India’s cultural landscape since medieval times. The Indian ethos and the cultural, philosophic tradition has always recognized and celebrated diversity and plurality. Ours is a country that recognized thousands of years ago that - “Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” (Truth is one, sages call it by various names),” Mr Naidu said.
"Early mystics of Sufism like Rabia and Mansoor remain symbols of divine love. The 10th century Sufi mystic Rabia represents the ideal of selfless love preached by Sufi mystics.
"The preaching of divine love by the saints permeated Sufi philosophy and made them popular everywhere including most parts of the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, Turkey Central Asia, Afghanistan and the subcontinent. Rumi, inspired by Shams Tabrezi, wrote some of the greatest Sufi poetry which is popular all over the world today, including his celebrated Masnavi.
"Similarly, Hafez of Shiraz wrote some of the greatest poems which celebrate divine love. Hafez’s poetry is an elegant expression of the experience of divine love, a recurring motif in his work. Hafez has been a great source of inspiration for generations of poets, thinkers and people across all segments of society. No wonder his mausoleum in Shiraz in Iran, attracts millions of visitors to this day," the Vice-President said.
“Sufi saints attracted followers from all faiths and to this day we find this spirit of togetherness when it comes to spiritualism in practice. For example, Khaja Mohiuddin Chisti’s shrine in Ajmer, Hazrath Nizammuddin Auliya’s dargah in New Delhi and Ameen Peer Dargah near Kadapa in my own state of Andhra Pradesh—these are among thousands of such shrines venerated by people across the country.
“All these great saints like Rishis and Munis deeply loved humanity and could see the vital connection between humanity and divinity,” he added.
“No wonder the impact of Sufi philosophy on Indian culture and social reform has been enormous. As Narada in his Bhakti Sutra’s defines ‘devotion’, it is selfless love in its highest form. This selfless love is underpinned by qualities that are fundamental for peaceful coexistence – empathy and enlarged vision, a willingness to listen and understand, and an ability to tolerate differences and recognize the commonalities,” he said.
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