WMPP Programs

Pls scroll down for activities and photographs in 2008

Communal Harmony Week, organized by the city Police and Citizen’s Council for Better Tomorrow (CCBT) (Mr Khorakiwala is the CCBT President) evoked huge response from intelligentsia, common citizens and college and school students.

The concluding function was held at August Kranti Maidan (Quit India Fame) on November 21st 2007 where an Interfaith Meet had been convened. Ms Uzma Nahid (The charming Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Director of Iqra) said this lovely couplet before introducing me:
‘Chaahat ke badley mein, hum to bech de apni marzee tak
Koi mile to dil ka gaahak
Koi hamey apnaaye to’

Uzma and I have been holding an Interfaith Dialogue for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that Women can bring about Peace more easily. Why? A woman has more compassion less ego…yet she is not weak. I concluded my speech by saying:

Main hoon Bharat ki naar, jeeney marney ko taiyaar
Mujhe samjho na kamzor logo, samjho na kamzor
Is desh ki hoon santaan ki jiskaa naam hai Hidustaan
Mujhe samjho na kamzor logo, samjho na kamzor

Har khel ki main hoon main khilaari
kartee hoon kheti baari
Ran mein talwaar chalaaoon
Daftar mein kalam chalaaoon
aur dekhoon sab ghar baar
jeeney marney ko taiyaar
Mujhe samjho na kamzor logo, samjho na kamzor

During the beginning of the speech I said:
Panchhee nadiya pawan ke jhonkey Koyee sarhad na inhe rokey
yeh sarhad insaan ke liye hai
Socho hamney kyaa khoya aur paaya insaan hokar
I suppose geographical sarhad may be important for peace but to love, to understand, to dialogue…why should we have boundaries???

A woman cures herself when sick works 18 hrs a day
She can think, reason and negotiate
She has strengths that amazes man
She can handle trouble and carry burdens
She smiles when she feels like screaming
and sings when she feels like crying
She fights for what she believes in
and finds the strength to get on with life
Only one thing is wrong with her… She forgets what she is worth…

Have not been able to update the video…If you would like to see it, Click:



The play ‘Untitled’ at Sophia College was sponsored by WMPP.

  Is the institution of marriage under threat? What can be done?

 An interactive session was held at TOI.  

  The launch of Women and Political Governance in collaboration with Times Foundation and WMPP

An Interfaith seminar was organized with Iqra Foundation

A Post Graduate Diploma course on conflict Resolution introduced at Jamia Millia University (with TF and TISS)

 The Jaagruti Sammelan hosted by Rajasthaani Mahila Mandal in collaboration with WMPP at the Chavan Hall on 28th February 2004

A Women’s Empowerment session was held by Ms Suhaani Shah (Student of Mr. Kato) on Kempo Art of Self Defence in collaboration with the Group 21.

 A session where various ladies attended, was conducted by Ms Promila Gurtu, to learn how to help ourselves with the help of homeopathy. Of course tests were imperative for complicated ailments.

The consultations and medicines are provided free of cost.

 Preventive problems in health-care for youth.(Heart,Diabetes, Eye, Gynaec, Dental…)

An interactive session was held on   ‘Sexual harassment in the work place’

 Fastrack kids in  collaboration with WMPP held a session on ‘Appreciation of Music’

Anti-tobacco Drives was launched in various schools

A talk was held on the 31st of May 2005 (World Tobacco day)  at Bal Bhavan where 300 students participated.

What WMPP hopes to achieve within next 6 months (Aug 2005)

Setting up of Women Centers for the Empowerment of Women

Empowerment of women will be through Distressing the mind and Body by Yoga, Vipassana and Art of Living.

Empowerment through Health (Counseling and Counseling courses)

The target audience is girl students for both schools and colleges, teachers and non-teaching staff and parents.

Empowerment of women through career guidance course. Teaching English and Computer classes.

Preventive Health care for youth.

Legal Rights (Pending PILs in the Court)

Please click:

http://shacune.blogspot.com for constant updates on activities…

For photographs click:

With Abha Maheshwary and Aarati Savur CEO of Parisar Asha



Activities January to April 2008

Minutes of the Meeting of Trustees held on Wednesday,  April 23,  2008 at The Times of India Building,  Dr D N Road, CST, Mumbai 400 001 as per Notice dated 7th April, 2008.

 Chairperson welcomed the Trustees and explained that the work of bringing about Peace and Prosperity can be accomplished not only as a joint effort but also on an Individual effort. Trustees should join with other organizations to bring about harmony.  Chairperson then  apprised them of the recent developments and activities of the Trust:

 1) Chairman congratulated Trustee WMPP Sonal Sheth for running the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon for ‘Ummeed’

  So many kids and families go through suffering, a life is wasted, not helped to reach full potential only because of lack of awareness, or lack of facilities…

Sonal ran despite being diagnosed with a heart murmur 2 years ago.

2) Ms Leena Prabhoo, one of the Founder Trustees, WMPP, gave an Introductory talk of ‘Catharsis of the Soul’ urging members of the ‘Celebrating Life’ Group to get rid of the emotional garbage that we have accumulated over the years!

3) Chairman congratulated Ms Basanti Roy, the Vice Chairperson WMPP andDivisional Secretary of SSC Board  for showing her compassion in a unique way.

Basanti directed 17 year old Omkar Pimple an HSC examinee to the closest station when young Omkar suffered a panic attack as he was sure that he would not make it for his 11 am Sanskrit paper at an HSC Centre in Churchgate.

4) On the 12th January 2008 Times Foundation and Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity opened a Women Center at Anjuman Islam CST.  Shakun Narain spoke on Women and Peace…the guest of honour was Mr Mir Ranjan Negi. Former India Goalkeeper and Coach of India Hockey Team. (Chakde India starring Shah Rukh Khan was based on Mr Ranjan Negi’s life story)

 4) On Women’s Day, March the 8th 2008, Times Foundation and Women’s Movement for Peace an Prosperity celebrated the achievements of Times of India Group Women…Last year various leaders of NGOs were felicitated by Times…this year the leaders of those NGOs felicitated Women in Times.

 5) Shakun Narain and Aarti Hundalani Trustee, WMPP organized a Spiritual bhajan and lecture session to celebrate  Sankraanti and Holi, and continue year after year to celebrate each festival …

  Trustees were satisfied with the performance and decided to enhance the Trust activities further. She also informed that WMPP Trustees in association with eminent personalities will be organizing regular programmes  under title ‘Eager To Be’ in near future, wherein the Trustees will make their valuable contributions within the framework of the Objectives of the Trust. The programmes will be conducted on 2nd Wednesdays of every month.

 As there were no other matters to be discussed, the Meeting was terminated with a Vote of thanks to the Chair.

Me, Shakun teaching them Spiritual values while young


 Activities April to June 2008

1)      On Aksaye Tritiya,7th of May 2008, a bhajan Kirtan was organized by Ms Aarti Hundalani at Ishwar Bhavan Temple, where the Hindi Edition of Dadi Nani ki Kahaani was blessed by Ms Shakun Narain’s nanand (Husband’s sister) Ms Indu G.Vee.

Akshaye Tritiya occurs on the third day of the bright  half of Vaisaakh.
Hindus, Buddhists, Jains celebrate this day.
‘AKSHAYE’ means ‘that which does not diminish
Every minute of the three and a half days is considered sacred.
It is believed that Satya Yuga and Treta Yuga started on this day.
New beginnings like weddings, business ventures, new deals, new audit books, business trips are considered to bring luck. Ved Vyaasa dictated and Lord Ganesha started to write the Mahabharata.

 2)     Some time back trustees of Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity (WMPP)met a dainty dynamic lady (Ms Supriya Sule) who believes in making a difference through quality education. She likes to look into ‘taking care’ of the progress of children with special needs like dyslexia, autism…and also the running of self-help groups with a difference.

3)      Shakun Narain attended a 2 day Peace Circle Conference at Panchagani. This conference was hosted
by the Peace Circle, Initative of Change originally
known as MRA (Moral Re-armament)

The main facilitator was Jean Brown a lady from U.K married
to an Australian gentleman.

Jean was fascinated by our (Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity) ‘Gems of Faiths’ talks and was particularly intrigued with the fact that different Faiths people spoke from the same platform…

It was also a wonderful experience as there were present for the conference, Tibetans, SouthKoreans, Russian, Tibet, Indians, from  Nagaland…and their striving for peace was very emotional!
Shakun also learned  what Peace really is and what makes peace and breaks peace…

 Some qualities of Peace Makers: Strong, Resilient, Forgiving, Loving, honest, faith, clarity of thought, empathetic, optimistic, sense of humour…

What are Peace Destroyers: Greed, selfishness, jealousy, lack of communication, prejudices, Non-forgiveness, hatred,dishonesty, revenge, bullying, disrespect, irresponsibility, hypocrisy, fears, anger, corruption, poverty, injustice, communal discord, war,history…

History cannot be unlived but if faced with courage it need not be lived again…

Peace is when every person’s need is being met…

Peace lives where compassion reigns…

The Peace Circle visited us at Times of India Building on the 1st Nov 2008

 On the 2nd of April 2008, a group from Times Foundation attended a conference on World Peace Harmony.
We were invited by Mr Somaiya at Faizullabhoy building.
I particularly enjoyed hearing Mr Jeffrey Armstrong’s spirited speech on ‘Appreciating and Understanding the Wisdom of the Vedas correctly’

Activities July to Sept 2008

Minutes of the Meeting of Trustees held on Saturday,  13th September,  2008 at The Times of India Building,  Dr D N Road, CST, Mumbai 400 001 as per Notice dated 28th August, 2008.

  Chairperson welcomed the Trustees and apprised them of the recent developments and activities of the Trust.

1)      Shakun Narain spoke on the Power of the Feminine at the Group 21

2)      Shakun gifted the Dadi Nani ki Kahaani at the Nana Nani Udyaan and also to the teachers of the Geeta Nagar Slum.

3)    Ms Uzma Naheed and Ms Seema Ansari were appointed as Trustees for a period of 3 years from 13th September, 2008. The proposals were brought forward by Managing Trustee and supported by all Trustees present.

SEPT 10th 2008

Shakun spoke at Eager to B. Group on Ganesh Chaturthi

Sept 11th 2008

Shakun spoke on Quantum Memory at the Group 21

Sept 13th 2008

Mallika had a bhandaara at Lal Batti slum at Colaba, where MLA attended which Maya Shahani, Sunita and myself also attended…

Atta Girls, we are mighty proud of you!

 4) To promote Communal Harmony, the Trustees decided to bring out 1000 copies of the book  ‘Dadi Nani Ki Kahani’ authored by Chairperson and distribute it to school children free of cost .


SNDT 7th to 10th November 2008

One of the purposes of IIWA is to highlight the right way to interpret the Quran.


Left: The Hindi Dadi Nani ki Kahaani being blessed by an elder Ms Indu Janki G. Vee(My nanand , husband’s sister)

On the right my English Dadi Nani ki Kahani being released by Shri L.K.Advani and Ms Indu Jain…

These photographs feature under the Urdu version because they were released much earlier and have been exclusively mentioned on my website.

To read my book in English, Click:

To read it in Hindi, 


Spreading goodness, peace and prosperity

1) Our Chairperson Emeritus and one of the founder members of WMPP, Ms Maya Shahani has been judged the country winner and an Extraordinary Lives Nominee from 5000 global members in the XL Foundation Family…

2) Ms Malika Oberoi, Trustee of WMPP has been given the position of Chairperson to Jan Shikshan Sansthan Sponsored by Ministry of HRD, Government of India…Earlier the Chairperson was Ms Bilkis Latif.

3) Leena Prabhoo: Regular lectures on Catharsis of the Soul.
4)Sonal Sheth: Took part in a Marathon Race to raise funds
 for under-priviledged.
5) Sunita Godbole: Ongoing activities on ‘Right to
6) Mallika Oberoi: Empowers slum children on a regular basis.
 Provides nourishment on ongoing basis.

Above: Malika organized a bhandara (Free meal) for the slumdwellers
7)Shakun and Aarti activity:
Empowering Women through Eager to B.
 Lecture on Ashtavakra Geeta at Ishwar Bhavan Temple (Shakun) every monday morning at 11 am (Little Gibbs Road)

Kirtan at Ishwar Bhavan Temple every monday evening at 4.30 pm

 Dadi Nani ki kahaani (Hindi)

Dadi Nani ki kahaani (Urdu)
 English Dadi Nani is going for a 3rd edition
Power of the Feminine (New book in the process)

9)Naina is providing psychosocial support to women and children at high risk in the metros and in the tsunami hit andaman islands.

Naina writes:
Shakunji and Mr Maheshwary we are with you please continue the great work.
Shakunji, I have been giving copies of the Urdu version of your book to schools here in Pune.
With warm regards to all at WMPP

10)Pratima writes:

Dear Shakun Ji,
This is to give you a little feedback on the
interaction that I had at the Navneet Community Center
in Bandra. This Center is part of the Holy Family
Hospital and there is a community of more than 50
women who are regularly empowered with vocational
training and health related issues. Very much like the
WMPP concept.

These women are very enthusiastic learners and were
extremely receptive to the knowledge transfer as we
discussed the various aspects of heart disease and
associated risk factors and ways to prevent.

Anjali writes:

Dear Shakun,

I am writing to advise you that, I am moving to Harvard Business School next month. HBS has appointed me to be the Executive Director of their Centre in India, which they want to scale up dramatically as part of their new Global Initiative. This will involve various facets of education, right from research to policy to publication ( case study generation from India )recruitment, placement, and executive education programs. It will also entail intensive interaction with Government, Industry, Academia and Alumni. The concept is
an Embassy for Harvard, bringing the best of Harvard to India, and taking the best of India to Harvard…

…I think each one of the WMPP women is forging ahead, in the areas which we are passionate about.
i am personally involved with issues of diversity and inclusion , and work across forums on the same topics…
Remember , we started WMPP as a movement…
Warm Regards,

Maya writes:

Dear Shakun,

…Lately this is one of the things I have got totally involved with. The Clinton Global Initiative is by Invitation only, so it is a big honour. Hope I can fulfill the trust and faith they have in me…


Above: Diwali Dhamaka, 2008 at Times of India Building

Gifting children my ‘dadi Nani ki Kahaani’ and explaining to the young minds that we need to co-exist peacefully if we need to preserve the only home we know and share: The Earth

Activities on December 2008

Attended the Peace get-together ‘Lest we forget’ (The Terrorist attack on 26th November 2008)

The T-shirts say: ‘Enough is Enough’ to Terrorist attacks, incompetence, lethargy, corruption…

WMPP Trustee Ms Sunita Godbole interviewed Mumbai Mayor Dr Shubha Raul for ‘Worli Waves Magazine’.

They exchanged notes on what could be done for the city, muhallas post the Terrorist attacks.

WMPP Tustee Ms Sonal Sheth is also doing her bit to ensure that Bombay does not forget!

9th December

 Geeta Mantras on Geeta Jayanti at Ishwar Bhavan Temple, Little Gibbs Rd

Dear Shakun, Since you have been asking us to keep you updated on our activities, here goes.

 As you know,  I was recently invited for the Clinton Global Initiative. SAGE was one of the nominated causes at CGI for doing exceptionally good work. I was asked to come on stage and they announced what we were doing. After that I was amongst the chosen few to have a photograph taken with Bill Clinton. I was the only one he hugged !!! I believe Monica was the only other person he hugged in public when she was waiting to be intoduced to him 😀 When we meet in person I’ll tell you what I said to him which made him hug me spontaneously. You must click on the link sent below by Pece Gorgievski to see the enormity of operations to be undertaken by the SAGE team. Being associated with the CGI has given us a very big global platform to attract more and more people to help us in doing good work With love, Maya 
Dec 08Dear Maya,
This is an FYI message – Today, we have added our webpage for “Global Shipment”, and from here, we are commencing with our marketing.
Lots of love,

Giving Rights to other women

Live-in Relationships

On the 11th of December 2008, the above programme was held at the IMC (Indian Merchant Chamber)It was organized by BPWA(Business and Professional Women’s Association,Bombay)Bombay,Ladies Wing of IMC and BMA.

When I first heard about: Giving rights to the Other woman’ programme…I was shocked and felt: Is’nt giving rights to the ‘Other woman’ going to encourage men to stray, maybe some more? It is kind of legitimizing it, is’nt it?
But follows what they explained: There are cases where men are already married in the villages or in the United States or wherever…They remarry and the ‘wife’ is not aware that he is already married…The ‘new wife’ has a kid or two and the man springs the shocker when he tires of the latest wife. He says: “Bye! I was married before I met you, I am going back to my legally wedded wife”
Is it fair to the ‘Other woman’ who has been left high and dry, through no fault of hers?
Well, looking at one of the cases that they discussed, I had to concede that maybe the law is worth looking into…But it needs to be discussed and pondered upon a lot lot more…

 Women and Peace (After Terrorists struck Bombay on Nov 08)

I spoke to a packed audience of about 200 women from ‘Ruchika’at the IMC (Indian Merchant Chamber) I said that from/in the present conditions, one does not know what the truth is. We are confused with what the politicians say…Our neighbour politicians are confusing us…However we know one truth and that is the truth of our heart…a woman’s heart, a compassionate heart which wants peace for ourselves family and children…But we must speak what we feel…We must exercise our voice to say what we think.We may be wrong but we may arrive to some conclusion by intelligent constructive discussion..The ‘blue blooded German Aryans’ kept quiet and so many Jews were killed…Religions are being misinterpreted,and so many innocent lives are lost… let us understand the true message of the great ones that walked the earth…
Let us teach the ‘truth’ to our children…Let the good people unite…Let our voice be heard!

If you would like to watch the video, Click:

21st Dec 08

Sonal Sheth, Trustee WMPP (Women’s Movement for Peace and Prosperity) and a concerned citizen had a get-together in her home to initiate an action plan for more effective governance under the banner: ‘Citizens take Charge’
Meeting was addressed by Gerson da Cunha.

The most important thing that I personally want to urge you to do is ‘TO VOTE’
Politicians act, (sadly) only when they realize that there is an existent sizeable vote bank…One of the attendees shared, that once she had chided a politician: “Why should I vote for you? What have you done? The politician, shockingly brushed her aside stating that her area/ward was not important and as the amount of people who voted was not sizeable!

Interesting observation: Seats are won by Cash, Caste and Crime!

I contributed: We are talking about a lot of things that we must do. I would like to remind you of what we must not do:
1) We must not forget what happened on the 26th of Nov
2) Not to indulge in hate/divisive talk
3) There are so many citizen groups that are springing up to fight terror/bring about a better India…We must not in-fight but support one another since the aim is common…
Jai Hind!

About 30 years ago I started a Singing group along with enthusiastic friends. We figured if we can get together to play cards, gossip, cook why not to sing?
We were about 8 of us. Aunty Gopi joined us 6 months later and trained us to sing while she accompanied us on the harmonium. She was more than a teacher. She was a friend to each and every one of us. All confided in her and she held everyones’ secrets close to her heart and urged us to sing….
She passed on and some of our friends passed on…but we persevered…God sent us teachers and good singers along the way…Meenu Gidwani joined us and urged us to improve…though all of us were amateurs people continue to flock to our bhajan kirtan and claim that we are very good…I think we are not great singers but we sing from the heart and touch the listeners’
Today we have been joined by 3 beautiful enthusiastic singers. Sapna, Bhavna, Aarti…and God maybe want us to go on and on …

Taking a cue from Street plays to give a message, Aarti and Sapna exposed idiosyncracies that women indulge in…Which better way to learn than to laugh at yourself? And it is working…Note an audience member wiping sweat from her chin and another ducking behind her…I must say that some women have got the message and have made an effort to stop childish behaviour 🙂
I must also state that it can be called a women’s effort for peace in a funny manner…THE OTHER WOMAN (her rights)

  Please click:

http://shacune.blogspot.com  for constant updates on activities…

For photographs click:


Read: Interfaith Dialogue


Interfaith Dialogue

Have been speaking on ‘Gems of Faiths’ at various clubs and organizations…
Earlier I used to suggest that topic and the clubs would show reluctance as they said it is a ‘sensitive subject’ but if we have to survive and this planet has to live on we have to understand each religion in its pure form…One must not eulogize ones faith by bringing down another…

One must remove misconceptions like those of ‘Idol worship’, ‘Jihaad’, ‘caste syste’,or/and ‘talaaq’…

The time has come for ‘not to take an eye for an eye’ as that will make the whole world blind! The time has to come, for the older ones to die with their prejudices if they must…but not to pass the prejudice to their children…Allow the children to learn to appreciate the best in each faith so that they may survive in this beautiful planet of ours…

Anyway, the beauty of yesterday’s talk, is that I was asked to specially speak on Gems of faiths…and that was a breakthrough…We had a wonderful turnout and all agreed with what I had to say…

Points discussed and worth thinking  about:

  1. Conflict is part of human nature. Communication is important. In dialogues of this kind a lot of misconceptions are cleared and a lot of gems discovered.
  2. We cannot ‘leave our religion at home’, but we should learn to appreciate the gems of the Other’s Faiths.
  3. As per the Quran, we all are brothers and sisters.
  4. Hindus say ‘Vasudhaika Kutumbakam. (The world is one family)
  5. Guru Nanak says ‘Ek Onkar’ and “Sabna jian ka ek data…” God, the Giver is the father of all…
  6. The previous generations have messed up the planet. It is the citizens of the future, that needs to be educated, in the fact that all religions impart the same message.
    The problem: Who will educate the teachers, and make sure that they also have ‘compassion?’
  7. The media needs to report facts not sensationalize them. For that, concerned citizens need to speak up.
  8. Success rate of such meetings, is that a candle lights another candle.
  9. Hindus chant the Gayatri Mantra. The Mantra is similar to a verse in the Quran.

I have been reading ‘Angels and Demons’ by Dan Brown.
I agree with the author when he states that:

‘Very little in any organized faith is truly original. Religions are not born from scratch. They grow from one another. Modern religion is a collage. An assimilated historical record of man’s quest to understand the divine.’

Humanity is born from one set of parents. We are a family and we live in one home. It is in our interest try and put our differences aside and preserve this beautiful planet of ours.

Gems of Faiths

Last week, (year: 2004) I was invited to speak at a Rotary meeting (Rotary Club of Bombay Pier). We, at the Times of India Bldg, have been having various discussions, as to how best Peace can be propagated to the people in this riot torn planet. As we discussed the various Faiths…2 things happened. A lot of misconceptions cleared, and a lot of Gems were discovered. I decided, this is a good a time as any to give my speech. My young Muslim friend joined me. I was happy to discover that it was well received. I thought that I would share a few of the points with you:


Religion is a step inwards. Religion should mean more about ‘belonging’ to Humanity rather than belonging to this sect or another. I believe that one has to commit to become more peaceful oneself first. The next step is to create a practicing society of living in peace. 

A teacher could become a soldier and a businessman could become a teacher or a menial worker, if circumstances willed it, or if he so desired. Please read about Shabri at this page.

IDOL WORSHIP IS A FORM TO FOCUS ON. Just like a flag stands for the nation and a father’s photograph represents the father.

 Divyaa Kummar writes:

Some one asked me whether the highest worship is worshipping the Divine without form? Should they stop adoring and communicating with their beloved deities? Should they throw out all the symbols of personalized gods from within …and the outside …be it  mantra’s or their altars or visiting of temples?

 My answer:

 Connecting to the Divine- be it through prayer, or thoughts about, or falling in love with – can be through the personal or impersonal approach.

Neither is higher or lower if you trulyknow that the seemingly opposite approaches are actually one and the same! 

 If you truly knowConsciousness as ‘One without another’…then your prayer, worship, devotion, homage and adoration can be towards its impersonal aspect or personalized forms …indeed in whatever way your current beingness beckons you! Some day’s an impersonal homage to the One Consciousness’ ‘works’ best… sometimes a more personal veneration of a deity (symbolizing an aspect of the same One Consciousness) is what draws you!..

…Prayer even to its different aspects-deities- is always to the Absolute that permeates them!..

You then move away from this question

about which worship is higher or more correct!

You respect and appreciate both the Absolute/ One Consciousness

and Its many expressions, aspects, facets, qualities!

 You adore the One and fall in love with its many roles!

 You communicate and share self with your deities and yet know this is communing with the Whole!

You are drawn to the beauteous forms and images in temples and altars within and around! Yet you know you revel in the One Beauty!

  Yes at some point one moves from solely worshipping personalized godsone can’t help but make this inner shift!

One sees the Whole behind every aspect being revered;

One is in touch with That which permeates the various forms rather than only the forms themselves;

And in Knowing this

One doesn’t need to stop visiting temples!

One need not shun the variety of an altar!

Or the adornment of your deities!

Love from my heart to yours
Divyaa Kummar


The essence of our culture is ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’. Satyam, the truth, which is Shivam or universally benevolent is presented in Sundaram or a beautiful manner. The attractive presentation ensures attention and appreciation from everyone. So whether it be Shankarji or Shri Krishna, both embody the highest truth, Satyam, are universally beneficial, Shivam, and are extremely attractive, Sundaram!

Our temples, and the ritual of Deity-worship are symbolic, and one should try to understand the hidden symbolism behind the Gods and Goddesses and then worship them in order to imbibe their attributes and make our lives divine and meaningful.

– Pujya Bhaishri

‘Darshan’ is different from ‘mere seeing’, as it is imbued with a sacred attitude of reverence and faith. So it has spiritual consequences. Devotees testify to experiencing a sense of ineffable peace in the act of darshan of a holy being as also to a sense of being spiritually rejuvenated.
Shammi Paranjape



Hindu Scriptures, The Bible and the Quran speak of God, prophets, Liberation, Heaven and Hell. Early Quranic verses speak of the word ‘Jihaad’ as an internal struggle to get over the darkness within oneself and allow the light to flow.

These are the early revelations that speak of this.

The root of the word ‘Jihad’ is JAHAD from which the word I JTEHAD also springs. I JTEHAD also means ‘struggle’ to make a legal decision in the point of law. When the Muslim community was settling in Medina, they were attacked.  Innocent people were killed, but the Muslim did not fight back. Later when this continued, they stood up in self-defense and the word ‘Jihad’ is then used in the Koran as this war was for survival against persecution and NOT expansionism.

The word ‘Jihad’ does not mean HOLY WAR against infidels. I have heard scholars state that Islam does not propagate bloodshed in any form. Then why do people commit violence? I think that it is because they do not understand the real pure meaning that was intended by God who communicated through the Great Prophet.

There is no such thing as a triple talaq mentioned in the Koran. This was a pre-islamic custom which crept back into Islam Jurisprudence after the Prophet passed ON.

For further clarification on what I have just stated, you may read ‘The Empowerment of Women in Islam’ by Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali She is a Rotarian of Bombay Mid-Town and an Islamic scholar. She lectures at St Xaviers College.

I have been told, by my friend, Ms Raahat Jaafrey, that it is stated in the Holy books of Islam, that on the Day of Qayaamat (Judgement) Jesus, who is called Isa-alaish-Salaam will come on the roof of the Kaaba, and there, He will meet the Future Prophet.

One of the Gems that Raahat shared with me, that belongs to the Quran, goes something like this: Half the road (one travels in Spirituality), is covered, by prayers, good deeds, fasting, but the entrance to Heaven is opened, when one performs charity.







The Upanishads claim that the Atman (God within us) cannot be reached through much learning or much use of the intellect. Jesus Christ proclaims: “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Katha Upanishad proclaims “The path is narrow as the edge of a razor.” Jesus said : “Narrow Is the way which leads unto life.” Hindus believe that we are a small part (atman ) of the whole (Paramatma). In other words we are the same children of God and enjoy the same inherent qualities. Christians also believe that man is made in the likeness of God, and the Kingdom of God is within each one of us. Jesus Christ claimed; “I and my Father are one”. 

We Hindus believe In a Trinity: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver), Mahesh (Destroyer).
Christians believe in Father, Son and Holy Spirit
The occultists believe in Light, Love and Power
Humanity at large believes in Mind, Body and Soul.

 Speaking on ‘Gems of Faiths’ at Rotary Meetings

Thought Two:

Hindus urge its followers to recite the attributes of the Lord (Vishnu Sahasranaama) 

The Quran lists various names of Allah. (attributes)

One marvels at the similarities, and yet what is the surprise about, when the Lord God is ONE?


Allah is “AL-AHAD” or ‘THE ONE”

Lord Vishnu is called ‘EKA” or “THE ONE”















The Quran states that: Allah hath created seven heavens in harmony

Vishnu Sahasranama states: All songs are part of Him, who wears a form of sound.

The Quran (49.13) states: O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you might know each other (not that you might despise each other)…

The Uttaradhyayana (Sutra 25.3) states: By deeds, not by birth, is one a Brahmin. By deeds one is a kshatriya, by deeds is one a Vaishya and by deeds is one a Sudra.

All religions recommend chanting the name of God.

Hindus chant Mantras which are are empowered sound vibrations be they from the Vedas, Puranas, Shrimad Bhaagvad, Vishnu Sahasranaam, Hanuman Chalisa…

Islam exhorts the chanting of the 99 names of Allah

The Bible says: “Let the Lord always be on your lips”

I was listening to a taped discourse of Shri Morari Bapu who states that we could live in a perfect world if we were to imbibe the following salient qualities from the various religious Giants:

The wisdom of Shri Krishna.

The service and love of Christ.

The brotherhood of Islam.

The compassion of Buddha

The non-violence quality of Mahavira…

If one looks close enough, each religion embraces all the above qualities…


Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism believe in the 2nd coming of prophets/Avataars who will re-establish justice and righteousness on earth.

Hindus believe that Kalki will be the 10th Avtaar who will appear towards the end of  Kali Yuga.

Christians believe in the second coming of Christ.

Islam believes that Mahdi will be from the progeny of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.

Zoroastrians believe that Saoshyant will usher in a world which will end suffering.

Although the re-coming of the Saviour in different religions have diverse names, the conditions of the world at the time of their coming is akin.

The restoration of Truth Justice and ‘end of suffering’ is also strikingly similar.


In the Bhagavad Geeta, Krishna says to Arjuna: “This secret gospel of the Geeta should never be imparted to a man who lacks penance nor to him who is wanting in devotion, nor even to him who lends not a willing ear…

The Holy Quran says: Lakum Deenokum Walia Deen”_ Your religion and belief is for you and my religion and belief is for me.

One must accept all religions as one does our own. Peace is possible through communication. Most religions proclaim that the world is one family. When, as individuals, one develops a higher consciousness, the ego disappears and along with it, the concept of you and me, yours and mine…

Though in India (why only in India, in the world would be more appropriate) we live midst many cultures, one must acquire the capacity to assimilate differences and that can only happen if we become truly spiritual, note I did not say religious.


‘Dwija’ in Sanskrit means ‘Twice born’ It is a term used when a person is said to be born to His Spiritual Self!

I love what Osho says about conversion:
When the ego dies godliness comes alive in you. Only when the seed dies it becomes a tree, only when the river disappears into the ocean it becomes one with the ocean. ‘Conversion is a beautiful word that is misused. It is thought that if a Hindu becomes a Christian, this is conversion. This isn’t true. He has simply changed one prison for another, as there has been no real change, no transformation.

Conversion happens only when the ego dies and godliness is born in you. Conversion is when the human becomes divine, not when a Hindu becomes a Christian or a Christian becomes a Hindu.

Dalai Lama says:

All religions belong to humanity. What’s important is that once we make a decision to follow another religion we should keep in our minds that we must avoid criticizing our own previous tradition. We must show respect for it.


While I have been trying to bring to the notice of my readers the similarities between the message of the religions of the world, I must quote what Osho said:

Read the Quran, the Vedas, the Bible, the Dhammapada, find similarities but the Quran is beautiful only because of those things which are not in the Gita (and vice-versa) Beauty is in uniqueness…Go into your innermost being, if you go beyond the object, you have gone beyond the west; if you go beyond the subject you have gone beyond the East…

Then the transcendental arises; the synthesis is there…

I would like to state that the sentiment of this verse from the Quran is common to a lot of faiths that I am familiar with:

“Truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death all belong to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds”.

Read: Creation according to the Shrimad Bhaagvad and Quran

The Lord’s Prayer

Having studied in a Christian school, one of the lesson’s taught to us was the Lord’s prayer. We were made to say it everyday, so it became ingrained in my memory.  Today, while thinking on the same, I find it to be a general, all encompassing prayer, crossing the boundaries of all religions, and it can be used by all.

The prayer is as follows :

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
On Earth, as it is Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us of our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever,

If one were to read the prayer more deeply, one would find the similarity and broadness of this prayer. (For the sake of convenience, I refer to God as a masculine figure.  God can be a feminine figure, or even a neutral figure.  That choice is yours)

Our FatherBy this, we acknowledge that God is one, and he is above us all.  We also understand that we spring from him, hence we address him as Father.  This also brings us closer to him, as we now look to him as our parent, and we can have our inner dialogues with him for our answers.  Even Guru Nanak, in the Japji prayer, refers to Ek Onkar, which means one God.
Who art in heavenWe understand he is in a realm which is currently beyond us, but for which we all strive to be in.  Heaven is always referred to a place of joy , tranquility and bliss
Hallowed be thy nameBy hallowed, we state that his name is sacred.  His name is special. As Guru Nanak says in the Japji, Satnam, which means the true name. Here, we can even say that the name can be Om. What is important to understand is that God’s name is sacred.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On Earth, as it is Heaven.
We acknowledge that all is His, in expressing that it is His kingdom, and that all happens as per His wishes (will), both here and in Heaven.  This is similar to our Hindu beliefs that all is God’s doing.  
Give us this day our daily breadHere, we ask God for his blessings and grace.
And forgive us of our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Here we ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong that we do.  In this, we see that law of giving and receiving, for if we cannot learn how to forgive others, how can we get the forgiveness from God.  As God forgives us, we must also forgive all those who have hurt us, in any way, irrespective of what we feel for them.  In the Quran, the prophet says “Forgive your servant 70 times a day”.  Only by forgiveness, can we let the love of the Lord flow through us.
And lead us not into temptation,This tells us that God is testing us, making us face challenges, so as to make us better people.  We ask him to help us succeed in our challenges, and not “fall into temptation” (to fail in the test).  But the paradox here is that God also is the creator of temptations, so what does one do?  The ultimate answer is to surrender all actions to the Lord, and he will do best for us.
But deliver us from evilWe acknowledge God to be the Protector and Defender of all that is good.  We know he can, with his grace, put us on the right path to him.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the gloryWe acknowledge that God is the universe, the energy (prana) and the beauty.  By doing so, we realise that all is God, everything stems from him, and all ends with him.  In Hinduism, we learn that all starts from God, and one day, all will end with Him.
For ever and everGod is eternal, with no beginning and no end.  This is the basic Hindu concept of the timelessness of God.
Amen.We end the prayer by saying a word symbolising God, be it Amen, Om, Allah, Krishna, etc. Here, it is the final acknowledgement that it is God, and only God.

This prayer can be applied to all, and does not necessarily have to be only a Christian prayer.  God is one, and for all of us.  In whatever form we call him or believe in him, as long as we follow his principles of love, compassion, devotion, service above self and forgiveness, we will always be in his Grace.

Written by – Suneel Utamchandani


There are many paths to God.  Yours is no more correct or less correct
than another’s, my friend.  

In fact, each one’s path may be just the right one for that certain individual.  

God knows what He is doing.  Do you doubt that?

Only when one truly comprehends and lives by this statement, can Love
break free from the shackles of judgement thus allowing one to finally
experience the Stillness, the wonderful feeling of inner peace, harmony,
and oneness amidst the same storms that used to “make” one feel the
spectrum of negative emotions such as fear, hate, anger, anxiety, and
the pain, suffering, and angst of that monster illusion called Separation.

~Lynn Mary~

Five times a day Muslims repeat the Sura which states: 

“They have their belief and we have ours and there is no conflict between us”

The second Sura Verse 257 states:

“There must be no coercion in matters of faith”

The following quote (and quotes above) are an an excerpt from an article by Nazli Habibullah Siddiqi

…’There is no order in the Quran that directs the use of the sword in the service of the Faith’…

M.G. Kapahy writes:

…Altaf Hussein’s poetry is all about bhakti rasa akin to that of Hindi poets of Bhaktiwaad…

Ghalib says: “You and He whom you are searching for are in fact the same person. I wonder for what this search is going on”

This is the Vedantic concept Aham twam asmi-I and You are same.

Ghalib says: “A restless drop of water gets solace when it merges with the river water” Vedanta says that a person gets solace only when he becomes one with Brahmn, The Supreme.

P K Bandyopadhyaya states:

…We offer prayers to God for cure from diseases, success in business, examination and election. Only forms of prayer differ. Christians bow their heads and fold their hands, native Americans dance, Sufis whirl. Hindus chant, Muslims do namaz facing Kaba in Mecca, Buddhists offer prayer as a supportive practice to meditation, in the belief that God answers their prayers.


Gautama Buddha says: Holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

The Quran urges Muslims: “Be foremost in seeking forgiveness” (51:1)

Jesus spoke from the Cross: “Father, forgive them (executioners) for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)

Dalai Lama says: I hope that you at this moment will think of yourself as a human being rather than as an American, Asian, European, African, , or member of any particular country. These loyalties are secondary. If you and I find common ground as human beings, we will communicate on a basic level…The one common thing to everyone…all have the right to exist without disturbances…to grow, to sustain, and to die peacefully.

Some Gems

Prophet Mohammed once said 

that on the Day of Judgment, a man’s foot will not move unless he has answered four questions:

Where he earned his money from

Where he spent it

How he spent his youth

How he used his knowledge

“People are asleep, they will wake up only when they die”

When a man dies, everything connected with  him is cut off except three things:

Continuous charity

knowledge from which benefit is derived and 

Virtuous children who pray for him.

As quoted by Saniyasnain Khan

On Terror

…Writer Philip Hensher expressed unhappiness with the word ‘terrorism’ because it was such a ‘free-floating’ one; he was equally unhappy about the term ‘freedom fighter’- “an ugly euphemism for people exerting power without any democratic force” “Instead of terrorism I prefer ‘crimes against humanity’…he said…

Saints and mystics describe the soul as a drop of God.

By bringing the soul to the point of the body called the seat of the soul, it contacts the streams of light and sound, the creative vibration that emanated from the Creator, and brought creation into being.

It created the physical universe, earth, human beings and all forms of life. The Sikhs call it Naam, the Muslims refer to it as kalma, the Sufis call it bang-e-Aasmani, the Greeks call it Logos, the hindus call it nad, bani, Jyoti or Sruti.

The process by which the soul is brought into contact with the current of light and sound reverberating within is called meditation.

Common Ideas in Vedanta and Sufi Philosophy

Pranav Khullar

 Dara Shikoh, (eldest son of The Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jehan) would spend long hours in the library…striving to understand a consciousness which dreamt of universal brotherhood…Dara Shikoh draws remarkable parallels between concepts elucidated in the Holy Quran and the Upanishads…

…The Hindu Panchbhutas or five elements are shown corresponding to the five great elements of Islamic thought: first the Great Element-Unsur-I-Azam, the akasa or ether; second the wind or vayu; third agni or atish; fourth water; jala or ab; and fifth earth prithvi or khak. These are the constituents of all mundane creation.

Similarly the five senses of shamma or smell, dhaiqa or taste, basira or perception, sami or hearing and lamisa or touch correspond to the panch indriyas of Hindu Philosophy. Bikrama Jit Hasrat writes of”…how the young Moghul Price struck an original line of investigation” in his comparison of mystic terminology in two apparently different cultures. “If knowledge is attributed to Him, the India Divines designate Him as Chetana, while Muslims call Him Alim. For al-Haq the have the word Ananta, Allah they call Om …Wahi or Divine revelation is known as Akasvani, Mazhar-I-Atman is called Avatara…Ruyat or vision of God is called Sakshatkara…”

Excerpts from


Akhil Chandra

Lord Krishna embraced his poor friend Sudama and ate with extreme relish the dry beaten rice offered by him and left him (Sudama) richly endowed.

During the course of the Mahabharat war when Krishna visited Hastinapur, instead of staying in the palace of Duryodhana, he accepted the hospitality of Vidur (It is believed that Vidur and his wife were so overwhelmed by Lord Krishna’s visit that they offered him banana peel while throwing the bananas, Shakun)

Sri Ram, during his vanvas, visited poor Shabri. He addressed her as mother (mata) and he ate with relish what she served him. (It is believed that she tasted the fruit (ber) to  check if they were sweet enough before offering them to Sri Ram, Shakun)

Jesus loved the poor: The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God’s deep concern for both the poor and those who help them. “Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble”.

It is said that Guru Nanak demonstrated purity of poor people’s faith by squeezing a poor man’s bread (milk trickled from the bread as it was earned by honest work)  and a rich man’s cake (drops of blood trickled from the cake as it was earned by cheating the poor).

According to Prophet Mohammed: ” Riches are not from and abundance of worldly goods but from a content mind”.

Kabir has reflected similar thoughts as ” Jab awe santosh dhan sab dhan dhuri samaan”.(All wordly riches are mere dust compared to contentment of the mind)


Who or what is a Fundamentalist? According to M J Akbar, the word might even be a tautology, for a believer can only be true to his faith if he believes in its fundamentals…I fast during Ramadan one of the five fundamental tenets of Islam. I hope this does not make me a fundamentalist. The slide begins when one faith begins to encroach upon a separate conviction…Is an Islamic State ipso facto fundamentalist? No. The Quran repeatedly commands co-existence: Lakum deen-kum wal ya deen (your religion for you and my religion for me and “La iqra fi al deen (Let there be no compulsion in religion)...This hardly means that Muslims today cannot be fundamentalists, but it is illogical to blame Islam for sins of Muslims…The great contradiction of fundamentalist politics is that it cannot deliver on the basic problem that provoked its rise, economic deprivation…Rage can succeed at moments of high social stress or public rage, but that is a short term placebo for blood pressure. Ordinary Indians hunger for more bread, not more guns. This is what keeps the overwhelming majority away from fundamentalism.

The bad news is that it takes only one percent to wreak havoc.

I, Shakun believe that all religions give the message of Love and Brotherhood…Yet the world is in a mess…Sometimes I feel that the Interfaith Dialogue in which I take part to bring Peace into the world is a waste of time…and my contribution is but a bubble in the Ocean…and then my God in His inimitable way sends me the following message in an excerpt from Live outside the Box which appeared in the Sunday Times Bombay Sept, 28, 2008

…To you I say, meet me in the eye of the storm and together we will steer this mess in another direction. Jump into the storm. Do not stand on the sidelines too lazy and scared to do anything about all of the ugliness going on around you… People say that the signs are all here and Armageddon has begun. Why save the planet if the savior is coming to take the good and holy people away to a better place? ..If you had to pick and choose who were truly worthy of burning in hell or going to heaven, would you pick the folks who were killing and raging war in the name of God or would you pick the people who were crying out for love, equality, and to save the planet?
   I stand here in the eye of the storm, turmoil and war all around me, my heart quiet and strong. The vision is very clear here. I will do my part to save the planet for the sake of those left behind. It is not for me to say who should or should not prevail. Someone will be left standing here on this planet, with this atmosphere, with this water, with this soil. For them, i say let’s create a plan so that they have the best possible chance of rebuilding a new world. For love of this place with its beaches, mountains, and forests that I love so much, i will hold the love of Mother Nature in my heart. You know, if the savior comes to haul all the good guys off to a better place, i think i will volunteer to stay behind to help make this battered planet a place of beauty once more. When you are done with your religious wars and your ascensions into heaven, give the planet back to those of us who care for her…   (Skye Thomas is a spiritual writer, entrepreneur, astrologer and philosopher based in the US

Any belief system that segregates cannot be a spiritual path. If we are unanimous in the belief that the Creator is One, He cannot be partial to any one clan or sect. Because that automatically disqualifies all other belief systems from reaching the ultimate truth. So science should help us redefine religion and metamorphose it from the ritualistic domain into a more all inclusive and all-embracing state of mind, not cleaved by differences. Then we might realize that we are all just drops of water in this vast ocean of Creation.
The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon. E-mail: deepakranade@hotmail.com.

Lord Krishna urged Brij Vasis to worship Mount Govardhan over Lord Indra. According to me the Lord urged the Brij Vasis to worship (take care) of Nature. Krishna loved and nurtured cows, wore a peacock feather which was considered inauspicious…

Shakun Narain
      Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions say that God made Adam in His own image…
 …Planting a tree is considered a sadqa-e-jariyah, act of continuous charity, a desirable deed for which the planter is rewarded for as long as the tree benefits any form of creation.
… It is not by coincidence, but by Divine Design that all the prophets of Islam have been shepherds at some point in their lives. As shepherds, they tended to the plant, animal and human world, both nurturing and multiplying physical and spiritual resources.
 …Religions are concerned with activity and not just faith. The climate dialogue presents a wonderful opportunity for people of different religions to work together. Faith leaders could play positive roles in facilitating change. Irrespective of creed, we are all created and sustained by the same source.

……Muslim faith is incomplete without believing in the 124,000 Ambiya, prophets who have been sent to earth. The Quran informs that there has never been a time when God did not send Messengers who did not speak the language of the people. If followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are at odds, it is not because of the teachings of their founders, but despite these teachings.
Sadia Dehlvi

    Swami Vivekananda said: “Bring all forces of good together. Do not care under what banner you march. Do not care what be your colour – green, blue or red – but mix all the colours and produce that intense glow of white, the colour of love. Ours is to work. The results will take care of themselves.”

  The scriptures do not support violence and hatred; they clearly advocate non-violence, peace and love.

For example, the Mahabharata is often cited as one that advocates war and killing, even killing of cousins! In fact, more than one-third of the Mahabharata deals with conflicts, preparation for war and violent war in gory detail. Yet it is the Mahabharata which says: “Ahimsa paramo dharmah” – non-violence is the supreme virtue and is the foremost duty.

   Sri Paramhansa Yogananda explains the essential message of the Mahabharata, in his commentary of the Bhagavad Gita. The hundred sons of Dhritarashtra – symbolising the blind irrational mind – have characteristics of meanness, ill will, hardness, destruction, racial pride, temper, quarrelsome attitude, revengefulness, lack of vision and stupidity. These are the enemies and they must be defeated with all effort on a war footing. This is the real Mahabharata war, both at an individual and societal level.

    The word Jainism is from the root ‘Jin’ meaning the conqueror or the one who has overcome. Jains are followers of Bhagavan Mahavir – whose main teaching is non-violence. Interestingly the foremost invocation of Jains is ‘Namo Arihantanam’ – salutation to those who destroyed their enemies.

 Patanjali says that enmity is absent where ahimsa is the basis. What is ahimsa? Swami Vivekananda says that the test of ahimsa is the absence of (unhealthy) competition or jealousy. This can be made possible by following the dictum of Matthew 7:12, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Thus Aman Ki Asha and peaceful coexistence are possible through non-violence only since ahimsa is non-violence in thought, word and deed.

C V S K Rao

“All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight looks slightly different on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different on this other one, but it is still one light.” – Rumi

“Each one prays to God according to his own light… I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world. I believe that they are all God-given and I believe that they were necessary for the people to whom these religions were revealed. And I believe that if only we could all of us read the scriptures of the different faiths from the standpoints of the followers of these faiths, we should find that they were at bottom all one and were all helpful to one another.” – Gandhi