Interfaith as Selfless Service

Symbols of FaithInterfaith as selfless service explores participation in interfaith activity without desires for the outcome / nor ownership of the outcomes of the activity. Selfless service does not seek the fruits of the activity undertaken. Participation in Interfaith activity in this vein allows for formation: information and transformation.

Interfaith and renunciation / detachment in engagement and outcomes

What is the Engagement with Interfaith?

  • Engagement without worrying about the outcomes
  • Caring detachment
  • Free from the fruits of action / renunciation
  • Selfless service sans desire, results, outcomes
  • Participation with Integrity / Unity of Thoughts/ Words / Actions
  • Participation with human excellence
  • Participation with performance character
  • Service is given for the community good: path to service, path to wisdom

Interfaith Engagement as Expression of Humility

Humility renders Interfaith engagement as penance, self-abnegation
Humility approaches Interfaith engagement as sacrifice; surrender to the process
Entering Interfaith engagement with humility involves (among other things)
If I live a life of sacrifice (as an expression of detachment), then I am going to

  • not enter interfaith activity blinded by prejudice nor exclusivity (my religion is the only, the best)
  • not enter interfaith activity with a predetermined attitude (nor steering) the result
  • be hospitable (a foundation value of interfaith) toward those present, be open minded to the bindings and experiences they give expression to (binding: religion binds culture and society)
  • allow same to inform my own experience of the Divine that is the cause, the sustenance and the end of all that is (with humility); for none possess the whole that is the Divine.

Importance of Experience:

  • Religion means experience and nothing less. Religious principles have to be practised and their validity experienced … … it must transform us.
  • Theistic faith is based on genuine experience. Once we accept this, self-evaluation starts and one is able to measure how far he or she has journeyed towards the goal or away from it.
  • God is being and becoming is the experience:
  • ** you become that which you think you are
  • ** you become that which you believe you are
  • ** As the feeling, so the result.
  • ** ‘becoming’ is self-fulfilling prophecy; if you believe a thing to be true, then it becomes true for you.

Interfaith engagement as humility allows one to be informed of heretofore experiences of that which is the Divine, with many facets, faces, shapes and forms of divine self-revealing to man in history in different cultures and societies. None possess the whole which we name the Source of The All, the Divine, God, Allah, Jehovah, Brahma, Vishnu, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Mahavir, and so on. Lacking humility, one shuts off from experience and encounter with the different names and forms of the Divine.

What are the Outcomes of Interfaith Participation?

Participation in interfaith activity lays a foundation. Laying a foundation is selfless service, particularly where we are detached from the outcomes. This is the service aspect of participation. Detachment means that Interfaith activity is a process that will continue; it won’t end with personal participation, and that participation may not have any concluding outcomes other than (new) (different) experiences that give information and may lead to transformation. Participation does not have the influence to transform matters in the public domain, locally or globally. However, information, a history of participation and narrative about experience (may) have benefit for future interfaith activity. Interfaith participation as selfless service is free from desiring any one outcome or result.

So, what information informs Participation in Interfaith Activity?

  • A Common humanity
  • The Brotherhood of Man
  • The Fatherhood of God
  • Differences in religion / culture / practice
  • Commonalities of Religion
  • The presence of the Five Human Values in religions *
  • The common experience of spirituality
  • Human flourishing

Returning to the topic of Laying a Foundation:

  • Laying a foundation for humanity to realise essential oneness of life and understanding of differences.
  • Laying a foundation that points to the inherent divinity within all
  • There is a common humanity that unites all.
  • There is the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.
  • There are the commonalities of religions – the Golden Rule, the belief in a Higher Power or Source.

The engagement with Interfaith lays a foundation that seeks the basic unity of man, faith and worship.

Gurukula and Interfaith:

Gurukula education engaged students to find their own answers to their questions.

Understanding –> Have the experience, stand under the experience, allow it to shed light upon you. viz: for fully realising it, for absorbing it, and afterwards, for applying the conclusion they reached on their own. They develop those questions, understand them, and find answers to them. This approach expands a person’s perception and creates an expansive world within them, through which they see the external world correctly, in a multi-faceted manner.

Why is this needful for Interfaith activity?
Where interfaith activity is renunciation / detachment in engagement and outcomes. You need to see the world in a multi-faceted manner. Anekantavada is needed.

Anekāntavāda (अनेकान्तवाद, “many-sidedness”) refers to the Jain doctrine about metaphysical truths that emerged in ancient India. It states that the ultimate truth and reality is complex and has multiple aspects. Anekantavada has also been interpreted to mean non-absolutism, “intellectual Ahimsa”, religious pluralism, as well as a rejection of fanaticism that leads to terror attacks and mass violence. Some scholars state that modern revisionism has attempted to reinterpret anekantavada with religious tolerance, openmindedness and pluralism. (source)

The Divine as Cause, Support, Receiver of All

Bubble is born on water
Bubble floats on water
Bubble bursts on water.
Bubble is temporary phenomenon
Water is the basis; water continues to be.

Human life emerges from the Divine
Human life subsists upon the Divine
Human life merges with the Divine
Human life is temporary
The Divine is the basis; the Divine continues to be.


Interfaith as Selfless Service