Essentially, all religions teach us to discipline and transform ourselves so that we can achieve inner peace and a kind heart. In this era of rapid advancement, material development has brought with it an undue emphasis on external progress. As a result we often forget to foster the most basic human need for kindness, love, cooperation and caring. Yet, the very development of human society is founded on such a basis. So, preserving our essential humanity involves cultivating a sense of responsibility for our fellow human beings.

Every religious faith has made a significant contribution to humanity for centuries past. In the future too, religious traditions can help us promote peace in our own respective communities and bring about harmony and understanding between neighbours. Whatever differences exist between us in philosophical terms, the important thing is for all believers to put the teaching of their respective religions into practice in their day-to-day life.

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to know that the Ajatananda Ashram has been established as an interreligious ashram in Rishikesh. The creation of such facilities in the peaceful and sacred atmosphere of Rishikesh will allow practitioners of different religious traditions to share their spiritual experiences and insights with each other. Scholars will be able to discuss and study what is in common, rather than what is different, among our various religious traditions. Finally, and perhaps most important, simple followers of different traditions will be able to practise, meditate and pray together. I firmly believe that steps such as these will foster a greater general respect among religious traditions, which, in turn, will help to promote harmony in society.