As the International Day of Peace (September 21st) approaches, we are excitedly looking forward to many special events and celebrations around the world. This will reinforce our commitment to promoting world peace above all differences and contributing towards building a Culture of Peace.
The URI Purpose states: “The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.”
The URI Preamble beautifully reads: “We unite to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community.”
Together, we are working hand-in-hand to promote peace in our lives, with impactful results emerging every day, as all faiths and cultures are engaged towards the common good in friendship and solidarity. Together, we are joining hands towards creating a peaceful community, creating a peaceful environment, and extending this peace to all.
That is why, for URI, every day is an International Day of Peace. Together, we celebrate September 21st in tribute to the great and lasting, impactful change that URI’s Cooperation Circles (CCs) stand for.
Peace is so much more than the absence of war. Peace is justice for all living beings.
Peace is so much more than the absence of war. Peace is justice for all living beings. As human beings, we can experience peace through our senses, in the quest for our soul to know blissful peace. We nurture our inner peace through quiet moments, meditation, prayer, the arts and listening to the still, silent voices of our hearts. We spread our peace, through our love and compassionate care to others.
When we look at the pets that we love and nurture, it is so very clear that just like people, the souls of animals embody their own unique personalities, awareness, and that beautiful spark that connotes the existence of the Divine. When we see them joyful, or when we see them suffering, we witness vast emotional lives, which often turn our hearts compassionately to their needs. Witnessing their growth through their sentience, we can easily reason that the concept of Ahimsa, or non-violence in word, thought and action, which was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance movement in India, applies not only to how humans interact with each other, but also how we interact with all living beings.
Non-violence...applies not only to how humans interact with each other, but also how we interact with all living beings.
Although animals cannot speak in our human language, this does not mean that they do not have a voice. The range of animal sentience that is now being recognised is astounding – even a bull has been known to grieve at the death of his human owner; rats, who chuckle when being tickled and come back for more, have been found to be capable of altruism.
Pigeons have shown mathematical abilities on par with certain primates. As for parrots, they are a whole amazing story in itself; they have the emotional age of a toddler and the intelligence of a five-year-old. They bond so deeply with either their parrot or human companions that parting and separation cause great suffering to them, so much so that they have been known to stop eating and die as a result of this.
Therefore, let us urge our sisters and brothers that peace must extend to every creature if we are to truly celebrate our legacies in this world of ours. Let us remember that they, too deserve an environment of peace, where animals that are wild can have access to their natural habitats, places to roam and free-flowing water. For animals that are captive, let us stand together for these, the most helpless and dependent of creatures, and call for an end to their torture, and the associated unsafe practices of confinement and mistreatment.
When animals are screaming in terror and pain—in places of science or where they are “farmed,” cruelly transported, and slaughtered—we mustn’t close our eyes to their torment and grief. Instead, let us but open our hearts to appreciate these remarkable and beautiful souls who need our love and care and help, who feel physical pain, fear and sorrow at the loss of loved ones. Let us be their voice.
For how long can we be silent spectators to their suffering?
As human beings and in the spirit of stewardship, let us serve them and honour their spirit. Our eyes are the mirrors of our soul and therefore our true reflection. For how long can we be silent spectators to their suffering?
As long as our abuse and exploitation of animals continues on the grand scale that it does, can our world ever know true peace? This I very much doubt.
In the sixth century BC, Pythagoras, the mathematician and mystic philosopher stated, “As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
Selective peace for some does not comprise real peace in our interconnected world. Peace must not stop at our doorstep. If we really want to ensure peace in our world, let us not be participants of this bloodshed.
Let us not forget, their misery in this interconnected world is also our misery.
Let us raise our voice against cruelty to animals and learn how to live in harmony with all living beings. We can do this by eating vegan (free of any animal products) and buying cruelty-free clothing and cosmetics. Let us raise our voices and wield our pocketbooks against animal testing, and the cruelty of factory farms. And let us not forget, their misery in this interconnected world is also our misery.
As we mark the International Day of Peace, may we remember to honour all of our fellow beings with love. Let us make our voices and actions of peace resonate in a just environment for all living beings.
Let us be that peace we wish to see.
Learn more about Compassion for All Living Beings (C4ALB) Cooperation Circle.