As much as we yearn for individual peace do we long for collective peace. Peace on earth and goodwill to men is probably one of mankind's most powerful common dreams. Here's how to make it a reality
A Unique TempleThe VGP Temple of World Peace in Chennai, built in 1998, is dedicated to the betterment of mankind by working towards the realization of world peace and religious harmony.
Located on the beachfront in the heart of Chennai, this symbol of the universal religion of love has become quite a draw in the city.
Its founder, Dr V.G. Santhosam, chairman of the VGP business group, has a story to tell about its origins. He hails from a Christian family of modest means.
In a small village, it was the only Roman Catholic family, where others were Hindus, Muslims and backward classes.
It was his mother who instilled in him respect for all religions.
Starting as a newspaper boy, and then entering hire-purchase business, he now heads a group of 20-odd companies engaged in diverse fields such as beach resorts, construction, finance, and education.
Seven years ago, he had a vision in which his mother appeared to pass on a light to him.
He consulted prominent people from different faiths about the message of the vision before deciding to build this temple of peace.
Built on three acres of land, the temple can accommodate 1,500 visitors at a time. There are 40 rooms where spiritual leaders can come and stay.
The temple has a unique meditation mandapam in a pyramid shape. The Gnana Oli (divine light) is worshipped three times a day to wish for world peace.
Passages from the Quran, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita are read during prayer sessions. Often Santhosam himself leads the service.
Religious functions of different faiths are celebrated here with equal fanfare.
The temple is unique, says Santhosam, as people of diverse religions and faiths can come together here on one platform.
Indeed, there are such congregations from time to time to propagate harmony among people.
Santhosam, now 66, plans to build branches of the temple in Tamil Nadu. One is already open in Tiruvannamalai.
As a part of its fifth anniversary celebrations, the temple is organising a seminar for world peace and religious harmony later this year.
Santhosam says that religion comes into play only after one is born.
Religious disharmony happens because everybody feels ‘my God is bigger than yours’.
It calls for an enlightened vision to discern that we are the same God’s creation.
Peace will come, he is certain. We just have to give its message to everybody on earth.
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