GUYANA is a land of deeply religious people; regardless of whatever faith or denomination by which pathway each citizen communes with his/her Supreme Lord, their faith is deep and persevering.
Yet, although each religion in Guyana adjures the faithful to practise brotherly love, we remain a divided nation, distrustful of each other, with false prophets continually creating further rifts with inflammatory sermons preaching messages that create further rifts and widens the divide.
However, this aberration is an anomaly and not a common practice, because, increasingly, the socio-political situation in Guyana has been constraining the attention of caring religious leaders to a sphere outside of the box of orthodox religion and secular tenets – moving away from the dogmas, to incorporate the social dynamics of the country with its multiplicity of religions and cultures, and focusing less on theology and more on social problems.
This focus concentrates more on the role of God in human life, rather than in formal worship by any religion or denomination. The differences of how Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or any other religion conceives of God are irrelevant. The only imperative is that this family of humanity recognises that there is a universal rock on which mankind can stand, and which should not create divisions is the basic foundation on which all religions are premised and take root. This is the sublime message underpinning the texts and guiding philosophies of every religion – to carry a message of unity in purpose to all religious and social communities; all-embracing and all-inclusive of religious covenances.
Government has been trying to reach out to the fraternities of religions to join forces and lift a collective voice in a national-front movement advocating peace and unity in Guyana because, as ably articulated by the head of one religious organisation: “All Guyanese need to stand together on one spiritual rock and feel comfortable.”
His Holiness Swami Purnanandaji Maharaj, founder of the Guyana Sevashram Sangha in Cove and John, recognised the imperative of interfaith unity in Guyana’s multi-religious landscape and as far back as the 1950s when he began hosting the first interfaith services ever held in Guyana.
The philosophies of what some current-day religious leaders are expounding seek to accentuate what unites us. There is an element of belief and practice that unites all Guyanese and all humanity in terms of what we believe in, and in terms of what we practise. For example, no religion advocates divorce, or separation of families; nor does the Supreme Father advocate in any religious pathway that hatred rather than love is the way to seek his favour; but God embraces all of us and tells us to put our palms together and call His name – the name by which we know him, and be inspired deep within to find solutions together. That is something about which all religions are on the same platform – the same page.
One cannot divorce politics from social issues, and from time immemorial leaders of nations have been advised by religious seers, because of the recognition that only the spiritual pathway can resolve national problems where the confluences of all the national dynamics can find a common rock on which everyone can feel comfortable, and at one with each under the unifying force of the universal Lord.
What has become a parliamentary pastime: creating gridlocks that hamper the nation’s developmental processes, surely is a negative synergy that makes imperative a national day of prayer, because Guyanese are a deeply spiritual people and maybe the entire nation would feel comfortable to leave mediation on national issues in the hands of the Lord. Surely, if we search the scriptures answers could be found on vexing and perplexing problems that are hampering and inhibiting the upward socio-economic developmental trajectory of our country.