By New Age Islam Special Correspondent
30 November 2016
A South Korean interfaith organisation, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) arranged a workshop entitled, “Dialogue of Scriptures” on an inter-religious theme of very pertinent relevance: “End times in World Religious Scriptures”.
The 'dialogue of scriptures' is a regular workshop which is annually held by the HWPL in different parts of the world. This year, it was organised in New Delhi in association with a number of Delhi-based Hindu temples, churches, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain worship centres in addition to an Islamic seminary. The workshop on End Times was mainly based on providing answers to the key questions as below:
(1): Does your scripture has prophecy or the sign that predicts the
"the end time "?
(2): How can we believe the prophecy or sign that predicts the endof the world?
(3): If there is evidence or example which enables us to believe the
Prophecy (the sign), how can it be explained?
This inter-religious dialogue of the scriptural texts on the end-time theories has been initiated in India first time by the HWPL’s wing based in New Delhi. It invited scholars and intellectuals from different faith traditions, most notably:
1. Dr. James P. Kang, HWPL Religion specialist from Christianity
2. Mr. Ven. R. Sumiththananda Thero from Buddhism
3. Pandit Krishina Mohan from Hinduism
4. Mr. Gulam Rasool Dehlvi from Islam
5. Dr. Vivek Arya from Arya Samaj
In his opening remarks, the HWPL Religious specialist and a scholar on Christianity, Dr. James P. Kang drew parallels among all the world religions giving prophecies of the end time. He said:
“In most scriptures, the prophecies about the end of the age are well-written. If you’ve studied different scriptures, you would have found many common teachings in the prophecy”. For example, Prophets in many religions taught people that the law of the truth will be powerless and wickedness will increase at the end of the age. It also includes the corruption of the religious world. When this will happen, heaven will send a person to save the righteous, for example: Maitreya in Buddhism, Kalkin in Hinduism and Jesus in Christianity”.
Dr. James P. Kang continued: “Christians believe that Jesus Christ is both divine and the messiah. They are also waiting for the second advent of the Christ with the same belief that he will overpower Satan, or the anti-Christ, at the final battle of Armageddon, known as al-Malhama al-Kubra in Islam. Jews have long been awaiting the promised messiah or Mashiach or Moshiach (physically descended from David), the Hebrew word that refers to the Jewish idea of the messiah. The 10th avatar in Hinduism, Kalki, it is believed shall emerge in the end. In the same way, the Sikh scripture attributed to the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, the Dasam Granth, also contains the prophecies on the advent of Mahdi in the final era. It clearly states that “Mahdi Meer” will be born to defeat Kali, who will become egoistic referring to himself as the “almighty”.
Pandit Krishan Mohan, from Shiv Mandir, Lajpat Nagar, who has done extensive reading and research of the Hindu scriptures of, explained the prophesies and theories related to the end-time in Hinduism.
He said that the ‘End of the days’ is a topic which is described in detail within the Hindu Scriptures along with signs and prophesies regarding the phenomenon.
Pandit Krishan Mohan spoke on the four types of Pralaya (Holocaust) as described in the Hindu scriptures:
Pralaya means ‘End of Creation’. PanditKrishan Mohan specifically discussed the theories of PrakritikPralaya,theatural end of days brought about bynature’s own means.“One Thousand and Four Yugas (comprising of cycles of Satyug, Dwaparyug, Tretayug andKalyug) are ONE Day of ‘Brahma’ (The Creator) and is known as a ‘Kalpa’, in which 14kings are supposed to rule over the lands”, he said.
Scholar of Classical Arabic and Islamic sciences and researcher in Comparative Religion, Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, presented the Islamic perspective on the End-Time narrative. He stated: “It cannot be denied that apocalyptic theories are found in every major religion of the world. The idea that a saviour of mankind will emerge in the end is common to all faiths. Muslims are on the lookout for the appearance of Imam Mahdi and re-emergence of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ, peace be upon him). According to several Prophetic traditions (Hadiths), he will defeat the anti-Christ (dajjal) at the Great Battle known as “al-malhama al-kubra” which will be waged to establish the world order, restore peace, justice, righteousness and law”.
Mr. Dehlvi laid out that the sole purpose of this millenarian and apocalyptic theory in all religions is to keep us abreast of the ultimate reality — that this world will be put to an end, sooner or later.
“But the existing problem with us is that we are unaware of the contemporary age we are living in, let alone the end. While the apocalyptic theories are attracting the youth to believe that the end-time is at hand, they are oblivious to the trying times they themselves inhabit. If they are unaware of their own times, how can they wisely plan for the future or even the end? This is an imperative and urgent task for us — to first engage with our own time and then think of the final era when a deliverer will suddenly appear”, he said.
Dehlvi also quoted the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) clearly saying in a hadith: “Wise is he who knows the age in which he lives.”
Presenting the viewpoint of Buddhism on the proposed subject, Buddhist scholar Ven. R. SumiththanandaThero said that, “In Buddhism, there are two kinds of teachings in this relation: (1) one is truth – which we can feel with our five organs. (2) One is Noble Truth – which we can experience with our pragna (wisdom).The subject of “end-time” comes under the purview of the first kind of teachings that we can feel with our five organs”.
He said that, “We can find about End of the Time in Buddhist text in Anguttara Nikaya, which the Buddha preached at Ambapali’s mango grove….”According to the Buddha, the world will end because of 7 suns surrounding the Earth and burning it to a crisp. The beings, trees and other plants will burn away, covering the Earth in a layer of ashes. The process of increasing global warming will be taking billions of time to end the world”, he said.
Dr. Vivek Arya from Arya Samaj stated that, “there is no end time in Vedic philosophy. The concept of time in Vedas is like a circle. If you see a circle, there's no start or end. So, the concept of time in Vedas is origin-less and end-less”.
He said: “You can find out that there’s no such thing as end times by seeing this world. Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating. One eating the Fruit is Atman or Soul. One looking without eating is Supreme God. The tree on which they are sitting represents Nature”.
He also quoted Rig Veda (1-164-20) in the conclusion of his talk: “You must have done Actions in previous Birth or previous Universe for which you are facing the results”.
At the end of the dialogue, Dr. James P. Kang, HWPL Religion specialist, shed light on the universal declaration of peace that was issued by the Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light (HWPL). He read out the message of the World Peace Activist Man Hee Lee, founder-president of HWPL:
“Everyone in our global family, regardless of class or importance, should work together towards achieving world peace with the peace messenger and to end all disputes between religions just like what was accomplished on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.”
It is noteworthy that a Global Peace Summit was conducted by the HWPL at Seoul, South Korea with many of the world’s political and religious leaders as well as women and youth leaders in attendance.
The event was the 2nd Annual Commemoration of September World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit. Approximately 1,000 public figures from 120 countries around the world participated in this event, including: the former President of Croatia, Ivo Josipović; the Minister of Justice of Sri Lanka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe; President of the Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law, Carlos Villan Duran; the Youth Representative of The United Nations Association of New York, Juan Pablo Celis Garcia; along with various ministers, chief justices, high level government officials, and former presidents. Following the Declaration, the “Legislate Peace” Campaign (a global advocacy movement aimed at establishing international law) has been conducted worldwide. Since its beginning in March, 535,493 people from 167 different countries have signed their support.