The Third World Religions' Conference was held on 26th, 27th & 28th February, 1965 at the historic Ramlila Grounds in Delhi. There was a "Peace March" starting from the Delhi Town Hall. The procession consisted of foreign & Indian delegates and women. Over 100,000 persons participated in the spectacular procession that was over a mile long. Ladies & men of different faiths sang religious hymns as they gracefully marched. Representatives of all major religions participated in the Conference. Over twenty denominations of Hinduism were represented. The Shia, the Sunni, the Ahmadiya and the Sufi denominations of Islam were represented. The Catholic Church, several denominations of Protestants, and the Orthodox Christian Church were also represented. Both the Hinayana and the Mahayana Schools of Buddhism were represented. All the major denominations of Jainism and all sections of Sikhism were represented. Judaism and Zoroastrianism were also represented. The total number of delegates who participated in the Conference was 1,257. The attendance at the Conference was well over 100,000. The Conference started on Friday, 26th February, 1965 at 4 P.M. and was inaugurated by Shri Morarji Desai, the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, and Mr. Gulzarilal Nanda, the then Home Minister of India, presided. The then Prime Minister of India, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, also participated in the Inaugural Session of the Conference.
Respected Muniji and Bhai Morarji, President, Santji, the Acharyas of various religious orders from here& abroad, all the well-wishers, ladies and gentlemen present here, I extend my heartiest welcome to you all. In this Conference we will have to consider the ways and means for establishing peace in the world and promoting love and amity among men and we would greatly appreciate your valuable suggestions and support in this behalf. I am confident that you will lend a helping hand for the peace and prosperity not only of the present generation but of generations to come. Respected Morarji, who is with us, will now open the session. I am also deeply grateful to Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, our Prime Minister , who out of his busy political life, has kindly spared sometime to be with us. I humbly pray that God may grant success to this Conference.
"Religious Heads, President, Prime Minister, Sisters and Brothers, We are today having a Conference of the World Religions. I have been privileged to inaugurate this open session of the Conference. I wonder how far I am worthy of saying much on the essentials of the Dharma which is the bedrock of this Conference.This is my firm belief that it is only through Dharma and Dharma alone that we can solve the mystery of life. This we have learnt from seers and sages in all times and in all climes. There are ways and ways of looking at the thing. The object of Dharma is to establish universal peace but unfortunately every one considers his Dharma (sectarian) to be above all and it is only through it that one can achieve the objective. It was Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa who by following the sadhana or religious practices of each religion reached the same Goal, viz., God realisation and thus established the fact of the unity of all religions in spite of their seeming diversities. This is what Swami Vivekananda learnt from that Godman and placed before the people of America in the World Parliament of Religions. He emphasised that religious rivalries generated bad blood among the people of different religions.
I firmly believe that one can easily take to this path, the path of reconciliation, tolerance and co-existence. We are having a Conference of World Religions. The purpose of this Conference is that people of different religions should love each other as members of the one great family of God, whereby there may not arise any differences. We must endeavor to ameliorate the living conditions of others and work harmoniously for the uplift of Dharma, the basis of all religions. Only then can one derive the maximum benefit from his own Dharma. We should wish well to everybody and try to develop goodwill among all as children of God, the supreme father of us all. It is in this way alone that we can look with equanimity upon all religions. Do unto others as you would like others should do unto you. This is what Christ taught to his followers. Hindu Dharma goes a step further. It teaches that we should love all species in the creation and embrace the totality of his being, including human beings. The spirit of God works in all that exists and as such everything is worthy of our love and affection. This is Ahimsa in the true sense of the word. In this World Conference, what we have to learn is that we should not quarrel even with those who do not believe in any religion. In this way we can influence them as well. This should be our aim in life. The importance of Dharma lies in this and it is to be a firm belief. I have come in the hope that the sponsors of this Conference have come with this very ideal in view and they would try to achieve success in their mission and I have no doubt that they will. There is only one hope to save mankind and that hope lies in realising the principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. This is the only way that can lead to universal piece. I pray to God for the fulfillment of my desire and I am glad to open the session. I am greatly indebted to the organisers of this sammelan (Conference) for having given me the proud privilege to speak on this occasion.
"Beloved Immortal Souls, I am filled with supreme joy at the presence of the representatives of all the religions of the world on the common platform of the World Felloship of Religions. The establishment of religious fellowship and the rule of love and truth are the objectives for the fulfilment of which you have travelled to this great country. These objectives are likely to be most amply fulfilled in this land which has had a tradition of universal culture and the catholic spirit of religious tolerance.
Religion is the binding force in human affairs. Geographical frontiers, class-prejudices, denominational loyalties and differences in the habits of life cannot corrode the fundamental unity which religion has conferred upon mankind. Those who refer slightingly to religion do not show sufficient grasp of this basic truth. The World Fellowship of Religions is steadily engaged in evolving, on perfectly scientific and rational lines, a programme which aims, on the one hand to free religion from superstition and fanaticism and on the other, to make religion serve the ends of universal humanistic good. The fundamental conceptions and universal values of religion can be and have to be utilized for the solution of the problems of justice and human destiny, these are troubling the world today. The World Fellowship of Religions aims at the regeneration of human society by peaceful means through the ideology of Ahimsa. It desires to see the flowering of Ahimsa Shodh-Peeth into a fully organised University and its fruitful working in the interests of world peace. The WFR is deeply beholden to Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shri Gulzarilal Nanda, Shri Morarjibhai Desai and other leaders who have extended their cooperation to this Conference most willingly.
"My own self in the form of Ladies and gentlemen : We have once again gathered together in the historic town of Delhi. This time the Conference of the World Fellowship of Religions, the third of its kind, is being held at a place known as Ramlila grounds. In the present era, the idea was revived when in 1893 a Parliament of Religions was held at Chicago. The present forum was envisaged by Muni Sushil Kumarji who conceived the idea of instituting a World Fellowship of Religions under whose auspices international conferences could be held and sustained work could be undertaken for promoting mutual respect and understanding of various religions. All the religions agree that Life, Light and love are the three phases of Supreme Source of all that exists. Ruderless & without a compass to guide our course, we are unwittingly a prey to chance winds & waters and cannot see the shoals, the sand-banks and the submerged rocks with which our path is strewn. In this frightful plight, we are drifting along the onrushing current of life - Wither? we know not. We must then site togather as members of the one great family of man so that we may understand each other. May God, in his infinite mercy, save us all whether we deserve it or not. Before I sit down I heartily welcome you, my brothers and sisters, and thank you warmly for your kindness and sincerity in furthering such a noble mission that has brought us together"
"I heartily welcome the delegates who have come from abroad to participate in the World Religion's Conference now being held in Delhi. I feel happy that Delhi, which is the capital of India, has been chosen as the venue for holding this Conference. India has always been a center of many religions. And there are different religions in this country- and those that came from abroad were accepted and embraced and are flourishing here . It is, therefore, nothing new for us to bring together people professing different religions and to show that in reality, all religions are the same. Religion for us has a special place, a special significance. There was a time when our country was governed by State Religion. But that was in ancient times. Now times have changed and as a result of this change religion as such has no place in our present form of government and administration. Even then to run the govt. we have to bear in mind certain religious principles and traditions. If we act according to moral values, and are men of character then we experience real happiness and bliss in our lives. We experience a victory within our hearts and in that lies the salvation of the world also. It, therefore, becomes necessary that even when we are dealing with the affairs of the world, we should adopt peaceful ways which would ensure the safety of humanity and not destroy it. Science and scientific progress have given us many things - of which nuclear power is also one. He who invented nuclear power never thought, and even if he thought, never imagined that this same power could be used for the destruction of humanity and the world. What science gave us could have been used for the benefit of man, but when it is used to wipe out civilization, then we have to bring in religion and religious doctrines to guide man on the path of righteousness and safety. That means religion ought to and should be given a place above science because that is only way of achieving peace in the world. So, I congratulate you all for organising this Conference and putting religion on the forefront, and also for endeavouring to maintain peace in the world. I sincerely wish you success in your efforts and hope that this Conference will prove a success. Thank you."
"His Holiness Muniji, Sant Kirpal Singhji, distinguished guests and my friends in India, To stand here before so large an assembly representing religious leaders of different faiths, and of many countries, I well realize the honour and privilege that is mine, but also the profound responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of those of us that lead this historical Congress. Thus on this Occasion of the Third World Congress of Religions, I address you as Co-President of the World Fellowship of Religions and extend to you all my warmest welcome.
As much as some of us know about world affairs as experienced observers, we must, at this time, be deeply conscious of our personal need of divine guidance in the matters for which we have assembled as a "United Nations of Religions,"which is a spiritual movement! In my experience, as an International Counseller, confronted with usual and unusual problems concerning humanity, I have found that true wisdom is to inwardly depend upon God, the Solver of Problems, and to exercise the prayer of faith which is the most powerful force in the world.
We are here to forge spiritual links of unity on major issues and in moral supremacy and spiritual ascendancy to rise above petty bickering and narrow horizons . To this end speakers will be voicing their views as to the practical way how to attain the goal we hope for. If we believe in the True and Living God, the Supreme Being over all creations, we can be sure of final victory; for God is well able to defend. His own Cause together with our feeble efforts to defend Him I personally am a Christian, a man who believes in Christ. I also stand in respect of other faiths for what, and why, Their adherents believe as they do. Fortunate is the man who has found for himself the living spiritual leaders, masters, and holy men to help and guide him.
The world has heard much preaching of the virtue of Love : but it waits for the demonstration of Love in Action, Love Made Operative through human channels. For Love is more eloquent, and more convincing, than an amount of words which can be idle talk. Humanity is the partner of love, for it sublimates itself and never projects its own. In this manner of conduct man proves his importance. This Third World Congress of Religions undoubtedly will be one of the most colourful and important religious conventions ever held, probably the first of its kind in history. A number of Resolutions were passed
The World Fellowship of Religions believes that virtueous life implies justice instead of oppression, love instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of revenge, peace instead of war, truth instead of falsehood and persuasion in stead of force. It was resolved that world should come to the assistance of Ahimsa Sodh-Peeth in making its work }more fruitful and widespread. There is need for establishment of International University. To make feasible the emergence of this order of world citizens, a committee was setup to have a dialogue with UNESCO. Other resolutions were also passed.