In The Hague, we know the Peace Palace as an icon of peace. World peace through law. It is the home of two international courts – the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice – the Hague Academy of International Law and a library specialised in international law. The Peace Palace was built with a gift from the American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1913. A very different approach to world peace can be seen in the “World Peace Dome” in India. This monumental peace centre was built through the great dedication and commitment of educator and peace advocate Prof. Vishwanath Karad, a devoted follower of Saint Dnyaneshwara (1275-1296). The World Peace Dome is dedicated to the public as a centre of wisdom, knowledge dissemination and social transformation. With its Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prayer Hall and the World Peace Library, it strives to educate the masses and help build a harmonious and peaceful society. The World Peace Dome practices the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -The World as One Family- A Global Village. This largest peace dome in the world is located on the campus of Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) in Pune and was inaugurated on 2 October 2018 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
According to Prof. Pushpita Awasthi, this peace centre is a living pillar of the spirituality of science or as one can say, the science of spirituality. The following is taken from a prose she wrote about the World Peace Dome.
The ancient Indian spirit
The entire globe is living under the fear of wars, terrorism and destruction which the world has been facing during the last many decades. No human would ever want that the nuclear disasters such as that happened in Hiroshima are ever repeated on this earth. There is an urgent need for the positive forces to be awakened so that the negative forces trying to dominate our beautiful planet are removed. In order to establish world-peace it is required for people to become the global citizens with humanistic religion by transcending their narrow belief systems.
Today we need to make science, spirituality and its positivity as our vital force so that world can be saved from the calamities of violence. The world needs to urgently look for a path of non-violence, love and humanism with the qualities of fearlessness, impartiality, friendliness and self-dependence. For the past two hundred years science has been used to serve selfish interests and violence and in order for science to be free from this destructive direction it needs to come under the shelter of spirituality and at the same time spirituality needs to be free from its narrow rituals. The narrowness of spirituality can be removed through a scientific mind-set and it is equally true that the ethical values that science is lacking can be achieved through spirituality. Peace is the basis of the ethics of spirituality.
Universal brotherhood is born in the womb of the Indian spirit. The philosophy of one world, one culture is its core identity. This universal spirit of “Bharatiyata” (Indian-ness) has evolved since ancient times through various streams originating from the Vedic, Upanishadic, Jain, Bauddha, Sanatan, Arya Samaj, Sant, Islamic and Christian traditions. This holistic philosophy has flowered in the form of “World Peace Dome” in Pune. There is a prayer of an ancient sage of India: “O Mother Earth! You are gifted with so many qualities. So many voices and languages flow through your heart.” This unity in diversity is the basic nature of the Indian spirit. That is why it is so natural that the foundation of the World-Religion can be easily laid in India. Here lies the true identity of the spirit of India.
Humanity has inherited the knowledge of the world in the form of various religions. In current times the world is dazzled by the superficial materialism. The modern Indian culture which is being influenced by the elite desires is fast developing by riding the horse of communication revolution. A new metropolis materialism is dominating the global scenario and the values of true humanism is getting lost. This values can be regained with the help of the true Indian spirit.
In the process of modern evolution which is centred around the development of machines and technology, contemporary humans have merely turned into intellectual machines embodying bodies. Today’s human is reduced into a machine which knows how to drive other machines. Human values are diminishing rapidly. Therefore he remains only as an effigy of humans, not the real human.
It is unfortunate that the modern interpretations of science has pushed the power of spirituality back into the old ages of superstitions. On the contrary the truth is that the conscious power of spirituality alone can save science from its misuse for the cause of violence and inhuman activities. Earth, nature, universe and cosmos are as much the subjects of spirituality as of science. Therefore when a scientist truly engages in a scientific pursuit he also indirectly gets associated with the spiritual dimension of science.
Confluence of science and religion
So these are the burning questions in front of us: how to protect and conserve humanism and the earth? How to search for the forces and organize them which are able to protect these values? Without establishing mutual trust and love, without founding the non-divisive power of humanism, there is hardly any hope for the survival of global humanity.
The great dome of Saint Jnaneshwara at the MIT World Peace University is a living embodiment of the scientific as well as spiritual accomplishment of Prof. Vishwanath Karad. Moral values of a structure is the source of limitless power whether in the field of science or spirituality. The source of such a power is based on truth and morality.
This is a biggest unique dome in the world inspired by the scientific, spiritual and the religious values of humanity. You can hear the voices of all the founders of all the religions of the world in the dome. The voice of the first sermon of the Buddha given in Sarnath can be heard here. At the same time the images of scientists in this dome help us to see the confluence of science and religion. The core of all religions can be felt in the form of humanism and peace here. All outer divisions are superficial – this can be realized here. Chanting of Shanti mantra is part of Hinduism. Muslims greet with “Assalamualaikum” which literary means “Peace be upon you”. Christians say, “Grace be unto you…”. Therefore peace is central to all the religions of the world.
The overall impact of this huge and unique dome is that the individual is effortlessly transcended beyond all dualities and there is a realization of a deep peace. Only that individual who realizes peace within can be a true propagator of peace in the world.
The forty years of dedicated service of Prof. Karad has shown that in a spiritual country like India scientific approach coupled with spiritual wisdom is necessary so that spirituality is freed from its narrow rituals and at the same time science gets the spirit of non-violence. Both the forces are going to help in achieving the goal of world-peace. This is probably the only epicenter of universal scientificness, spirituality, and humanistic religiosity.
Prof. Dr. Pushpita Awasthi is associated with the World Peace Dome as World Ambassador. She is a.o. also President of the Hindi Universe Foundation, the Netherlands. Furthermore, she is a writer and a poet. She worked in Suriname for a number of years as a diplomat at the Indian Embassy and published books of prose and poetry about Suriname in India. Her work has a spiritual aura with much attention to people and nature.
Website Prof. Dr. Pushpita Awasthi: https://pushpitaawasthi.in/