Respecting cultural and religious diversity is extremely important in contemporary times, and can be a cornerstone for the elimination of most conflict. Indigenous and ethnic religious and spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, have an impressive history of accommodation and religious tolerance. An important mission of the Arsha Vijnana Gurukulum is to foster peace between peoples and nations.

 

Cultural diversity and social acceptance is not always easy to achieve. When different cultures inhabit the same land, there may be confusion and conflict over differences in customs and learned behaviors. Even today, the violence of religious conversion taking place throughout the world undermines any hope for world peace. However, with deep listening and understanding, cultures can coalesce and learn to not only live in peace with one another, but also promote the message of self-determination and tolerance.

In the vision of Vedanta, the solution to conflict is acceptance. From self-acceptance, one gains the capacity to respect and accept others for who they are. From acceptance of others, one gains the ability to accept the world along with the uncertainty and uncontrollable nature of daily occurrences.  At AVG, a model for cultural diversity has begun to emerge, thanks to the help of conscious planning. For Indians, the programs can offer an opportunity to practice and uphold the sacred traditions whose underpinnings are contained in the Vedas. These ancient texts contain not only the formulaic prayers for health and well-being of all peoples, but the sacred teachings also show us the truth; that we are already the happiness we seek. The problem is one of looking outside rather than within—a problem shared by all human beings, no matter what our cultural upbringing, or experience. For people of other indigenous traditions, AVG can be a resource for indigenous cultural and spiritual expression, manifesting in the form celebration, classes, workshops, or retreats.As a multicultural educational institution, AVG recognizes the challenges for native peoples, and immigrants living in the U.S., of learning how to balance the demands of raising a family in a globalized and foreign culture with the desire to teach them the values that are so much a part of their heritage.  To address these issues, AVG shall develop special classes and programs to open the dialogue between parents and adolescents/teens about the difficulties surrounding a multicultural existence. The success of these programs can have far-reaching significance not only for East Indians and their families, but also for other marginalized cultures.