The first ever Council of Dharmic Faiths, CoDF, was launched in the UK a
t the House of Commons on 16 May 2011
The Council was formed to unite in spirit the four major faiths of India, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism and the ancient faith of Persia, Zoroastrianism. Anil Bhanot wrote a discussion paper in 2007 on the ‘Advancement of Dharma’ for all major faith leaders in the UK and this debate led to the idea of a ‘Four Faiths Forum’ for the Indian faiths.
As the idea developed some concerns were expressed by some Abrahamic faith and Inter Faith leaders that this should not result into a ‘block’ of the Dharmic Faiths. We assured them that their fears were unfounded as the very nature of Dharma is fluid and progressive, almost individualistic, but our remaining divided was no longer an option for us in the larger global politics, siting to them that most people in the UK have not even heard of the word ‘Dharma’, whereas it is Dharma that underlies all our religions. Moreover Dharma never seeks to convert others religious labels, if it ‘converts’ it seeks to convert one’s heart only to a good righteous living but within one’s own tradition or any identity one may opt to choose freely. Dharma respects all traditions, provided they do not harm humanity. It is essentially about Truth, Justice and Compassion for all, with equal human rights, and a sense of responsibility towards all beings including Mother Earth.
At the time the Zoroastrian faith leaders approached Anil Bhanot for their possible inclusion into the forum but some learned leaders pointed out that Zoroastrianism is ‘Dualistic’, and was the source of ‘duality’ of God and Satan, of Good and Evil as opposites, in the Abrahamic religions and that their theosophy cannot qualify as Dharmic which is ‘monistic’, where good and evil are not opposites but are only polarised forces in one unified whole, with our journey towards Good and beyond. However Anil Bhanot thought their ancient link as ‘cousins’ to the Vedic people was more important and even if the Abrahamic religions were rooted in Zoroastrianism for ‘duality’ the Abrahamic theology developed an exclusive brand of ‘Monotheism’, in contrast to Zoroastrianism which always respected others methods of worship.
Thus after much dialogue and meetings the Council of Dharmic Faiths was formed of the four Indian religions, with an associate membership for the Zoroastrians, in 2010.