The onset of the Unity of Man movement
The World Conference on Unity of Man commenced on 3 February, 1974 under the sponsorship of Sant Kirpal Singh and ended on 6 February, 1974. Religious, political and social leaders from all over India and some hundred delegates from all over the world, nearly from 30 countries, participated in the Conference.The Conference had an impressing start with a great procession with well over a hundred thousand men, women, and children from eighteen countries. Different races, nationalities and creeds marched side by side along the three and half miles distance on the main streets of Delhi to reach the venue of the Conference at Ramlila Grounds. Sant Kirpal Singh and the heads of the various religious formations walked in front followed by the delegations from various countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Columbia, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malta, Nigeria, Thailand, and the United States were all represented at the Conference.
From every point of view the World Conference on Unity of Man was a tremendous success. Over four hundred delegates from all parts of the world and two thousand from all over India participated in the deliberations. It was a unique performance, the first of its kind since the time of Ashoka, as Sant Kirpal Singh said.
The Conference split up into four Panel Conferences or seminars, in which different aspects of the idea of the unity of man were examined in depth. The four panels were as follows:
1. Unity of Man - One world
2. Current world problems affecting the unity of man
3. World harmony
4. The essential unity of all religions
Many prominent participants contributed to the open sessions and panel sessions with a speech. The religious leaders included: Nichidatsu Fuji – Buddhist leader from Japan; Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan – head of the International Order of the Sufis; Acharya Sri Tulsi Ji – Jain leader; Dr. Angelo Fernandes – Roman Catholic Archbishop of Delhi; Lama Kushak Bakula – Head Lama from Ladakh; Mufti Atquil Rehman – Muslim leader.
On 5th February, Indira Gandhi, at that time Prime Minister of India, participated with members of her cabinet to address the World Conference on Unity of Man. In addition, many other ministers of the Union of India, members of Parliament and state officials addressed the conference or took part in the panel discussions.
Beside the Conference there was a a free Kirpal homoeopathic dispensary and camp hospital set up at the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi. Dr Harbhajan Singh being a physican by profession served as a doctor of the medical staff during the conference.
This World Conference was the onset of the Unity of Man movement and has served as a model for the follow-up conferences until now.