Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

"Oneness, Tolerance and Acceptance:" Indian VP Shri venkaiah Naidu, addresses Spiritual Congress in Chicago

It is increasingly important for Hindus and India to stand up for what Hinduism truly represents,

10th September, 2018- Lombard, Illinois. -- The residents of Chicago were in for a treat on Sunday, the 9th of September 2018. The Vice- President of India, Honorable Shri Venkaiah Naidu graced everyone with his presence at the 2nd World Hindu Congress, which was held from September 7th to the 9th at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, Oak Bridge, Illinois, USA.

A large gathering of over 3000 attendees from the US and 60 other countries were present for this rare meeting. The occasion was to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian Philosopher of the 19th century. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began, "Sisters and brothers of America...", in which he introduced Hinduism or Santana Dharma as it is officially called, at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.

In the keynote address at the concluding session of the WHC on Sunday, the Honorable Vice President stressed the importance of upholding the highest morals and values for all Indians no matter where they lived.

He espoused the need to preserve Hindu values of Oneness, Tolerance and Acceptance. Hinduism is the only faith that defines clearly that "All paths lead to the Divine", giving equal respect and credence to all spiritual faiths alike. India being the largest secular nation in the world, has always enjoyed diversity of Religion, Culture, Language and Customs that is unparalleled anywhere else.

In 2018, India has the fastest growing economy in the world and it remains an oasis of growth in a barren Global landscape, not just materially but also spiritually.

However Mr. Naidu also stressed that of late there have been some negative forces and fringe groups, that are spreading ill- informed opinions and news on an "Invisible" intolerance in India. Although this is not the case, the nexus that is spreading some of the rhetoric has been using big media and international media houses as a platform and trying to pose off inaccurate news as credible and true. There is a growing anti- India and Anti-Hindu nexus fueled and funded by Islam radical groups and a Fringe element of Maoists that are undermining what India and Hinduism has always stood for.

In his own words, Mr. Naidu says, "Some people are trying to make the very word "Hindu" untouchable, intolerable. That's why, one has to articulate and see the values that espouse and present the bucket of ideas in correct perspective so that the world has the most authentic perspective. This authentic perspective will prevent the distortions and any erroneous perception gaining ground. These distortions are creeping up in our society and must be eradicated by reformism from within the country".

It is increasingly important for Hindus and India to stand up to what the faith of Hinduism truly represents, and clarify any stance that says otherwise.

One of the central philosophies of Hinduism is "Share and care". There is clearly a need for people to co- exist harmoniously with each other as well as with Mother Nature. Hindu Dharma has always taught this lesson and this great tradition and heritage must be preserved and cherished. He added, "True nationalism alone is the preservation of this invaluable Heritage".

In the light of recent propaganda of alleged sexual assault toward women in India, he also was careful to point out "Empowerment and respect of women is another key aspect of Hinduism". In the Hindu faith, the Goddesses and female Deities have always been revered for their strength and compassion and Indian women have always been upheld in the same light as well.

"Ours is a country that has been teaching the world Tolerance and Universal Acceptance over the last 5000 years". The Honorable Vice President stressed that the moral values that Indians cherish can be used as spiritual goal posts not just for Ourselves but for everyone else as well. "We were once the Vishwa Guru (World Teacher) of the world and there is no reason why we cannot still be one today". In an increasingly divisive planet plagued with identity politics, it is evident that this message of Oneness and Unity is more critical than ever.

Mr. Naidu gave a beautiful analogy that in a world filled with Bitterness, India could provide the honey of wisdom gathered from different flowers by different bees.

As a gracious gesture, the Hon. Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner has declared September the 8th, 2018 as Swami Vivekananda day, adding yet another feather in the cap of India and its incredible wealth of wisdom and moral example that it has given to the rest of the world.


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