The Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, marked the the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s historic Chicago address with an interfaith meet on Tuesday which had representatives from nine major religions of India.
The participants included AK Merchant, National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Bahai community of India; K T S Sarao, head of the department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi; Rev Fr. John Felix Raj S J, Vice Chancellor, St. Xavier University, Kolkata; Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, noted Hindu scholar; Tahir Mahmood, former Chairman, National Minorities Commission; Anekant Jain, Head of Dept. of Jain Philosophy, LBS Sanskrit Vidyapeeth; Rabbi Ezekiel Malekar, Secretary, Judah Hyam Synagogue, New Delhi; K C Singh, former Ambassador and commentator on Strategic Affairs; and Shernaz Cama, Associate Professor, Lady Shri Ram College.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Interfaith meet. He spoke of the initial hardships faced by Swami Vivekananda while at Chicago. At The World’s Parliament of Religions, where other delegates had tried to emphasise the strength and uniqueness of their own creeds, Vivekananda struck a different chord. He spoke about tolerance and universality of India’s spiritual traditions. He denounced narrow-mindedness and fanaticism. He seemed to represent not only Hinduism but all faiths of the world, Mukherjee said.
The former President spoke of the work done by Ramakrishna mission in spreading the universal message of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda through its services in the field of education, health care, poverty alleviation and spiritual education of masses.
Swami Shantatmananda, secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, welcomed the guests and also gave the concluding remarks. He stressed on the need for interfaith harmony.