Some people are trying to make the word Hindu “untouchable” and “intolerable”, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said as he underlined the need to preserve the true values of Hinduism as taught by seers like Swami Vivekananda to alter the “ill-informed” opinions.
In his keynote address to the concluding session of the second World Hindu Congress (WHC) here, the vice president said India believed in universal tolerance and accepted all religions as true.
Naidu called upon the delegates to preserve the true values of Hinduism as shown by seers like Vivekananda.
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More than 2,500 delegates and 250 speakers from over 60 countries participated in the three-day WHC coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the historic speech of Vivekananda in Chicago in 1893.
Share and care is the core of the Hindu philosophy, he said, outlining the important aspects of Hinduism.
Naidu rued that a lot of disinformation (about Hinduism) is going around.
“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,” he said.
The authentic perspective will prevent the distortions and any erroneous perception gaining ground, he said.
Acknowledging that certain weaknesses has crept into the society, he said this has to be dealt by reformers from inside.
“We should also know others’ experience and try to improve upon others’ philosophy,” he said, adding the Indian culture and religion has given the liberty to imbibe the best practices from other communities.
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He said “ill-informed opinions and attitudes need to be altered” to the real significance of the religion.
“The philosophy that the entire world is the whole family, the whole world is the manifestation of the divine and that the god lives in each living and non-living entity of the world; tolerance and acceptance of plurality, realisation that there is unity in diversity, and the ability to adapt and absorb are some of the key aspects of Hinduism,” Naidu said.
Hindu religion, he asserted, teaches how to co-exist harmoniously with nature.
“True nationalism is preservation of this invaluable heritage,” the vice president.
Empowerment and respect of women is another key aspect of Hinduism, he said.
“Swamiji was an embodiment of Hindu culture. As Swami Vivekananda said in his inaugural speech at Chicago on September 11, 1893, ours is a country that has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance’,” he said.
India, Naidu said, could provide to the world the honey of wisdom.
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“The values we all cherish, as Indians, can be the guideposts for our individual growth and collective advancement. We also care for the preservation of natural resources and environment. We help create a more sustainable planet,” Naidu said.
India, he said, once upon a time was known as the ‘Vishwa Guru’ (the world teacher).
“In a world of unprecedented changes, we need a sheet anchor and a spiritual compass. India could offer those to the world. In a world that is filled with bitterness, India could provide the honey of wisdom gathered from different flowers by different bees,” Naidu said.
Whenever the world is faced with the threats of fragmentation, conflict, hatred and irrational prejudices, the Indian voice brings to the world the soothing, inclusive perspectives that have pervaded its cultural world for more than two millennia.
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As Vivekananda said in Chicago, “ours is a country that has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”.
India believes “not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true.”
This event is called the World Hindu Congress. But, what exactly is Hinduism? As Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishan observed, “we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it”.
“Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more,” Naidu quoted Radhakrishan as saying.
The vice president said Vivekananda’s exquisite description is worth recalling, “we Hindus accept every religion, praying in the mosque of the Mohammedans, worshipping before the fire of the Zoroastrians, and kneeling before the cross of the Christians.
“Knowing that all the religions from the lowest fetishism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and each of them making a stage of progress. We gather all these flowers and bind them with the twine of love, making a wonderful bouquet of worship”.
In a passionate appeal, he urged the delegates to preserve their mother tongue and culture.
“Do not forget your mother tongue,” he added.
The next World Hindu Congress would be held in Bangkok in November 2022.
In a proclamation, the Governor of Illinois declared September 11, 2018 as Swami Vivekananda Day.