Calls for Unity at World Hindu Congress -- World Eco Forum
Speaker after speaker at the Second World Hindu Congress (WHC) in Chicago made calls for unity among Hindus. The first day saw many distinguished speakers pronounced on the need for unity among Hindus and not let their diversity divide them. And the theme on unity continued into the second day proceedings.
The second WHC opened on Friday morning September 7th and scheduled to conclude on Sunday Sept 9. The First Congress was held in Delhi in 2014. Some 2,500 delegates from 60 countries are attending the Chicago Congress. The theme is “to connect, share ideas and inspire one another and for the common good”. Vice President of Bharat (India) Venkiah Naidu is slated to deliver remarks on Sunday to conclude the session.
The Assistant to the Lt. Governor of the state of Illinois Evelyn Sanguinetti and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat were among the early distinguished speakers. Dr. Bhagwat urged Hindus to work together despite differences.
Among several other illustrious speakers was Swami Poornatmananda of Bharat Seva Ashram. He urged Hindus to unite to achieve resurgence. He said Hindu religious teachings are for humanity. As such, educational institutions “in Bharat (India) should be opened to impart Hindu teachings”.
Chinmaya Mission Spiritual Head Swami said people must not only state they are proud Hindus but also behave proudly. He stated that Hindus must live a good life. “Everything begins at home. When family breaks down, culture breaks down, and life of disharmony follows. So Hindus must be exemplars and live according to the tenets of Hinduism”.
He also said that “The spirit of unity does not mean all should be the same. In the midst of diversity, we must have a common goal of dedication”. However, “we have to reform the education system that inculcates Hindu culture and religion. We have to re-discover the way the rishis taught the disciples in the ancient gurukul system”.
Swami Paramatmananda, secretary general of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, said “Hindus should think collectively not only for its own resurgence, but for the resurgence of the whole world.
Of special note were the ecological problems of the world”.
Swami Paramatmanandanoted that society has a “relationship problem, where one person is unable to relate to the life of another person” and this he said is unacceptable. “God did not create the world for man’s consumption. The responsibility lies on Hindus to protect the ecology”.
Sadguru Dalip Singh of Namdari Panth told the Congress that “Hindus and Sikhs can never be separated”. The Guru Granth Saheb said that “Sikhs should remain Hindus”.
Sadguru Dalip Singh urged Hindus to stop using English word to describe India and instead call it “Bharath”, and that Hindus should always use. He also decried those who habitually blamed their motherland for all problems asunder. “Instead, one should find what is good in India and espouse it”.
Sadguru Dalip Singh also visualized “a Bharatiya organization encompassing Hindus, Jains, Sikhs andBuddhists”.
Madhu Pandit Dasa, chairperson of Akshaya Patra Foundation, ISKCON, Bangalore, said “the different denominations of Hinduism is strength rather than a weakness. There are common grounding principles in these denominations”.
Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa drew attention to the declining birth rate among Hindus in India as “an aftermath of the one-child family planning program promoted by the Indian government. Other faiths don’t buy into this program and their population is not declining”.
Shri Pandit Dasa called on Indians to have more children”.
Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy (D-IL) addressed the World Hindu Congress telling the gathering: “Some of my friends and constituents were very concerned about my presence here today. I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I’ve ever known and been taught – namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, accepts all people regardless of their faith, including all my constituents.”
The Congressman said “I reaffirm the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. It is because of his legacy of equality and pluralism that I stand before you as a Hindu, as an American and a United States Congressman”.
Congressman Krishnamurthy also spoke about “the division and despair in the world and called for the need to embrace ahimsa – the concept of non-violence so that there is no place for prejudice, violence or hate, nowhere in the world”. He added: “We must teach our children tolerance and love, diversity and inclusion which Hinduism embodies”.
Delegates to the World Hindu Congress being held in Chicago received a symbolic sweet box in their welcome packet, which became a talking point to clarify the common perception that Hindu society is not united.
Delegates were given a box containing two sweet ladoos – one hard and one soft. These ladoos were doled out to drive home an important point. As explained by an organizer, the soft ladoo represented the status of Hindus today, in that they may be easily broken and swallowed. The future vision for Hindu society should be like a hard ladoo: strongly bonded.
About World Hindu Congress
Held once every four years, the World Hindu Congress (WHC) is a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good. Founded in 2014, the first World Hindu Congress in Delhi birthed the seven parallel conference platform to showcase the values, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the global Hindu community. For more information, visitwww.worldhinducongress.org