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Fr. Biju Michael
Regional Councillor for South Asia





The Regional's Blog

Regionals Participation in the World Meet for Peace and Harmony, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi

The occasion was the 150th birth anniversary of the famous Indian Guru and Religious Reformer, Swami Vivekananda, founder of the world-wide movement, the Ramakrishna Mission. The theme of the two day meeting, attended by a host of dignitaries, leaders and thinkers and about 2000 participants, was ?Dialogue for World Peace and Harmony?. The venue was the Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi and the dates were 11th and 12th of September!
Swami Shantatmananda, the president of the Mission in Delhi and the chief organizer of the Convention had managed to get together a large group of significant dignatories and thinkers among whom such famous names as the Dalai Lama, the former president of India, Mr. Abdul Kalam, religious leaders from other religions haling from India, United States, Australia, Thaiwan, Pakistan, England and Germany. Artists, musicians, scientists and sports persons (Mr. Kapil Dev and Mr. Srikanth ? former captains of the Indian team) were also among the speakers. The two Catholic speakers were Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, formerly the undersecretary of the Vatican Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue and Fr. Maria Arokiam, the Salesian Regional for South Asia.

The participants had paid Rs. 1000 per day to attend the convention and listen to the speakers. This itself was a sign of the thirst for peace and harmony in the world. All the speeches and discussion centred around the main theme. Fr. Maria Arokiam, who was the first to speak, from the perspective of Christianty and the thought of Swami Vivekananda called for common action in favour of human rights, justice and equality, drawing from Christian and Hindu sources. He said that common action, more than theoretical dialogue, is capable of bringing people of various religions towards brotherhood and hence create peace.

The experience was unique. The organization of the whole event was next to perfect. The cordiality with which we were received and the openness that the monks of the Ramakrishna Mission and the Hindu Public gathered there, and their disciplined participation made a deep impression on all and showed us how most people in the world have brotherly feelings towards each other and work for peace. The meet called upon to unite positive forces and shun fringe and extremist elements which indulged in violence and division in the name of Religion. The Monks had done a great job. It was indeed a fitting salute to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary!