WHC day one saw the intellect of Hindus from 60 countries

Kumar Rakesh

Chicago, USA: The major gathering of Hindus have started in World Hindu Congress (WHC) a three day event on which the first day saw opening remark from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Vice-president of the Republic of Suriname Ashwin Adhin, Award winning actor Anupam Kher and many more.

Attended by 2,500 Hindus from 60 countries at Chicago where 125 years ago Swami Vivekananda gave historic speech in parliament of religion and shown Indian culture to the western world.

Opening the remark RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat highlighted the need for such an action, and how Hindus should work together.

“It is an opportune moment. We have stopped our descent. We are contemplating how to ascend. We are not an enslaved, downtrodden nation. People are in dire need of our ancient wisdom,” Bhagwat said.

In Hindu dharma, even a pest is not killed, but controlled. “Hindus don’t live to oppose anybody. We even allow the pests to live. There are people who may oppose us. You have to tackle them without harming them,” Bhagwat said.

Stressing the need for unity, Bhagwat said “If a lion is alone, wild dogs can invade and destroy the lion we must not forget that. We want to make the world better. We have no aspiration of dominance. Our influence is not a result of conquest or colonization.”

“To work together, we have to accept the consensus. We are in a position to work together,” Bhagwat said. He urged the conference attendees to discuss and evolve a methodology to implement the idea of working collectively, “Think Collectively, Act Valiantly.”

Vice-president of the Republic of Suriname, Ashwin Adhin, in his address said, “We as Hindus never forsake our mission. Hindus have always been the missionaries of renunciation and service.”

“Much change is needed, and we need action,” Adhin said, and recalled Swami Vivekananda’s stirring call: “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.”

Stating that it was a big achievement for a poor Kashmiri Hindu boy to be speaking at the event, award winning actor Anupam Kher saluted “our country India…a place that has been home to all cultures, religions and faiths.”

“My roots are steeped in Hinduism. I refuse to be defined by other people’s fears. My Hindu teachings and life’s experiences have taught me that there is time for peace and there is time for war. I use war as a metaphor; platforms like this from which I can speak to the world, remind me of my karmic duty. I draw inspiration from Swami Vivekananda ji to shine a light on all of us gathering here and beyond. As a Hindu, it pains me deeply to see how ignorance and half knowledge are trying to destroy one of the world’s oldest, most peaceful religion.”

The session which began with a moment of silence in memory of the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and late Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul. Earlier Swami Vigyananda the prime organizing spirit behind the WHC, opened the Congress by blowing the conch. His Holiness Dalai Lama and the spiritual head of BAPS, Mahant Swami, delivered their messages by video.

SP Kothari chair of WHC said the three goals of WHC are “enlighten, reform and advance.” WHC brings enlightenment throughout the world about Hindu community through spirituality, harmony and inclusiveness, he said.

The conference also recognized four organizations for their outstanding contributions to spreading Hindu philosophy. The Bochasanwasi Akshar purshottam Swaminrayan Sanstha (BAPS) was honored for its extreme visual idealism around the world as it built architecturally beautiful mandirs; Chinmaya Mission for explaining the essence of the Gita; Geeta Press, Gorakhpur for making sacred Hindu literature easily accessible; and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness for spreading the message of Gita.

WHC which is held once every four year is conducting its second conference after 2014 in New Delhi. The aim of the organization is betterment and prosperity of the Hindu society and of the human race with the motto of Hindu philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” meaning “the World is one Family”.

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