Samvad

Ashwin Krishna 3, Vik. Samvat 2072.Yugabda 5117: 1 October 2015


1. FESTIVALS: Heikru Hidongba 2. 21ST CENTURY IS BHARAT'S CENTURY: MODI
3.    ISRO LAUNCHES BHARAT INTO ELITE SPACE CLUB 4. Swami Dayananda Saraswati Attains Mahasamadhi
5.  Nation pays homage to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay 6.   KS Nagabhushan is no more
7.  ISRO CELEBRATES MANGALYAAN'S FIRST BIRTHDAY 8.  'Democracy is only successful if the society is self-aware & organised': Bhaiyyaji Joshi
9.  Saints, Scientists, Yogis & Experts Convene to Discuss Global Harmony and Yoga's Ancient Roots 10.  UK hosts first 'BhagvadGita' conference
11.   INS KOCHI, LARGEST BHARAT MADE WARSHIP, COMMISSIONED 12. Aryans were indigenous, Mahabharata, Ramayana historical texts
13.  Bharatiya-origin man becomes Mayor of Bonn city 14.      NRIs could soon vote online in Bharatiya polls
15.     HSS CHICAGO 16.     MRM FELICITATES GAU BHAKTAS
17.     ANDHRA PRADESH GOVT CREATES HISTORY LINKS GODAVARI, KRISHNA RIVERS 18.     TAMIL WRITER JOE D CRUZ HEADS UTTAR TAMILNADU SAMSKRITA BHARATI
19.     Irish children wow bharatiya pradhan mantri with Sanskrit Shlokas 20.     4TH AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL HINDU CONFERENCE
21.   SHRI VISHWA NIETAN FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Articles:  
(i) TAPPING CIVILISATIONAL TIES TO AVERT HISTORIC CRISIS (ii)   Swami Dayananda: The Patriot Saint

1. FESTIVALS: Heikru Hidongba, the traditional boat race festival of Manipur was celebrated at the Thangapat of Sagolband Bijoygovinda on September 24 amidst cheerful crowd.  "Heikru Hidongba" is one of the several socio-religious ceremonies performed to bring peace and prosperity to the community. The festival started during the reign of Maharaja Irengba in 984 A.D.

In a twin boat sanctified by the presence of the deity amidst chanting of Sankirtana and music, Arti is offered. Tengmaileppa (who takes care of the boat), Hinao Shaba (who steers the boat), Chang Shaba (who look after the Tengmaileppa), Nourungba (who takes care of leakage of water inside the boat, etc.) and Naomang Shaba (who helps the one who steers the boat) are the main participants of the race who will put on Ningkham and Shamjim, traditional components of the formal dress of such festivities. The King will be present along with the Vishnu. A garland of 108 heikru (Amla) interspersed with the stem of Hup (a wild grass) and another garland of 108 rice which the peeling is done by hand will be first offered to Bijoy Govinda and afterwards placed at the hull of the boat. Before the boat race starts Bijoy Govinda will have a pleasure of the panoramic scene. The two leaders of the boat after due offerings to God will start the race. -goTop

 

2. 21ST CENTURY IS BHARAT'S CENTURY: MODI : Bharat is well on its way to become a 21st century powerhouse, aided by the collective will of 125 crore people and a "demographic dividend" that no other country can boast of, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi told an ecstatic Bharatiya-American gathering in Silicon Valley on September 27. Modi lauded Bharatiya techies as a class for transforming the country's image to a point that the world has finally begun to acknowledge that the 21st century indeed belongs to Bharat.

In an obvious reference to Pakistan, he ridiculed those trying to make a distinction between "good terrorism" and "bad terrorism" and said, "Terrorism is terrorism….Bharat has been suffering from terrorism for 40 years. All human forces should come together against terrorism." He urged the UN to resolve the terror definition issue once and for all in this 70th anniversary year, commenting, "We cannot safeguard humanity if we do not come to an agreement on what constitutes terrorism."

Several members of the US Congress turned up at the venue to meet Modi and hear him. They included former Speaker and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, Ami Bera, the lone Bharatiya-American Congressmen, and Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu lawmaker in US Congress. -goTop

 

3.    ISRO LAUNCHES BHARAT INTO ELITE SPACE CLUB: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on September 28 launched into space its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory ASTROSAT, along with six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States (US). With the successful launch of ASTROSAT, Bharat gained entry into the select club of nations having their own space observatories, like the US, Japan, Russia and Europe. This is also the first time that ISRO has launched satellites for the US. The ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.

Through 30 successful flights during 1994-2015 period, the PSLV has launched a total of 84 satellites including the seven satellites successfully launched September 28. So far, the PSLV has launched 51 satellites for foreign customers. -goTop

 

4. Swami Dayananda Saraswati Attains Mahasamadhi:  Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a seer born in the laps of Cauvery who went on to give rise to a legion of Vedantis over the years, attained mahasamadh I late on September 23.Swamiji was a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, one of the most-respected spiritual gurus of the time. Over the years, Swami Dayananda Saraswati established himself as one of the best scholars of Vedanta - his disciples include Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi, who had called on the guru only 10 days ago. Keen to preserve the Vedic vision and traditions, Swamiji established a string of centers where Vedanta was taught in the tradition of instruction passed on from Adi Sankara. -goTop

 

5.  Nation pays homage to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay: In a function organized by the Culture Ministry, the Nation paid homage to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya to mark his 99th birth anniversary on 25th September. The Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma attended the function.

Remembering Pandit Upadhyaya, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi in a tweet said that he was a beacon of selfless service and an excellent organizer.

Remembering Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, he gave ideas how the opposition can play a constructive role in democracy and nation building. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh advocated for a debate on integral humanism propounded by  Deendayal ji  Asking people to follow the ideals of the great leader, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, Pandit Upadhyaya blended politics with morality. -goTop

 

6.   KS Nagabhushan is no more: Senior RSS Pracharak, KS Nagabhushan Bhagwat (80 years) passed away in Bengaluru on September 16. He met with an accident while travelling on his two-wheeler. Born in March 25, 1936 in Shivamoga of Karnataka, Nagabhushan ji completed his B.Sc in 1954. He became RSS pracharak soon after his education in 1955. During anti-emergency movement he was jailed in Bengaluru Prison. Nagbhushan ji was karyalay pramukh of Bengaluru for many years and in that capacity assisted hundreds of karyakartas from abroad visiting Bengaluru. He was instrumental in the vyavastha of programs like Vishwa Sangh Shibir 1990 and Vishwa Sangh Shiksha Varg in Bengaluru. Known for his simple affable demeanor, Nagbhushan ji established contact with hundreds of homes in Bengaluru and kept his contact with karyakartas abroad live by sending them rakhis every year. -goTop

 

7.  ISRO CELEBRATES MANGALYAAN'S FIRST BIRTHDAY: Bharat's globally acclaimed Mars mission completed one year on September 24 with Indian Space Research Organization releasing the Mars Atlas to mark the feat of the Orbiter whose life is now expected to last many more years. It contains a compilation of images acquired by Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and results obtained by other payload in a form of scientific atlas. It was on this day last year that Bharat scripted space history when it successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet on its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club of three nations. The space probe entered the Mars orbit on September 24, almost a year after its launch.

Only 21 of the total of 51 missions sent to Mars by various countries have been successful before MOM. The life of the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft which now ISRO says can last "many years" was earlier intended for only six months and later for another six months in March this year. -goTop

 

8.  'Democracy is only successful if the society is self-aware & organised': Bhaiyyaji Joshi: A two day seminar on secularism for columnists in Chennai, on September 19th and 20th was inaugurated by Suresh 'Bhaiyyaji' Joshi, RSS Sarkaryavah and attended by more than 80 columnists from southern states.

Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr. Manmohan Vaidya wondered why the word 'Secularism' was included in the Preamble of our Constitution during the dark period of emergency. Balbir Punj, Vice President, BJP; Prafulla Ketkar, Editor, Organiser and several others presented their views on various aspects of secularism within their respective domains such as politics, media and constitutional law. Bhayyaji Joshi, in his valedictory address, spoke about the confusions that prevail in the society such as India vs Bharat, country vs state vs nation, citizen vs national, patriot vs friend of nation, anti-national vs enemy of the nation, invader vs native ruler etc. -goTop

 

9.  Saints, Scientists, Yogis & Experts Convene to Discuss Global Harmony and Yoga's Ancient Roots: The largest Hindu students' organization in North America brought more than 40 saints, scientists, yogis and experts from 13 countries to  Edison in New Jersey on the "Never Forget" September 11th anniversaries for Dharma and world harmony. The conference featured luminaries such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living, Swami Paripoornananda, the head of Sreepeetham in Bharat, Dr. HR Nagendra, Chairman of the Experts Committee for the International Day of Yoga, Fields Medalist Dr. Manjul Bhargava and many others. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar provided insight on how the principles of Dharma can help develop a conflict free society, while Dr. Nagendra discussed Bharat Sarkar's efforts in making yoga available to millions of Bharatiya people in order to appreciate its roots and medical benefits. An inter-faith panel, moderated by noted public intellectual and writer Rajiv Malhotra, discussed a framework for a pluralistic world order. -goTop

 

10.  UK hosts first 'BhagvadGita' conference: A conference on the contemporary relevance of 'Bhagvadgita' concluded on September 25 in London, in which Bharatiya and British experts participated. It aimed to deal with the innumerable questions that exercise and confound all of us today, like how does the 'Bhagvadgita' help us tap into our own unique transformational energy. Indian Council for Cultural Relations ICCR and the Bharatiya High Commission organized the conference in collaboration with the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.  -goTop

 

11.   INS KOCHI, LARGEST BHARAT MADE WARSHIP, COMMISSIONED: Naval warship INS Kochi, the largest-ever warship to be built in Bharat, was commissioned by defense minister Manohar Parrikar at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on September 30. "Jahi Shatrun Mahabaho" meaning "Armed to conquer the enemy" in Sanskrit. It's an apt motto for guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi, packed with weapons and sensors as well as advanced stealth features. Induction of the 7,500-tonne INS Kochi, the second of the three Kolkata-class destroyers being built at Mazagaon Docks (MDL) at Mumbai for over Rs 4,000 crore apiece, will make it the 10th destroyer in Bharat's combat fleet. -goTop

 

12. Aryans were indigenous, Mahabharata, Ramayana historical texts: An exhibition at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi showed "astronomical references and scientific evidences" which dismiss the Aryan invasion theory and argue that the Mahabharata and Ramayana are historical texts, not mythological epics. The Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE) on September 17 launched the 'Unique Exhibition on Cultural Continuity from Rigveda to Robotics' at the Akademi, in the presence of Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, RSS joint general secretary Dr Krishna Gopal and classical dancer Sonal Mansingh.

Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said it was important to hold such an exhibition, which was based on "scientific facts". Dr Krishna Gopal said that "Christian scholars" could not imagine history older than 4,000 years and the idea of continuity from Rig Veda till the present times was unimaginable for many. "Even Max Mueller could not go beyond 5,000 BC," he said. -goTop

 

13.    Bharatiya-origin man becomes Mayor of Bonn city: Ashok Sridharan, a mayoral candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel-led Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has comprehensively won the election in Bonn, becoming the first person of Bharatiya-origin to occupy the mayor's office in a major German city. 49-year-old Sridharan secured the absolute majority by polling 50.06 per cent of the votes in September 13 election in the former German capital. Mr. Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from Bharat and a German mother, will take over the reins of the city administration from the outgoing SPD mayor Juergen Nymptsch on October 21. -goTop

 

14.      NRIs could soon vote online in Bharatiya polls: Bharat has moved a step closer to enabling Non-Resident Bharatiyas (NRIs) to vote using a web-based e-postal ballot. In addition to 11 million NRI voters, about 50-70 lakh voters on election duty, service voters, those who are overseas and others approved by the Election Commission of Bharat (ECI) will benefit from this system. Every citizen living abroad can enroll in the electoral rolls in Bharat. After that, eligible voters will register online for e-postal voting, and they will be provided four documents in addition to an e-postal ballot paper. All these documents will have a 'unique identity' to ensure voter confidentiality, anonymity, privacy and attendance. The elector will download and take prints of all the documents, returning them as per ECI instructions. However, the modalities of handling the returned e-postal ballot papers are under deliberation. The process is part of the proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1950, and the Representation of the Peoples, 1951. -goTop

 

15.     HSS CHICAGO performed raksha bandhan at the Bharatiya Consulate General Office in Chicago. 3 swayamsevaks and 2 sevikas travelled from western suburbs of Chicago and three swayamsevaks working in the Chicago downtown area took time out of their work to join in the meet. Shri. Vasant Pandav, Sambhaag Sampark Pramukh briefed about the HSS activities and presented the Consul, HSS trifold and a coffee table book of exhibition.  Shri. Sanjay Patel, Chicago Vibhaag Kaaryawaah briefed about the Chicago area activities and Shri. Shridhar-ji Damle, Ma. Sangh-chaalak of Abhimanyu shaakhaa in Schaumburg, IL talked about the sangh concept of 'Universal Oneness' and tied raakhee to the Consul.   Afterwards all of us tied raakhees to the entire staff at the consulate and distributed sweets.  -goTop

 

16.     MRM FELICITATES GAU BHAKTAS: The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) felicitated 74 Muslims who own or rear cows at its first Muslim Gau Palak Sammelan in  Mewat in Haryana on September 13, 2015; it  asked them to take a pledge against cow slaughter. The event was attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Khattar and chief of All India Imam Council Imam Umar Ahmed Ilyasi. "Mewat is known for slaughter of cows and we wanted to dispel the myth. We succeeded in bringing a large number of Muslims to the event," Mohammad Afzal, national convenor, MRM told. Khattar released a booklet (Gai aur Islam) and a CD named "Gau ki Hifazat par Ulma ka Nazariya (Ulemas' view on cow protection)". MRM margdarshak (guide) and senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar was present at the event. Imam Umar Ahmed Ilyasi welcomed the idea of holding such functions. "It is a good idea. We also want to have good relations with Hindus. Cow is considered sacred by Hindus; so Muslims should come forward and avoid its slaughter," Ilyasi said.  -goTop

 

17.     ANDHRA PRADESH GOVT CREATES HISTORY LINKS GODAVARI, KRISHNA RIVERS: In an historic step in the mission to inter-link rivers, Andhra Pradesh government became one of its first kinds of state link the Godavari River with Krishna. On 17th September,  Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu performed puja and inaugurated a pylon at Ibrahimpatnam near where Godavari's water, flowing from the neighbouring West Godavari district, was linked to Krishna.

 On the occasion, Naidu said that history was being created as the inter-linking of rivers was thought up by eminent engineer and former Union minister KL Rao several decades ago.

 The formal linking of the Godavari and Krishna rivers is termed a boon for the farmers in the Krishna delta (mainly those in the Krishna and Guntur districts), who have been facing acute shortage of water after neighbouring Karnataka allegedly raises the height of the Almatti project. -goTop

 

18.     TAMIL WRITER JOE D CRUZ HEADS UTTAR TAMILNADU SAMSKRITA BHARATI: A galaxy of public figures, spoke from the Samskrita Bharati platform calling for bringing back Samskritam into the lives of Tamils.  It was the 3 day 'Samskritam for Samanya' Maha Sammelanam held in Chennai on September 11 - 13.  Meghalaya Governor Shri V Shanmuganathan said, Tamils should learn Samskritam because Samskritam is spread all over the country; also, he said, Samskritam enriches Tamil and protects it. Former ISRO Chairman Radhakrishnan said he was sad that, while the world celebrates Bharat's Gnana parampara, we make the mistake of neglecting our own Gnana parampara by keeping out Samskritam    Tamil novelist and Sahitya Academy awardee,  Joe D'Cruz (a representative of the fishermen community), emphatically called for revival of Samskritam studies.  Incidentally, Joe D'Cruz  is the President of Samskrita Bharati of Uttar Tamilnadu. Others speaking at the occasion were Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, ISRO scientist Radhakrishnan and others. -goTop

 

19.     Irish children wow bharatiya pradhan mantri with Sanskrit Shlokas: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi who arrived on a historic visit to Ireland on September 23,  was welcomed by the students of John Scottus School in Dublin chanting Sanskrit shlokas. "Amazed to hear Sanskrit shlokas being chanted by Irish kids,. I congratulate their teachers," PM Modi said. "If this had happened in Bharat, some people would have questioned the secularism," said PM Modi.  -goTop

 

20.     4TH AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL HINDU CONFERENCE was organized by VHP Australia with the theme 'Organizing Community Strengthening Austrlia' at Bayview Eden Hotel, Melbourne Victoria on 26th September. Ms Judith Graley, Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Premier and Member of Parliament inaugurated the conference followed by Buddhist and Vedic prayers. Discussions on several topics viz collaboration with govt agencies, collaboration Hindu organizations and Hindus from various parts of the world were held in various sessions of the conference in which about 200 delegates from 50 organizations participated. VHP joint General Secretary Swami Vigyanananda, VHP Australia President Subramanian Ramamoorthy, VHP Victoria President Geeta Devi , Dr Guna Magesan were among several dignitaries who were present and spoke during the conference. -goTop

 

21.   SHRI VISHWA NIETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhlae samyojak Vishwa Vibhag is on a tour to Suriname, Trinidad and Guyana. Shri Ravikumar sahsamyojak will tour Malaysia and Japan.  

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: No one succeeds without effort... Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance. - Ramana Maharshi -goTop

 

JAI SHREE RAM

 -

TAPPING CIVILISATIONAL TIES TO AVERT HISTORIC CRISIS

Anirban Ganguly

 

Over 21 countries represented by leading scholars, teachers of spirituality and religion, venerable bhikkus, political leaders and former heads of state converged for the Global Hindu Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness in New Delhi early this month. Pointing to a deep civilisational challenge or crisis, the initiator of the conference, the Vivekananda International Foundation, has rightly argued that the world today is at war - a war that was not overt but one that's 'no less harmful'. The conference was convened to deliberate and initiate a dialogic process for a way out of that crisis and conflict by deriving light from the Indic or Dharmic civilisational indices.

The √Čnonc√© de Vision, in a pithy description of the new dimensions of conflict and imbalance, referred to the "myopia of profits and an ego that craves superiority over our fellow brethren" leading to a "life of wanton devastation". Such a state of being, it argued, was making humanity go through "what is perhaps the most violent time in history", thus putting at stake not "just our lives and values but the environment that sustains us, and, by extension, therefore, the very future of our planet".

Leading thinkers and practitioners urged India to utilise her vast civilisational knowledge and experiential repositories to salvage the situation and emerge with frameworks of engagement based on our millennial wisdom that emphasise the need for balanced consumption, balanced living and an attitude that essentially aimed at avoidance of conflict and emphasis on dialogue and growth of Ananda.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the convergence, articulated India's civilisational aspirations and potential calling for strengthening bonds of thought, culture and spirituality, which bind the participating nations. He talked of how the world was afflicted with various conflicts. There are conflicts between humans, religions, communities and nation-states and between states and non-state actors that saw the latter controlling large territories and "unleashing barbaric violence on innocent people". Another type of conflict is between "nature and man", "nature and development" and "nature and science". He dwelt on how Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and Confucianism held keys to restoring the lost balance between nature and man. PM Modi talked of the need focus on "climate justice", instantly infusing into the ongoing climate debate a new dimension that not only diversifies the discussion but also elevates it.

Infusing further depth into the discussion, Modi spoke of the need to engage in dialogue inspired not by ideology but the strength of philosophy. "The essence of philosophy," he argued, "is that it is not a closed thought, while ideology is a closed one. So, philosophy not only allows dialogue but it is a perpetual search of truth through dialogue." The underlying thought-base of the entire exercise was laid and strengthened in Bodh Gaya where Modi referred to the Hindu-Buddhist India or Buddhist-Hindu India and mentioned Sakyamuni as the Crowning Jewel of India, how without him an Asian Century can never come to fruition. He called for intensifying these age-old bonds of civilisation and of thought between India and her past civilisational partners. The conference saw a video address by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who spoke of the common civilisational bonds between India and Japan tied with the golden thread of Buddha's message. The exercise was a veritable civilisational convergence in the capital of India, a sea of thought, of world-views, of ways of being and living that had gathered and coalesced to engage in a genuine dialogue.

The civilisational journeys, which Bodhidharma and Acharya Santarakshita began from Bharat in the past, received a new momentum and direction from this congregation… the beginning of a civilisational journey in our times.

( Dr Anirban Ganguly is Director, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi, New Indian Express September 19,2015 ) -goTop

 --

Swami Dayananda:

The Patriot Saint

S. Gurumurthy

 

Swami Dayananda Saraswati - a master exponent of the inclusive Hindu philosophy who declared there was not 'ONE GOD,' but 'ONLY GOD,' a teacher of Vedanta who created hundreds of teachers to continue the ancient Indian tradition, a great organiser who founded the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha as the representative body of unorganised Hindu religious traditions, a philosopher who harmonised and validated, from the Hindu perspective of theo-diversity, all forms of worship from paganism to monism, an intellectual who re-articulated and established that religious conversion, regarded as the right of evangelist religions, is itself violence, and finally a patriot saint who, like Maharishi Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda did, saw, in the ancient nation of India, the very manifestation of all that he had learnt and taught - is no more. Indeed he was the latest incarnation in the tradition of nationalist saints of India.

Endowed with unparalleled intellectual skills and unlimited knowledge base, Dayananda first made it a mission of his life to teach and did take Vedanta to a vast elite audience in India and outside, which would otherwise have been half-westernised in world view and as much christianised culturally. He aligned Vedanta to India as a national entity and cultural phenomenon and to Indians as the chosen people entrusted with the sacred duty to live, sustain and protect it not only for them but also for the good of the world. In his exposition, Vedanta was not just a philosophy but it found expression in the culture and life of India founded on the idea of dharma - in its arts and music, literature and sculpture, society and family, and in the Indian traditional respect for elders, teachers and women and ultimately in the reverence for this nation itself as sacred and in the love of the entire creation, both animate and inanimate. Starting off as student and disciple of the redoubtable Swami Chinmayananda, the originator of the contemporary school of exposition of Vedanta, Dayananda Saraswati rapidly grew up as an accomplished scholar and unparalleled teacher.

After having worked for decades and succeeded in his mission to teach and create teachers of Vedanta, he turned his attention to some critical issues of contemporary importance which would have long-term and adverse implications for the very purpose and soul of this ancient nation. With this new turn, in the late 1990s a paradigm shift took place in his entire course of thought and action and this led to his founding of the Dharma Rakshana Samiti in Chennai in 1999. It was in that unique event, a confluence of some highly regarded saints, spiritualists, and intellectuals, that Swami Dayananda made one of his most memorable speeches where he declared that the very concept of religious conversion itself was violence - a spiritual, mental and cultural violence. This redefined the very notion of conversion which till then had some acceptability among non-Gandhian secularists as a right of religions—which in effect meant only the proselytising religions - to convert others to their faith. Gandhiji's contempt for religious conversion is too well-known for the secularists to appropriate Mahatma Gandhi to support conversion as integral secularism. This is amongst the greatest contributions of Swami Dayananda to global inter-religious discourse. The redefinition of religious conversion as violence robbed the concept of conversion of benignity and exposed its malignant character.

In 1999 when the then Pope visited India, Swami Dayananda constituted and led a group of multi-religious scholars and intellectuals and welcomed but asked him to declare that he was happy to visit a nation which has respected all faiths and that he also respected all faiths. But the Pope preferred not to accept Swami Dayananda's suggestion. However, with his unmatched intellectual prowess Swami Dayananda took the battle against conversion in world fora. He proposed self-discipline among faiths in the Millennium summit of the United Nations in the year 2000, calling upon religions to respect each other, not to abuse one another and not to convert the faithfuls of other religions by force or by inducement to one's fold.

There was consensus on his view but finally the proselytising faiths did not agree and the Millennium harmony proposal therefore did not succeed. But it took just eight more years for Swami Dayananda to convince the world religious leaders of the need for trans-religious self-regulation.

In the human rights declaration of world religious leaders in Amsterdam on December 10, 2008 on the 60th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Declaration, all world religious leaders, including the proselytising faiths, accepted the Dayananda approach - namely that religions should mutually respect and accept each other, that they should not abuse or trivialise one another's faiths or symbols, that they should recognise the right of a person to be in the religion of his birth, and that there should be no conversion by force or by inducement - and signed the historic declaration. It is the substance of the Amsterdam declaration which Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopted as the approach of his government to different faiths when he addressed the Christian religious meet in Delhi to celebrate the canonisation of saints from Kerala.

In this period from 1999 to 2008, Swami Dayananda undertook some far-reaching initiatives, which included the constitution of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha - one of his greatest achievements and equally a great contribution to the Indian civilisation. The Acharya Sabha has given the diverse and unorganised Hindu religions, which had long suffered disadvantage relative to the organised and proselytising faiths, a platform to come together as Dharma religions and participate in the global discourse. Till then, any secularist masquerading as a religious person would sign on the dotted line on behalf of Hinduism in the global fora.

His next big move was to bring together elders of all indigenous faiths - whether from South America or North America, Africa or Europe - at Delhi. Swami Dayananda declared that all faiths are sacred and valid and no faith can and should be allowed to claim to be superior to other faiths. He articulated religious diversity, which is the strongest point of Hinduism, in the most acceptable, rational and logical manner and challenged and debunked the claim that some faiths are only true faiths and others false faiths, which, he argued, is the cause for the widespread hate and violence today.

The great successes of this great sannyasi, moulded in the ancient traditions of India, is not, however, as well-known as he himself was. That also demonstrated the high point of his personality - humility. Maharishi Aurobindo said that the greatest achievements have been least noisy. This aptly applied to Swami Dayananda's work and life. In his demise, the Hindu philosophy has lost its greatest exponent of recent times, Hindu religion one of its staunchest defenders, and the nation a great patriot saint.

(S. Gurumurthy is a commentator on political, economic and cultural affairs in Chennai, - The New Indian Express, 25 September 2015) -goTop


Shri Vishwa Niketan

vishwav@bol.net.in ; www.shrivishwaniketan.blogspot.com