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Swami Vivekananda

Going to My First Parliament

Going to My First Parliament

by Ruth Broyde Sharone

What would the world look like if we lived together in peace? What would it taste like? What would it smell like and sound like?

An Interreligious Moment is Upon Us

An Interreligious Moment is Upon Us

by William E. Lesher

First, it is important to recognize that the interreligious movement is a global phenomenon. While the movement as we experience it in the U.S. has a distinct Western texture to it, the fact is that interreligious initiatives are coming from around the world.

Visiting India, the Motherland

I first became intoxicated by India as a college student in the 1960s, through the movies of Satyajit Ray, the music of Ravi Shankar and, most of all, the revelations of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. My first exposure to those sacred texts came second-hand, through the work of interpreters like Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley and the fiction of Herman Hesse, Somerset Maugham, and J.D. Salinger. The Beatles put me over the top when they took up Transcendental Meditation and made their landmark pilgrimage to Rishikesh. The total effect of those cross-cultural hinges was to turn this existentialist/atheist/social activist into a dedicated spiritual seeker. I’ve been immersed in yogic practices and Hindu texts ever since.

Required Reading for Interspirituality 101

When Swami Vivekananda spoke to the opening plenary of the first World’s Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893, he quoted lines from an ancient Hindu spiritual hymn:

As the different streams having there sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.

Strengthening Shakti through Ganesha Principles

Drawing Strength from the Goddess

Vivekananda’s Challenge Keeps Resonating

Moving Beyond Tolerance

Report – World Congress of Religions 2012

The World Congress of Religions 2012 was held in Washington, DC, November 30-December 2, 2012. It celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, honoring his legacy of peacemaking, human rights, ending poverty, and women’s empowerment. Speakers paid homage to Swamiji as a visionary spiritual leader who introduced Eastern religion to the West. His image graced every session, and according to Dr. Pradip Ghosh, chairperson of the Congress, “Swami Vivekananda’s ideals of universal acceptance go a long way to foster peace and harmony among people of different faiths.”

Pan-Asian Participation in the 1893 Parliament

Some Jain friends at the 1993 Parliament of World Religions gave me a booklet with the title We Were There As Well. Too easily the starring role of Swami Vivekananda has obscured the significant contribution that other Asian participants made a hundred years earlier at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, participants who deserve to be remembered.

“Interfaith Seminaries” Chart New Territory

Historians generally associate the birth of world’s interfaith movement with the seminal Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. At that gathering, the brilliant and charismatic Swami Vivekananda introduced the “consciousness” teachings of Vedanta to the West. After this remarkable seeding, the next Parliament of Religions would not gather for another hundred years.

Crossing the Ocean & Changing the World

The story line is utterly improbable – an unknown, uninvited 30-year-old monk from a small monastic community in India provides the spark which lights the modern interfaith movement at a world fair in Chicago 118 years ago. All true, though, and it gets stranger.