The date of September 11, for reasons I do not understand, is a difficult date for the United States of America. My education overlooked the failed Staten Island Peace Conference of September 11, 1776. Many Americans vividly recall the attacks of September 11, 2001.
I hope for religions to love one another
I am therefore pleased to discover a positive occurrence in America on this date. In Chicago in September 11, 1893, the World’s Parliament of Religions convened for the first time. One the speakers was a Hindu monk named Swami Vivekenanda. I am pleased to share Swami Vivekenanda’s brief address to the Parliament.
Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.
I hope for religions to love one another. I consider the New Message from God to offer a hearty Amen to the words of Swami Vivekenanda and the spirit of the Parliament. These words come from the revelation, “Religious Fundamentalism,” Chapter 5 in the soon-to-be-published book “The Pure Religion.”
“Like the rivers leading to the sea, all religious traditions are to bring you back into wholeness and union with God. They each add a unique dimension to the understanding of being in the world and of living with a dual reality—the reality of your spiritual nature, which is embodied in what We call Knowledge, and your worldly identity that has been established through culture and through interaction with life here in the world.”
I hope for religions to love one another. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the first Parliament. It is now known as the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The most recent Parliament was held in Salt Lake City in 2015. I consider this to be somewhat providential. The headquarters of the New Message from God are in Boulder, Colorado, a relatively short distance from Salt Lake City. To me, it was as if the world came to the doorstep of the New Message from God. We had a booth at the Parliament.
I hope for religions to love one another. I believe the day will come when a representative of the New Message from God will address the Parliament, just as Swami Vivekenanda did in 1893.
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