Swami Dayananda Saraswati, president of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, released a publication of Viivekananda Kendra titled ?Expressions of Christianity: With a Focus on India?? at a function held at Nehru Museum and Library Auditorium in New Delhi on March 16. Speaking at the function he said in India culture is not different from religion. We inherit it by way of value cultivated by our elders. He said it is high time that the conflicting faiths understand each other and the book released is one step towards that. He cited examples of his dialogue with Jews in India and in Jerusalem. How the misconceptions were sorted out and how the joint declaration took the shape. He called upon for widening this interfaith communication.
Earlier, in a symposium organised by Vivekananda Kendra International on the theme ?Culture of Acceptance? Justice (retd.) Rama Jois, spoke on cultural nationalism. He emphasised the difference between the concept of dharma as a code of life from that of religion. He coined a phrase that ?dharma unites and religion divides?. He explained that dharma is the eternal principle which is universal in application. In the broad umbrella of all the paths to God, religion can co-exist. He narrated his experience in the judiciary and quoted extensively from the Constitutional debates. He proclaimed that we must understand that we are son of one soil and have one culture that binds our nation.
The symposium was convened by Dr J.S. Rajput, who gave the opening remarks expressing the dire need of deliberations on the topic as a relevant solution to the contemporary problem of intolerance. The idea is extremely relevant in these times of increasing cultural intolerance, regional narrowness and religious fanaticism, he said.
Shri Michel Danino, an eminent Indologist, told the audience that the Germans teach their generations the reality about the holocaust as a measure to avoid the same in future whereas we in India avoid the real history to be told. He claimed that we are doing injustice to the victims by forgetting their agony.
Kumari Nivedita Bhide, all India vice-president of Vivekananda Kendra, speaking on ?the Dilemma in Inclusive Culture? cited examples from the American history in which the original inhabitants of the inclusive culture faced the dilemma and lost their lives and land. The same is the lesson of our history, she said. We could never get into the mindset of the invaders and reply in the terms they understood. Result was self-negation and interpretation of our culture from foreign viewpoint. She said this dilemma must be resolved soon. The ways suggested were revival of the teaching traditions and being ready to reject those who reject the wholeness. For this we need to communicate in the suitable language, she added.
The programme was attended by a galaxy of intellectuals and academicians. Shri Arvindan Nilakanthan introduced the book and Shri A. Balakrishnan, vice chairman of Vivekandnda Kendra International, proposed a vote of thanks.