“HINDUISM is a ‘wisdom religion’ while Islam and Christianity that were born in the Middle East are ‘religions of revelation,” said Prof. Thillayvel Naidoo, former Professor of Durban-Westville University, South Africa. He was delivering VI Chamanlal Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on March 25.
The topic of lecture was ‘Harmonising Cultural Diversity: A Scientific Perspective’. The Lecture was organised by International Centre for Cultural Studies (ICCS). Former Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court Justice Vinod Gupta presided over the function. Senior activist of the RSS Vishwa Vibhag Dr Shankarrao Tatwawadi and ICCS president Prof. Kapil Kapoor also shared the dais. The audience comprised of people from academic and diplomatic community and also eminent people of Delhi including former governor Shri Kidar Nath Sahni and others.
Prof. Naidoo dealt with the theological aspects of various religions and cultures and the quest for harmony among them. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, Dr Radhakrishna and Robert Zahner he elaborated that while Christianity and Islam had their foundations in the visible events, historical happenings; Hinduism is an enquiry of truth founded on universal principles. Stating the need to understand the reasons for conflict he opined that few cultures of the world take the problem of harmonisation seriously and asserted that any possibility of cultural harmony flowing with absolute authenticity will be only through the light of spirituality as professed by Swami Vivekananda.
Referring to Gandhiji’s satyagraha in South Africa and Swami Vivekananda’s speech at Chicago he said these two symbolise all that is great and remarkable in Hinduism’s contribution for cultural harmony. On a concluding note he said that Bhagwan Sri Krishna came as a Jagatguru and the Bhagwad Gita stands as a testimony to the fact that eternal life is an inherent right for all of humanity. It is the duty of Hinduism to focus on cultural harmony as its fundamental goal, he said.
“Representatives of native American religions, Shintoism, African Traditional Religion will probably agree that harmony with them has never been a problem. They function within comprehensible parameters and recognise the need for peace and harmony in the world. But in the case of proselytising religions from the Middle East serious questions arise about their respective origins and the scientific bases of their existence. Add to this the purpose of their missionising, proselytising campaigns and the perpetuation of communal interests raises very serious questions,” he said while referring to conversion activities by Christians and Muslims.
He suggested the ICCS and Vishwa Niketan leaders to visit Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to study the purpose for which it was built. “Returning from Washington they should work for having a similar beautiful building of Hindu design after Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda in India.” He also suggested them to visit Thailand and after studying Ramayana Theatre there, they should work for having a similar theatre in Ayodhya where every evening performances are staged depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
Earlier, talking about the late Chamanlalji Dr Tatwawadi described him as a true swayamsevak, self-eloping person and a mobile reference book. Justice (retd) Shri Vinod Kumar Gupta said the idea of having more botanical gardens mentioned by Prof. Naidoo is unique. Prof. Kapil Kapoor said only Hindus talk about harmony and others hardly talk about it. He said the basic problem with Hindus is that they are weak and they need to acquire more power. “If we are strong all others will follow us,” he said. In the beginning Shri Atul Rawat introduced the ICCS. (FOC)