Interfaith Harmony

Kumbh Mela, January-February 2013, Allahabad

Kumbh Mela, an event which draws millions from all over India and the world to the banks of the sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, not only brought together all different sects and traditions of Hinduism, but also saw great leaders and pilgrims from all faiths, including Islam and Buddhism. To this end, IHRF helped sponsor numerous events, conferences, rallies and Sangam Aartis which brought together all faiths to spread the message of unity and peace.

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Environmental Protection for World Peace Mega-Event, 2nd-3rd November, 2013 at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh

IHRF sponsored a huge interfaith gathering hosted at Parmarth Niketan in honor of Pujya Swamiji’s 60th Janam Utsav, with the top leaders of the world’s religions coming
together in the name of Environmental Protection for World Peace. There were leaders of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Baha’i from India and from across the world, joining together to discuss the crucial role that religious/ spiritual leaders need to play in protecting and preserving our environment.

Revered religious/spiritual leaders, distinguished dignitaries and industrialists, politicians from both major parties and Bollywood celebrities came together, on this momentous occasion, to join hands on the banks of Mother Ganga, and pledge themselves to the cause of Environmental Protection and Preservation.

Click here to view the full PDF covering this mega-event.

Parliament of World Religions, 4-9th December, 2009 in Melbourne

Pujya Swamiji was a speaker in the Parliament of World Religions, a huge inter-religious gathering of the top leaders of all the world’s religions.The first Parliament took place in Chicago in 1893 and it was there that Swami Vivekananda gave his famous speech, beginning with “My sisters and brothers of America.” One hundred years later, they decided to have a centenary Parliament, also in Chicago to which a few of the top leaders were invited. Pujya Swamiji was one of the select invitees. However, the event was such a great success and its need in today’s world was recognized so significantly, that the organizers decided to have these Parliaments every 5 years in different cities throughout the world. In 1999 it was in Cape Town, in 2004 in Spain and now in 2009 in Melbourne.

Over the last 15 years the Parliament has grown enormously and this year there were nearly 1500 religious leaders gathered together, in the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. It was truly a divine Festival of Spirituality! Pujya Swamiji delivered a speech on living in peace and He participated in several inter-religious panels. He was also a major speaker at the Conclave of Hindu Leaders.

While there Pujya Swamiji had beautiful interactions with so many different leaders of so many religious traditions. It was so inspiring to see the love that flowed endlessly and instantly between all of the leaders.

At the Parliament there was a lot of time for interactions and discussions with various leaders. Pujya Swamiji spent time discussing so many aspects of world peace programs, programs for different humanitarian and charitable causes, and the upcoming launch of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism with many differnet world leaders, including:

  • H.H. the Dalai Lama
  • Pujya Dada Vaswani
  • All of the Saints from Hinduism Today
  • Rabbi David Rosen
  • Rabbi Moshe
  • Respected Samdhong Rimpocheji
  • Dadi Janaki
  • Mother Maya
  • Andrew Cohen
  • Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh
  • and many more

Also, He graced the occasion of YogAid event with His presence. YogAid is a charitable organization dedicated to using the growing global interest in yoga to help various charitable programs in third world countries. Each year they have an event at Parmarth Niketan during our International Yoga Festival, and they also have numerous other international events throughout the year. He gave a beautiful talk on the true meaning of yoga and how to bring its principles into our daily lives.

At the Parliament one of the great highlights was meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama. When His Holiness arrived at the venue from the airport, coincidentally Pujya Swamiji was exiting at the same time. As soon as they saw each other, they embraced in such a warm and loved filled way. After embracing, His Holiness told Pujya Swamiji that “I have recently learned that the way the Maoris greet each other is by rubbing noses.” He then ever so lovingly pulled Pujya Swamiji close to his face and rubbed noses!! His Holiness spent several days in Melbourne, during which he gave a beautiful, inspiring and uplifting speech at the concluding ceremony of the Parliament and also hosted a special breakfast to which Pujya Swamiji was specially invited. His Holiness spoke about the dire importance of having compassion for one’s brothers and sisters on the planet and the importance of people thinking about the entire planet, not just about themselves.

During His Holiness’ stay in Melbourne, he and Pujya Swamiji also had a private meeting in His Holiness’ room where they discussed numerous projects for the benefit of humanity. At this time, Pujya Swamiji allso told him about the upcoming launch of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism during the Kumbha Mela, and His Holiness graciously agreed to be present for the occasion.

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