Of Hinduism and Interfaith Dialogue by Ravi Ladva

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For those that do not know of Swami Vivekananda he was a Hindu monk. He was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world and was credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion in the late 19th century.

 He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

 2013 is the 150 Birth Centenary of Swami Vivekananda, I take inspiration as it coincides as my term as chair of the Birmingham Council of Faiths. Opening new dialogues and strengthening old ones is something i wish to prioritize. Every religion has something to offer the confinement of Gods to books is one debate but communities shouldn’t feel closed off or isolated. 

 That is the beauty of Interfaith to find bridges and paths to open up peoples hearts and minds. To share in conversation over a cup of tea, delicious meal or even a music gig. That is why i encourage young people of faith and non faith to at the very least share a cup of tea and have a good chat. 

 In the words of Swami Vivekananda “As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.”

Swami Vivekananda

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