Chicago: Tolerance, love, diversity, and inclusion are the facets of Hinduism which embraces people regardless of their faith, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has said, urging Hindus to instill these values in all generations.
Addressing a gathering of Hindus from across the globe on Friday, Krishnamoorthi said Hinduism embodies values such as tolerance and inclusion.
“We must teach our children and all generations the values of tolerance, love, diversity, and inclusion which Hinduism embodies. We must recommit ourselves to this highest form of Hinduism and reject any other form.
“We must accept every person whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whatever be their religion or faith,” Krishnamoorthi said at the second World Hindu Congress here.
A devout Hindu, the first-time Congressman from Illinois said he faced pressure from some of his constituents not to attend the mega event.
“I must tell you that some of my friends and constituents were very concerned about my presence here today. I take their concerns as serious and sincere,” he said, acknowledging the intense pressure he faced.
“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I’ve ever known and been taught namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith including all my constituents. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teachings of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.
Referring to the September 11, 1893, speech of Swami Vivekananda to the World Parliament of Religions, Krishnamoorthi said that Vivekananda’s legacy stretched far beyond those days in Chicago through his influence on Mahatma Gandhi and hundreds of millions who broke the yoke of colonialism.
“That legacy found its way back to the US through Martin Luther King Jr. who followed the example of Gandhi and helped tear down walls of discrimination here in America. The movement Swamiji powerfully contributed to enable millions of Americans of all colours, creeds, and faiths to live as equal citizens as never before,” he said.
“It is because of his legacy of equality and pluralism that I stand before you as a Hindu, as an American, and as a United States Congressman. In doing so, we will honour the true legacy of Swami Vivekananda. We will live out the highest ideals of Hinduism, and ensure that all people everywhere experience the greatest command of our faith, which is Shanti, Shanti, Shanti – Peace, Peace, Peace,” he said.
Krishnamoorthi said that despite Swami Vivekananda’s warnings 125 years ago, there is still too much division, and through it, too much despair even in the world today.
“Even here in America … at times, we have also faltered and unfortunately witnessed discrimination against Hindus, and Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Latinos, African-Americans, and others.
“As a Hindu-American, and a spiritual descendant of Swami Vivekananda, it has been my duty to combat that discrimination and bigotry in all of its ugly forms. I do that because I am a Hindu,” Krishnamoorthi said.