New Delhi, Sep 11: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday said Swami Vivekananda promoted the idea of oneness of all religions and equality of all human beings and his message should be "Magna Carta" in the present "atmosphere of intolerance and hate".
Paying homage to Swami Vivekananda in the 125th year of his historic address at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Gandhi said his address was a proud moment in India's history and it heralded the arrival of one of India's greatest spiritual leaders on the world stage. "It is a deep honour for all Indians to remember the enlightened words and offer homage to this great noble son of India, who by his words and his work inspired millions of people in our country as well as in the entire world," she said. Gandhi said Swami Vivekananda came to Chicago in 1893 to attend the World Parliament of Religions as a representative of Hinduism and India and eloquently quoted from the Bhagvad Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me. Sectarianism, bigotry, and it's horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair." "This universal message is time-invariant; it is as relevant today as it was over 124 years ago," she said. Gandhi said Swami Vivekananda spoke about tolerance and universal acceptance and "today, more than ever, we are engulfed with the same challenges of prejudices which Swamiji spoke about". She said Swami Vivekananda spoke about both tolerance and universal acceptance. "We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations," Gandhi said quoting Swami Vivekananda. "His clarion call 'Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached' was at once a call to spiritual as well as political liberation. While promoting the idea of the oneness of all religions, Swamiji promoted with equal zeal the idea of the equality of all human beings," she said. "In today's atmosphere of intolerance and hate, Swami-ji's message should be the Magna Carta for the way forward," she said. "I fervently hope that Swami Vivekananda's inspiring thoughts will continue to guide us, especially our youth for all times to come," she added.