The World Parliament Of Religions, 1893
|Author:||Lakshmi Niwas Jhunjhunwala|
|Publisher:||ADVAITA ASHRAM KOLKATA|
|Other Details||8.5 inch X 5.5 inch|
If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world it is this It has proved to the world that holiness purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character In the face of this evidence if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others I Pity him from the bottom of my heart and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance Help and not Fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “ Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”
This Parliament of Religions has been held in the new world. I confess I wish it had beer, held in the old world, in my own country and that it had had its origin in my own church. It is the greatest event so far in the history of the world and it has been held on American soil I congratulate the people of America. Their example will be followed in time to come in her countries and by other peoples but there is one honour which will always be America’s—the honour of having led the way. I should like to offer my congratulations to you, the citizens of Chicago. I have seen all the great all the exhibitions of Europe during the last fifteen years, and I can safely say Columbian Exposition is greater than all of them put together, and the Parliament of Religions is, in my opinion, greater than the exposition.... Such a scene was never witnessed before in the world’s history as that presented on the platform of Columbus Hall on the morning of September 11th, when the parliament convened.
At the Parliament of Religions they used to keep Vivekananda until the end of the programme to make people stay until the end of the session. On the warm day, when a prosy speaker talked too long and people began going home by hundreds, the Chairman would get up and announce that Swami Vivekananda would give a short address just before the benediction. Then he would have the peaceable hundereds perfectly in tether. The four thousand fanning people in the Hall of Columbus would sit smiling and expectant, waiting for an hour or two of other men’s speeches, to listen to Vivekananda for fifteen minutes. The Chairman knew the old rule of keeping the best until last.
We are glad to place before the readers The World Parliament of Religions, 1893 by Lakshmi Niwas Jhunjhunwala. The book is the English version of the author’s Vishwa Dharma Sammelan, 1893 published in Hindi in 2006 by Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi. As is explicit in the title of the book, it deals with the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. Immediately after the Parliament, an exhaustive report of it was brought out in two volumes by Rev. John Henry Barrows in his The World’s Parliament of Religions, which was published by the Parliament Publishing Company. The major portion of the present book contains excerpts from this work and relies on it for the narration of the day-to-day events of the seventeen-day long historic session.
But the present work is not merely a description of the day- to-day proceedings of the Parliament inasmuch as the author has presented the story of Swami Vivekananda’s participation in it and the stupendous success destiny bestowed on him. There is no gainsaying that at the end of the day Vivekananda was the hero of the Parliament. At the same time, it also needs to be noted that it was not only Vivekananda but also many other speakers who received a rousing welcome and applause from the generous American audience. Nevertheless, till now it is the name “Vivekananda” that is largely associated with that grand event.
The unique feature of the present book lies in the fact that in a brief manner it allows the readers to have an overview of the Parliament. Moreover, also presented here are some of the speeches of the delegates which reflect the myriad rays of human thought emanating from the different religions of the world. From the most liberal to the narrow, one can see in these speeches the spectrum of ideas of the contemporary religious world. The readers need to note that some of the views of the author are not necessarily those held by us.
The importance of this Parliament need not be dilated upon. It is well known that, for the first time in the history of mankind, it facilitated the coming together of all the major religions of the world under a single roof in cordiality and goodwill with the intention to clear the mist that lay spread over the religious firmament of the world. Against the backdrop of present tensions prevailing between the different religious communities, a retrospective view of this Parliament will be an effort worth undertaking. And therefore we hope the readers will find this book illuminating as well as relevant.
|The Background to the Parliament of Religions—1893||7|
|Vivekananda on His Way to the Parliament of Religions||31|
|Swami Vivekananda in America Before the Parliament||40|
|Proceedings of the Parliament||57|
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