Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat called on the world's Hindu community to come together, and work as a society despite the differences.
Speaking at the second World Hindu Congress (WHC) which coincides with the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the Parliament of World Religions in 1893 in Chicago, Bhagwat said collaboration and "oneness" is the most urgent need for Hindu society to progress. Yet, while pushing for a more abundant territory, Bhagwat used stories from the Mahabharata to explain right-distancing from leadership, obedience, dissent, and patience for results and why it's important to get in line once there's consensus.
— World Hindu Congress (@WHCongress) September 7, 2018
Bhagwat framed "our values" as "universal values, now being called Hindu values". He said Hindu society is home to more "meritorious people" but "we don't work together".
He further said, "In initial days of our work, when our karkyakartas (workers) used to talk to the Hindus about organising them, they used to say 'sher kabhi jhund mein nahi chalta' (a lion never walks in a group). But even that lion or a royal Bengal tiger who is the king of the jungle, if he is alone, wild dogs can invade and destroy him."
"Coming together of the Hindus is in itself a difficult thing," he said, adding the Hindu society has the largest number of meritorious persons.
"If you don't dream, nothing is possible", he said.
Addressing a 2,500 strong audience in downtown Chicago, Bhagwat, speaking in English, said Hindu society must not sit back smugly because of say, mega events like the World Hindu Congress where he was speaking.
"Only our opponents know about this. Many of our own people don't know about it. Why are we suffering for thousand years? We had everything and we knew everything. We forgot to practise what we knew. We also forgot to work together,” he said.
Why are we suffering from 1000 years? We had everything but forgot to practise our values - Sri Mohan Bhagwat at #WHC2018 pic.twitter.com/Xxr3D7jPcD — World Hindu Congress (@WHCongress) September 7, 2018
Bhagwat peppered his speech with generous doses of Sanskrit couplets to drive home his central point: scale comes with collaboration but above all, "spirituality" must be the driving force and idealism is a force for the good. Very briefly, Bhagwat touched directly on politics just once in his talk: "Politics must be fought like politics, but do it without changing yourself," he said.
Without taking names or bestowing context, Bhagwat drew parallels in the relationship between Krishna and Yudhishtira in the Mahabharata saying how Krishna never "contradicted" Yudhishtira. "Those who do not subscribe to my opinion are not fools. From your perspective, you are right. What about assimilating all perspectives plus...That's powerful," he said.
Bhagwat began and ended his 40-minute speech with copious quotes from the Bhagwat Gita. "Luck follows your efforts," he began. "What are the values, what goals do you have, that should never be forgotten," he added.
Bhagwat stressed on teamwork and collaborative effort throughout his talk. "...But they never come together. Coming together of Hindus in itself is a difficult thing, Bhagwat said in his inaugural address to the conference inspired by the Hindu principle 'sumantrite suvikrante' or 'think collectively, achieve valiantly'.
“We are both ancient and postmodern. What humanity will need 20 years from now, we are thinking today, we all have to come together. People today are in dire need of our wisdom," he said.
Bhagwat compared Hindu society's status quo with a precise moment in the Mahabharata when the Pandavas in exile suddenly found their fortunes turning around. "That is the moment when luck starts performing pradakshinas (circles/ circling) around you," Bhagwat said.
Reiterating his call for team effort, the RSS chief said the Hindu society will progress and prosper only when it work as a society, and that some organisations or parties working alone will not suffice.
Others who spoke on Day One at the WHC were Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, SP Kothari, chairperson, organising committee of the World Hindu Congress, Ashwin Adhin, vice president of Suriname and Raju Reddy, vice-chair of the WHC.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 08, 2018 23:19:50 IST