150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka
Year long 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Viveknanda in Sri Lanka began on 12th January 2013 with an event organized by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress at Vivekananda Hall, Colombo.
High Commissioner of India Mr. Ashok K. Kantha graced was the Chief Guest and Swami Sarvarupananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Sri Lanka was the Guest of Honour. D. M. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament, Mr. V. Kailasapillai, Chairman, All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Mr. Surendaran, PC & Chairman, Vivekananda Society, Colombo and Mr. K. Neelakandan, Secretary, All Ceylon Hindu Congress were among the distinguished gathering present at the event.
The event began with garlanding of the statue of Swami Vivekananada situated at the Vivekananda Hills and followed by singing of prayers.
In his remarks, High Commissioner Kantha thanked the All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Vivekananda Society of Colombo and Ramakrishna Mission for taking the lead in celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka.
He highlighted special links of Swami Vivekananda with Sri Lanka, which he visited thrice. He emphasized that Swami Vivekananda was one of the great makers of modern India, a great teacher and spiritual leader who left a deep impact both within India and outside. He was one of India’s earliest cultural Ambassadors who was able to propagate Indian philosophy, thought and culture to the outside world.
High Commissioner underlined that Swami Vivekananda’s message was universal and was based on rationality and righteousness. He elaborated that it was a message based on Vedanta but interpreted with a new, contemporary meaning and struck a chord because it was a message of tolerance and universality of core religious values.
High Commissioner pointed out that Swami Vivekananda drew upon our ancient texts to communicate with brilliance and eloquence, the message of India which lays emphasis on tolerance, plurality and openness. It was message of rejection of sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism. It was a message of rejection of hollow rituals.
Mr. Kantha informed that for Swami Vivekananda worked for emancipation of women and downtrodden through education and though a sanyasi, he was fully involved with the world around him and was committed to change it. He noted that Ramakrishna Mission in Sri Lanka and Vivekananda Society, Colombo founded on 13 July 1902, just nine days after the demise of Swami Vivekananda in his remembrance and in honor of great service to the society, continue to spread the ideals and vision of Swami Vivekananda and especially through focus on youth and service to all humanity.
Mr. Kantha said that Swami Vivekananda was interpreter of Indian philosophy to the outside world and we remember Swami Vivekananda for his lifelong mission to bring back India’s pride of place in the assembly of nations, as a civilization. He informed that a National Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India, will guide the conduct of commemorations of 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in a befitting manner. High Commission of India would also be associated with the celebrations in Sri Lanka in partnership with Government of Sri Lanka, Ramakrishna Mission, Vivekananda Society etc.
High Commissioner Kantha urged that the best tribute to Swami Vivekananda would be to recall the basic essence of his message of tolerance and universality of religions, his rejection of dogmas, his readiness to question the orthodoxy, his commitment to emancipation of women and downtrodden, his focus on education and re-dedicate ourselves to the completion of his unfinished agenda.
All the speakers highlighted the life and legacy of swami Vivekananda and his contribution in arising consciousness about the past glory of our civilization, universality of religions propagated by him and the usage of spirituality to create righteousness in the society by working towards emancipation of weaker segments of society particularly through education and social service.
High Commissioner Kantha also announced sponsoring visit to India, including visit to Vivekananda Rock, Kanyakumari, of the gold medal winning student (accompanied by a guardian) of Island wide public speaking competition organized by the Vivekananad Society, Colombo.
A number of events would be organized by the High Commission through out the year to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka.
- Asian Tribune -