This is the full speech of His Holiness Swami Sathyanand at the just ended 2nd world Hindu congress in Chicago, USA.
SPEECH BY HIS HOLINESS SWAMI SATHYANAND, HEAD OF THE HINDU MONASTRY OF AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE GLORIOUS LITERALLY EDDIFFICE OF HIS HOLINESS SWAMI VIVEKENANDA
We stand at a transcendental period in history.
The Hindu Monastery of Africa welcomes with unique and divine gratitude the opportunity to pay respect to His Holiness Swami Vivekananada
His rendition of spiritual philosophy and practice stands at a unique and undefeatable contribution to human upliftment.
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I pay tribute of congratulations to the World Hindu Congress.
Its monumental achievement dwarfs every word I have or wish to say. But permit me to state my recognition of appreciation to address this historic occasion.
Also I plead your indulgence to permit me to pay honour to the memory of His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati the first African Hindu Monk for his contribution in promoting and encouraging the spiritual development and upliftment of thousands of devotees in Ghana and Africa.
In a continent characterized by religious and sectarian bigotry, we cannot underestimate the sacrificial conduct and exemplary leadership of His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati, the first African monk and member of the eternal and renounced order of Sanyasis.
It is in this contest that we relate the historic address of His Holiness Swami Vivekananada in Chicago 1893, a land mark tribute to scientific religion. It is also in recognition of the spiritual and selfless courage, the essence of all dedication to the ultimate truth.
To this point as emphasis of my considered opinion, I wish to state that Hinduism is not a religion or a sect. I have come to this seriously considered opinion on the teachings of my spiritual benefactor, His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati, His Holiness Swami Krishnanand Saraswati and the glorious teachings of His Holiness Swami Vivekananada
Religion is an inescapable obligation of all living things. Hinduism reflects this fundamental reality. In essence Hinduism is a universal expression of the nature of man; the need for worship and the innate desire for the search of the absolute which is within and without but ever present in all things.
I will need to mention in relation to all things the universality of religion expressed in the principle of Sanatana Dharma.
This point may need to be explained. Sanatana Dharma represents the innate desire of man to fulfill his relationship with the supreme controller of the universal phenomenon.
We need to unveil the cobwebs of illusions and proceed to unite with the ultimate. It is to this point that the address of His Holiness Swami Vivekananada stands as a literary monument to human spiritual upliftment.
In his deeds, he represents a great contribution and distinguished monument of courage, endurance and sacrifice.
His address 125 years ago, speaks a lot of spiritual courage and dedication; but his exemplary life speaks louder and clearer.
It has provided an incentive and encouragement to dedicate our lives to the eternal struggle for self-realization.
But the life of Swami Vivekananada was not for the sake of His personal self-realization.
His address in Chicago 125 years ago reveals a commitment of sacrifice for spiritual progress of all humanity.
His life is a story of self-sacrifice.
In the age of materialistic aims and culture, to speak of religious devotion about the Supreme to the people is challenging. Let us pray at the feet of Lord that we can meet the standard of His Holiness Swami Vivekanda in Ghana and other African Countries.
I also pay tribute and reverence to the statement of Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba to the effect that life is not only about the struggle for the standard of living but more importantly about the standard of life.
The United States of America is consolidated on material progress. It is my prayer that the 1893 address of His Holiness Swami Vivekananada will bring the rays of sunshine to them.
It is to this effect that the speech of His Holiness Swami Vivekananada holds historical and spiritual memory and tribute to religion.
To the glory of His Holiness, I remark and pay tribute to his outstanding courage to deliver such a literary edifice on the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord in a continent unfamiliar to the essence of Sanatana Dharma.
"The Soul of Bharata-Varsha, the echo of the Rishis, the voice of Ramakrishna, the mouthpiece of the resurgent Time spirit" is a unique statement of inspiration.
It is in this regard that I congratulate the organisers of the World Hindu Congress for their unique dedication and courage in the light of the momentous challenges.
I still insist that we stand in a transcendental period in history; we do not need to fail.
Hinduism has a necessary obligation for the progressive transformation of human life and aims.
It is never a question of religion or sectarian ideology. Sanatana Dharma is a unique human desire.
Permit me to state however, that all aims cannot be achieved without the aid of a Guru. Man has to be guided from this illusive forest by the grace and love of advanced souls.
It is to this end and understanding that I offer my salutation to the Almighty for the life of Gurudev Swami Vivekananada
Permit me to state however in relation to Reaching to Unreached which is the central theme of my address at this occasion.
Sri Mahatma Gandhi gracefully proclaimed that “the hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray”.
His Holiness Swami Krishnanand Saraswati the founder of the Hindu Monastery of Africa, also said “service to man is service to God”.
His Grace Mahatma Gandhi also stated that “there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”.
We need to move beyond the mere necessity of prayer to definite commitment to solidarity for the underprivileged.
This has inspired my call for support for the following projects to address the educational, health, spiritual and cultural needs of Ghanaian devotees as well as Africans, and consolidate the tradition and practice of eternal devotion to the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord, through a practical expression of support and concern for the needs and challenges of our people.
To this end I propose support for the following project which I have named SPREADING THE SANATANA DHARMA:
- For over forty-three years the Hindu Monastery of Africa despite its remarkable success has only managed to establish presence in only three regions out of ten regions in Ghana and one branch in Lome- Togo. To reach to the other seven regions, the monastery is committed to a policy to train young graduates as Brahmins for a period of 6 months; they will then be posted to the respective regions starting with the Western, Volta and the Eastern Regions of Ghana. It is our hope that we will be able to train two Brahmins for each of the Regions.
- These selected devotees’ while under training will receive allowances from the Monastery.
- Upon their posting to the various Temples, the trainees would be paid the approved standards and incentives of Ghanaian public service with respect to Graduates.
- These young Brahmins will have the obligation to establish effective branches within two years. Following that the Monastery will be committed to erect a Temple or a convenient place of worship and other needed edifices necessary for the worship of Brahman the Absolute.
Africans will have faith in their fellow Africans practicing Sanatana Dharma and therefore will embrace it more easily.
The following also represents our need for the social and economic upliftment of our people:
The monastery has plans to establish a school and a clinic. This has been a graceful and selfless desire of His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati but could not materialize till His attainment of Samadhi. The school aims to train young Hindu children with Hindu doctrine that will help to develop and provide them with a solid foundation; a path for self-mastery and ultimate union with the Absolute.
The Hindu Monastery of Africa by the Grace of God has acquired ten acres of land for the purpose of the School and Clinic projects.
The school and clinic project will offer at no cost to intended beneficiaries both boarding and tuition facilities. It is aimed that after the completion of the primary and secondary education these students will have the required qualification to enroll into public universities. It is our desire that most of these pupils and students will be in employment and dedicated service to the monastery in spreading the teachings of Sanatana Dharma in Ghana, West-Africa and possibly the entire Africa.
Permit me to state that this project will require financial funding. The Monastery, I wish to announce has serious financial constraints.
I appeal to the entire World Hindu Congress and all the participants here to come to our aid generously in terms of financial and logistical support for the achievement of this noble objective.
On behalf of the Hindu Monastery of Africa and the grace of His Holiness Swami Krishnanand Saraswati, Founder of the Hindu Monastery of Africa and His Holiness Swami Ghananand Saraswati the first African monk and all the disciples and devotees, I wish you all my blessings and fruitful deliberations.
May the Lotus Feet of the Lord be a reminder to us that we are ever secured.
Hari Om Tat Sat!