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September 11 – Past, Present, Future

calendar_September_11

September 11, 2001. It’s a date almost all who are exposed to some form of media or the other will remember for the distressing and devastating event that took place in the most powerful nation on earth. What many may not know and those who know, may not remember, is that a little over a hundred years ago, this same nation was the seat of another momentous event on the very same date – an event which ironically strove to achieve the exact opposite of what happened a century later.

September 11, 1893. The day the august assembly gathered at the Parliament of Religions to drive away the differences that stand between one man and another. This was the first time that representatives of all major religions gathered under one roof, and for most part, spoke the language of oneness. There were stray occasions similar to this in earlier years but none that bathed in such magnitude of scale and intent. By the end of the sessions, one thing had been established in no equivocal terms, best expressed through the forceful and precise words of Swami Vivekananda:

“The Parliament of Religions has shown 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’.”

Ever since the blasts at the World Trade Centre, people all around the world have paid their respects to the victims and almost relived the horrific episode. While that too is important, perhaps it would also be appropriate and even more positive to remember and relive the other September 11, not just in thought but deed, for it is high time that the banners spoken of by Swami Vivekananda start to unfurl and fly high.

  • http://Website Amal Sircar

    Many thanks for reminding us of our collective amnesia. How many people really remember and follow the teachings Sri Ramakrishna Pramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, and Sri Ramana Maharshi? Today’s icons are film stars, politicians, and pseudo-gurus. I feel that the young generations must be taught in schools, colleges, & universities about these personalities, who came to this world to make a better tomorrow.