Some people are trying to make the word Hindu "untouchable" and "intolerable", Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said Sunday as he stressed on the need of preserving the true values of Hinduism to alter "ill-informed" opinions and attitudes.
In his keynote address to the concluding session of the second World Hindu Congress in Chicago, Naidu said India believed in universal tolerance and accepted all religions as true. Share and care is the core of the Hindu philosophy, he said, outlining the important aspects of Hinduism.
Naidu rued that a lot of disinformation (about Hinduism) is going around. "Some people are trying to make the very word Hindu untouchable, intolerable. That's why, one has to articulate and see the values that espouse and present the bucket of ideas in correct perspective so that the world has the most authentic perspective," he said.
The authentic perspective will prevent the distortions and any erroneous perception gaining ground, he said. Acknowledging that certain weaknesses has crept into the society, he said that this has to be dealt by reformers from inside.
"We should also know others' experience and try to improve upon others' philosophy," he said, adding the Indian culture and religion has given the liberty to imbibe the best practices from other communities. He said "ill-informed opinions and attitudes need to be altered" to the real significance of the religion.
"The philosophy that the entire world is the whole family, the whole world is the manifestation of the divine and that the God lives in each living and non-living entity of the world; tolerance and acceptance of plurality, realisation that there us unity in diversity, and the ability to adopt and absorb, are some of the key aspects of Hinduism," he said.
Hindu Dharma, he asserted, teaches how to co-exist harmoniously with nature. "True nationalism is preservation of this invaluable heritage," he said and called upon the delegate to preserve the true values of Hinduism as shown by sheers like Swami Vivekananda.
Empowerment and respect of women is another key aspect of Hinduism, he said. More than 2,500 delegates and 250 speakers from over 60 countries participated in the three-day World Hindu Congress coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the historic speech of Swami Vivekananda in Chicago in 1893.
"Swamiji was an embodiment of Hindu culture. As Swami Vivekananda said in his inaugural speech at Chicago on September 11, 1893, ours is a country that has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance'," he said.
India, he said could provide to the world the honey of wisdom. "The values we all cherish, as Indians, can be the guideposts for our individual growth and collective advancement," he said.
"We also care for the preservation of natural resources and environment. We help create a more sustainable planet," he said. India, he said, once upon a time was known as the Vishwa Guru (the world teacher).
"In a world of unprecedented changes, we need a sheet anchor and a spiritual compass. India could offer those to the world. In a world that is filled with bitterness, India could provide the honey of wisdom gathered from different flowers by different bees," Naidu said.
In a passionate appeal, he urged the delegates to preserve their mother tongue and culture. "Do not forget your mother tongue," he added.
The next World Hindu Congress would be held in Bangkok in November 2022. In a proclamation, the Governor of Illinois declared September 11, 2018 as Swami Vivekananda Day.