Chicago: A century-and-a-quarter after Swami Vivekananda’s rousing speech to the World Parliament of Religions here in 1893, the World Hindu Congress has declared its objective to re-connect the 1.1 billion Hindus worldwide with their common heritage and their spiritual link to people of all other denominations.
For three days, beginning September 7, about 2,300 delegates will converge at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, a Chicago suburb, to deliberate, introspect and draw out a plan of action in keeping with the World Hindu Congress conference motto derived from Chapter 37 of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Sumantrite Suvikrante (Think Collectively, Act Valiantly) and from the Rig Veda: Sam Gacchadhvam Sam Vadadhvam (Stay Together, Express Together).
The Westin Hotel is some 32 km from the Art Institute of Chicago, where Vivekananda’s bust commemorates the spot he spoke from. Many religious leaders are scheduled to attend the Hindu Congress conference.
Many religious leaders are scheduled to attend the Hindu Congress conference. A video message from the Dalai Lama, who had to drop out due to frail health, will be screened.
- 2,300 delegates
- 1,300 from North America
- 60 countries
“There will be no spiritual discourses. The aim is to use the essence of Hindu philosophy, dharma, to inform how we come together (in the diaspora) as men, women and youth, in politics, education and commerce.”
– Abhaya Asthana, conference convener
Chicago since 1893
- For Indian immigrants, much has changed in Chicago since 1893. Over a century ago, Vivekananda spent a night shivering in a railway yard before a Good Samaritan took him in. He cut an exotic figure in his flowing robes, with passersby pulling at his saffron turban as he walked on the streets.
- At the parliament, Americans heard a Hindu monk speak on behalf of his religion for the first time. Today, Chicago and its suburbs have more than a dozen expansive Hindu temples.