Tributes were paid to Swami Vivekananda at an event held on Friday in Rolling Meadows in Chicago, attended by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Pujya Swami Chidananda Saraswati and American Vedic scholar Stephen Knapp.
    
Swamy recalled Vivekananda's ideals and the idea of 'Virat Hindu'- a concept that the world is a single family, at the event arranged by the American wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
    
"A Virat Hindu is one who accepts that his ancestors are native, on who knows the correct history of India and one who will fight back if attacked. This is why today we (India) is still 80 percent Hindu," Swamy said.
    
Indian Yoga guru Ramdev will be the chief guest at an event tomorrow at Fullerton Hall in downtown Chicago, from where a live world-wide broadcast will be held.
    
It is the same stage from where Vivekananda spoke in 1893 at the Parliament of the World's Religions.
    
"Swami Vivekananda didn't come here to the United States to convert, he came here to share his Vedic and Hindu knowledge," said Knapp, who has converted to Hinduism. Knapp has written 25 different books explaining Vedic philosophy.
    
Speaking on the occasion, Swami Saraswati said, "The message that Swami Vivekananda gave 120 years ago is the message needed even more today than it was needed then. The message he really gave was 'Vasudhaiva Kutubakam'- the world is our family. He went on stage and said 'Sisters and Brothers of America', and that's what catapulted him into international fame."
    
Meanwhile, Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), a group of organisation and individuals in US and Canada that have come together to demand accountability and justice for 2002 Gujarat riot victims, today welcomed the resolution adopted by the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) to advance the cause of interfaith harmony.
    
The CPWR has disassociated itself from the event, saying it was co-sponsored by groups "promoting controversial political positions".
    
In a letter to CPWR Executive Director Dr Mary Nelson, CAG spokesperson Dr Raja Swamy congratulated the CPWR on advancing the cause of interfaith harmony by organising its own event to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary, while decisively dissociating from elements espousing divisive ideologies.
    
The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) is the host and organiser of the Parliament of the World's Religions since 1893. Among its honorary international advisers include Mata Amritanandamayi Devi and the Dalai Lama.

(Agencies)

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