The World Hindu Congress held from Sept. 7-9, 2018 in Chicago reaffirmed Swami Vivekananda’s message of universal love, peace, acceptance and service to humanity. In this context, it recognized and honored the substantial contributions of four organizations whose selfless volunteers have dedicated their lives in spreading these teachings of Hindu Dharma and preserving its unparalleled culture around the world.
The four organizations that were honored were ISKCON, BAPS Swaminarayan, Geeta Press- Gorakhpur and Chinmaya Mission.
ISKCON was honored for its work in spreading the philosophy of the Bhagvad Geeta to the remotest corners of the world and sparking an interest in Hindu traditions. Its translations of this sacred text into 70 languages has resulted in diverse ethnicity embracing its message and timeless teachings and incorporating it in everyday life. Today ISKCON has a strong presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australia and runs over 850 temples, community centers, schools, restaurants (including feeding the needy) and charitable institutions across the world to serve humanity.
International Director of Communications Anuttama Das attributed ISKCON’s success to the profound knowledge with which “we all have been blessed.” He also stated that had Srila Prabhupada, Founder of ISKCON, been with us today, he would have been proud of these substantial achievements but would remind us that Hindu culture is not about achievements in this temporal world but about seeking the eternal world and eternal values. It is about teaching the world that we are all spiritual beings, that real peace and success lies in understanding our divinity and our relationship to the Supreme Divine.
It’s easy to be awed by the architecturally magnificent BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs around the world with their intricate marble carvings and sprawling spotless surroundings. These visually appealing temples served to stimulate curiosity and interest in Hindu architecture and through it Hindu Dharma among people of different cultural and religious backgrounds. They also serve as seats for learning Hindu values and provide an environment for people of all ages to connect with their Hindu identity.
The award was accepted by Alak Parmar, a BAPS volunteer. Parmar drew attention to the countless selfless volunteers who are passionate about serving others because they believe in Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s motto- in the joy of others lies our own, in the progress of others lies our own and in the good of others lies our own.
BAPS Swaminarayan focuses on families and nurturing the younger generation. Parmar highlighted the contributions of thousands of mothers who are helping “raise peace loving Hindus.” BAPS believes in ahimsa (non-violence), and most importantly encourages peace and harmony. Not a day goes by, she stated, when Mahant Swami Maharaj doesn’t talk about unity and harmony – “harmony in the family, harmony in our community and harmony across the world.”
Geeta Press, Gorakhpur
The credit for making Bharat’s rich literature accessible and affordable and in turn sustain Bharat’s ancient civilization and historical identity goes to Geeta Press, Gorakhpur.
Thanking World Hindu Congress for this “extreme honor”, Ishwar Prasad Patwari, a trustee of Geeta Press, Gorakhpur accepted the award and revealed that till March 2018, 664 million copies of “character building” books like the Gita, Ramcharitamanas, Ramayan, Mahabharat and other sacred Hindu texts have been published in most major Indian languages.
The main object, he stated, is to spread spirituality for God realization which is the aim of human life. The founder Jay Dayal Goyanka used to say that “when every child will utter the Gita when taking birth…then we have achieved our goal to some extent.” Ishwar Patwari encouraged the gathering to spare a few minutes daily to read “soul elevating” literature.
Operating on a purely non-profit basis, the organization which was established in 1923, has published 72 million copies of Bhagvad Geeta and over 70 million copies of Shri Ramcharitmanas to date.
Chinmaya Mission’s most significant contribution has been the spread of the knowledge and understanding of Gita amongst the multitudes through the methodology of Gyan Yagna. The Mission has conducted more than 75,000 Geeta Gyan Yagnas globally over the last several decades and through this has successfully brought the knowledge of Hindu shastras to the public.
Spiritual head of Chinmaya Mission – Swami Swaroopananda, while accepting the award, stated that the mission of Chinmaya was to lead people to knowledge, devotion, service, cooperation and take the glory of our spiritual knowledge, traditions and culture to people around the world in every stage, role and development of their life. He also emphasized the importance of making the world recognize the true glory of Hindu religion and culture.
Chinmaya Mission is known for its expertise in disseminating the wisdom of Hindu dharma through stories.The Mission has produced prolific books, magazines, pamphlets, and other media content and made this material universally available. This has helped the global Hindu, particularly youth, to understand the enduring Hindu values and truths in the contemporary context.
The organization runs numerous schools, colleges, and other institutions to provide contemporary quality education anchored in Dharma.
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