By J.V. Lakshmana Rao
Chicago: After the Viveka-nanda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari in India, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple of Homer Glen, and the Vivekananda Meditation Center and larger-than-life size statue of Vivekananda in Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago have become pilgrim centers for Hindus as well as people of some other religions the world over.
As 2013 is being celebrated as the 150th birth anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda, Chicago assumes special importance for Indians and devotees of the Hindu monk, and, therefore, several temples, religious institutions, and social organizations of the Chicagoland area, led by the Viswa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), have come together to celebrate the occasion on a grand scale for two days — September 27 and 28 — in Chicago.
Announcing the details of the celebration, Dr. Shamkant P. Sheth, president of Chicago Chapter of VHPA, at a press conference at Mysore Woodlands restaurant on Devon Avenue here, on July 31, said: “This historic event is being hosted by VHP of America and co-hosted by multiple Indo-American or-ganizations to unite and share Swami Vivekananda’s Vedanta philosophy of world without borders.”
Joined by Harendra Mangrola, Nirav Patel, Jitendra Diganvker and Vandana Jhingan, at the press conference, the president of VHPA Chicago chapter, said Baba Ramdev, the world famous yoga guru, would attend the celebration and address the gathering.
Dr. Shamkant Sheth said that Bhaiyyuji Maharaj of Indore and internationally renowned Vedanta philosophers of America — Stephen Knapp and Jeffrey Armstrong – would be guest speakers. Dr. Mary Nelson, vice chair of the Board of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR), would be also a special guest at the celebration.
“The whole event to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, which will be the biggest of its kind, has been the result of a massive plan for months together. The celebration begins with a banquet dinner at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows on September 27,” Dr. Shamkant Sheth said.
He said that the celebration on September 28, would be a whole day event, which would begin in the morning with a ceremonial procession at Art Institute of Chicago. The admission to this symbolic event, which would be addressed by Baba Ramdev at the Fullerton Hall, from where Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic “Brothers and Sisters” address, at the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions, would be on an invitation only. Rest of the event, which would include a cultural expo and Baba Ramdev’s discourse, would be open to all, and would be held from 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. at the Jain Temple in Bartlett. The celebration, is expected to attract 1,500-2,000 people and will include panel discussions and youth programs,” he added.
Jitendra Diganvker said: “While we have planned the event on a grand scale to make it a historical one, we want to involve the youth, to carry on the Vedanta message of Swami Vivekananda to the posterity.”
Vandana Jhingan said that there was a tremendous support from the various temples and organizations and more than 50 volunteers had already registered and more volunteers were seeking registration everyday. “Besides the Parliament of World’s Religions, temples like Gayatri Gyan Mandir, Manav Seva Mandir, Hindu Mandir of Lake County, Vivekananda Vedanta Society and more Chicagoland orgnizations are getting together to celebrate this ‘World Without Boarders 2013’ SV150 event,” she added.
Nirav Patel said that a special 150-page commemorative souvenir with rare articles, press clippings and pictures of Swami Vivekananda would be brought out on the occasion.
For more information, please call Dr. Shamkant Sheth at (630) 810-0444 or Vandana Jhingan at (847) 867-1880.