New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said true religion cannot be the basis of hatred and division, but of mutual respect and tolerance for faiths and beliefs of all.
"It is no use celebrating Swamiji`s life, paying our respects to his ideas and teachings and honouring his memory if we do not imbibe the values that he advocated," he said while paying homage to the memory of Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary.
Singh said, "His truly great message for us which is of great relevance to our country and our sub-continent, was that true religion and true religiosity cannot be the basis of hatred and division but of mutual respect and tolerance for faiths and beliefs of all."
Recalling Vivekananda`s famous address at the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893, he said, "Swami Vivekananda said sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilisation and sent whole nations to disrepair.
"Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now."
The closing ceremony of Swami Vivekanand`s
150th birth anniversary was attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister AK Antony and Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch.
Quoting Vivekananda`s speech, Singh said "Swami Vivekananda expressed the hope at the World Parliament of Religions that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this conversion may be the death-knell of all fanaticism of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal."
Describing Vivekanand as a "citizen of the world", the Prime Minister said his message has gone far and wide, inspiring millions of devotees across the world.
Singh said he has been personally inspired by Vivekanand`s syncretic views that "All who have actually attained any real religious experience never wrangle over the form in which different religions are expressed. They know that the soul of all religions is the same and so they have no quarrel with anybody just because he or she does not speak in the same tongue."