“World Congress for the preservation of Religious Diversity” three day conference lead by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati in 2001. Article I
“World Congress for the preservation of Religious Diversity” three day conference lead by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati in 2001.
.. Pujya Swamiji, in his opening remarks identified the congress as a “conference of endangered species.” Like the Dodo bird of Mauritius, Pujya Swamiji reminded the delegates, many religions traditions have become extinct at the hands of aggressive expansionist traditions and many others, most of which were represented at the Congress, are hovering on the brink of extinction. But unlike the Dodo bird, Pujya Swamiji noted, “We can confer, and therefore, we have come together to find out ways and means to see that the diverse religious traditions are saved.”
The representitives of various traditions, recounted harrowing tales of injury and destruction caused upon their people and their sacred forms throughout the centuries, and even today. They spoke on how their teachings promoted”dignity of diversity”, and universality of spitrituality and ethical values which provided a common ground for mutual respect and understanding.
Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, one of the few surviving elders from the ancient and almost extinct Mayan tradition of Gautemala told how the only thing the holy raiders and murderers of his people left behind for the present generation was the example of violence and social division. Drugs and apathy so prevalent in the Third World communities and the current generation can be directly attributed to the loss of these traditional dharmic teachings. “The result of religious conversion is that a vibrant traditional society in harmony with its natural environment ends up as a ghetto of alienated people who often even lose the ability to feed themselves.”
An Interfaith Minister Dorothy Randall Gray told how beginning 400 years ago more than 125 million African people were captured and dragged from their families and homes. An estimated 75 million died shackled together in the bowels of foul smelling ships on the passage from Africa to America. Fifty million more were enslaved put to work in sugar cane and cotton cultivation. They were raped, beaten and forbidden to use their own names let alone practice their religion or speak their language.
A Dutch Jewish Rabbi told how he had survived the holocaust because, as a baby, his father had taken him in a suitcase to a German woman who agreed to raise him as her own. “I was one of the lucky ones,” he told the World congress, out of one and a half million children died.”
A Brazilian Indian, Kakavera Jecupe told how in twelve years of wholesale genocide the Christian invaders from Portugal, wiped out 70 million indigenous people. “They told us we had no soul so we could be slaves and that we were pagans and our ways were wrong.”
A Native American India, Lightening Bear said that in the 1750s, there were over 12 million Indians, but by the mid-1800s there were just 250,000.
India has long suffered and is about to suffer again. Exploring the history of conversion, Sri Swami Viditatmnandaji told how Christianity and missionary activity in India began with the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in Calicut in 1498. From there began an ethos of persecution and cruelty, and teaching people by fire and sword that Christianity was the only way.
As a State guest of India in December 1999, Pope John Paul II declared in Delhi his mission to ‘Plant the cross in Asia’ in the current millennium. In a recent article entitled “It’s Conquest, Not just Conversion.” Pujya Swamiji wrote: “This announcement signaled alarm to non-Christians, Christians and even few Catholics.”
Like invading armies, Christian missionaries funded with US$212 billion have targeted India’s Northern states for conversion. Fuelled by fulltime staffs allocating money, creating media hype and plotting strategies, the missionaries have, over the past decade, converted up to almost 90% of population in some of these states. Charity and social service is the cover and control of strategic border areas appears to be the agenda.
Pujya Swamiji closed the Congress with a promise to the delegates that the time of the oppressors was over. “This aggression is going to be stopped,” he declared.