A day-long Vivekananda Festival was held last Sunday at Logan Hall, London, organised by Vivekananda Centre for Human Excellence, UK where the speakers emphasised on the importance of Swami Vivekananda's message in today's world. They said, the seeds of attaining unity and harmony are sowed in following his ideals.
The Festival was inaugurated in the morning with Vedic chanting, candle lighting and a brief period of meditation. A magazine published on the occasion, 'Vivek', was unveiled by Swami Veetamohananda, President, Centre Vedantique Ramakrishna, France.
Ram Chandra Saha, Director, Vivekananda Centre, UK in his address of welcome, dwelt on the importance of the necessity and goals of this festival. He said that it is our duty to impress upon the new generation the ideals of Swami Vivekananda.
The highlight of the morning session was a Youth Convention on 'Swamiji's Message for the Modern Age', which was presided over by Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice Chancellor, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Belur Math, India. The youth participants while eulogising the ideals that Swami Vivekananda believed in said that his messages are also very relevant today. Swami Atmapriyananda called upon the youth to awake and study Swami Vevekananda, who he described as an apostle of peace.
The morning session was also addressed by Mr Vinoo Bhatt, Mr Gary Thompson and Councillor Kareema Marikar, the Mayor of Harrow. Songs, dances and recitations were presented by various groups and individual artists including Vedika Academy, Diganta Music Class, National Association of Patidar Samaj, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Shuraloy, Lipika Roy Lopa, Nandita Mukherjee, Gouri Bhattacharya, Sanjoy Ghosh, Dr Syamal Kanti Chowdhury and Sinthia Das.
The afternoon session kicked off with dances and songs by young artistes and the highlight was a lively and enlightening discussion on 'Ramakrishna-Vivekananda's message for Unity in Diversity, Universal Tolerance, Harmony and Peace' chaired by Swami Veetamahananda. The speakers included Mr Leon Silver, Rev Michael Redman, Councillor Richard Cotton, Mr Virendra Sharma, MP, Swami Sarvasthananda, President, Ramakrishna Mission Vedanta Centre, UK, Bodhasaranandaji Maharaj, Assistant General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, India, and Shri A S Rajan, Minister (Coordination), High Commission of India, UK. All the speakers impressed upon the teachings and messages of Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda which are so pertinent in today's world of discord and hatred. They also said that in following their ideals on religious harmony and unity lies the real source of world peace.
After guest artiste Dattatreya Velankar's rendition of devotional songs, the festival was rounded off by an enchanting performance by famous Bollywood music director and singer, Bappi Lahiri. In an hour-long performance, Bappi Lahiri kept the audience captivated with some of his famous songs in Bangla and Hindi and devotional songs. Bappi Lahiri's rendition was made all the more enjoyable to the music aficionados by the magnificent music accompaniment by noted table player Sandyman and his group.
The day-long festival was compered by Ranjita Sen and Uday Sankar Das.
The writer is a senior journalist and sports analyst
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