The Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is founded on the guiding principles of harmony of religions and the divinity of man and it has no place for narrowness in thoughts and actions, Swami Suvirananda, general secretary of the order, told a 13-member all-faith delegation on Thursday.
The delegation turned up Belur Math, the headquarters of the Math and Mission, for an interaction.
Some members of the delegation said the interaction was scheduled against the backdrop of rising strife in the country and "desperate efforts by a section to undermine the religious sentiments of different communities that constitute a whole".
"Swami Vivekananda envisaged the uplift of the masses, and women in particular, while ensuring the synthesis of religious thoughts. We at the Math and Mission are engaged in executing these priorities of Swami Vivekananda," said Swami Suvirananda.
"The Math and Mission has completed 125 years of its journey following the ideals laid down by Swami Vivekananda — ‘for one’s own liberation and for the welfare of the world’ and 'selfless service is the real worship of God in man’," he said.
During over two hours of discussions, members of the delegation, which was made of representatives of various religions, discussed ways to draw up common initiatives to uphold the ethos of universal brotherhood, love and peace and bring together the core values of all major religions.
“Today, we need the replication of the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Mission across the spectrum, to build an inclusive society based on the most robust principle that service to mankind is the real service to God and that is the essence of every religion,” said Imran Zaki, educationist and social entrepreneur, who led the team to Belur.
The delegation included Shahnshah Mirza, great great grandson of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah; Ghazala Yasmin, head of the department of journalism and mass communication, Aliah University; Tehnaz Dastoor, former consultant with Unicef; Dashmeshbir Singh from the United Interfaith Foundation; and Sudha Gupta Jaiswal of St Xavier’s Collegiate School.
During the interaction, members of the delegation took turns to voice their concerns about the country's changing narrative about harmony and tolerance.
“The concepts of secularism and inclusivity have evolved into variegated dimensions... what remains pivotal is the sense of being a part of what everyone else is, a strong sense of being welcome and belonging there irrespective of one’s religion," said Yasmin.