I bow to the soul of the Parliament of Religions

Barcelona, Spain, 2004

Photograph — opening meditation

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“We Indians are all still basking and shall forever bask in the unbounded glories of Swami Vivekananda.”

Sri Chinmoy

7 July 2004

History of the Parliament

1893 Chicago

The Parliament of the World’s Religions was held for the first time as part of the Columbian Exhibition. This historic gathering is regarded as the beginning of the interfaith movement worldwide. One of the most inspiring and magnetic speakers was Swami Vivekananda, a young Hindu monk from India.

1993 Chicago

To celebrate the centenary of the first Parliament, eight thousand people from various faiths came together in Chicago for a second Parliament. Sri Chinmoy was chosen by the organisers to open the convocation with a few moments of silent meditation.

1999 Cape Town

The Parliament convened for the third time in South Africa with the aim of fostering harmony among the world’s religions.

2004 Barcelona

The fourth Parliament of the World’s Religions in modern times was held as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures. Sri Chinmoy was once more invited to offer the opening silent prayer for the oneness of all religions, before an audience of seven thousand guests.

Invitation to Sri Chinmoy (extract)

December 24, 2003

Dear Respected Sri Chinmoy:

On behalf of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, I am honored to extend an invitation to you to participate in the opening plenary for the upcoming Parliament of the World’s Religions, to be held in Barcelona on July 7, 2004.

Specifically, we are asking that you provide a five to seven minute opening meditation of silence and music. We think such a starkly singular and wordless presence will be the perfect entry for participants into the Parliament experience. And we can think of no one better to do it than you.

Peace,

Rev. Dirk Ficca

Executive Director

Opening meditation of silence and music

During my opening meditation I am praying for the oneness of all religions.

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After praying in silence for two minutes, I played several of my compositions on the Indian esraj.