"Colourful India" Festival in Trencin/Slovakia
His Holiness Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda Ji, today addressed the 8th Annual "Colourful India" Festival, hosted by the India-Slovak Friendship Society, an event held each year to promote Multi-Culturalism.
The Vice Mayor of Trencin, warmly welcomed His Holiness Swamiji in the official Mayoral Chambers and explained the great history of the town and its close association with India. Also present to welcome His Holiness Swamiji was the Indian Ambassador, Mr. Lokesh and Mr. Oldo Hlavacek from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Vice Mayor explained that Trencin is a historical city. Its city walls were first built in the Bronze Age and later in 179 A.D. the Romans left an inscription on the rocks about their great battle against the Quads. The magnificent stone castle which looks over the city and expansive River Vah , was built in the 11th Century and this was the site of the Colurful India Festival. To promote the multi-cultural event, the inner chambers of the castle were decorated with wall-hangings, photos and paintings from India, Malta and Slovakia, including many books and artefacts from these regions.
The Vice Mayor spoke that since he was a young child, India has held a great fascination for him, and even though Trencin and India is separated by 1,000’s of kilometres, the distance is narrowed due to the India-Slovak Friendship Society. After a tour of the castle, there was a outstanding performance of Classical Indian Dance by Bhakti-Devi from Vienna, Austria followed by speeches from the other VIPs.
His Holiness Swamiji then explained the origins of the Colourful India Festival, which he said started due to the problems that were encountered during the time of Communism, when state officials were reluctant to allow entry to an Indian spiritual teacher. Obtaining a Visa in those times was difficult for Swamiji and eventually he was accepted to enter the country only on the basis of Multi-culturalism. To this he said, "Culture must flow, since it is the beauty of our life. Culture is social love. Culture should not be suppressed or dominated. It must have freedom for expression and be given tolerance. Otherwise it will be destroyed. Examples of a culture being destroyed can be seen throughout the whole world - many civilisations have come and gone. Even the mighty Communism eventually fell. But there is one culture that has remained intact, and that is Hinduism in India.
India is one of the few examples of a country that shows great tolerance towards all religions. More than that, it welcomes and accepts them. Of course, there are some exceptions due to a few individual fanatic groups, but this is the case all over the world. In general, India’s culture has remained unharmed and it has shared its great wealth of culture and wisdom with the whole world. Even the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is 85% principles from the Upanishads. Just one month ago, a statement was issued from the U.N. the essence of which said that even though the greater population of India was poor, uneducated and illiterate, it is one country on earth that has tremendous tolerance for all religions. India is the largest democracy in the world."
His Holiness Swamiji further said, Sat Sanatan Dharma is a universal, its teachings are not man-made and no person has copyright on it. Sanatan values are universal values, that can be applied to all. To join in the celebration of the Colourful India Festival, you are not required to wear saris or turbans, rather, honour your own tradition and simply come with acceptance. Have tolerance to all religions, respect for all cultures and understanding to all individuals. As it was said by the mantra from the great Rishis of India, ‘May all beings be happy’. Let them live as they live. Give freedom and respect to all. Humans should protect their dharma, their culture, and not destroy it. Even though many miles may separate India and Slovakia, where there is love there is no distance. And yet, where there is no love, even your neighbour’s door is very far away.
For 33 years I have travelled to Slovakia and have fond memories of this country and this town. Slovakia has an excellent relation to the Government of India, due to the bridge built by the India-Slovak Friendship Society. May this continue, and may God bless the people of both countries."