VSGH to Host Interfaith Dialog to Celebrate Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday


By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: One of the goals of VSGH (Vedanta Society of Greater Houston) is to spread the idea of harmony of religions based on Sri Ramakrishna’s experience that all religions lead to the realization of the same Reality known by different names in different religions. The Society honors and reveres the founders of all world religions and thus while we celebrate Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday this year with a special worship in the morning, of March 9, we will also be holding an Interfaith Dialog in the afternoon, from 3:30 till 5:30 at the VSGH Center (see ad). This year we have invited representatives of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.

The speakers include Senior Minister Ken Richter of the First Congregational Church of Houston who believes in progressive thinking and that the future of Christianity revolves around offering an open, non-judgmental spiritual resource which empowers people to make choices which benefit not only themselves, but the community as a whole.

The second invited speaker Elliot Gershenson, is the president and CEO of the Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, which brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service, as a demonstration of their shared beliefs. They work with Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston, Refugee Services in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Response, and provide a safe harbor for Houstonians through its many interfaith programs and dialog efforts.

Venerable Pho Nguyen, the third invited speaker is from The Universal Door Meditation Center, which believes that once the root of suffering is realized, one automatically finds complete happiness and peace according to the teaching of the historical Buddha. The way to end suffering is to know that suffering comes from within. This inner exploration is without conflict or contradiction with any other practice or tradition, and this way is called a universal door and hence the name of their practice center.

Swami Harinamananda, Resident Minister of the Vedanta Monastery, San Diego, CA will be the featured speaker to represent Hinduism. He conducts a study circle which explores many basic ideas of Vedanta in a deeper way, through selected readings and discussion. Being a young dynamic Swami of the Ramakrishna order, evenings of spiritual exploration, discussions, music, and/or multimedia presentations are emphasized at his center along with Yoga.