Sri Chinmoy believed in the underlying unity of the different world religions. To support the ideal of religious tolerance and religious unity, Sri Chinmoy participated in several interfaith activities, and often spoke about the shared spiritual values of different religions.
"If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion." 1
These are some examples of Sri Chinmoy's participation in interfaith activities during his time in the West.
1993 Chicago Parliament of World Religions
The Parliament of the World's Religions was first held in 1893 in Chicago. The historic gathering is regarded as the beginning of the interfaith movement worldwide. At this first Parliament, the Indian monk, Swami Vivekananda, captured the hearts and imaginations of all the participants with his powerful all-embracing spirituality.
100 years later in Chicago, to celebrate the centenary anniversary, eight thousand people 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.
The fourth Parliament of the World's Religions was held as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona, 2004. Sri Chinmoy was once more invited to offer a silent prayer for the oneness of all religions, before the audience of seven thousand attendees.
"During my opening meditation I am praying for the oneness of all religions."
- Sri Chinmoy 2
"While I was in Barcelona, I wrote thirty-five prayers, composed twenty-eight songs in English and Bengali, and drew a number of birds to symbolise the aspiration of the human soul. Together with my silent meditation and esraj performance during the opening session, these are my soulful and prayerful offerings to the illumining soul of the Parliament of Religions." 3
Interfaith activities at the United Nations
During his years of service at the United Nations, Sri Chinmoy participated in many interfaith events associated with the United Nations.
On this occasion, Sri Chinmoy offers a silent introduction to the first international interfaith conference at the United Nations, October 24th, 1975. Several prominent religious leaders attended, including Mother Teresa.
Sri Chinmoy participated in United Nations, World Day of Prayer observances, Interfaith Prayer breakfasts, Seven Minutes of Silence, and World Gratitude and International Thanksgiving Days.
Sri Chinmoy also fostered dialogue amongst spiritual and religious leaders from all the main faiths around the world.
"Sri Chinmoy, your own life's work of most devoted service to interfaith understanding and world-oneness is unparalleled."
- Rev. James Park Morton
Chairman & Organiser of the Annual Interfaith Service, President of the Interfaith Center of New York
- Sri Chinmoy meditating at the opening of Parliament of World Religions (1993)
- 1. Sri Chinmoy, World-destruction: Never, impossible! part 1, Agni Press, 1994
- 2. Sri Chinmoy, I bow to the Soul of the Parliament of Religions Barcelona 2004, New York: Agni Press, 2005. p 5
- 3. Sri Chinmoy, I Bow To the Soul of the Parliament of Religions Barcelona 2004, New York: Agni Press, 2005. p 14