Hindus have applauded India, University of Chicago (UOC) and Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) for promoting spiritual icon Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) and his message in USA, who is a household name in India.
Government of India has reportedly entered into an agreement with prestigious AIC for “Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence” and with renowned UOC for establishing “Vivekananda Chair”.
India will reportedly provide a grant of $1.5 million to UOC for the Vivekananda Chair to honor the life and legacy of Swami Vivekananda and to facilitate exchange of research scholars from/ to India. India will give $500,000 to AIC to conduct “Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence” under which AIC will work with India Government to impart a broad range of knowledge on modern operations of museums like conservation, planning of exhibitions, etc., for a four year period.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended India, AIC and UOC for efforts to highlight Swami Vivekananda and his teachings who enlightened the world with Hindu philosophy, Vedanta, Yoga, etc.; gave the treatises on Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga; organized Ramakrishna Mission and Math; was a spiritual ambassador and spiritual genius; preached brotherhood and service of mankind; was an instrument for awakening India to spirituality; etc.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that on September 11,1893 at the 1st World’s Parliament of Religions in AIC, where Swami Vivekananda was a star, he said: "I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance."
Chicago already has a Swami Vivekananda Way, a 10-feet bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, and a bronze plaque in AIC to commemorate his historic address in that building. He was reportedly offered chairmanship of Eastern philosophy at famous Harvard University (USA) which he declined. About 16 million Americans practice yoga now and it is about six billion dollars annual industry.
AIC, one of the major art museums of the world, has already developed a “lesson plan” for classroom activity in which students of 4-8 grades solve a global issue by taking the role of one of Hindu deity Vishnu’s avatars (incarnations). Founded in 1879 as both a museum and school, AIC’s collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world, and the school's graduate program is continually ranked as one of the best in the country. Thomas J. Pritzker is Board of Trustees Chairman while Douglas Druick is President.
University of Chicago, founded in 1890, which boasts of about 87 Nobel laureates and where US President Barack Obama was a lecturer in its Law School, has a strong global presence with its own facilities in Beijing, London, Paris, and Singapore, and active educational programs in the College in locations throughout the world. Andrew M. Alper is Chair of Board of Trustees while Robert J. Zimmer is President.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.