Interreligious Retreat-Seminar (6-8 December 2013)

on the auspicious occasion of Swami Abhishiktananda 40th Mahasamadhi Anniversary

Swami Abhishiktananda, one of the most prominent spiritual figures of the twentieth century, arrived in India in 1948 as a Benedictine monk and spent the last twenty-five years of his life there. These years completely changed his spiritual vision and culminated in a profound awakening in July 1973. Despite his premature departure at the age of sixty-three, Swami Ji continues to inspire new generations of spiritual seekers even now after four decades. Therefore the fortieth anniversary of his Mahasamadhi became a most meaningful and auspicious opportunity to pay tribute to his pioneering work and message in the field of interreligious dialogue. From December 6 to 8, 2013, more than one hundred participants, among whom were eminent religious leaders of India, monks and nuns, and scholars belonging to different traditions, gathered in Rishikesh, at the Ajatananda Ashram, for a truly interreligious and intermonastic Retreat-Seminar.

This unique event was jointly organized by the Ajatananda Interreligious Trust and the Abhishiktananda Centre for Interreligious Dialogue (Delhi). It offered the participants an exceptional opportunity to discuss their views on the “The Place of Spiritual Experience in Interreligious Dialogue Today”, while spending several days living together as one community. For some of them it was an exceptional chance to share their vivid memories of Swami Ji. The convivial atmosphere of this gathering, enhanced by daily common prayers and silent meditation, shared meals and informal discussion, was actually a tremendous experience of unity beyond words.

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Interreligious Retreat-Seminar (20-23 November 2010)

on the auspicious occasion of Swami Abhishiktananda Centenary Birth Anniversary

The year 2010 marked the Centenary Birth Anniversary of French-born Swami Abhishiktananda (1910-2010), and as such it was a significant year for the interreligious community of Ajatananda Ashram. Swamiji was a bridge-builder between East and West. His life and message continue to inspire many who seek the Truth and try to live an authentic spirituality beyond religious barriers. Therefore, on the auspicious occasion of his Birth Centenary, it was essential to recognize the contribution Swami Abhishiktananda made in the area of interreligious dialogue and also to commemorate the way in which he introduced the perennial wisdom of Indian spirituality to so many seekers in the West.

A 4-day residential retreat focusing on the theme: ‘Renunciation as an Interreligious Meeting Point Today’, was organized for about thirty monks and nuns from different religious traditions, including some revered saints whose presence was an immense inspiration for all. The function was very successful with a total of 200 seekers and visitors taking part in the main events.

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