26 Sep 2013, Amritapuri – Amritavarsham60
(Excerpts from the address of Hon. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Sri Narendra Modi. Original speech was mostly delivered in Hindi. The content below is the translated version of the same)
Dear Sisters, Brothers and devotees – I offer my loving greetings to all of you.
I am standing here today in front of you, not as a chief minister of Gujarat or as a leader of some political party, but as a humble devotee of Amma, who has come to take part in the celebration of Amma’s 60th birthday along with all of you. How blessed are we, to have lived in this era and to have been able to get Amma’s blessings! I consider it my fortune that I have been able to personally come and participate in Amma’s 60th birthday .
On this auspicious occasion, I offer my salutations (pranams) at the holy feet of Mata Amritanandamayi.
I have been closely watching the activities of Amritanandamayi Math over last several years. It is a massive humanitarian organization. It covers so many activities like empowering women, disaster management, slum renovation, fighting hunger & disease, healthcare & nutrition, education, green initiatives – list goes long and long – this is the kind of work done by Amma. If you look at them closely, Amma is addressing the issues that are relevant for 21st century. What Government has to do, Amma is doing. Amma is known throughout the world, for her selfless love and compassion. She is a vast ocean of love and boundless energy. What has attracted me most is Amma’s simple teaching through Amma’s simple language, that even the common man can understand and benefit from. She always says that – “Love is the centre of every relationship. Real happiness lies in sharing unconditional love and compassion, which are two divine qualities.”
As you are all aware, Amma’s entire life has been totally dedicated in weeding out of the suffering of the poor, the downtrodden and the deprived sections of the society. Ancient rishis have inspired us through their wisdom and teachings. They have shown us several methods of worshiping God. But one of the noblest and simple method of worshiping God, is serving the poor, the sick, the hungry and the needy. Amma feels that Maanav Seva is Maadhav seva (service to mankind is service to God). In Amma’s own words, “We have learned how to fly like a bird and how to swim like a fish, but we have forgotten how to live like a human being. It seems we have to learn that skill and it is only possible if we learn about yourself. We have to subject ourselves to self analysis.”
It has been told in our scriptures that “Gurunaam mata gariyasi” i.e. Among all Gurus, Mother is the greatest. But how magnificent would be the state where both Mother and Guru have appeared as one! “Na Maatahu ParaDaivatam” i.e. There is no God apart from Mother. There is no state higher than Motherhood.
Today I have come here to participate in Amma’s 60th birthday. But I am not able to withhold myself from saying something. I should be invited during Amma’s 100th birthday also. Ofcourse, in this wish, my selfish interest is also hidden (smiling).
Many a birthdays are celebrated and so are many other occasions. However most of these are celebrated for the individual gratification. Very rarely are such events celebrated for the larger cause of masses. Today we are celebrating Amma’s birthday for masses, and not for an individual.
While sitting I was thinking of how to express the significance of this event in words. I am feeling the limitations of my thinking abilities. The power of my words is becoming feeble, because in the midst of overflowing emotions, one cannot help but get immersed and the words seem limited to express anything.
In one way, it is not just an event to celebrate the 60th birthday. The way in which the inventions were launched on the stage, one after another, I can say that it is an event of laying foundation for the Greater modern India. What is the capability of India’s spiritual heritage – The role model of Rishis, Munis and Gurus is in front of us today. What it was capable of, had been limited to information in the books. That is why sometimes our belief in such things (ability of Gurus to lead) is wavering. But today when we see whats happening here – “Nar karni kare to Narayan ho jaye“, like our scriptures say. This sankalpa – how to carry out that work in a scientific and modern way so that it is useful for coming generations of the next century – that is the kind of sage like work that is happening under Amma’s guidance today.
Even if Amma had restricted herself to spiritual discourses only, her greatness would not have been lesser anyway. But along with spiritual messages, Amma has also paved the way for betterment of mankind using those spiritual principles. She has inspired mankind to work for the upliftment and fulfilment of the needs of the common people – through the medium of modern setups, through modern technology and innovations, and the efforts to use science and technology for the common masses. This in itself is a realization of the expansion of the boundaries of spirituality. And when a person experiences this spirituality and its inventions in one’s own life, then the individuality drops away and the person merges into the whole. And real spirituality is “Sarva Jan hitaay Sarva jan sukhaay” i.e. the good and welfare of everyone.
Now a days, in the world, many discussions centred around economics are happening. There are talks about inclusive growth, welfare of the poor etc. But if we sometime remember our sages and saints of the yore , we will find that there is no greater manifesto than the two lines which they have given us through Vedas and Puranas – Even for any Indian political party it is not possible to have a better manifesto – For any government in the entire world, there is no better guidance – That simple manifesto is “Sarve Api Sukhinah Santu, Sarve Santu Niramaya, Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Ma Kaschit Dukhabhagbhavet” i.e. “May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness, May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer.” When all our sages, saints, Vedas and Puranas have discussed about “happiness and welfare everywhere”, then the question comes “what can be the way towards that all-encompassing happiness?” – Amma has showed us that way today.
In our country, there have been many instances in the nation’s history , where Rishis have inculcated this principle in the minds of illustrious kings, while shaping them as future rulers. And today as I, who is working in a political arena, am here amidst the great spiritual personalities, it is quite natural that I am reminded of such instances. King Rantidev had given instructions for kings “Na kaamye rajyam, na moksham na punarbhavam, Kaamye dukkh taptanaam, Praninamarti nashanam” i.e. I don’t have desire for kingdom or for salvation or for rebirth – My only desire is to wipe the tears of the poor”. This is the kind of teaching that our ancestors have given us.
Sometimes when we see what is going around, when we read about the condition of India and where it stands, it is but natural that we become dejected. But I don’t feel dismayed by it. Even amidst this despondent situation, I feel that through these very 125 crore Indian brother and sisters, these very natural resources, these very capabilities, we can rise and lift Mother India to the level of World Guru. I feel this confidence because I have got the chance to see the various activities being carried out by great souls present here. It reminds me of the sayings of great spiritual personalities like Narendra Nath (Swami Vivekananda). What he said 150 years ago – “I can see today right in front of my eyes – that In coming days, my Mother India will emerge as the world leader” Today, I have to believe those words as the truth.
Maharishi Aurobindo had also envisioned grand and splendid India. It was his belief that the work for the welfare of the world will start on this very land of India. Even though we did not have the fortune to see Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Aurobindo, but when I see Swami Prakashananda ji of Shivagiri Mutt and the works done by Shivagiri mutt, when I see Amma and what all Amma is doing, the Rishis and saints spread across the length and breadth of India who are working in the present times for the welfare of India – looking at them, I feel assured that the words of Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Aurobindo cannot go wrong.
Our ancestors gave us the concept of “Vasudev kutumbakam” i.e. “The whole world is one family”. This concept of “Vasudev Kutumbakam” is not mere words, but we have taught it by living it.
There are two scenarios in front of the world these days. Let us take look at two such scenarios in this week – On one side, in Nairobi, innocent people and children are grilled with bullets; In Peshawar (Pakistan), the church is being attacked during the Sunday prayer and the people whose eyes are flowing with the tears of devotion for Jesus, are killed; Today morning we got the news that in Jammu & Kashmir, within Jammu region, our soldiers have been killed in large numbers by the terrorists – On one side, rivers of blood are flowing and on other side, we see this place where the Ganga of Love is flowing. Here people are thinking about saving lives, here people are doing inventions for the safety of mankind. Here Amma is bringing back those children who are well educated, whose roots belong to India and who are living in other parts of the world, by inspiring them and calling them back to their Motherland India. She tells them to make use of their intellect, energy, knowledge and wits. She inspires them to create inventions for the betterment and welfare of the humankind. And indeed many people from all across the globe are coming back to the doors of Amma.
In the spiritual wisdom of India, “Sarvajan hitaay Sarvajan sukhaay” i.e. the good and welfare of everyone, there lies a great potency hidden in this mantra. Because of that potency, on Amma’s call, many people are coming back after leaving their career, including scientists, technicians, well educated youngsters etc. By combining modern and futuristic technologies likeNano-sciences, Bio-technology, Genetic engineering, IT – these people are making inventions and discoveries for the safety of mankind. By seeing all this, a voice raises within my heart and soul, that, “This is not an ordinary confluence. This is not an event to merely celebrate the 60th year of an incarnation
. Rather, sometimes I feel that Amma is not an individual. Amma is the visible form of India’s grand mission. Amma is the visible form of fulfilment of hopes and desires of crores of poor people”. Stream of nectar flowing from Amma is the reason for blossoming of various lives, by inspiring those lives with the message of serving God by serving mankind. And this indicates the potential in the age old tradition of sages, from Vedas to Vivekananda. And today we have the fortune of extending that to the entire world through Amma.
Unfortunately sometimes those of us who have been though Macaulay’s education system, have shown contempt towards the Sages, Saints and our traditions, thinking that Sages and Saints are only interested in running the temples, ashrams, mutts etc. and live their life merrily and comfortably. But I can say with my experience that Hindustan’s tradition has been that our Sages and Saints have dedicated their lives for the welfare of the society. There are no missionaries greater than our Sages and Saints. And this tradition has been continuing since thousands of years.
Those who are familiar with the history of Bharat, if they look at the period of independence struggle around of 1857 or 1947, they will find that in this entire period of 150 years, Saints and other great personalities had created an atmosphere of social awareness. Look at Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekanada, Swami Shraddhananda – there are infinite names in every corner of Hindustan. In every place some great personalities have taken birth and have lit the unflinching flame of social and spiritual awareness. Some for 30 years, some for 50 years, some for 100 years and because of that the basis for india’s independence struggle became ready.
In our schools and colleges, we are merely taught about Bhakti yuga, but looking deeply we find that it was the period of social awareness and that of a cultural movement that attired up the feeling of self-respect. Because of this basis created by these great personalities, India was able to continue with independence movement. I can say with confidence that just like the Saints prepared the basis for independence struggle of 1857 and overall independence revolution, in the coming days when India will celebrate its 75th year or the 100th year of independence and will stand with dignity, then the history will have to write that it is the same age old tradition of Sages and Saints, that has constructed the very basis, which along with self-dignity, will become the foundation for grand and magnificent India.
Today in every corner of India, through some or the other Saint, Sage or Rishi, the yajna of social awareness is taking place, and this is creating energy with a big potential for creating a grand and magnificent India in coming 40 years. And I am seeing a living example of this here today. On such an occasion, I offer my salutations at the feet of Amma and I am confident that when we celebrate her 100th birthday, this India would have been transformed into a grand and divine India. And in that India, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of Amma. Praying that God will give us that opportunity, I will stop my speech by offering my Pranams to Amma, respected Prakashananda ji, all the dignitaries belonging to various sectors, and to a large number of people here, who are involved in serving God by serving mankind.