The unique quest of sages, kings, scholars, poets and architects of this land since ancient times is plurality, President Ram Nath Kovind said after the inauguration of the new ISKCON temple at Vasanthapura in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The religious impulse is central to Indian culture, he said.
“All the competing worldviews, from ‘Advaita Vad’ to ‘Vishishtadvaita Vad’, have all flourished under one umbrella. There are different sects, such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism. Just as there can be many ways to reach the top of this (ISKCON temple), there are different paths to realize the Supreme, such as Jnana Marga (path of knowledge), Karma Marga (path of deeds) and Bhakti Marga (path of devotion). Yet in Hinduism, you never know where one ends and the other begins, as if they were all linked by their common faith in the divine,” Kovind said, recalling spiritual leaders Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya , Madhvacharya, Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramakrishna Paramahans and Swami Vivekananda.
The Bhagavad Gita also offers different lessons for different people, depending on their qualification, he said.
Calling temples “the most important symbols of Hinduism,” Kovind said, “temples are sacred sites, where devotees feel the presence of the divine, whether in the form of vibrations or energy or “a rush of intense feelings of devotion. At a temple, one can leave behind the world and its noise and feel enveloped in peace. But temples are also much more than places of worship. They are like the “sangam sthal” – the sacred confluence point of art, architecture, traditions of language and knowledge.
Recalling AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Kovind said his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita has guided more seekers around the world to the mysteries of Lord Krishna’s speech to Arjuna than any another book.
“As this year marks the 125th birthday of Srila Prabhupada, the Sri Rajadhiraja Govinda Temple is a fitting tribute to him, for temples, for him, were the entry points on the path to a life of joy, peace of mind and divine conscience.” reasoned Kovind, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter.
“Prabhupada’s spiritual journey began with moral discipline inspired by Gandhi. At age 69, he embarked on a journey to carry the message of peace and goodwill from India to the West. For those seeking help spiritual in troubled times, his words must have seemed like the first drops from the rain to the thirsty. managed to establish an international confederation of more than a hundred Krishna temples, a publishing house, educational institutions and a firm community,” says Kovind.
The President hailed ISKCON Bengaluru for transforming a “barren hill” into a magnificent ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Mandir at Hare Krishna Hill. He also praised the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the largest NGO-run school meals program in the world. “This movement was inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s wish that no one, especially no child, go hungry within ten miles of a Krishna temple. This initiative provides fresh and nutritious midday meals to more than 18 lakh children in public schools across the during the pandemic, Akshaya Patra and his support organizations have also provided more than 25 million meals to people in distress,” the president said, praising Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of ISKCON , Bengaluru and Chairman of Akshaya Patra Foundation and his team and also wished them success with the upcoming Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir project in Vrindavan.
Culture is what we are: CM
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who recalled Madhu Pandita Dasa’s speech, said that many cities are rich but spiritually poor because many people do not know the difference between civilization and culture.
“Civilization is what we have. Yesterday we used a bicycle, today we ride motorcycles and airplanes. This is the growth of civilization and science. Culture is what we are today To have an inner consciousness and know what we are, we need both “daiva” (the divine) and a guru (teacher). And through bhakti (devotion) we can achieve this. Bhakti is unconditional love. You merge and merge with divinity. This is the culture of our country. The Bhakti movement is an integral part of our country only. A long tradition of having a connection with the Almighty through prayers,” Bommai said.