Full speech by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ISKCON Delhi on February 26, 2019, at the occassion of unveiling the largest Bhagavad-gita in the world.
ISKCON Chairman, Honorable Gopal Krishna maharaj ji, my cabinet colleague Mr. Mahesh Sharma, my associate in the Parliament Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi, other important members of ISKCON, and ladies and gentlemen present here.
I was told that people from many countries including America, UK, Russia, and Hungary have arrived to attend this program. My warm greetings to all of you.
Friends, today is a very important day.
Hare Krishna! Today is an important day. In the morning I participated in the Gandhi Peace Prize ceremony and now I am getting an opportunity to inaugurate this grand form of the divine book.
This opportunity is even more special for me because today I stand where Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji (India’s former Prime Minister) inaugurated this temple compound two decades ago.
Friends, this divine “Bhagavad Gita” is three meters long and weighs 800 kg. It is not only special for its size, but also for centuries to come, it will be a symbol of Indian knowledge to the world.
All of you associated with ISKON have dedicated full energy and creativity to develop this Gita. This Gita is a symbol of the devotion and dedication of the followers of Lord Shree Krishna and Prabhupada. You are all praiseworthy for this commendable endeavor. This will further increase the interest of the world in the ancient and divine knowledge of India.
Friends, many efforts have been made to deliver the message of the Bhagavad Gita to the common man. From the smallest to the largestGita– continuous efforts have been made to distribute this divine knowledge. The Bhagavad GIta has been translated into many languages in India and abroad.
Friends, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, while in jail, wrote the essential meaning of the Bhagavad Gita, in which he made lucid commentary on Lord Shri Krishna’s karma-yoga (selfless work). He wrote that the effects of the message of the Gita are not limited to philosophical and scholarly discussion,but are felt in the fields of ethics and daily life.
Lokmanya Tilak ji gave knowledge of the Gita to the common man in Marathi and had it translated into Gujarati as well. This Gujarati translation was read in prison by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji got much help from that translation in writing his book,Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi. Through this work Gandhiji showed another side of the Gita to the world. I gifted this book to the former President of America, Mr. Barack Obama.
Friends, Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is India’s most inspiring gift to the world. It is the wealth of the whole world. The Gita has been relevant for thousands of years. From world leaders to the common man, the Gita has shown the path of working in public service. In almost every home of India, Bhagavad Gita is present in some form. Many great figures of the world were touched by the divinity of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. For people in every field of knowledge, this immortal dialogue on the battlefield of Kurukshetra has been an inspiration.
Friends, famous German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote that there is no study in the whole world more beneficial than the study of the Gita and Upanishads, which made his life peaceful and gave him assurance of eternal peace upon death. He said this at a time when our country was ensnared as a slave. Consistent efforts were made to crush our culture and our tradition. Great efforts were being made to put down Indian philosophy.
To introduce this ancient knowledge and purity from India, great efforts have been made by many great people present on the stage today and by many scholars, experts, and devotees in front of me.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada completely dedicated his life for the Bhagavad Gita. Just as the Gita and Satyagraha were an integral part of life for Gandhiji, in the same way two paths for serving the humanity were always dear to Swamiji. This is the reason that he had previously participated in the Quit India Movement under the leadership of Gandhiji and after the country became independent, he went out on world tour to ignite the spirit of liberation among people. Facing all kinds of challenges with his strong will power, he started a campaign like ISKCON which is engaged in introducing the path shown by Lord Shri Krishna to the world.
Friends, while Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual text, it is also a life book. We may belong to any country, or follow any religion, but all of us are surrounded by problems on a daily basis. Whenever we stand on the crossroads of life like Arjuna, then Srimad Bhagavad Gita shows us a solution to these problems through service and dedication. You may be student in a state of indecision, the head of a country, or a yogi looking for liberation, you will find the answer to your every question in Srimad Bhagavad Gita. It is my belief that Geeta is the greatest manual for human life.
The solution of every problem of life is found somewhere in the Gita, and the Lord has clearly said that:
Yada yada hi dharmasya, glanir bhavati bharata
Abhyudanam adharmasya, thatamanam srjami aham
“In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium. “ (Bhagavad Gita 4.7)
The power of the Lord is always with us to save the earth from the wicked and the enemies of humanity. We are trying to give this message with full authenticity to the evil and demoniac. Brothers and Sisters, when the Lord says why do you worry, whom are you afraid of, who can kill you, what will you take away and what did you bring, it automatically gives immense inspiration to dedicate life in the service of the people and the nation.
Friends, we have endeavored that in every decision of the government, at the core of every policy, there is justice and equality. The mantra of “with everyone, for everyone’s development,” is a result of this feeling. And our every plan, every decision, also reflects this sentiment. Whether it is the action taken against corruption, or our work related to the welfare of the poor, our constant effort is to expel the feeling of us and them from politics.
Friends, our government has always been convinced that in Indian culture, Indian values, and Indian tradition, lies the solution to many problems of the world. Be it violence, family crisis, or environmental crisis, for every challenge faced by the world today, its solution can be found in Indian philosophy.
Our government has given recognition to the campaign of yoga and Ayurveda around the world. It has given a prominent voice to an organization like yours and the efforts of many saintly people. As a result, today the world is getting attracted towards yoga and Ayurveda for health and wellness.
Friends, I also believe that from Yoga and Ayurveda, to our ancient knowledge and science, there is still a lot for the world to learn. The world is yet to see our best.
I would urge all of you including people associated with our ancient science to speed up your efforts, and connect the new generation to this research. The government is ready to help you in every way.
Once again, congratulations to every devotee associated with ISKCON, to every Indian, and to those who care about humanity, for inaugurating this divine Bhagavad Gita. I am very grateful to you for inviting me here and giving me a chance to participate in this sacred occasion.
Jan 23, 2022
Anandini Tikunov (8th-grade student)
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org