Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special commemorative coin on the 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Among others, Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER, G Kishan Reddy was present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister mentioned the coincidence of Janmashtami before the 125th birth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada Ji. ‘It is like achieving happiness and contentment of sadhana together. He also noted that the occasion is taking place amidst the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. This is how millions of followers of Srila Prabhupada Swami and millions of Krishna devotees all over the world are experiencing today, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister noted the supernatural devotion of Prabhupada Swami for Lord Krishna and said that he was also a great devotee of Bharat. He fought in the freedom struggle of the country. He had refused to take his diploma from Scottish College in support of the non-cooperation movement, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said our knowledge of yoga spread all over the world and the sustainable lifestyle of India, science like Ayurveda are spread all over the world. It is our resolve that the whole world should benefit from it, Shri Modi said. The Prime Minister said whenever we go to any other country, and when people meet there saying ‘Hare Krishna’, we feel a sense of belonging and pride. The Prime Minister said that the same feeling will be there when Make in India products get the same affinity. We can learn a lot from ISKCON in this regard
The Prime Minister said that in the times of slavery, Bhakti kept the spirit of India alive. He said today scholars assess that if there was no social revolution of the Bhakti period, it would have been difficult to imagine the status and form of India. Bhakti connected the creature with God by removing the discrimination of faith, social hierarchies and privileges. Even in those difficult times, saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who tied the society with the spirit of devotion and gave the mantra of ‘Faith to Confidence’.
The Prime Minister said at one time if a sage-like Swami Vivekananda came who took Vedanta to the west, then Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON took up this great task when the time of taking Bhakti Yoga to the world came. He connected Bhakti Vedanta with the consciousness of the world, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said today there are hundreds of ISKCON temples in different countries of the world and many Gurukuls are keeping Indian culture alive. ISKCON has disseminated to the world that for India, faith means zeal, enthusiasm, and gaiety and faith in humanity. Shri Modi highlighted the service work of ISKCON during earthquakes in Kutch, Uttarakhand tragedy, cyclones in Odisha and Bengal. The Prime Minister also praised the efforts of ISKCON during the pandemic.
The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture and ISCKON. “One of the cultural ambassadors of India, who paved the way for social and cultural upliftment of humankind with the aim of Kranvanto Vishwamaryam (to make the world noble)” said G. K Reddy on the occasion of the event.
The Union Minister of Culture, G Kishan Reddy Ji, delivered the welcome remarks virtually at the event and said “ India has also been the land of Maha-Purusha who gave their lives in service of others and taught countless people the righteous path of life. The life of Srila Prabhupada Ji is in itself a story of dedication and courage and today, ISKCON, the movement founded by Swami Ji is globally known for its dedication to and propagation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s teachings and the Indian (Bharatiya) culture, knowledge and tradition”.
“It is due to the efforts of Srila Prabhupada Ji and his followers, today one can see thousands of native people of countries like Russia, Argentina, Ghana walking in Sarees and Dhoti, chanting Sanskrit mantras, reading Srimad Bhagavad Gita and other Puranas, play instruments like Mridanga & Khol, this is indeed a cultural revolution brought about by Srila Prabhupada Ji as the cultural ambassador of our heritage” he added. Krishna Reddy further said, “A deep desire to revive the spiritual culture of India, Srila Prabhupada ji during his lifetime established 8 centres in India which today has grown to 330 centres”.
Appreciating the social contributions for the society the Union Minister said “Today ISKCON’s food distribution is famous around the world. During the Covid pandemic, I had the opportunity to visit the mega kitchen in Dwarka, Delhi where I had seen how meals for 4 lakh people were being cooked and systematically distributed every day. I am happy to learn that during the pandemic ISKCON and its affiliated units in partnership with the government have served more than 25 crore plates of meals across India through their 72 kitchens. I am also happy to learn that ISKCON’s Food for Life program is the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program”.
“Through the efforts of Srila Prabhupada Ji, we know that there is a tremendous interest in many countries to learn about Yoga, Indian lifestyle, music and culture. Due to this, every year thousands of international tourists and devotees visit holy places like Vrindavan, Puri, Mayapur and thereby contribute to the development of the region. But to me – his greatest achievement was that he was an exemplary ambassador of India’s ancient civilization. This is because he carried the same traditional values you, his followers, are now promoting from – education, culture and welfare – inside and outside the shores of India”, added the Union Minister.