Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
26-February-2019 20:44 IST
English rendering of Text of PM’s speech at Unveiling ceremony of world's largest Bhagavad Gita

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna! (Hail Lord Krishna!)

Chairman ISKCON, Pujya Gopal Krishna Maharajji, my cabinet colleague Shri Mahesh Sharma ji, my colleague in the Parliament, Smt Meenakshi Lekhi, other eminent members of ISKCON and all the ladies and gentlemen present here today.

I have been told that people from many countries including America, Britain, Russia and Hungary have come all the way to participate in this program. Indeed grateful to all of you. Hearty Welcome!

Friends, today happens to be a very important day. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna! It is highly significant day for me, as today in the morning I was blessed to participate in the coveted Gandhi Peace Prize Award ceremony, and here I am ordained to dedicate to the nation such a magnificent version of our divine scripture “Shrimad Bhagavad Gita”. This opportunity is more special to me because I stand in that same place where Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji had laid the foundation stone of this temple premises almost two decades ago.

Friends, this magnificent ‘world largest version’ of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is three meters long and weighs 800 kilograms. It is not only unique because of its dimensions, but also because it shall stand as the epitome of our great contribution of rich Indian knowledge and tradition to the world across centuries. All of you ISKCON members associated with the creation of this unexampled version of Gita have indeed put in your utmost creativity and competencies in creating this masterpiece. This Gita stands as a testimony of the devotion and dedication of devotees of Lord Sri Krishna and Swami Purvaardh. You all deserve accolades for this commendable endeavour. This will certainly enhance the interest of the world towards the tradition of India's ancient and divine wisdom.

Friends, across centuries several efforts have been made to connect the common man with the wisdom presented in the divine scripture- Bhagavad Gita. From the smallest Gita to the biggest Gita - continuous attempts have been made to make this divine knowledge intelligible and accessible to all. Bhagavad-Gita has also been translated into many languages in India and abroad.

Friends, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak ji had penned Gita Rahasya during his term in the jail. Lokmanya Tilak in Gita Rahasya has brought to light in simple and lucid way the relentless/selfless Karmayoga of Lord Sri Krishna. He has written that the relevance of the message presented in Gita is not limited to only the intellectual discourses between philosophers or scholars, but is episodic in context of moral and ethics. Lokmanya Tilak has further taken the knowledge of Gita to vernacular community by producing Marathi and Gujarati translations.

It was this Gujarati translation that motivated our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to read Gita which further helped him in writing the “Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi”. Through this composition Gandhiji brought forth another perspective of the Gita in front of the world. I had the privilege of gifting this book of Mahatma Gandhi to former US President Mr. Barack Obama.

Friends, Shrimad Bhagwad Gita is the most inspiring gift form India to this world. The Gita is a world heritage and shall remain episodic thousands of years. From the leaders of the world to the common man, the Gita has inspired people to work for humanitarian welfare. In almost every household of India one can find some or the other version of the sacred Bhagvad Gita. It has been the source of inspiration for the world thought leaders who most certainly been touched by the divinity of the tenets in Gita. From knowledge to science, this discourse from the battle filed of Kurukshetra, has influenced disciplines and people and from all walks of life.

Friends, the famous German philosopher Schopenhauer had written - There is no study in the whole world more salubrious than the scholarship on Gita and Upanishad. It introduced me to peace and instilled in me faith and confidence of eternal peace in my quietus. These words came from him at the time when we were in the shackles of British slavery. That period witnessed many attempts to stifle our culture and traditions, as well as deplore and undermine Indian philosophy.

Friends, our scholars of eminence adorning the dais, as well as, the ardent devotees have indeed put in great efforts to promote the glorious ancient knowledge and divinity of India in the global space. Shrimad-Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhunathji had totally immersed himself in the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita. The way Gita and Satyagraha have been internalised by Gandhi jis in his life, for Swamiji also these two ways of serving humanity were always dear to him.

This is why he was inspired to join the Quit India Movement under Gandhiji's leadership. Post the country's independence, he pledged his life to rekindle the spirit of liberation and led the world towards salvation. Despite all adversities, he strengthened the vision of ISKCON due to his strong will power. ISKCON today is engaged in leading the world through the path of Krishna Consciousness.

Friends, Gita is not just a holy book, but it is also a doctrine on life man ship. We may belong to any country, or be affiliated to any cult, we all are universally challenged with trying times. Whenever we are sometimes in a state of indecision like Veer Arjuna during the battle, then Srimad Bhagavad Gita shows us solutions to these problems through service and dedication. What if you are a student, or a country premier or you are a Yogi who is in the quest of salvation and you are gripped with indecisiveness you will certainly find the answer to each of your questions in Shri Bhagavad Gita.

I am of the firm belief that the sacred Gita is the greatest manual book for humanity. Gita has a solution of every problem of life in one or the other verse. Lord himself has so clearly proclaimed-

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्‍कृताम्

धर्मसंस्‍थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे-युगे।।

(English meaning of this is- To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked, and to re-establish the principles of dharma I appear on this earth, eon after eon)

That is, the divine force of Almighty is omnipresent to protect the world from the antagonistic forces and knave posing threat to humanity. This is the message we are so vehemently sending to all the devils and satanic forces on this earth.

Brothers and Sisters, when the Almighty implores us- why to waste time in anxiety, who are you uselessly fearful of, who can ever kill you, we were all born empty handed and so we shall leave – this itself instils in us the fervour of selflessly dedicating ourselves to the  service of the cause of human kind and our beloved nation.

Friends, we have attempted that justice, equanimity and parity are integral to every decision and policies of the government. “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” the visionary slogan of inclusive development has emerged from this vision. This essence is also reflected in all our schemes and decisions- be it our steps to curb rampant corruption or our constant endeavours for the welfare of the marginalised and deprived strata of society. It has been our persistent effort to keep politics and self proclaim out of developmental agenda.

Friends, our government have always been convinced that Indian culture, Indian values, and Indian tradition are the solutions to many problems of the world. Indian philosophies have shown ways to resolve every crisis the world is threatened with today- be it Violence, family crisis or environmental problems. Our government with the support of visionary bodies like yours has further strengthened the clarion call towards wellness through yoga and Ayurveda and reinstated its worldly reckoning. As a result, today the world is moving towards yoga and Ayurveda for health and wellness.

Friends, I believe that the world is yet to take cognisance of the rich Indian heritage of yoga, ayurveda, antiquary sciences, and philosophical wisdom in the rightful way. Our best is yet to be unveiled to the world. 

It is an earnest request to all of you karmayogis engaged in knowledge preservation and dissemination of our antiquary sciences to engage new generation in heritage research to propel their efforts. You have the governments back always.

Once again, to every follower of ISKCON, every Indian, every person in the world who believes in humanity, heartiest congratulations on behalf of me for this divine Bhagavad Gita.

I am indebted to ISKCON for considering me worthy of being a part of this pious event. I am indeed very grateful to you all for this.

Many Many Thanks! Hare Krishna!