Source: Narendra Modi YouTube
This video is in Hindi with English translation
On this auspicious occasion, we are joined by our country’s Minister of Culture Sriman Jaikrishan Reddy, ISKCON Bureau President Sri Gopal Krishna Gosvamiji, and from countries form all over the world, our friends the devotees of Lord Krishna.
The day before yesterday was Sri Krishna Janmastami and today we are celebrating Srila Prabhupada’s 125th appearance anniversary. This is as though both the bliss and satisfaction of performing sadhana practice are received at the same time. It is this very feeling that all over the world thousands and millions of followers of Srila Prabhupada and thousands and millions of Krishna devotees are experiencing today.
I am seeing live on my screen, all of you devotees from various different countries. It feels as though hundreds of thousands of minds are united together with one feeling, hundreds of thousands of bodies united in a common consciousness - this is Krishna Consciousness whose essence Srila Prabhupada delivered all over the world.
My friends, we all know that Srila Prabhupada Swami was indeed a divine Krishna bhakta, and at the same time was a great patriot of India as well. He worked hard in the fight for our country’s independence. In the civil disobedience effort he refused to even accept his diploma from Scottish Churches College.
Today it is a joyous occasion that our country is celebrating the appearance of such a great personality in the same year that Bharat (India) is celebrating its 75 Independence anniversary. Srila Prabhupada Swami always said he is traversing the countries of the world because he wants to give Bharat’s (India’s) most valuable gift to the world.
Bharat’s knowledge and science, our living culture and traditions, their essence has always been “athabhuta dayam prati” meaning that all these are exclusively for the upliftment of the soul. The concluding mantra for all our rituals and ceremonies is always this “idam na mama”, meaning “this offering is not for me, it is for the entire universe, it is for the benefit of all creation”. In 1922 Srila Prabhupada met his guru (spiritual master) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura who instructed him to preach the message of Bharat to the English-speaking world.
Srila Prabhupada made this instruction of his guru into his life’s mission. Today the result of his austerity is seen in every corner of the world.
During the Amrut Mahotsav Celebration, Bharat also, focusing on everyone’s cooperation, everyone’s progress and everyone’s trust, with this as our mantra, has made similar intentions the basis of its ongoing journey.
At the center of these intentions, at the root of these goals, the only essence is the upliftment of the world and you all are witness to this. In the fulfillment of these intentions, the cooperation of all is very important. You can imagine that if Srila Prabhupadaji, alone, has given so much to the world, then if we all, with his blessings, together, united we work together, what kinds of results could we achieve! We will certainly reach that pinnacle of human consciousness from which we can play a much bigger role in the world and deliver the message of love to every person.
My dear friends, in the service of humanity, what Bharat can provide to the world, we see this great example today, spread all over the world, the knowledge of our yoga, the tradition of this yoga, the sustainable lifestyle of Bharat, and sciences such as Ayurveda. It is our determined intention that the benefit of this knowledge be given to the entire world.
On this mantra of self-reliance that Srila Prabhupada always spoke of, Bharat has made it its very aim and in that direction our country is progressing. Many times, wherever I talk to our leading industrialists and businessmen about this self-reliant Bharat and the “Make in India” movement, I always give the example of the success of ISKCON’s Hare Krishna movement. Whenever we go to any other country and there when people come together saying “Hare Krishna!” we feel such a sense of belonging, so much pride. Imagine, if this very sense of ownership and belonging is felt by us with our “Make in India” movement, how wonderful we will feel. Learning from ISKCON, we can also reach these great goals.
My dear friends, Lord Krishna spoke in the Gita (4.38):
na hi jñānena sadṛśaṁ
pavitram iha vidyate
Meaning, there is nothing more sublime than knowledge.
After giving knowledge this sense of all-importance, He said:
mayy eva mana ādhatsva
mayi buddhiḿ niveśaya
Meaning, after achieving knowledge and realization, one should absorb one’s mind and intelligence in Krishna. Surrender these to the devotional service of Krishna.
This faith and strength is a yoga process which is called in the twelfth chapter of the Gita as Bhakti Yoga. And the impact of this bhakti yoga is substantial. The history of Bharat is witness to this. When Bharat was trapped under the strong grip of slavery, a Bharat pained by injustice, tyranny, and atrocities, could not pay attention to its knowledge and strength, it was indeed only this Bhakti yoga, that kept the consciousness of Bharat alive and kept the identity of Bharat intact.
Today scholars acknowledge this fact that had there not been a social revolution of bhakti, then who knows where Bharat would have ended up, in what shape it would have been.
But in those difficult times, great saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu united our society with the consciousness of bhakti. He gave the mantra of turning trust into self-confidence. Differences of religion, differences in social status, qualification, and non-qualification, bhakti erasing these differences made a direct connection between the soul and the auspicious divine.
My dear friends, if you study the history of Bharat, then you too will realize that to keep this thread of bhakti connected, in different times and ages, rishis, maharishis, and great thinkers kept coming into society. Once, a great thinker Swami Vivekananda came who brought the Vedas to the West. When it came time to spread bhakti yoga, Srila Prabhupadaji and ISKCON took up the grand responsibility of this great project.
He connected Bhaktivedanta to the consciousness of the world. This was no ordinary accomplishment. At the age of nearly 70, started an international organization such as ISKCON. He did this at the age where people normally reduce their life responsibilities and activities. This is a great inspiration for our society and for each individual. Many times we have seen, and people do say “Now I’m too old to do anything” or “This is not the right age to do this kind of work”.
But Srila Prabhupada Swami, right from his very childhood and throughout his life, remained firm in his goals and mission. When Prabhupadaji traveled by ship from India to America he had practically no money in his pocket. All he had was the wealth of Gita and Srimad Bhagavata. On the journey, he had two heart attacks. When he reached New York, he did not have a proper facility for eating and no proper place to stay. But in the subsequent 11 years, what the world saw, in the words of the Late Atalji “This was no less than a miracle”
Today in the various countries of the world there are innumerable ISKCON temples and so many gurukulas are keeping alive the spiritual teachings of Bharat.
ISKCON has shown the world that for Bharat, the word “faith” means hope, enthusiasm, joy, and trust in humanity. Today routinely in various countries around the world we see people performing kirtan dressed in traditional Indian clothing. Their dress is simple. They hold in their hands' instruments like drums and cymbals, there is melodious singing of the Hare Krishna mantra and they are all dancing absorbed in spiritual peace and joy. When people see this, they think that this is a special festival or program. But here, this kirtan is an integral part of our lives. This joyous form of faith has perpetually attracted people all over the world. This very bliss is giving new hope to our stress-filled world.
My dear friends, Krishna says in the Gita (12.13)
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
Meaning, the one who loves the soul, is compassionate to the soul, does not envy or hate anyone, that person is very dear to God. This very mantra, for thousands of years, has been the foundation of the meditation of Bharat. The work of giving social support and value to this meditation has been accomplished by our temples. ISKCON temples are modern centers for this very same service-driven tradition.
I remember that when we had the earthquake in Kutch, the way ISKCON stepped forward to help others. Any time we have had any disasters in the country, whether it be the disaster in Uttarakhanda, or the cyclones in Orissa and Bengal, ISKCON has done the work of being the savior of society.
Even during the corona pandemic, for millions of patients and their family members, ISKCON devotees have been making arrangements for food and other necessities. Besides serving during the pandemic, the amazing project of feeding hundreds of thousands of poor and hungry has been carried on by the devotees for a long time.
Just as ISKCON has made hospitals for COVID patients, today even in the vaccine rollout initiative, ISKCON devotees are helping us. I keep receiving these updates. I give my best wishes to ISKCON for this effort.
My dear friends, today, with the mantras of truth, service, and devotional practice, not only are you performing service to Krishna, you are also performing the role of brand ambassador of Bharat’s ideals and values.
The eternal value of Bharat is: Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ (May all be prosperous and happy. May all be free from illness)
This very thought, via ISKCON, has become the goal of hundreds and millions. Love toward God, and seeing God in all beings, is the path of perfection to achieve this goal. This path is given in the vibhuti yoga chapter of the Gita that the Lord has taught. We are confident that we will implement the mantra of vasudeva sarvam (Krishna is everything) in our lives and will give this experience of unity to all of humanity.
In this sentiment, I want to thank you all. Hare Krishna!