Goddess Kali's unlimited blessings are always with India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday while lauding the country's saints for always standing for "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" (One India, great India).
माँ काली का वो असीमित-असीम आशीर्वाद हमेशा भारत के साथ है।— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 10, 2022
भारत इसी आध्यात्मिक ऊर्जा को लेकर आज विश्व कल्याण की भावना से आगे बढ़ रहा है: PM @narendramodi
The establishment of Ramakrishna Mission is also associated with this idea, he said in a video message on the birth centenary celebrations of Swami Atmasthananda, a former head of the organisation.
Tributes to Swami Atmasthananda Ji on his birth centenary. https://t.co/EKKExOGbll— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 10, 2022
Invoking Goddess Kali, Modi said Ramakrishna Paramhansa was one saint who had a clear vision of her and his disciple Swami Vivekananda had also felt the spiritual vision about the goddess, which infused into him extraordinary energy and strength.
Noting his association with Atmasthananda, the prime minister said the saint would often mention Maa Kali and that it was natural for him to feel an association with the goddess while looking at her temple at Dakshineswar during his visit to Belur Math.
"When faith is sacred, then shakti shows us the way herself. Maa Kali's unlimited blessings are always with India. With the spiritual energy, India is moving ahead with the spirit of world's welfare," he said.
His comments came amid a row over the controversial depiction of the goddess in a poster by a Canadian film-maker of Indian origin, which has drawn angry reaction from BJP leaders and Hindu groups. TMC MP Mahua Moitra's remarks that she had every right to imagine Goddess Kali as a “meat-eating and alcohol-accepting" deity has added to the row.
Modi made no reference to the topic in his speech. Everything is pervaded by the consciousness of the mother, and this consciousness is seen in the Kali Puja of Bengal, he said.
Modi noted that Swami Vivekananda, who founded the organisation, lived for making India great.
His influence was seen in all parts of the country and his travels awakened a national consciousness in that era of slavery and infused new confidence in it, Modi said, adding this tradition was carried forward by Atmasthananand throughout his life.
"Be it Adi Shankaracharya from hundreds of years ago or Swami Vivekananda in modern times, the saint tradition of India has always been proclaiming 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'. The establishment of Ramakrishna Mission is also associated with the idea of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat'," a PMO statement quoted him saying.
Paying tributes to Atmasthananda, the prime minister recalled his time spent with him and said it was his good fortune that he was in touch with him till his demise.
The prime minister also expressed happiness over the release of a photo biography and documentary to take his mission to the masses.
Noting that Atmasthananand received initiation from Swami Vijnanand, a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Modi said the awakened state and spiritual energy of Ramakrishna Paramhansa was clearly visible in him.
He also spoke on the tradition of renunciation in the country. Modi said the meaning of 'sanyas' is to work for the society by rising above oneself, and to live for the sake of society.
Vivekananda moulded the great tradition of sanyas into a modern form and Atmasthananand also retired to this form and lived and implemented it in life, he said.
Modi also highlighted the tremendous relief and rescue operations carried out not just in India but also in Nepal and Bangladesh under his directive by the Belur Math and Ramakrishna Mission.
He considered the service of the poor and the spread of knowledge and its work as worship, Modi said.
"Everyone knows the saints of Ramakrishna Mission as the conductors of national unity in the country. And, when he goes abroad, he represents Indianness there," he added.
Sages have shown us that when thoughts are broad, people are never alone in their endeavours, he said, adding there is no goal that cannot be accomplished by the collective resolve of 130 crore citizens.
Giving the example of "digital India", Modi said India has emerged as a world leader in the field of digital payments. The prime minister also highlighted the achievements of giving 200 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to the people of India, the statement said.
While addressing the gathering of saints, he said 75 'Amrit Sarovars' are being made in every district as part of the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' and urged everyone to inspire people and also join in the noble work of human service.
(with inputs from PTI)