My Dear Countrymen,
Today is the holy festival of Vijay Dashami. My heartiest greetings on this occasion of Vijay Dashami to one and all.
Through the medium of radio, I would like to share few heartfelt thoughts with you today. And, I hope that not only today, this series of conversation may be carried out regularly in future. I will try my best, if possible, to take out time twice a month or even once to speak with you. In future, I have also decided that whenever I will speak to you, it would be on Sundays and time would be morning 11. In that way, it would be convenient for you too and I will feel contented with the fact that I am successful in sharing my thoughts with you.
We are celebrating the festival of Vijay Dashami today, which symbolises the triumph of Good over Evil. But one gentleman named Ganesh Venkatadari, a native of Mumbai, sent me a mail and has written to me that we must take a vow to eliminate ten bad habits from within ourselves on this occasion of Vijay Dashami. I express my gratitude to him for this recommendation. We all, as individuals, must be thinking to put an end to all our bad habits and win over them, although, with respect to our nation, I believe we all should come together and take a vow in eliminating all the dirt from our country. On this occasion of Vijay Dashami, we must take a vow to eliminate dirt and filth and we can do so on this occasion.
Yesterday, on 2nd October on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, more than 1.25 crore countrymen have started the ‘Swachh Bharat’ movement. I had shared one thought yesterday which is that I will nominate nine people and they need to upload their videos of cleaning the nation on social media websites, and nominating nine more people to do the same. I want you all to join me, clean the nation, and nominate nine more people to clean the nation, and those nine people must do the same. Eventually, the entire nation will have this atmosphere. I strongly believe that you all will join hands with me to carry this movement forward.
Whenever, we think of Mahatma Gandhi, naturally we are reminded of Khaadi. You may be wearing variety of clothes with different fabrics and company brands in your family. But is it not possible to include Khaadi too? I am not telling you to use only Khaadi products. I am just insisting to use, at least one Khaadi product, like handkerchief, or a bath towel, a bed sheet, a pillow cover, a curtain or anything of that kind. If you have an inclination for all kinds of fabrics and clothes in your family, you can also buy Khaadi products on a regular basis. I am saying this as when you buy Khaadi products, it helps poor people to light lamps on Diwali. Also, you can avail a special discount on Khaadi products from 2nd October for a month. It is a very small thing, but has very big impact which binds you with the poor. How you see this as a success. When I speak of 1.25 crore countrymen and infer the outcome, we might assume that government will take care of everything and as individuals we stand nowhere. We have seen that if we intend to progress then we need to identify our potential, understand our strengths and I can swear that we form the incomparable souls of this world. You all know that our own scientists have been successful in reaching Mars, bearing least expenses. We do not lack in our strengths, but have forgotten our strong points. We have forgotten ourselves. We have become hopeless. My dear Brothers and Sisters I cannot let this happen. I always remember one of the sayings by Swami Vivekananda ji as he always used to emphasize on one thought and possibly, he might have shared this thought with many others.
Vivekananda ii used to say, once a lioness was carrying her two cubs on the way and came upon a flock of sheep from a distance. She got a desire to prey upon them and started running towards the flock. Seeing her running, one of the cub too, joined her. The other cub was left behind and the lioness moved on, post preying upon the flock. One of the cub went with the lioness but the other cub was left behind, and was brought up by a mother sheep. He grew among the sheep, started speaking their language and adapted their ways of life. He used to sit, laugh and enjoy with them. The cub who went with the lioness, was a grown-up now. Once, he happened to meet his brother and was shocked to see him. He thought in his mind,” He is a lion and is playing with sheep, talking like sheep. What is wrong with him? He felt that his ego was at stake and went to talk to his brother. He said,” What are you doing, brother? You are a lion.” He gets a reply from his brother, “No, I am a sheep. I grew up with them. They have brought me up. Listen to my voice and the way I talk.” He said, “Come, I will show you, who you really are.” He took his brother to a well and told him to look in the water his own reflection, and asked him, if both of them had similar faces. “I am a lion, you, too, are a lion.” His brother’s self-esteem got awakened; he attained self-realization through this and even a lion brought up among sheep started roaring like a lion. His inner entity was awakened. Swami Vivekananda ji used to say the same. My countrymen, 125 crore Indians have indefinite strengths and capabilities. We need to understand ourselves. We need to identify our inner strengths and like Swami ji always used to say, we need to carry our self-respect, identify ourselves and move forward in life and be successful, which in turn, make our nation a winning and successful country. I believe, all our countrymen with a population of 125 crores are efficient, strong and can stand against any odds with confidence.
These days, I have been getting many letters through social media websites, like Facebook, from my friends. One of them, Mr. Gautam Pal, has addressed an issue regarding the specially-abled children. He has suggested forming separate Municipality, Municipal Corporation or councils for them. We need to plan something for them for enhancing their moral support. I liked his suggestion and I have experienced this during my day as Chief Minister of Gujarat. A Special Olympics was held in Athens in 2011. After the Olympics I had called all the participants and winners of specially-abled category from Gujarat to my home. I spent two hours with them, and it was the most emotional and inspiring incident of my life. As I believe, a specially-abled child is not only the responsibility of the parents in a family, it is the responsibility of the entire society. God has chosen this family to support a specially-abled child, but a child is a responsibility of the entire nation. After this incident, I got so emotionally attached with them, I started organizing separate Olympics for them in Gujarat. Thousands of children with their parents used to come and attend, I, too, used to attend the Olympics. There was an atmosphere of trust and, this is the reason, I liked the suggestion given by Mr. Gautam Pal and I felt like sharing this thought with you.
It reminds me of another story. Once, a traveller was sitting at the corner of a road, and was asking everyone the way to a specific place. He continued asking the route from many people. A man, sitting beside him was observing him. The traveller stood up and started asking passers-by again. He stood up and said,” The way to your destination is here.” The traveller, then, said,” Brother, you were sitting next to me for so long, saw me asking everyone the route. If you knew the route, why didn’t you tell me before?” The man answered,” I was waiting to verify if you really intend to reach your destination or you are asking people just for your knowledge. But, when you stood up, I was assured that you truly wish to reach your destination, and decided to confirm the address”.
My countrymen, till the time we do not decide to walk, stand on our own, we will also not the get the guidance from others in our journey. We will not get the people to hold our hand and help us in walking. We need to take the initiative in walking and I trust all my 125 crore Indians, who are capable of walking on their own and will keep moving.
For the past few days, I have been getting very interesting suggestions from people. I am aware, when to adapt to these suggestions. But, I want everyone to actively participate in these suggestions as we all belong to our nation, the nation does not only belong to any Government. We are the citizens of our Nation and we all need to unite without any exceptions. Some of you have suggested simplifying the registration process for Small Scale Industries. I will definitely put this under Government’s notice. Some of you have written to me to incorporate skills development courses in the school curriculum from 5th standard. This will help the students to learn various skills and crafts. I loved this effective suggestion given by them. They have also suggested that even the adults should learn skills development courses along with their studies. One of the suggestions given was to keep a dustbin at every 100 meters and a cleaning system should be established.
Some of you have written to me, to abolish the use of plastic bags. I am receiving numerous suggestions from people. I have always been telling you, to write to me and narrate a true incident, which is positive and inspiring to me and our Countrymen, along with the evidence. If you do this, I can promise this to you, that I will share all those heartfelt thoughts or suggestions with all our Countrymen, through “Mann ki Baat”.
I have only one intention in speaking with you all,” Come, let us serve our Mother India. Let us all take our nation to the new heights. Let us all take a step forward. If you take one step, our nation takes 125 crore steps to move forward, and for this purpose, on this auspicious occasion of Vijay Dashami, we all need to defeat all of our inner evils and decide to start doing something good for the nation. Today is the fortunate beginning for me. I will be sharing my heartfelt thoughts with one and all. Today, I have shared all the thoughts coming directly from my heart. I will meet you all next at 11 am on Sundays, but I trust our journey shall never end and will continue receiving love and suggestions from you.
After listening to my thoughts, please do not hesitate in sharing your thoughts or advice to me, I will appreciate that your suggestions keep coming. I am glad to talk with you through this simple medium of Radio, which serves each and every corner of the nation. I can reach the poorest homes, as mine, my nation’s strength lies within the hut of Poor, within the villages; my nation’s strength lies with the Mothers, Sisters and Youths; my nation’s strength lies with the farmers. Nation will only progress, if you believe in it. I am expressing my trust towards the nation. I believe in your strength, hence, I believe in our nation’s future.
I would once again, like to thank one and all for taking out time and listening to me. Thank you all.
(The original speech was in Hindi, this is the English rendering. Original speech remains the authoritative version)
My Dear Countrymen,
Wishing you all a very Happy 7th International Yoga Day!
Today, when the whole world is battling the corona pandemic, Yogahas remained a ray of hope. Even though no major public events have been organized in countries around the world and in India for almost two years, the enthusiasm for Yoga Day has not diminished a bit. Despite Corona, the theme of this year's Yoga Day "Yoga for Wellness" has intensified the enthusiasm for Yoga among crores of people. I pray that every country, society and individual stays healthy, and let's all come together to become each other's strength.
Our sages had termed Yogaas "समत्वम् योग उच्यते"i.e., remaining steadfast in every situation. They had made restraint a parameter of Yoga, being resolute in happiness and sorrow. Today Yoga has proved itin this global tragedy. In these one and a half years, so many countries, including India, have faced a huge crisis.
Yoga Day is not the age-old cultural festival for most of the countries of the world. People could easily forget and ignore it in this difficult time. But on the contrary, the enthusiasm and love for Yoga has increased among the people. In the last one and a half years, there have been lakhs of new Yoga seekers in every part of the world. Everyone is trying to implement the first synonym of Yoga, which is said to be restraint and discipline, in their life.
When the invisible virus of Corona hit the world, no country was prepared for it, from the point of capabilities, resources, or mental toughness. We have seen that Yoga became a great medium of self-confidence in the face of adversity. Yoga helped people to muster confidence to fight this disease.
When I talk to frontline warriors and doctors, they tell me that they also made Yoga their protective shield in the fight against Corona. Doctors also made themselves strong with Yoga, and also used it to help their patients recover quickly. Today, one finds so many stories from hospitals where doctors and nurses are teaching Yoga to patients, and patients sharing their experiences. The experts of the world are also stressing the importance of breathing exercises like ‘Pranayama’ and ‘Anulom-Vilom’ for strengthening our respiratory system.
The great Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar has said: "नोइ नाडी, नोइ मुदल नाडी, हदु तनिक्कुम, वाय नाडी वायपच्चयल" i.e., if there is a disease, diagnose it, go to its root, find out what is the cause of the disease, and then ensure its treatment. Yoga shows this way. Today medical science also lays equal emphasis on healing and Yoga is beneficial in the healing process. I am satisfied that today experts from all over the world are conducting various types of scientific research on this aspect of Yoga.
Many studies are being done on the benefits of Yoga to our body, on the positive effects it has on our immunity. Nowadays we see that in many schools, children are being taught Yoga-Pranayama for 10-15 minutes before the start of the online classes. It is also preparing the children physically to fight against Corona.
The sages of India have taught us-
व्यायामात् लभते स्वास्थ्यम्,
दीर्घ आयुष्यम् बलम् सुखम्।
आरोग्यम् परमम् भाग्यम्,
स्वास्थ्यम् सर्वार्थ साधनम् ॥
That is, by doing Yoga, we get good health, strengthand a long happy life. For us health is the greatest fortune, and good health is the means of all success. Whenever the sages of India have spoken about health, it is not only physical health. That is whythere is so much emphasis on mental health in Yoga along with physical health. When we do ‘Pranayama’, meditate andperform other yogic activities, we experience our inner-consciousness. Through Yoga, we experience our inner strength which is so strong that no problem of the world, no negativity can shatter us. Yoga shows us the path from stress to strength and from negativity to creativity. Yoga takes us from depression to ecstasy and from ecstasy to blessing.
Yoga tells us that so many problems might be out there, but we have infinite solutions within ourselves. We are the biggest source of energy in our universe. We do not realise this energy because of the many divisions that exist. At times, the lives of people exist in silos. These divisions reflect in the overall personality as well. The shift from silos to union is Yoga. A proven way to experience a realisation of oneness is Yoga. I am reminded of the words of the great Gurudev Tagore, who said and I quote:"the meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization of Yoga, of union."
The mantra of वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’, which India has followed since ages, is now finding global acceptance. We all are praying for each other's wellbeing, if there are threats to humanity,Yoga often gives us a way of holistic health. Yoga also gives us a happier way of life. I am sure Yoga will continue playing its preventive, as well as positive role in healthcare of masses.
When India proposed the International Day of Yoga in the United Nations, the spirit behind it was to make this Yoga science accessible to the entire world. Today, India has taken another important step in this direction along with the United Nations and WHO.
Now the world is going to get the power of the m-Yoga app. In this app, many videos of Yoga training will be available in different languages of the world based on the common Yogaprotocol. It is also a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science. I am sure the m-Yoga app will play a big role in expanding Yoga across the globe and making the efforts of One World, One Health a success.
It is said in the Gita:
तं विद्याद् दुःख संयोग-
वियोगं योग संज्ञितम्।
That is, Yoga is liberation from suffering. We have to carry forward this journey of humanity, which is Yoga, by taking everyone along. No matter what the place, situation, age, Yoga definitely has some solutionfor everyone. Today the number of people who are curious about Yoga is increasing very much in the world. The number of Yoga establishments in the country and abroad is also increasing. In such a situation, it is necessary that the basic philosophy of Yoga should reach every person while keeping intact its foundation and core.And this work should be done by the people associated with Yoga, the masters of Yoga andYoga preachers together. We ourselves have to take the pledge of Yoga, and we have to connect our loved ones also with this resolution. This mantra of 'Yoga to Cooperation' will show us the way to a new future and will empower humanity.
I wish you and the entire human race the very best on International Yoga Day.