Friends,

Leaders of the great Indian legacy have been the guiding light for the welfare of entire mankind.

Mahatma Gandhi too, has been looked upon as a legend by the entire world. Mahatma Gandhi’s life and thoughts are capable of providing solutions to many problems which holds true even today.

Mahatma Gandhi’s life and work have always been analyzed. But recently a foreign author named Joseph Lelyveld has portrayed Mahatma Gandhi with abnormal and outrageous mentality in his book “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India”. I express my rebuke regarding the same.

The freedom of expression and criticism should never be used as the right to deceit and defame anyone’s character. The abnormal analysis about Mahatma Gandhi made by Joseph Lelyveld has hurt the feelings of not only Gujaratis but of everyone in India who possess modesty and wisdom.

Our anger and rebuke are natural.

We take great pride and honor to have such legendary leaders of the Indian legacy and hence the depiction about Mahatma Gandhi made by Joseph Lelyveld deserves to be despised. This shall not be tolerated under any circumstance.

We wish that the author and the publisher of the book accept their mistake and render a public apology.

Government of Gujarat has already decided to completely ban the book.

I believe, considering the agitation of people in India, even the Central Government shall announce ban on the book with immediate effect.

Friends, be it Mahatma Gandhi or any other National leader born on the great land of India, they deserve our respect and honor. And our self respect must come alive against anyone who tries to defame them or the cultural dignity of India.

While I wish that this thought reaches every Indian who takes pride in being Indians, I also wish that they take equal pride and show enthusiasm for today’s ICC World Cup semifinal cricket match between India and Pakistan being played at Mohali on which everyone's eyes are set.

Come and let’s celebrate this cricket match between India and Pakistan as an opportunity towards Indian unity. Sportsmanship is the mother of all games and let us enjoy this occasion with this faith.

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Tribute to Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj
March 29, 2024

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the grand festival of Lok Sabha elections, the news of the demise of Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj brought my mind to a standstill for a few moments. Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj was a pioneer of India's spiritual consciousness and his demise is like a personal loss. A few years ago, the demise of Swami Atmasthananda Ji and now the departure of Swami Smaranananda Ji on his eternal journey has left many people bereaved. My heart, like that of crores of devotees, saints and followers of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, is deeply saddened.

During my visit to Kolkata earlier this month, I had gone to the hospital to enquire about Swami Smaranananda Ji’s health. Just like Swami Atmasthananda Ji, Swami Smaranananda Ji too dedicated his entire life for spreading the ideas of Acharya Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Mata Sharada Devi and Swami Vivekananda across the world. While writing this article, the memories of meetings and conversations with him are getting refreshed in my mind.

In January 2020, during my stay at Belur Math, I meditated in the room of Swami Vivekananda. During that visit, I had a long conversation about Swami Atmasthananda Ji with Swami Smaranananda Ji.

It is widely known that I had a close relationship with Ramakrishna Mission and Belur Math. As a seeker of spirituality, I have met different saints and mahatmas and been to many places over the period of more than five decades. Even in Ramakrishna Math, I got to know about the saints who dedicated their lives to spirituality, among whom personalities like Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji were prominent. Their sacred thoughts and knowledge provided contentment to my mind. In the most important period of my life, such saints taught me the true principle of Jan Seva hi Prabhu Seva.

The lives of Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji are an indelible example of the motto of Ramakrishna Mission ‘Atmano Mokshaartham Jagaddhitaaya Cha’.

We all are inspired by the work being done by Ramakrishna Mission for the promotion of education and rural development. Ramakrishna Mission is working on India's spiritual enlightenment, educational empowerment and humanitarian service. In 1978, when the disastrous flood struck Bengal, Ramakrishna Mission won the hearts of everyone with its selfless service. I remember, when an earthquake ravaged Kutch in 2001, Swami Atmasthananda Ji was among the first people to call me and offer all possible assistance for disaster management on behalf of the Ramakrishna Mission. Under his direction, Ramakrishna Mission helped many people who were affected by the earthquake.

Over the past years, while holding various positions, Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji laid great emphasis on social empowerment. Those who know the lives of these great personalities will definitely remember how serious these saints were towards modern education, skilling and women empowerment.

Among his many inspiring traits, one thing that impressed me the most was Swami Atmasthananda Ji’s love and respect for every culture and every tradition. The reason for this was that he used to travel continuously and had spent a long time in different parts of India. He learned to speak Gujarati while living in Gujarat. He used to even speak with me in the language and I loved listening to his Gujarati!

At different points in India's development journey, our motherland has been blessed by many saints and seers like Swami Atmasthananda Ji, Swami Smaranananda Ji who have ignited the spark of societal change. They have motivated us to work with a collective spirit and address all the challenges our society faces. These principles are eternal and will act as our source of strength as we embark on developing a Viksit Bharat during the Amrit Kaal.
Once again, on behalf of the entire nation, I pay homage to such saintly souls. I am confident that all the people associated with the Ramakrishna Mission will further move ahead on the path shown by them.
Om Shanti.