Om Asmad Gurubhyo Namah!
Om Shrimate Ramanujay Namah!
Present with us in the program are the Governor of Telangana Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan ji, revered Jeeyar Swami ji, my colleague in the Union Cabinet G. Kishan Reddy ji, respected Dr. Rameshwar Rao ji, all the revered saints blessed with Bhagavad magnificence, ladies and gentlemen,
Today is the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami, the holy festival of worship of Goddess Saraswati. The statue of Sri Ramanujacharya ji, the special grace incarnation of Maa Sharda, is being installed on this occasion. I also wish you all a very Happy Basant Panchami. I pray to Maa Saraswati that the knowledge of Jagadguru Ramanujacharya ji should guide the world.
There is a saying in our country – ‘ध्यान मूलम् गुरु मूर्ति’, i.e., the idol of our Guru is the center of our attention, because knowledge is revealed to us through the Guru. We become aware of that which is incomprehensible. The inspiration to reveal the mystic, the resolve to realize the subtle, has been the tradition of India. We have always shaped the values and ideas that can guide humanity through the ages. Today once again, India is embodying human energy and inspirations through this grand statue of Jagadguru Sri Ramanujacharya ji. This statue of Ramanujacharya ji is a symbol of his knowledge, detachment and ideals. I am sure this statue will not only inspire the generations to come, but will also strengthen the ancient identity of India. I extend many congratulations to all of you, to all the countrymen and to all the followers of Ramanujacharya ji spread all over the world on this auspicious occasion.
Just now, I visited the 108 Divya Desam temples. By the grace of Shri Ramanujacharya ji, I am fortunate to have a glimpse of the 108 Divya Desam temples that the Alvar saints had visited all over India. The ‘Yagya’ which they started in the 11th century for the welfare of humanity, the same resolution is being repeated here for 12 days in various rituals. I also got the privilege of participating in the 'Vishwaksena Ishti Yagya' today with the affection of revered Jeeyar Swami ji. I express my special gratitude to Jeeyar Swami ji for this. He informed me that 'Vishwaksena Ishti Yagya' is the Yagya of the fulfillment of resolutions and goals. With my head bowed, I dedicate the resolution of this Yagya to the fulfillment of the virtuous resolutions of the nation. I dedicate the fruits of this Yagya for the realization of the dreams of my 130 crore countrymen.
Any idea has either been accepted or rejected in most of the world's civilizations, in most philosophies. But India is such a country where scholars have viewed the knowledge above rebuttal, acceptance and rejection. They rose above themselves and looked at the controversy with divine vision. If we have ‘advait’ then we have ‘dvait’ too and we also have Sri Ramanujacharya ji’s ‘Vishishtadvaita’ that encompasses both ‘dvait-advait and which is also an inspiration for us. There is an altogether different grandeur of Ramanujacharya ji's knowledge. The ideas which seem to be contradictory from a simple point of view, Ramanujacharya ji puts them in a single thread with utmost ease. The common man gets easily connected with his knowledge and his interpretations. On the one hand, Ramanujacharya ji's commentaries are the culmination of knowledge, and on the other hand, he is also the founder of the ‘Bhakti Marg’. On the one hand, he is a saint of the rich ‘Sannyasa’ tradition, and on the other hand, he also presents the importance of ‘Karma’ in a very excellent way in the Gita Bhashya. He himself has dedicated his entire life to Karma. Ramanujacharya ji also composed Sanskrit texts and gave equal importance to the Tamil language in ‘Bhakti Marga’. Even today, in the temples of Ramanuja tradition, hardly any ritual is complete without the recitation of ‘Thiruppavai’.
In today's world, when it comes to social reforms, progressivism, it is believed that reforms will take place away from the roots. But, when we see Ramanujacharya ji, we realize that there is no conflict between progressiveness and antiquity. It is not necessary to go far from your roots for reforms. Rather it is necessary that we connect with our real roots and become aware of our real power. It is beyond imagination the amount of pressure of stereotypes and superstition that existed 1000 years ago. But Ramanujacharya ji introduced the real idea of India to society for social reforms. He embraced the Dalits and Backwards. He gave special respect to the castes which were frowned upon then. He built Narayan Mandir at Yadavagiri, where Dalits were entitled to worship. Ramanujacharya ji has said that the religion says – “न जातिः कारणं लोके गुणाः कल्याण हेतवः” i.e., the welfare of the world happens not through castes, but through virtues. Ramanujacharya ji's guru Shri Mahapurna had once performed the last rites of a friend of another caste. At that time Ramanujacharya ji had reminded people of Lord Shri Rama. He said that if Lord Rama could perform the last rites of Jatayu, then how could religion be the basis of discriminatory thinking? This in itself is a great message.
It has been the specialty of our culture that people come from within our society for reforms. As seen from the ages, whenever elements of some evil proliferate in society, some great person is born from amongst us. And it is the experience of thousands of years that such reformers may or may not have got acceptance, may or may not have faced challenges, crises and opposition, but there was so much strength in that philosophy and their conviction was so strong that they used to put their entire energies against the evils of society. But when the society is able to understand the philosophy which once faced opposition, it also gets its acceptance and respect as fast. This is proof that there is no social sanction in general in our society towards evils, injustice and superstitions. Those who fight evil and improve society only get respect and honor here!
Brothers and sisters,
You all are familiar with the various aspects of Ramanujacharya ji's life. He also used the messages of spirituality and practical life to give the right direction to society! Those who were discriminated against castes, Ramanujacharya ji referred to them as ‘Thirukulathar’. That is, the one who is born in the family of Lakshmiji, ‘Shrikul’ or divine person! He used to keep his hand on the shoulder of his disciple Dhanurdas soon after his bath. This way Ramanujacharya ji used to give the message of eradicating the evil of untouchability. This was the reason that even the modern hero of equality like Babasaheb Ambedkar praised Ramanujacharya ji very much and would tell the society to learn from the teachings of Ramanujacharya ji. Therefore, today Ramanujacharya ji’s grand Statue of Equality is giving the message of equality. With this message, the nation is today laying the foundation of its new future with the mantra of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas'. There should be the development of everyone without discrimination. Everyone should get social justice without discrimination. The India of today is making a united effort to make those who were oppressed for centuries the partners in development with complete dignity. Today, our Dalit-backward brothers and sisters are getting huge benefits from the government schemes whether it is to provide a pucca house or free Ujjwala connection, gas connection, whether it is free treatment facility up to Rs 5 lakh or free electricity connection, whether to open Jan Dhan bank accounts or to construct crores of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Such schemes have benefited everyone, including the Dalit, backward, poor, exploited and deprived, without discrimination and have empowered everyone.
Ramanujacharya used to say – ‘‘उईरगलुक्कूल बेडम इल्लै’’ i.e., all creatures are equal. He would not only talk about the unity between ‘Brahma’ and ‘Living Being’, but would live this sutra of Vedanta. For him, there was no distinction between himself and others. He was more concerned about the welfare of the living beings than his own. When his Guru finally gave him the wisdom after his unrelenting efforts, he asked him to keep it a secret, because that ‘Gurumantra’ was the mantra for his welfare. He had practiced spirituality, penance and had dedicated his life and that is why he got this ‘Gurumantra’. But Ramanujacharya ji's philosophy was different. Ramanujacharya ji said – पतिष्ये एक एवाहं, नरके गुरु पातकात्। सर्वे गच्छन्तु भवतां, कृपया परमं पदम् i.e., it doesn't matter even if I am the only one to go to hell, but everyone else should be beneficiary. After this, he climbed to the top of the temple and recited the mantra to everybody that his Guru had given him for his welfare. Only a great man like Ramanujacharya ji, who had studied the Ved Vedanta in the real sense, could extract such nectar of equality.
Ramanujacharya ji is also a shining inspiration for the unity and integrity of India. He was born in the South, but his influence is on the whole of India from South to North and East to West. Annamacharya ji has praised him in Telugu language; Kanakadasa ji has sung the glory of Ramanujacharya ji in the Kannada language. If you go to Gujarat and Rajasthan, the fragrance of Ramanujacharya ji's thoughts is felt in the teachings of many saints there too. And from Goswami Tulsidas ji to Kabirdas of the Ramanandi tradition in the north, Ramanujacharya is the ultimate guru for every great saint. We can see this in the life of Ramanujacharya ji, how a saint unites the whole of India in the thread of unity with his spiritual energy. This spiritualism kept the consciousness of India awake during the period of hundreds of years of servitude.
It is also a happy coincidence that this ceremony on Shri Ramanujacharya ji is happening at the same time the country is celebrating 75 years of its independence. In the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, we are remembering the history of the freedom struggle. Today the nation is paying a grateful tribute to its freedom fighters. We are taking inspiration and energy for our future from our history. Therefore, the Amrit Mahotsav encompasses the heritage of India of thousands of years along with the freedom struggle. We know that India's freedom struggle was not just a fight for power and rights. In this struggle, there was a 'colonial mindset' on one side, and the idea of 'live and let live' on the other. In this, on the one hand, it was the hysteria of racial superiority and materialism, on the other hand, it was a belief in humanity and spirituality. And in this battle India emerged victorious, India's tradition emerged victorious. The energy of equality, humanity and spirituality of saints like Ramanujacharya was also engaged in India’s freedom struggle.
Can we imagine our freedom struggle without Gandhiji? And can we imagine Gandhiji without ideals like non-violence and truth? Even today, the moment we think of Gandhiji, this tune 'Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye' starts reverberating in our hearts. Its composer Narsi Mehta ji was a great saint of the Bhakti tradition of Ramanujacharya ji. Therefore, the way our spiritual consciousness was giving energy to our freedom struggle, the same energy should be given to our virtuous resolutions in 75 years of independence. And today when I am at Bhagyanagar in Hyderabad, I will definitely make a special mention of Sardar Patel ji. By the way, Kishan Reddy ji mentioned him in great detail in his speech. Who would be in Bhagyanagar and Hyderabad who does not know the divine vision, strength and the diplomacy of Sardar Patel for the glory of Hyderabad? Today, on the one hand, Sardar Sahib's 'Statue of Unity' is reiterating the oath of unity in the country, on the other hand, Ramanujacharya ji's 'Statue of Equality' is giving the message of equality. This is the age-old feature of India as a nation. Our unity is not based on the foundation of power or authority, our unity is created from this thread of equality and respect.
And today when I am in Telangana, I will definitely mention how Telugu culture has empowered India's diversity. The roots of Telugu culture are spread over centuries. Many great kings and queens have been its flag bearers. Be it the Satavahana, the Kakatiya or the Vijayanagara Empire, all raised the flag of Telugu culture. Great poets have enriched Telugu culture. Last year itself, the 13th-century Kakatiya Rudreshwara-Ramappa temple in Telangana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The World Tourism Organization has also rated Pochampally as India's best tourism village. The skill of the women of Pochampally is world-famous in the form of Pochampally sarees. This is the culture that has always taught us to respect harmony, brotherhood and women’s power.
Today the Telugu film industry is also carrying forward this glorious tradition of Telugu culture with full pride. The scope of Telugu cinema is not only limited to where the Telugu language is spoken. Its reach is all over the world. This creativity is rolled out from the silver screen to OTT platforms. There is a lot of appreciation outside India as well. The dedication of Telugu-speaking people towards their art and culture is an inspiration for all.
This statue of Sri Ramanujacharya ji will continue to inspire every countryman in the 75th year of independence, in this virtuous period. I am sure that in this virtuous period of independence we will be able to completely eliminate those evils for which Sri Ramanujacharya ji had awakened the society. With the same spirit, I thank revered Swami ji respectfully for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this holy occasion. I am very grateful to you. I offer good wishes to everyone spread all over the world who is inspired by the thoughts of Ramanujacharya ji and end my speech.
Many thanks to all of you!