Governor of West Bengal, Shri Kesari Nath Tripathi Ji, Governor of Tripura, Shri Tathagata Roy, my friend in union Cabinet, Shri Babul Supriyo Ji, Minister of West Bengal, Shri Hakim Ji, Chairman of Gaudiya Mission Shrimant Bhaktishourya Pariraj Goswami Maharaj Ji, Acharya of the Chaitanya Math of Mayapur, Shrimant Bhakti Pragyanjyoti Maharaj Ji, Acharya of Bhajan Kutir Vrindavan, Shri Bhakti Gopnand Bon Maharaj Ji, Acharya of Devanand Gaudia Math, Shrimant Bhakti Vedant Prajatak Maharaj Ji, Secretary of Gaudia Mission Bhakti Sundar Sanyasi Maharaj Ji, Acharya of Gaudia Sangh, Shrimat Bhakti Prasoon Sadhu Maharaj, Bhakti Vishnu Vichar Vishnu Maharaj Ji from Paharganj Gaudia Math of New Delhi, Incharge of Shyamvedi Gaudia Math, Vijaywada, Bhakti Vidbhagata Bhagwat Maharaj Ji and all the devotees of Gaudia Math present here in large number.
Sometime back Maharaj Ji came to me. He requested me to attend the centenary celebration. It is my great privilege to see all the representatives of this great institution together. What is the reason that India still stands there after so many incursions remains a surprise to the people of the world. What is the reason that our existence does not fade away. Only those survive in the course of time, who have intrinsic power. Spirituality is the intrinsic power of this vast India. Perhaps nowhere in the world such a spiritual tradition exists where the followers and acceptor of this great idea are so diverse. The society is so vast, comprehensive, intensive, and deep that the followers of idolatry praise it and those who oppose idolatry also praise it.
One, who accepts it having a form traverses this path and the one who believes in formless worshipping also has faith in spirituality. Those who worship the God consider it greatly acceptable. Those who worship the nature also accept it. And what is that strength? That strength is not only just worshipping, not just Grantha, not just speech. That strength is in our spiritual consciousness. We are not the people who are confined to communities. With the passage of time, sects come and go, creed and traditions are developed. But we are the people connected with the inseparable bond of Spirituality and that is the power which inspires us towards good deeds (Satkarma). Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was manifestation of devotion. He was the pioneer of Bhakti cult. It is not easy to be a devotee. With rosary in hand and chanting God’s name we become devotee in the eyes of the world. But the real devotee is the one who is never stratified. Where no one is stratified between me and my Creator. When both of us are in one form. Then only I become a devotee. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu imbued in Krishna consciousness. Krishna was contained in him and then this Bhakti movement was started. It has been the characteristic of India that many invaders came; incidents of Victory and Defeat went on in administrative arrangements; tyranny, oppression continued; yet there was not a scratch on the country's spiritual stream.
If we look at the freedom struggle of India, we come across a number of great persons. Their sacrifice, renunciation, austerity cannot be underestimated by anyone. But we cannot forget the fact that if the foundation stone of India's independence movement was laid by someone, it was this Bhakti movement. Be it Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Acharya Shankar Dev, Tirivalluvar or Bashweshwar. Such countless saints, such great souls, full of spiritual consciousness, kept the spiritual stream of India alive and did not allow a single scratch on it and kept its self respect and ens alive. When the freedom movement became a mass movement then this force worked as a base.
Sometimes we discuss the Vaishnava movement. But whenever we sing or listen to “Vaishnava Jana to Tene Kahiye”, no one has ever had a thought that this “Vaishnava Jana to tene Kahiye” song is familiar to him. “In which language this song was written?” This question has never come to our mind. I am sure that the people sitting here have never thought after listening to “Vaishnava Jana to Tene Kahiye” that in which language it has been written? I mean to say that we are absorved so much in its tunes and emotions; that the language becomes immaterial to us. That is the emotion that inspires us. And this “Vaishnava Jana To Tene Kahiye” was written in the same period when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was leading the movement of consciousness and on the soil of Gujarat, Narsingh Mehta fought against untouchability. And he wrote the song that was very dear to Mahatma Gandhi. But I tried to make some changes in it. I do not have any right to change what that great man had said. But it was simple for me to explain it to the people. It says “Vaishnava Jan to Tene Kahiye Jo Peer Parai Jaane Re, Par Dukhe Upkar kare tohe man abhimaan na aane re” – then I said that today we have ‘Janpratinidhi’ (public representative) so we should replace ‘Vaishnav Jan’ with ‘Janpratinidhi’. So it becomes - “Janpratinidhi to Tene Kahiye Jo Peer Parai Jaane Re, Par Dukhe Upkar kare tohe man abhimaan na aane re”. “Waachh-kaachh man nischhal raakhe, par dhan navalaje haath re”. Means even four hundred years ago corruption was a concern. “par dhan navalaje haath re”. Why would the point of vaishnava; point of Narsingh Mehta Ji have been so dear to Gandhi Ji. I find strength in every word of it. And Krishna; such a grand form, we do not know how much has been written and told about Him. There is a feeling of scripture and also the feeling of arms in it. One such personality, whose every form is liked by the devotees and every form has separate stream of devotees. Some people like the butter stealer Kanhaiya, some do not prefer anything less than Sudarshan Chakradhari Krishna, some like Krishna, the flute player who dances with Radha and Gopis. What a diversity and so many forms! And the followers of every form can give such an inspiration to life that we cannot imagine. And the Gita, which was created in the war field, probably there may not be any such composition which was created in the battle ground. What a detached life! Total indifference to what is going on in our neighborhood. Where war is going on, where our own people are dying; at that time this scripture was created. At the time of war where the struggle for win and defeat is going on the message of detouchment is given. Message of Gita gives that strength. And in that sense Gaudia Mission has kept that Vaishnav tradition alive as Maharaj Ji was telling earlier. Service of ‘Daridra Narayan’, ‘Seva Paramo Dharmah’ should be our motto of life. One who knows to live for others, one who knows to sacrifice himself for others. If we see the utterances of great people of our country, all of them give the same message. We occasionally hear a thought of the world – “Live and let Live”. This country is one step ahead of that. It says “live and let live and if a person has no capacity to live, help him to live". There is a very good saying in Gujarati – “Jeevo ane Jiwado” means we should do everything that is possible to let others live, we should not leave them to their destiny. We are the people who have grown up with this great idea and Vaishanava talks in a way of combining the whole world in it. “Vasudhaiva Kutmbakam”, this mantra is indicative of the same fact that discusses about the interstitials of entire universe in it. I salute this great tradition. In this world, with the passage of time, as the defects come in people, as defects come in the system, similarly defects come in the society. Many matters become outdated for the society; and sometimes it becomes burden on the society to carry them on, which in turn poses danger to the society. But there are only a few societies that can identify the diseases inside them; dare to raise voice against the evils. See the magnanimity of the society that it accepts the people fighting against evils inside them and accepts them spiritually and worships them. You would have seen that in every century in India, reformers were born in the Hindu society to fight against evil. They asked the society, to overcome the evils. Initially they faced resistance. This is the same land of Bengal, where Raja Ram Mohan Roy fought huge battle against ‘Sati Pratha’. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar created awareness about many evils in society. This is our age-old tradition that whenever some the society was burdened with sin and evil, a great man was born. He tried to purge the society and the society accepted him as a ‘Mahatma’; as a great person. The society that does not accept the reforms and does not have the strength to overcome the outdated customs can’t sustain. It can’t be vibrant. It’s like a corpse.
In our country in every period, in every part great men were born who fought against the evils. And this is our strength. This has kept our society going. And hence, the, centenary celebration of Gudia Mission in a way, is a centenary of social reforms movement. It is the centenary celebration of Bhakti movement in the society. It is centenary celebration of realizing the culture of “Sewa Parmo Dharmah” in our society. I respectfully salute such a great system, a great tradition and all the saints and the ‘Mahants’. I remember the virtue of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I salute all the Yogis of this great tradition. Thank you all so much.