Acharya Shri Mahashraman Ji; the President of the Terapanthi Mahasabha, Shri Suresh Chandra Goel Ji; and all the dignitaries and friends who have joined this programme through technology!
It is a privilege for all of us that we could connect together on this holy occasion of the birth centenary of Saint Acharya Shri Mahapragya Ji. You, me and everyone can feel his blessings.
I pay my tributes to Saint Acharya Shri Mahapragya ji and also extend my wishes to all of you. I also wish to offer a special thanks to Acharya Shri Mahashraman ji. Even in the challenging situation arising due to the Coronavirus pandemic, he has organized this programme so effectively through technology.
There are many of you who have had the opportunity to meet Acharya Shri Mahapragya Ji. At that time you must have experienced his spiritual energy. I am saying this because I have constantly received affection and blessings of Acharya throughout my life.
I remember, when I became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had visited Gujarat at that time. I have had the opportunity to participate in his journey of non-violence and service to humanity. I had told Acharya then, ' I wish Terapanth becomes my sect'. With the blessings of Acharya Shree, Terapanth became my sect and I too became a follower of Acharya ji.
In his presence, I always felt that there was nothing for oneself in the life of a Yugrishi like him. His life, his thoughts, his thinking and everything is for the society and for the humanity only.
Acharya Mahapragya Ji used to say, 'If we try to look beyond me and mine, everything will be yours'. His mantra and philosophy were also visible in his life.
We have all seen that he had nothing in his life, but everyone was his own. In his life, there was no yearning for 'possession' of anything, but only 'love' for every person.
The philosophy of leading a life is easily found, but someone living this kind of a life is not easily found. One has to strive hard and work selflessly for the society to reach such a position in life. This is not an ordinary thing. But it is the extraordinary personality that characterizes the 'extraordinary'.
That's why Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh Dinkar used to say - Acharya Mahapragya ji is the Vivekananda of modern era. Similarly, Acharya Vidyananda, the great saint of the Digambara tradition used to compare Mahapragya Ji to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The literary work of Acharya Mahapragya was also unparalleled!
Our revered Atal ji, who himself was such a great connoisseur of literature and knowledge, used to often say - "I am a great lover of Acharya Mahapragya Ji's literature, the depth of his literature and his knowledge and words". He had a divine gift and blessings in terms of speech, his mesmerizing voice and the balance of choice of words.
If you ever read the literature of Acharya Shri and recall his words, you will also feel how deep his knowledge was and how he depicted the reflection of several great personalities!
He had written in depth on spiritual issues as much as on subjects like Philosophy, Politics, Psychology and Economics.
Mahapragya has written over 300 books on subjects like Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati and English. And you might remember his book - The Family and The Nation. This book was co-authored by Mahapragya Ji with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Ji.
In this book, these two great personalities have provided a vision of how a family can become a happy family and how a happy family can build a prosperous nation.
I also remember the day when Dr. Kalam had visited Gujarat after I became the Chief Minister. At that time, I paid a visit to Acharya ji along with him. I was fortunate to be in the presence of two great men at once. In the presence of both of them, I could directly experience how a sage could have a scientific vision, and how a scientist could be a sage lover.
Dr. Kalam used to say about Mahapragya ji that his life had only one purpose - Walk, Acquire and Give. That is, travel relentlessly, acquire knowledge, and whatever is in life, give it to the society.
Mahapragyaji had travelled thousands of kilometres in his life. Even during his final moments, he was on a journey of non-violence.
He used to say, 'Soul is my God, sacrifice is my prayer, friendship is my devotion, moderation is my strength, and non-violence is my religion'.
He himself had lived this lifestyle and had taught the same to lakhs of people. Through Yoga, he had taught the art of a depression-free life to lakhs of people.
It is also a wonderful coincidence that International Yoga Day will be celebrated a day later. It will also be an opportunity for all of us to help in realizing Mahapragya ji's dream of 'happy family and a prosperous nation', and to convey his ideas to the society.
Acharya Mahapragya ji gave us another mantra. His mantra was - "Healthy person, healthy society, and healthy economy". Under today's circumstances, his mantra is a big inspiration for all of us. Today the country is moving forward with this mantra and self-determination.
I believe the notion of an ideal society and an ideal nation that our sages and saints have put before us will soon be accomplished by our country. You all will make that dream come true. May all of you be healthy and safe! And may you spread the message of Saint Pravar Acharya Shri Mahapragyaji to the new generations! With these wishes, thank you very much!