Sunday, May 9

Belur ‘homecoming’: PM Narendra Modi visits, meditates in Swamiji’s room, pays tribute to Ramakrishna

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who stayed the night at Belur Math, spent Sunday morning meditating and praying in Swami Vivekananda’s room. He described his Belur Math visit, the second one after he became Prime Minister, as a “homecoming”.

The evening before, he had requested his room be kept in its usual spartan state. In the morning, Modi came out of the international guest house clad in a dhoti in a style typical of the monks at the ashram and walked towards Swamiji’s room to pay him a floral tribute on his birth anniversary. The room, which is kept open for visitors only on his birthday, is where Vivekananda meditated and spoke to his fellow monks. “Today on Vivekananda Jayanti and National Youth Day I am at the Belur Math including the room where Swamiji meditated,” Modi tweeted.

Though a battery-operated golf cart had been kept on stand-by, Modi chose to walk on campus. He visited the main temple, which has a statue of Ramakrishna. Dedicated in 1938, the temple was designed by Vivekananda’s disciple Vijnanananda. Modi paid tribute to Ramakrishna and prayed there. Leaving the temple a while later, Modi joined the monks and walked towards the Vivekananda birth centenary programme stage.

“I had the fortune of spending a night here. Coming to Belur Math is like opening old chapters of my life,” Modi said in his speech.

When Modi had wanted to join the Ramakrishna Math and Mission as an ascetic during the 60s, former president of the Mission Swami Atmasthananda had asked him to pursue life in the service of the people. Addressing the brahmacharis (ascetics) in the audience, the PM said, “I had a similar state of mind which you have now. Most of us get drawn to this place because of Vivekananda’s ideals and his personality. Maa Sarada exuded a mother’s love to me. All the brahmacharis here must have felt the same.”

Talking about Vivekananda, Modi said the country’s youth has been part of the sankalpa (oath) Vivekananda had. “India is gifted with the power of the youth. The country has also taken sankalpa. It is not sankalpa of the government alone, but of the people,” Modi added.

Modi then visited Ma Sarada Devi temple and Swami Brahmananda temple, after which president of the Math and Mission Swami Smaranananda gave him a “prasadi” flower. “The thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna emphasise furthering harmony and compassion. He believed that a great way to serve God is to serve people, especially the poor and downtrodden,” the Prime Minister tweeted later.

Before he left the temple, Modi posed for a group photograph with the monks.


Source: Times of India

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