1. FESTIVALS: Ratha Saptami, the seventh day of Magha Shukla Paksha, falling on February 17 this year, is dedicated to Bhagwan Surya. The festival is of great importance at the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. It is said that the earth's inclination towards the sun is steepest on the Ratha Saptami day. Bhagwan Surya is believed to ride a chariot driven by seven horses – this form is worshipped during Rath Saptami puja and festival. A kolam or rangoli of Lord Surya riding a chariot is made on the ground and worshipped in many places. Another important ritual on the day is taking bath using Erukku leaves. This is followed mainly in Tamil Nadu. This year, Swami Vivekanand Saardha Shati Samaaroha Samiti has planned mass Surya Namaskars on this day. The program, to take place all over Bharat and also around the globe, is expected to see a count of several millions of suryanamaskars. MAHAKUMBH: More than 10 million people took the holy dip on Makar Sankranti, the first important bathing festival of the 55-day Kumbh mela at Allahabad. The Makar Sankranti snan started at 3am on January 14. Shahi snan by akharas is the mainstay of Kumbh. It was Mahanirvani akhara nagas who took the first dip. They were followed by Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Juna, Agni, Nirvani, Digambar and others. Held once every 12 years, the event could see up to 100 million people come to the point where the Ganga and Yamuna rivers converge with the mythical Saraswati river. The festival has its roots in a tradition that says Bhagwan Vishnu wrested from demons a golden pot containing the nectar of immortality. In a 12-day fight for possession, drops fell on earth, in the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujain and Nasik. Every 3 years a Kumbh is held at one of these spots, with the festival at Allahabad considered the holiest of them all.
2. A proud Nation remembers a proud Hindu Swami Vivekananda: Swami Vivekanand is best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. His 150th birth anniversary is being observed this year.
On January 11, people from all walks of life assembled at Swami Vivekanand’s ancestral house in north Kolkata early in the morning to pay homage. The Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur in Howrah, founded by Swamiji, marked the day with a special puja. A colourful procession weaved its way through the city with children donning saffron robes and turbans dressed up as little Vivekananda. A fibre-glass chariot mounted on a chassis built on the theme “Shaswata Bharat” (Eternal India) has begun its year-long tour through the state of West Bengal. A four-day celebration was organised by the Ramakrishna Math in Baranagar with the aim of empowering the youth through education, character-building and infusion of self-confidence. This was the Math where Swamiji and his 13 brother-disciples lived in penury between 1886 and 1892 after the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna. It was here again that Swamiji and his brother disciples performed the formal ‘Viraja Homa’ before taking up the life of a monk and conceptualised the idea of forming the Ramakrishna monastic order.
Inaugurating the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rashtrapati Pranab Mukherjee recalled for Vivekananda's teachings and said that they need to be spread across Bharat and the world with a full realisation of the powerful impact they have on the people of Bharat. Rashtrapatiji quoted A L Basham, the renowned British historian, and said about Swami Vivekananda "in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world". Swamiji said about the social responsibility of educated people that 'so long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them', Rashtrapati added. He also released a set of commemorative coins and stamps on the occasion.
Mata Amrutanandamayi, Predident of Swami Vivekananda-150 celebration commitee, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarasanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat and several other noted personalities graced Swami Vivekananda-150 Jayanti Samaroh inauguration ceremony at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on January 11.
RSS Mega convention ‘Swami Vivekanand Yuva Shivir’ began in Kolkata the same day, in which RSS Joint Gen Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale addressed a gathering of 12,000 swayamsevaks. Sarasanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat delivered the valedictory address on January 13.
The year long celebrations to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand were inaugurated on 12th January by a massive ‘Shobha Yatra’ in Delhi in which more than 15,000 persons belonging to various walks of life participated. The march started from Red Fort and covered Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Lahori Gate, Novelty Cinema, Delhi Railway Station and back to Red Fort (3.5 km). Thousands of residents of the area, business establishments, religious organisations, academic institutions etc. welcomed the Shobha Yatra by presentation of bouquets and spreading of flowers petals, etc. The whole route was decorated with banners and welcome gates.
The March was blessed by Poojya Amma Ma Amritanandmayi, Dr. Pranav Pandya of Gayatri Parivar, Shanta Atmanand of Rama Krishna Ashram, P Parmeshwaran of Vivekanand Kendra, Kanya Kumari, Pramila Tai Medhe, Swami Vivekanath of Valmiki Samaj, Swami Raghawanand, Swami Ritambhranand and many other prominent religious and social dignitaries participated in the Shobha Yatra.
A large number of tableaux depicting various aspects of life and message of Swamiji (like Awake Bharat & and Awaken the World, Rock Memorial, Rama Krishna Paramhans, Chicago lecture, etc) participated in the March. The Yatra was joined by a large number of students, business organisations, farmer associations, labour unions, women organisations, cultural groups, diverse religions groups, artists, etc.
In Kolkata, Vivekananda Yuva Utsav was hosted by the State to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary at Salt Lake Stadium. "The honest, idealistic youth should be the country's driving force," Mamata read out from the oath in the name of Swamiji and the spectators repeated after her. In a well-choreographed spectacular performance, Tollywood star Dev, dressed as Swamiji in his characteristic saffron robe and turban, led a group of 150 kids who too donned the costume of the spiritual leader, while compositions of Tagore and DL Roy reverberated in the background.
Noted Scientist Dr Kasturi Rangan & RSS top functionary V Nagaraj addressed a gathering of 20,000+ at Puttur near Mangalore on January 12.
In Jayanagar of Bangalore, Vivekananda-150 procession inspired the public, RSS Pranth Pracharak Mukund, ex-DGP Shankar Bidari, Actor Aniruddh addressed the gathering.
In more than 2800 colleges of Karnataka, Swami Vivekananda 150 Jayanti celebrations were held reaching the Young Bharatiyas meaningfully on National Youth Day. Special Vivekanda Quiz was organised in colleges of Bangalore in which nearly 400 students participated.
In Guwahati, two cultural processions were taken out, in which about 4,000 people took part. Moreover, about 150 students, who participated in the procession, were dressed like Vivekananda. While attending the inaugural function, the pro-vice chancellor of Tezpur University, Amarjyoti Choudhury, said, "I appeal to all sections of people, especially to the youths, to respond to the ideals of Swamiji, who dreamt for a vibrant and strong Bharat. Swamiji's ideal could be the panacea of all ills and I hope that a new Bharat will emerge if we follow his clarion call."
The celebrations were also held in all other parts of Bharat and across the globe with great devotion and fanfare.
3. I'm proud to be a Bihari, says Mauritius rashtrapati: Mauritius Rashtrapati Rajkeswur Purryag turned emotional and broke down a number of times while remembering his forefathers who sailed to an alien island some 150 years ago to work in the sugarcane fields there. He arrived in Wajidpur, Patna on January 6 along with his wife Aneetah Purryag and a few ministers to associate himself with his roots. Paying tributes to his great grandfather Lakshman Paryag, who went to Mauritius, and his brother Chawwa, who stayed back here, he said, "Their memory is embedded in my blood. My forefathers went to a distant place but kept Bihar and Bharat alive in their hearts."
Purryag said the relations between Bharat and Mauritius are not those of two nations but those of two brothers. Villagers Mahesh Prasad Nonia and his brother Ganesh are related to the Mauritius president. They touched Purryag's feet and presented him with a silver casket containing the village soil, a branch of paddy and a dhoti.
4. Diaspora meet ends: 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, the annual Bharatiya diaspora meet, concluded in Kochi on January 9 with Rashtrapati Pranab Mukherjee giving away the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman to 15 distinguished persons — including Mauritius Rashtrapati Rajkeswur Purryag — and organisations. Inaugurating the valedictory session of the meet, Rashtrapati Mukherjee urged the community of Non-Resident Bharatiyas to extend help to Pravasis in distress. He said that the contributions of the Bharatiya diaspora to the country’s development were praiseworthy. Over 2,000 delegates from 45 nations participated in the meet.
Mauritius Rashtrapati Purryag was the chief guest of the meet, which was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 8. Others who were awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman included Gurusharan Singh Chhatwal from Germany for science and Rasik Vihari Joshi of Mexico for literature. Gilbert Canabady Moutien from Reunion Island and Mohammad Karuvanthodi from Saudi Arabia received the Samman for business while Patricia Mario Rozario of UK got it for music and Narendra Ramakrishna Kumar for healthcare and Subash Razdan from USA and Ismail Ebrahim from South Africa were given the award for public service.
Satendra Kumar Singh from New Zealand, Australia India Society of Victoria, Bava Pandalingal from UAE, Ashokd Vaswani from Guinea, Bharatiya Doctors’ Forum, Kuwait and Tan Sri Ravindran Menon from Malaysia received the awards for community service.
5. NEED MORE opportunities to younger generation: Modi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said on January 9, Bharat which has largest number of youth population, should give them more opportunities and 'dream big'. Addressing delegates of the Gujarat state session at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Kochi through video conferencing from Ahmedabad, he described the younger generation as 'Yuva Sampath. "We should make them masters. We should provide them better work environment, make changes in rules and regulations, change our priorities, if needed, to ensure this," Stating that contribution of women in the agriculture sector was immense, he said "We need to make more efforts for women's empowerment. Fifty per cent of Bharat's population comprises of the fairer sex. If we can utilize their services to the maximum we can reach greater heights, he said.
The state was giving lot of thrust for infrastructure including development of power sector, gas grid, optical fibres, 24x7 uninterrupted power supply and as many as 18,000 villages had internet facility, he said.
6. A Hindu moment for (USA) Congress: Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, the first Hindu ever elected to the Congress, took her oath of office on the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita on January 3. Raised by a Hindu mother and a Catholic father in "a multiracial, multicultural, multifaith family," Gabbard was exposed as a child to both the New Testament and the Bhagavad Gita. As a teenager, she embraced a Hindu identity and took the Gita as her guide.
Gabbard said that Gita teaches her to try "to maintain her equilibrium in either success or failure." She "found great comfort and shelter in the Bhagavad Gita's message of the eternality of the soul and God's unconditional love."
7. DR. Mohan Bhagwat urges RSS workers to eradicate social evils: Dr. Mohan Bhagwat urged the RSS workers to come forward to bring about a positive change in the society and eradicate social evils.
Addressing a huge congregation of RSS workers ‘Pranth Ekatreekaran’ at Vivekanandpuram in Indore on January 6, he said: "Society needs heroes, who possess character and strong emotional bond with people and win their confidence to change the society for betterment without selfish interest."
Shri Bhagwat said: "Our independence came after a lot of struggle. Leaders sit in the Parliament in different groups and oppose each others' ideologies. But society needs brotherhood."
He said: "You all know that Bharat's border is unsecured and porous. Bharat does not harbour enmity against any country. However, the countries that are against us are trying to weave a web from all sides."
“China does not want Bharat to make progress and grow. It does not want Bharat to take a leading position in Asia, while Pakistan is known for its ill-will and enmity (towards Bharat) for no reason,” he told.
Shri Bhagwat said: "Many countries had vanished in a span of 50 years. However, India is surviving despite all odds and problems. No one has got powers to eliminate us." He added that only Hindutva could save the country from all its woes.
8. 58th national conference of ABVP: “Youth have the potential to change the system. They have done it in the past and can do again,” said RSS Sarkaryavah Bhaiyaji Joshi, while speaking at the concluding ceremony of ABVP’s 58th national conference in Patna on December 29. Shri Joshi also presented Prof. Yeshwantrao Kelkar Yuva Puraskar to Dr Prasad Vaman Deodhar of Maharashtra for his outstanding contribution in rural development. Dr Devdhar has contributed in development of biogas promoting the use of bio-agriculture. Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi was present on the occasion.
The national conference was organised at the premises of Jaiprabha Blood Bank, where a makeshift city was created after former RSS Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan. The main auditorium was named after Bal Apte Nagar. More than 3000 delegates from 28 states participated in the conference. Prior to the inauguration of the conference a grand procession was taken out in the city from Jaiprabha Blood Bank to historic Gandhi Grounds.
Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi further said the present economic policy is slowly destroying the coutnry’s economy. The blind use of fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid seeds is not only adversely affecting the health of millions, but is also eating out the rural market economy, which depends on indigenous way of agriculture. He also expressed concern over the negligence of villages and focusing on urban areas only for development. He said without the concentration on village economy the country cannot register the desired growth. He said Bharat will have to return to its villages.
Sushil Modi stressed the need that students’ organisations like the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad should work for initiating systemic change in the country.
RSS Sahsarkaryavah Suresh Soni said without understanding Swami Vivekananda it is wrong to think of balanced growth of the country. He called upon the youth to donate some of their time for society during this 150th birth anniversary of the great Bharatiya saint.
9. Akhil Bharatiya Adhibakta Parishad meet: The problems of North East as evident today emanate from the faulty policies of Britishers but sadly the current Bharatiya government is only furthering the divisive policies of the British Raj.
These views were expressed by a distinguished panel comprising Dr Krishna Gopal, RSS Sah-Sarkaryavah, Joydeep Roy, Senior Advocate Supreme Court and Anuradha Paul, Advocate. The panelists put forth their views on the topic “NorthEast and East—Legal perspective” in the three-day national conference of Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad at Bhubaneshwar.
While Dr. Krishna Gopal presented a genesis of the Assam problem, Anuradha Paul expressed grave concern that Bangladesh is becoming a safe haven for radical insurgent groups. She also took strong exception to a former BSF chief’s statement where he had advocated legalizing the cattle smuggling across the Bharat-Bangla border. Joydeep Roy, Advocate Supreme Court of Bharat said strong steps need to be taken to bring people from Andaman closer to the Bharat mainland. There is an urgent need to inquire that the 572 islands that are part of Andaman island chain are actually with Bharat.
The Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad is the largest organization of lawyers in the country. With the motto of ‘Nyaya Mama Dharma’ it is working all over the country.
10. $100 million worth Hindu temple built near Hollywood: One of the biggest Hindu temples in the US, built at a whopping cost of $100 million near the Hollywood city in Los Angeles, has become a major draw for its grandeur and environment-friendly design, since its inauguration. The 68th Swaminarayan temple of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) has been built using 35,000 pieces of meticulously hand carved Italian Carrara marble and Bharatiya pink sandstone. BAPS said that it is first earthquake-proof Mandir in the world and is expected to last for 1,000 years.
“The Mandir and Cultural Center will indeed be a place that Chino Hills can be proud of for so many, many generations,” Chino Hill Mayor Peter Rogers said, at the temple’s inauguration on December 23.
Using cutting edge technology to protect it from earthquakes, the temple encompasses five pinnacles, two large domes, four balconies, 122 pillars and 129 archways. The 6,600 hand-carved motifs depict a mosaic of tales of inspiration, devotion and dedication, along with historical figures from Hinduism. The Mandir also uses a solar power system to generate electricity and reduce adverse effects on the environment.
11. Shrikant Joshi is no more: Senior Sangh Pracharak and the man who is credited with reviving the Hindusthan Samachar multilingual news agency, Shrikant Joshi passed away in Mumbai on January 8 following a cardiac arrest. He was 76. He was cremated in Mumbai the same day at Dadar crematorium. His nephew, Narendra Joshi, performed the last rites.
Born on December 21, 1969 at Devrukh village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra Shrikantji did BA from Mumbai University. He also worked in Life Insurance Corporation for some time, while doing graduation. Later, he became a Sangh Pracharak in 1960 and was first posted in Nanded. After working in Maharashtra for some time, he, in 1963, was sent to Assam, where he worked continuously for 25 years, till 1987.
When the work of Swami Vivekananda rock memorial began in 1969, Shrikantji contributed while staying in Assam. He mobilised people from the entire North-Eastern region for that national yajna. He also played a key role in starting the educational activities among Vanvasis of north-east through Vidya Bharati. He started establishing contacts with the Seng Khasi leaders and with their help he expanded the Sangh work in Meghalaya. He got permanent Sangh Karyalayas in Guwahati, Manipur, Agartala, etc, established.
In 1987, he was entrusted the task of assisting the then RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Balasaheb Deoras. In 1994, Balasahebji relinquished the responsibility; Shrikantji continued to assist him till he breathed his last in 1996. Later, from 1997 to 2004, he was Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh and since 2004 he was a member of the RSS National Executive.
In 2002, he started the work of reviving the Hindusthan Samachar multilingual news agency, which had been closed down in 1975 following the government pressure. Today, the agency has offices in almost all regions of the country and its work in different Bharatiya languages is highly admired.
12. TRIBUTES to Dr. S R Rao, who passed away on January 3 at Bangalore. Dr. Rao was a doyen of Archaeology and every Bharatiya felt proud of him for the extraordinarily diligent work in Marine Archaeology and archaeological excavations he had done in Dwaraka and Lothal and his dedication to understanding Bharatiya heritage and culture. He also had carried out excavation work at north Gujarat’s Siddhpur based Rudramahal site amid protests of local Muslims. He had discovered a mandir within the structure of converted mosque. The world of scholarship misses a very eminent scholar.
13. 6th Vibrant Gujarat summit concludes: The sixth Vibrant Gujarat business summit concluded at the Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar on 12th January with Chief Minister Narendra Modi calling upon all the corporate honchos and the delegates from 121 countries to come here again for the next summit to be held in January 2015.
As in the opening ceremony, the concluding function too was marked by business leaders and foreign envoys singing paeans for Modi’s able leadership qualities and culture of implementation.
Prominent among those who spoke highly of Modi included Tata Group’s new chairman Cyrus Mistry, Torrent Group’s Sudhir Mehta, Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila and Ministers from several countries. Thailand’s Ambassador Pisan Manawapat announced that a direct flight would be started by Thai Smile Airlines between Ahmedabad and Bangkok from April this year.
Modi said that earlier Vibrant Gujarat summits have successfully accomplished the task of branding Gujarat as an attractive investment destination, but this one has created a bonding with the outside world — a priceless asset.
“Bonding is greater than branding,” Modi declared at the Mahatma Mandir convention hall packed with business leaders, foreign diplomats and trade representatives from as many as 121 countries across the globe.
Recalling that some of the foreign delegates are attending the Vibrant Gujarat summits year after year since 2003, Modi said that the event has created new ambassadors of Bharat in these 121 countries as they would now on talk nicely about Bharat whenever any reference comes up.
The event has been held in Gujarat, but the foreigners would remember visiting Bharat, said Modi emphasising that the delegates would go back with a different idea about the country this time. He said that such global meets are a step forward towards realising Swami Vivekananda’s dream of Bharat becoming the world leader one day, a goal which can be achieved by the country’s youth. It was for the first time in the world that people from 145 universities from all over the world met under one roof for discussions on knowledge sharing, Modi said about the meet held on the side-lines of the Vibrant Gujarat summit. Giving details about the summit, principal secretary Maheshwar Sahu said that the number of MoUs signed this time has gone up to 17,719 as against 8,380 signed during the 2011 summit.
14. 314 return to Hinduism in Andhra: 139 Christians from 34 families from 4 villages of Damaracherla and Neredduchela mandals returned to Hinduism in a Paravartan Ceremony held at Nalgonda of Andhra Pradesh on December 30, 2012. Another 175 practicing Christians returned back to Hinduism at Palakonda of Srikakulam District. The Paravartan (a religious programme where the converted people returns to Hinduism) ceremonies were organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Lockets of Lord Hanuman, framed photos of Lord Rama, and new cloths were distributed to them. There was a Sah-Pankti Bhojan (having food together in a mass, without caste-creed barriers).
15. CONFERENCE OF HEADS & CHIEFS OF ALL JATI & JANAJATI OF ODISHA: The two day conference of 1500 Mukhias of all Jati and Janajati of Odisha, arranged by Jati Janajati Sanskrutika Samaroha Samiti ended with much enthusiasm on 30th December’2012 at Rastrabhasa Prachar Samiti field, Bhubaneswar.
The home minister of Revered Dalai Lama Smt. Dalma Gayari addressed the meeting as chief guest and said that there is no caste among the Tibetians and they believe only in humanity. Famous social activist Dr. Krushna Gopal, being the chief speaker said that we will vow to-day to fulfill the dream of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and carry on his un-finished task.
The All Bharat joint Organising Secretary of Dharmajagaran Samiti Rajendra said that the place where Hindus have become minority in our country is prone to unrest and the demand for separation from Bharat starts to culminate there. Sudarsan Nayak, IAS said that every Janajati has it’s own pride and speciality. Research should be made on that to bring these into light for rest of the people.
President of the Samiti Sri Arun kumar Panda, the Sr. Journalist addressed the huge gathering and passed five resolutions - 1) Tribals shold not be treated as a subject of exhibition for tourists, 2) Tribal dance should be given classical status, 3) Janajati Mukhias should be recognized by the government, 4) Illegal cow transportation and cow slaughter should be banned, 5) Converted tribals should not be given reservation.
16. Include saints’ teachings in curriculum: Advani: The Union and State governments should take the lead in including the teachings and ideals of great saints and seers like Ram Krishna Paramhansa, Narayana Guru, Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda in the curriculum to enhance the education standards and spiritual quotient of posterity, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani has said.
Inaugurating the pilgrimage session of the 80th Sivagiri pilgrimage at the Sivagiri Math at Varkala, near here, on December 31, Shri Advani said that once the teachings of such eminent men became part of the curriculum, it would help develop selfless patriotic men of outstanding character. Spiritual quotient did not relate to any particular religion, but meant the ethical and moral standards of an individual and one’s capacity to control emotions. Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust president Swamy Prakasananda delivered the pilgrimage message. A. Sampath, MP; Varkala Kahar and Jameela Prakasam, MLAs; and Varkala municipal chairman K. Suryaprakash also spoke on the ocasion.
17. Assam’s khol players set new record: In a bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, close to 15,000 khol players (traditional players of khol or the drums) on January 6 played together at Titabor in Assam’s Jorhat district. The 15-minutes performance by the 14,833 khol players on January 6 entered the Bharat Book of Records and the organisers said that they would send the video recordings of the whole event to the Asia Book of Records and the Guinness Book of World Records for the much coveted Guinness recognition.
The 14,833 khol players gathered in Titabor since on January 5 from various places of the State. Clad in traditional Satriya dress — white dhotis with white cotton tops, chadors and white turbans — the players made it a scene. The khol, which is also known as ‘Mrdanga’ is a terracotta two-sided drum used in Northern and Eastern Bharat for accompaniment with devotional music. While in Assam during 15th century, Vaishnavite saint scholar Sankardev used khol in his plays and performing activities for spreading his devotional activities, the instrument is also found to be in use in some devotional music of Manipur and West Bengal.
18. Sant Sammelan AT CHENNAI: Congregation of Saints and Sadhus was held at Chennai on 5th Januaey . Hundreds of Sadhus and saints of Tamilnadu participated in the convention. Ashok Singal, International Advisor VHP along with Raghava Reddy, International President of VHP participated in the congregation. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swami of Kanchipuram Mutt presided over the convention. Addressing the gathering Shri Ashok Singhal said “Ours is a spiritual country. The real identity is the essence of our spirituality within. India is not the real name. Bharat is the real name. The new model of social life is of western culture which has been thrusted upon us by Britishers”.
Five Major resolutions on ‘No Masjid will be allowed in temple city of Ayodhya’, to enact anti-conversion laws’, ‘to put an end to caste conflicts’, ‘Prohibition of Cow Slaughter’, ‘Protect Sacredness of Holy River’ were passed.
The congregation strongly condemned the article published by ‘The Hindu’ denigrating Swami Vivekananda.
19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Mani Shastry, Prashant Mishra - USA, Ma. Dr. Balmukund Bhala – UK Teyasuvi Shukla – Thailand Pravas: Shri Ravikumar sahasamyojak Vishwa Vibhag would leave for his pravas to Singapore and Australia. Dr. Sadanand Sapre sahasamyojak would return after his pravas to Mauritius, South Africa and Kenya.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: There are many incompetent gurus, and that a true guru should understatnd the spirit of the scriptures, have a pure character, and be free from sin, and should be selfless, without desire for money and fame. -- Swami Vivekanandda.
JAI SHREE RAM
Difference in meaning of ‘Bharat’ and India and marriage as a sacrament and contract
Justice Dr. M. Rama Jois
It is really surprising that statements of Mohan Bhagwat on the above matters are being misinterpreted. The first statement when Bhagwat pointed out that rape takes place in ‘India and not ‘Bharat’, he only meant that women are worshipped as mother in Bharat as is evident from the words used in the convocation address to students in Taittiriyopanishad as ‘Matru Devobhava’ to wit mother is God incarnate who provides everything and gives protection to her children. Thus, women in Bharat is ‘Poojya Vastu’ [object of worship] whereas under western materialistic life style when Bharat becomes India she becomes ‘bhoga vasthu’ i.e., object of sexual pleasure and therefore rape or sexual onslaught on women takes place there which is a stark truth.
There such a difference between ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ is pointed out by greatest historian of the 20th century Dr. Radha Kumud Mukherjee as early as in 1954 in his book titled “Fundamental Unity of India” thus : The name Bharata Varsha is not a mere geographical expression like the term ‘India having only a physical reference. It has a deep historical significance symbolising a fundamental unity.
The Rig-Veda, one of the oldest literary records of humanity, reveals conscious and fervent attempts made by the rishis, those profoundly wise organisers of Hindu polity and culture, to visualise the unity of their mother-country, nay, to transfigure mother earth into a living deity and enshrine her in the loving heart of the worshipper.
Respect for womanhood has been the most cherished value of Bharat from times immemorial and therefore the very mentioning of that word conveys that feeling which may not be the position when the word India is used which at present is more influenced by western materialistic life style.
Then coming to the second statement of Mohan Bhagwat, he was only pointing out that marriage in Bharat is sacrament and not a contract which can be revoked or severed at any time according to the choice of husband or wife as the case may be. As far as the status assigned to women in Bharat, what he meant was the same as the eminent English author Kerry Brown in her celebrated book ‘Essential Teachings of Hinduism while answering the adverse comments made against the verse in Manu Smriti where it is said that at every stage of the life of a woman, it is the responsibility of males as father or husband or sons as the case may be, to protect her having regard to the fact that she is a woman. No answer or argument can be more forceful as made by Kerry Brown at para 238 of her book thus:
In Hinduism a woman is looked after not because she is inferior or incapable but, on the contrary, because she is treasured. She is the pride and power of the society. Just as the crown jewels should not be left unguarded, neither should a woman be left unprotected. No extra burden of earning a living should be placed on women who already bear huge responsibilities in society; childbirth; child care, domestic well being and spiritual growth. She is the transmitter of culture to her children.
Marriage and family life have always been an integral part of spiritual growth, not a means of self-gratification. It is the second stage in the four stages of life leading to perfection, following that of the celibate student and preceding retirement and full renunciation. Therefore, the romantic view of marriage is not accepted. The couple are spiritual partners, each supplementing the other as they proceed towards the ultimate goal. Marriage is lived in a spirit of discipline, duty and service.
No one not even those who are opposed towards RSS can deny that RSS respects every woman as equal to mother and marriage as a sacrament and a permanent bond as declared in Manu Smriti that “Mutual fidelity and love is the Dharma to be observed by husband and wife throughout their life”. [Manu Smriti.9-101]
I have been in RSS since when I was aged 13 years and I am fully conversant with the principles and ideals of RSS and no amount of misinterpretation can mislead me or those who know what is true about RSS.
What Mohan Bhagwat meant was that these fundamentals or basic structure of Bharatiya family life which constitute the foundation of our National life should be kept intact not withstanding the important role of women in every sphere of National activity at present. -- January 7, 2013 (Justice M RAMA JOIS is a Member of Parliament, Former Chief Justice and Governer)