Statements Statements

International Gita Mahotsav


14 January2019

H.E. Acting President of Mauritius Mr. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory

Hon. Minister of Arts and Culture of Mauritius Mr. Prithvirajsing Roopun

Hon. Parliamentary Private Secretary Rajcoomar Rampertab

Gita Manishi Swami Gyananadaji

Swami Pranavanandaji

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

It is very humbling for me to be here today among such a distinguished gathering of luminaries, eminent scholars, teachers and gurus and devotees at the launch of this unique event, the Gita Mahotsav in Mauritius at this beautiful venue.

Today’s event follows the previous such Gita Mahotsav held a couple of months ago in Kurukshetra Haryana, where Hon. President of Mauritius was the Chief Guest.

I had the privilege of attending the recent Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations held in Varanasi last month, where Hon. Prime Minister of Mauritius was the Chief Guest, and where he announced that Mauritius will hold this Gita Mahotsav. His announcement had been greeted with much enthusiasm and joy.

We know how closely Hon. Actg. President Mr. Vyapoory has personally been involved in hosting this very special event. We thank Hon. President and Hon. Minister for Arts and Culture for their active support that has made this event a reality today.

Later this afternoon, the Hon. Chief Minister of Haryana Shri Manohar Lal will arrive in Mauritius as the special guest of this Mahotsav. His participation will provide a great encouragement.

Hosting of this Gita Mahotsav in Mauritius is yet another reflection of the deep bonds between our two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am a mere diplomat. Certainly not a scholar about Gita.

It is very difficult for me to decide what to say in front of such a distinguished and learned gathering.

Gita is very widely familiar, to scholars and in at least some measure to devotees alike, not only in India or Mauritius.

It is remarkable, how a text compiled more than two millennia ago has guided and shaped intellectual and spiritual thought through centuries and continues to live among us today and inspire millions.

The dramatic context of Gita, which is set within the grand narrative of Mahabharata is well familiar to all of us. It is set in a battlefield with battle lines clearly drawn for a major catastrophic war.

What follows is a remarkable Dialogue, a sustained question and answer session that goes on to clarify moral conflict and doubts and fears of the main protagonist.

Along the way this dialogue seeks to resolve many other conflicts at various different levels. The core messages are both complex as also simple, easily understood by masses.

It seeks to resolve disputes among and reconcile various currents of philosophical and religious schools of thought that would have existed at the time of its compilation.

It talks about different paths – paths of knowledge, devotion and action.

It does not call for renunciation. It offers a theory of action, action that is detached from desire or expectation of results.

It represents the essence of vedic thought, a fundamental way of seeing the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the millennia, many scholars have written detailed commentaries on Gita. Scholars like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhava from different parts of India wrote profound commentaries on Gita nearly a thousand years ago.

They were followed by other scholars who wrote compositions on Gita in many regional languages in Marathi and Oriya for instance.

During colonial times, Europeans discovered Gita and it was translated into English and other European languages and introduced to the wider world.

Swami Vivekananda, after whom this hall is named, famously delivered Gita’s universal message as a reconciliation of different spiritual traditions in 1893 in Chicago.

Several Indian national leaders drew inspiration from Gita during our struggle for independence, each according to their own circumstance and interpretation.

Gandhiji highlighted its allegorical meanings referring to our continuous internal struggles and moral conflicts. He stressed Gita’s non-sectarian message, especially that of non-violent struggle.

Gita has continued to guide and inspire devotees, scholars, poets and philosophers alike.

Gita is a remarkable Dialogue. One that seeks to answer dilemmas of human condition. One that has an enduring appeal.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This event is indeed very welcome in these times where there continues to be suffering and conflict.

We look for guidance from our Gurus who can make Gita’s meanings and messages more accessible for devotees and common persons.

In conclusion, I would again like to thank the organisers for this wonderful initiative.

I am confident that this will help contribute to enriching a greater understanding of a very special heritage.

Thank you.

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