Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has said that he is confident that India will revive its past glory and become a world leader in the near future, given its strong base in spiritual and traditional values. The current situation in the country makes many people feel unhappy. “But I am not depressed. I have full faith in India.’’

He was speaking as chief guest at the 60th birthday celebrations of spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi at her math at Amritapuri, near Kollam, on Thursday.

Prefacing his speech by saying a few sentences in Malayalam, which was greeted with applause by the audience, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate said he was at the venue not as Chief Minister or politician, but as “Ammayude oru bhakthan” (a devotee of the Mata). Seeking her blessings, Mr. Modi said he considered himself fortunate by participating in the celebrations.

Switching over to English and later Hindi, Mr. Modi said he felt that the 60th birthday of the Mata marked the laying of the foundation stone for a new India. Condemning the recent terrorist attacks across the world, Mr. Modi said: “While on the one side, the river of blood is flowing, on the other side, we have a river of love originating from Mata Amritanandamayi.” Modern India must dwell deep into its vast spiritual and traditional values for the development of the country and illumination of the minds of the people. But the spiritual strength of the country can be of real use only if its people practise the principles highlighted in the ancient texts and scriptures of India.

Mr. Modi was all praise for the welfare activities carried out by the Mata.

Among the speakers were Philipose Mar Chrysostom, senior Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh general secretary Bhaiyaji Joshi; Swadeshi Jargan Manch leader S. Gurumurthy; the high priest of the Nagore Dargah Mohammed Masthan Khalifa Sahib; Sivagiri Madhom president Swamy Prakashananda; Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan; Bharatiya Vichara Kendram director P. Parameshwaran; and Nobel laureate Leland Hartwell.