BJP leader inaugurates Sivagiri pilgrimage session

The Union and State governments should take the lead in including the teachings and ideals of great saints and seers like Sree Narayana Guru, Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna 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 Monday, Mr. 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.

Spiritual quotient

The intellectual and emotional quotients alone were not the yardsticks for assessing the capability of an individual. The spiritual quotient too was equally important, he said.

Complimenting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s announcement that Guru’s teachings would be included in the State’s curriculum, Mr. Advani said that all levels of governance should take a cue from this announcement and make it an integral part of their educational system.

Mr. Advani reminisced his association with Guru’s teachings since his age of 16. An ardent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker, he learnt the name of Guru from the morning prayers he used to recite daily. Guru’s interpretation of caste was not as a dividing factor. The touchstone for assessing an individual should be his character and not his caste. The pilgrimage taught to be selfless and practice austerity in life, he said.

Social changes

Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, in his presidential address, said that he would take up the issue of including Guru’s teachings in the curriculum with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and would elicit the support of Mr. Advani too. He would immediately write to Mr. Singh on the issue. The pilgrimage was an inspiration to herald social changes, mainly to get rid of the hatred emanating from casteism.

The country had not yet come out of the shackles of caste system, but the social changes brought about by the thousands of Sivagiri pilgrims had helped reduce the intensity of hatred, an outcome of casteism, he said.

Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellapally Natesan who was a guest of honour, said that no one needed to doubt about the godliness of Guru. It need not be proved and assured by a court too. Though the government had been liberally granting holidays even for insignificant occasions, it had not declared a day’s holiday for the Sivagiri pilgrimage. It was unfortunate, he said.

Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust president Swamy Prakasananda delivered the pilgrimage message. Pilgrimage committee secretary Swami Guru Prasad welcomed the gathering.

A. Sampath, MP; Varkala Kahar and Jameela Prakasam, MLAs; and Varkala municipal chairman K. Suryaprakash spoke. Trust general secretary Swami Rithambarananda proposed a vote of thanks.

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