Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hema Malini / Pranab Mukherjee at Lord Chaitanya Festival

Agra/Mathura: President Pranab Mukherjee, clearly at pains to reiterate his anxieties on rising intolerance in the country, especially after Dadri, on Wednesday spoke about Chaitanya's arrival in Vrindavan some 500 years ago and wondered if tolerance and "acceptance of dissent" are on the wane in India, a country, he said, has "amazed" the world in the past with its unity in diversity. "People should learn from Sri Chaitanya," he said.

Addressing a gathering of more than a thousand people, including ascetics, scholars and Krishna devotees, at a function organized to celebrate the 500th year of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's advent in Vrindavan's Parmeshwari Devi Dhanuka Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Mukherjee said there are seven major religions being practised in India, more than 100 languages are spoken here and over 1,600 dialects are used in the country — an excellent example of unity in diversity.

"Living with diversity, finding unity in diversity has been practised in India for centuries. This has amazed people across the globe — how India, in one system of administration, in one Constitution, in one way of legal jurisprudence and functioning, has managed to remain united," he said.

The President laid emphasis on civilizational values as the reason for the country living together with 128 crore people, the second largest population in the world, representing almost all major religions of the world.

"All three major ethnic groups, Dravidians, Caucasians and Mongoloids, live in one piece of land. In the whole of north-eastern India, you will find concentration of Mongoloid people. The whole of south India, you will find Dravidian people and in north and north-west, (there are) people belonging to Caucasians group. All these major ethnic groups live in one state. It has been possible because of our cultural values, civilizational values, which have been taught to us over centuries and which has descended on us and we have nurtured it, which is a part of life and therefore it is no cliche to us," the President added.

Ever since the Dadri lynching and subsequent events, Mukherjee has been repeatedly appealing for tolerance and pluralism.

Citing teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a revered monk and a reformer in medieval India, he said that people should learn the lesson of love, service, humanity and communal harmony from the saint who devoted his life to society. The event was also attended by UP governor Ram Naik, Mathura MP Hema Malini, leader of UP Congress legislative party Pradeep Mathur.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was also expected to attend the programme, left Vrindavan soon after welcoming the President at the helipad. A souvenir highlighting Radha Tattva, a Vedic concept defined by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was also released on the occasion.

Source: Times Of India Dated: Nov 18, 2015


Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh), Nov. 18 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee, who attended the celebrations of the 500th year of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent in Vrindavan today, said that the great saint was one of the greatest exponents of the Bhakti movement.

The celebrations were organised by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Brij Vrindavan Arrival 500th Anniversary Mahotsav, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached love, equality, humanity and harmony. He urged the people to adopt this message of the great saint and recharge the society.

President Mukherjee said Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was one of the greatest saints of the Bhakti movement.

“He was responsible for the popularity of Vaishnavism in Bengal through his Kirtans, which were unparalleled in lyricism and beauty. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached and spread loving devotional service and congregational chanting through personal demonstration. He propagated the cult of devotion by personally practicing it,” he said.

The President said living with diversity and finding unity in diversity has been practised in India over centuries.

“Many people wonder how it is possible for India to accommodate so much diversity within one system of administration, one Constitution and one legal jurisprudence,” he said.

The President said the answer lies in our civilisational values.

“India’s unity has been possible because of our cultural and civilisational values. We have inherited these over centuries and have nurtured it. It is now a part of our life,” he added.

President Mukherjee said Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings continue to have great relevance in the contemporary world.


Hema Malini, the local MP, was the most unabashedly devotional in her remarks. She began with “Radhe Radhe!” She also started her talk with a verse from Chaitanya Chandramrita. She was the only speaker other than the hosts to recite a Sanskrit verse:

tasmai mahā-prema-rasa-pradāya
caitanya-candrāya namo namas te

I offer my obeisances unto Sri Chaitanya Chandra, whose body is the embodiment of an ecstatic pastime, whose beauty is divinely beautiful, a picture of golden light, and who is the giver of the highest taste of supreme love of God. (Caitanya-candramrtam)

Hema remarked that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s visit had set into motion the growth and development of Vrindavan-Mathura and that she was committed to the advance of the people of the district, especially in preserving and spreading the cultural contributions of the region. She also remarked that she has a special feeling for Radha Raman since Gopal Bhatta heralded from Srirangam, where she herself was born.

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