The Polite PM
It was indeed a pleasant meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Sri Narendra Modi at INA Marker, Singapore on the afternoon of 24 Nov. 2015. He met the INA veterans and their descendants. There was also a small selected group of invitees from different organisations in Singapore.
What surprised me was his utter simplicity in meeting with everyone!
Simply speaking a few words and enquiring about everything brought immense joy to all! Seeing his walking straight on the red carpet with brilliant strides brought to my memory the ancient Sanskrit line “pinjaraadiva keshari” – like a lion striding out of a cage! Perhaps my stay now in Singapore evoked the Singa – lion simile in my thoughts! Along with me Swamis Satyalokananda and Jitamanasananda from our Singapore Ashram were present at Netaji Memorial.
I thanked him for unveiling the 12 ft statue of Swami Vivekananda in Kuala Lumpur Ramakrishna Mission branch on Sunday, 22 Nov. in Malaysia.
I give below a slideshow of a few snaps at INA Memorial Marker taken by Bala. One photo was downloaded from this site of Sri N Modi. For your reference that photo is the last listed photo in that website page, taken by one of the India cameramen who accompanied Sri Modiji.
Today I am completing one week in the soil of Singapore! I am exhilarated to learn that only yesterday as it were, that is on the 12th June in 1893 Swami Vivekananda stepped into this great city! As Acharya Shankara says, “kaalah kreedati” Time sports in his famous Bhaja govindam– I find five months have gone by so swiftly after I left South Africa! The move from South Africa to Singapore was not on rosy petals! It had its own share of hiccups.
My last post was on 20th November 2014. Most of the readers of this blog knew that I was on the move on a pilgrimage tour of Ramakrishna centres in Europe. I left the shores of South Africa on the 30th December 2014 and landed in Belur Math on 14th February 2015.
The six-week sojourn before stepping back to India and again an eight-week post-arrival travels in South India were extremely hectic and I had no time to “sit and stare” at the computer!
It was heartening to see that many devotees, in the meantime started enquiring about my resumption of posts. I just wondered from where to start! From the ‘bidai’ of SA or from the ‘shuruAt’ of Singapore where I landed on the 6th June 2015.
One devotee’s suggestion came in handy. He said that I should give some space for my travels so far. My travels were in the nature of pilgrimage and hence the wonderful feelings that I experienced in all those places and in all those I saw would be worth recounting. Be as it may, now let me begin from Durban where I was given “Durga, Durga” !
I learnt to say “Durga, Durga!” after joining the Order by watching senior monks used to pronounce these two mystical words at the time of anyone’s departure. Later I found in Bengal this is customary. It appealed to me to say the name of the Divine Mother who protects every jiva than merely saying “bye, bye!” that lacks the spiritual import. Hence I taught the devotees in South Africa whichever branch I went, including children who fearlessly would say, at the time of my departure in loud voice “Durga, Durga!” .