narendra modi

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N.S.VenkataramanEver since Indian Prime Minister Narendra  Modi   recently  meditated in Kanyakumari in southern tip of India  for 48 hours, the concept of meditation has become subject of debate and animated discussion not only in India but in other  parts of the world  as well. While the sworn critics of Mr. Modi called his meditation  exercise as a mere photo shoot ,   discerning observers do not share such negative view and think that it is a meaningful and significant  mental  exercise of  Mr. Modi , that should not be belittled  and such belittling certainly  amount to uncharitable criticism.

For thousands of years, deep thinkers   all over the world have resorted to prolonged meditation  from time to time , observing silence  and  with detached outlook , to understand the concept of human life , particularly introspecting on the origin of birth and destination after death. 

While the concept of meditation  has been evolved and  advocated  for over several centuries in India apart from  prayer to God in equal measure,  , it appears that  in other parts of world,  resorting to prayer  to God   has been stressed,,  much more than the meditation exercise.

Difference between meditation and prayer:

There is subtle difference between meditation and prayer.

In the case of meditation, the upper most thought in  mind is the query about origin and end of life and   with sustained efforts to discover the TRUTH  within oneself.  The meditation exercise lead one to conclude as to how futile is the life process itself , leading to the view that  chasing material benefits  in life process  is   similar to the  act of chasing the shadow endlessly.

 Meditation enable  individual  to  feel the bliss  of    Superior Force.  which   some  deep thinkers  say is within . Certainly, the meditation exercise with deep introspection enable the person to   develop a feeling of detachment over the happenings around   and shed the ego and facilitate  a mindset  with  ill will for none.

On the other hand, when prayers are offered by individuals in temples, mosques, churches or gurudwaras, the concept is one of total surrender to the Almighty ,praying for removing hardships  and  providing benefits in life process and ultimately praying for reaching the feet of God  

The subtle difference   between meditation and prayer is  that  during meditation, the individual undergoes a deep thought process to understand the  “ facts of life”  and  elevating the thought process to a very high level. There is no self interest while meditating .In the case of those who offer prayer , there is generally an element of self interest  too, even as religions advocate that prayers combined with a virtuous life  is the way forward.


Way to attain mental peace :

The philosophy  of Hindu religion and  philosophy of other religions do not ask individuals to sit on meditation or offer prayers all the time in life. But, on the other hand, what religions advocate is to lead a life of goodwill for everyone that will lead to mental peace  and   enable the individual to attain a feeling of BLISS ( what is called as Ananda in Hindu religious text).

While prayer to God  is one way of striving for mental peace , meditation is the other and possibly superior and  more intense way of achieving this mental state.

Teachings of Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi on meditation :

Bhagawan Sri  Ramana Maharshi, one of the great Hindu philosophers who lived in 20th century and stayed in Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India almost throughout his life , told everyone to introspect and meditate on “who am I “.

This introspection  should be  the single  and only  theme  while carrying out the meditation exercise.  During meditation  time, certainly, the mind is not closed , as human mind cannot be closed at all at any time. Instead of attempting to close the mind, the next possible step is to introspect on who am I , during which thought process , the events in the world are not focused and the focus is on understanding and realizing “ultimate truth”


Need to cultivate meditation practice :

In human life, the matter  of utmost importance is to target to attain mental peace ,which is not possible if one were to focus all the time   throughout the life  on  pursuing a target to achieve material benefits or physical pleasure. However, it is futile to expect that any normal  human can lead a life without looking for such material oriented targets to be achieved in life time,  for whatever it is worth.

At the same time, even with the   materially oriented life process, an attempt can be made to reach a state of mental peace too. For this to happen and as one gets advanced in the ageing process when the crave for mental peace become more intense and dislike for material benefits become more pronounced , elevation of mind to higher level  become vital. This cannot be done suddenly  in   advanced  age  without cultivating meditation as a practice from young age.

Obviously, it is necessary that everyone should make meditation as a regular exercise  in everyday life for a few minutes or more and tune the mind to think on higher plane.  In other  words,  meditation exercise   can commence at any time in life, even when one is young. This meditation exercise has to become a regular practice , with clear realization about the value of meditation and its significance.

Mr. Modi’s meditation :

After  addressing more than 200 public meetings and participating in nearly more than 70 road shows and giving more than 60 interviews to media houses during the recent election campaign in India, India’s Prime Minister   Modi went for meditation   for 48 hours,  sitting in Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari , where the great Indian philosopher Swami Vivekananda meditated over one hundred years back. 

Mr. Modi could not have found time in his very busy day today schedule   to introspect  by sustained meditation   and must have decided to give himself 48 hours exclusively for meditation  ,  after completing  the intense election campaign.

Obviously, Mr. Modi wanted to detach himself from the worldly affairs by meditation  focusing on higher aspects of life process, with deep introspection about the ultimate purpose of life. Certainly, Mr. Modi is entitled to act as per his inner call for meditation  like any  other persons. Questioning Mr. Modi’s meditation by others  is unwarranted.

After meditating , Mr.  Modi has returned back to normal life but still this meditation exercise must have brought in his mindset a greater determination to do universal  good for every man and woman  and other creatures  and lead a life  with  ill will for none.

The one criticism which seems to have impressd some people is as to why  Mr. Modi permitted  to be photographed while sitting on meditation exercise.

The possible explanation would be that Mr. Modi wanted to spread the message about the importance of meditation , so that others   would follow  and emulate him.  There is nothing wrong   about such an objective.

In this connection, it should be noted that when Mr. Modi launched Clean India Campaign, he took the broom himself and started cleaning the ground. to set a  personal example.  When Mr. Modi launched yoga programme , he  himself participated in the yoga exercise. , On both these occasions, Mr.Modi was photographed  which was  widely publicized , , obviously  with the view to spread the message ,  so   that others can emulate him,.


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