Ambassador of India to Austria honours Swamiji and His work
His Excellency T. P. Sreenivasan, who was the Ambassador of India to Austria for the last three and a half years, is soon going to leave Austria to attend to other duites. Being a great admirer of Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji, he visited YIDL's international seminar in Vienna/Austria on June 19th 2004 to bid farewell to Swamiji and His disciples. At this occasion the Ambassador gave a beautiful and inspiring speech in which he thanked and hounoured Swamiji for His tireless spiritual, social and humanitarian efforts in Austria and world-wide.
Speech of Ambassador of India to Austria, Mr. T. P. Sreenivasan
Respected Swamiji and guests from India, dear friends,
In two weeks we will leave Austria after being here for three and a half years. Time has gone very fast – our experience in Austria was very intensive; it seems to have been only a few days. The best experience we had here was to meet Swamiji, to receive his lessons and to spend some time with him. He has done more for Austrian and Indian relations than any ambassador can do. Swamiji speaks to your hearts. Also in other countries, internationally, Swamiji has done more than any Ambassador can do. So, we are thankful to him that he has brought the message of India here.
One hundred years ago Swami Vivekananda went to Chicago and he addressed the people of the US as, “brothers and sisters in America”, and that particular moment is still celebrated as the beginning of an interaction between east and west. India was re-discovered. The reaction of the west to the message that Swamiji Vivekananda brought was beyond all imagination.
So, after that, we have a number of people who have continued to bring the message of India. It is not a narrow nationalistic message – it is only in India that we pray every day for the goodness of the whole world. We don’t only pray to God to give us salvation, to make us happy, we always pray for all humanity, for the whole world. I think there is no other culture that prays every day for the whole world.
India has not produced great philosophers, we don’t have a Plato and Aristotle. They tried to find the truth. Indian thinkers did not attempt that; because truth is just there, to experience. Sat-chit-ananda is there, there is nothing to be discovered or found.
The Indian mind is universal, not only in religion. India's soul is connected with religion. India is a secular state, not in the sense of non-religious, but based on respect for all religions. Which means the tolerance of the Hindu religion. Our conviction is that there is no single path for salvation. You may follow any path, you may pray to any God. As long as your path leads towards truth, it is fine for Hinduism. The whole world is one family. All other religions also speak of brotherhood, respect, tolerance, but as long as you think that your path is the only one you have no real tolerance. Hindu religion believes that every path leads to the same truth.
We are able to extract the best of all religions. India is the second largest Muslim country after Indonesia. We have more Muslims than in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Even though Pakistan was established as a Muslim state, 125 million Muslims stayed in India. Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, every religion that has been created is represented in India. How is it possible for a country having all kinds of religions to be living in harmony? Because the concept of India is based on the Hindu concept, that every religion has its value and truth.
Today, India's message is all around the world. People come to India to search for a new awareness of truth. One’s life changes because of the intense experience there. It is a large country – we have passed the 1 billion mark already, and have the second largest population after China.
India has the second largest number of technically trained people after the USA. The “Information Revolution” has broken national barriers. It is much easier to communicate and interact with people. Today’s contribution of India to the world is the communication revolution. Brotherhood is becoming greater, and this is what India wants to create.
We have huge problems: poverty, water, roads, communication; but at the same time India has very rich people. About 300 million people are rich enough to own cars and televisions. India is a big land of diversity. Variety has been able to survive for centuries only because of this faith that we have, that all people are the same. This is the message that India gives us, and that is the message Swamiji is spreading.
We have seen the impact of Swamiji's message on an international level. Ambassadors come and go, Swamiji continues to stay here. We will always look forward to meeting him somewhere in the world, and the beauty of Austria will surely bring us back here again. We are looking forward to meeting Swamiji and his disciples again.
India is a country that has the ability to remain as a resource and an inspiration for mankind and this gives us the comfort that humanity has a great future!
Thank you for the warmness that you have given us here.