New Delhi, March 12: Prime Minister Narendra
Modi on Friday termed the Art of Living's World Culture Festival event
at the Yamuna flood plain here as an "art maha kumbh" and said India can
fulfill needs of the world through its cultural heritage only if there
is no constant internal criticism.
Speaking at the inaugural
event of the festival, which had run into and faced a case in National
Green Tribunal, Modi profusely praised the even as well as the Art of
In his speech AoL founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, took a dig at those who were opposing the event as his "private party".
course, it is my private party. The entire world is my family," he
said, recalling Sanskrit phrase "vasudhaiva kutumbakam", which means
"the world is one family", as one of the loftiest Vedic thoughts.
lashed the venue just before the inaugural event of the three-day
cultural extravaganza, throwing some preparations into disarray. The
show could not be screened on screens put up at the venue estimated to
be spread over 1,000 acres.
The evening saw chanting of Vedic
mantras, and Indian classical performances by thousands of artistes. The
Art of Living Grand Orchestra saw participation of an estimated 8,500
artists, organisers said.
Several international leaders
including from UAE and France took part in the event. A message was read
on behalf of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Modi began his address by terming Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as "param pujay gurudev" (revered guru).
said world was not only linked through economic interests but also
throuugh "human values." He said India has heritage which is needed by
"We can fulfill needs of the world in some ways but
we can do so if we have pride in our herigtage. If we keep criticising
ourselves, if we find faults daily, what will the world see towards us,"
He said Art of Living had spread to over 150
countries in its 35 years. Modi said AoL has helped shape a distinct
identity of India. "Today we have seen a kumbh festival. This is kumbh
mela of art," Modi said.
The Art of Living event on the Yamuna
flood plain has been slammed by some environmentalists for violation of
environment norms. The National Green Tribunal has imposed an
environmental compensation of Rs.5 crore on AoL for the event.
Modi also said that "soft power" plays an important role in international relations.
He said that practise of music has potential to influence mind.
we face resistance in life, we will need Art of Living, when we pursue
our dreams we need Art of Living and when we move from myself towards
the common cause of us, we need Art of Living," he told a large
gathering including a large number of participants and dignitaries from
various parts of the world.
Appreciating Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's
services in last 35 years, Modi said: "Once I was overwhelmed when I got
a grand reception in Mongolia at an event organised by Art of Living
Ravi Shanker, in his speech, made a veiled reference
to the criticism of the event and the challenges his organisation faced
and said when "something great is done, many obstacles come".
"It only indicates it is very very significant work we have undertaken," Ravi Shanker said.
"Let's create peace and harmony. Today it seems the dream of vasudhev kutumbakkam has come alive," he added.
Indo-Asian News Service