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Opening Remarks by Ambassador at the Inauguration of India Swiss Ayurveda Summit in Geneva on February 16, 2019

Posted on: February 16, 2019 | Back | Print

Opening Remarks by Ambassador at the Inauguration of India Swiss Ayurveda Summit in Geneva on February 16, 2019

Good Evening everybody,

Hon’ble Swami Amarananda, Ladies and Gentlemen

Before I start, I would like to draw your attention to the developments in India. Today India is in mourning. On February 14, India was attacked. We lost 40 of our beloved security personnel in one of the deadliest terror attacks. Today, the nation is witnessing their funeral all over the country. I would like to read out from the words of condolences of the President of India. He said, “Strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Pulwama, J&K. Thoughts and prayers with the families of martyrs and wishing an early recovery to those injured. The entire nation stands united in the fight against the forces of terror and evil.” Prime Minister of India said, “We salute you, brave sons of Mother India. You lived for the nation and served the country with unparalleled valour. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. A grateful nation bows to the martyrs of Pulwama. A befitting reply will be given to the perpetrators of the heinous attack and their patrons. No force will succeed in disturbing peace, progress and stability of India.”

Statements of condemnation and condolences are pouring in from the leaders and people of all over the world. Most of the civilised world has expressed their support conveying that they stand with India in this painful moment. I received calls and messages from a large number friends of India in Switzerland and Lichtenstein sharing their condolences. 

Let’s start our event today by observing two minutes silence to pay tribute to the men who lost their lives in serving their motherland.

Thank you.

I thank the Ayurveda Information Cell of the Embassy, the Centre Védantique Genève and friends of India in Geneva for organising this Ayurveda event today in Geneva. I visited the Center last year to pay my homage to two of the greatest sons of India – Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. I am happy that today we are meeting here again under the banner of Ayurveda, which is a symbol of Indian spirituality.

Let me start by repeating a story that I said earlier at various Ayurveda events that we organised in Switzerland. A story in ancient history, when Alexander the Macedonian, after having crossed Persia, came to India, met a sage on the banks of the river Indus, who he referred to as a wise man, in Greek. This sage sat on a rock and spent all day staring at the sky. Alexander asked him what he was doing and the sage replied, "Experiencing nothingness.” The sage asked Alexander what he was doing. Alexander replied, "I am conquering the world.” Both laughed. For Alexander, the sage was wasting his one and only life experiencing nothingness! For the sage, Alexander was wasting his time trying to conquer a world that has no limits, with a sense of urgency that made no sense when one lives infinite lives. The fact, however is that, the empire that Alexander built collapsed within a few years of his death. But Indian spirituality continues to attract the world towards her.

Having spent over a year in this beautiful serene land of Switzerland and travelling across this country, I can say for sure that I see an India connect in every corner of this country. Whether it is Saas Fe where Swami Vivekananda spend a few days in 1896 or Montreaux where Mahatma Gandhi spend a few days with Nobel Laureate Romain Rolland in 1931, there is an India connect.

I am happy that today we are at a place which continue to spread the message of Swami Vivekandanda and his Guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. This Vedanta center is a place where the West continues to meet East. Great thinkers of the East and West find in the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekandanda, the universal truth and continue to pay tributes to them. The teachings of these two great sons of India and also that of the Swamis who’s photographs adore this hall are among the leading lights of India. 

Let me quote Mahatma Gandhi who said about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa " In this age of scepticism Ramakrishna presents an example of a bright and living faith which gives solace to thousands of men and women who would otherwise have remained without spiritual light. Ramakrishna's life was an object-lesson in Ahimsa. His love knew no limits, geographical or otherwise. May his divine love be an inspiration to all."

In last several months the Embassy has been joining hands with several partners in celebrating Ayurveda and Yoga in Switzerland. I am happy to mention that in 2019 -20 we are celebrating Year of India Tourism in Switzerland which would among other things focus on Yoga and Ayurveda.
We have a set of good presentations lined up for today. 

I wish you a fruitful day.

Thank you.