Monday, Dec 29, 2003
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This Day That Age
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vice-President of India, delivered the keynote address at the Holy Mother Sri Saradamani Devi Centenary celebration on the 27th at the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya in Perianaickenpalayam, Coimbatore. Dr. Rm. Alagappa Chettiar presided. Mr. T. S. Avinashilingam Chettiar, M.P., Director of the Vidyalaya, welcomed the gathering. The report of the activities of the Centenary Committee was read by Srimathi Rukmani Govindarajulu, one of the Secretaries. She said the Committee, composed mostly of women, had held women's meetings in various parts of the district to disseminate the message of the Holy Mother, and distributed books such as Sayings of Ramakrishna, and Andal Tiruppavai to all girls' high schools in the district. She said during summer an Annual Memorial Seminar for women on religious and cultural subjects would be organised. On December 20 talks were given on the lives and achievements of great Indian women such as Sita, Kannagi, Karaikal Ammaiyar, Andal, Meerabai and Saradamani Devi were presented by eminent speakers with Sir Kundrakkudi Swamigal presiding.
Dr. Radhakrishnan spoke on "Science and Democracy in Relation to Religion and Philosophy", and said, "The main factors of the present age are science and democracy. Nothing can escape scientific scrutiny theoretically, and nothing allowed practically if it is inconsistent with democracy. Science is non-dogmatic, open-minded, and empirical. Hindu religion has been empirical in approach. It does not ask us to believe anything on authority. When religion is empirical in the deepest sense of the term, it is possible for us to train our understanding and spirit, and witness the splendours of the world of spirit. Such an attitude results in universalism and toleration. Statements by seers on the spiritual splendours they experienced, are codified into scripture. This quality of God-realization was found among the rishis. When they took their stand on the concrete fact of spiritual experience, they were inevitably led to accept that spiritual experience is not limited to any particular religion, but is to be found among the followers of all religions. We are all members of the religion of God, though we might belong to this or that particular organisation, Christian, Mahomedan, or Buddhist. This great point of Hinduism has been brought home by Sri Ramakrishna in his life and works. Emancipation of women is a special contribution of our age, as true democracy has to give equal status to women. Sri Ramakrishna and Mahatma Gandhi helped significantly in this regard. We regard Saraswathi as the Goddess of Learning. Sri Ramakrishna worshipped the Supreme in the form of Mother. The Code of Manu says that where women are honoured, the Gods are pleased. Women are true missionaries of Love and Ahimsa. Sarada Devi lived for many years after Sri Ramakrishna passed away, and she was a great guide to his followers. Never did one go to her without being uplifted by her presence and instruction. She was the complete embodiment of wisdom, gentleness, and sweetness."
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