Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), March 4 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said India is a land of faith and spiritualism that gives the country a “certain determination” and “resolve”.
Speaking at the Isha Yoga Centre here on the occasion of Mahashivratri, he said: “Faith and spiritualism also give India a certain determination and an inner resolve. Among our festivals, Mahashivaratri is one of the most endearing, enduring and significant.
“Millions of devotees celebrate this festival as a day to introspect and reflect upon the values synonymous with Lord Shiva.”
He also said probably no other nation has as many diverse festivals and celebrations.
Citing Hindi poet, Rashtra Kavi Maithilisharan Gupt, he said that ordinary human beings lead an honest life, seeking only what rightfully belongs to them, while those who are depraved, live by snatching from others.
“And the truly immortal ones, like the gods in heaven, have access to nectar — that is, they live with the best of everything available to them.
“But Shiva, the all-pervasive and benevolent one, takes upon himself to clear away the poison – that is, sorrow, suffering, negativity, grief, etc. present in the world,” Kovind said.
According to the President, the poem refers to how Lord Shiva swallowed the poison that emerged during the the churning of the ocean in Hindu mythology.
“Literally, these lines refer to the act of Shiva consuming poison that emerged during the ‘Samudra Manthan’ in order to save creation. Consuming that poison made his throat turn blue, giving him the name Neelkanth,” he said, adding that a worthy life is one that is lived in the service of others and that was the message of Neelkanth.
“Consistent with his message, each one of us should strive to serve humanity in whatever way it is possible,” he said.
Referring to Lord Shiva’s Ardhanareeshwar form – half male, half female, Kovind said both masculine and feminine aspects need to be in balance for a human personality and for a society to prosper.
“Today the entire world talks of women empowerment. But emphasising it has always been a part of our cultural ethos,” he said.
He also said devotees have built temples for Shiva from Afghanistan to China, Japan and Vietnam in the past.