Speech given by Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri at Tirumala Hills on November 10, 1964
Source: Selected Speeches of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1974 – Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2018
The evening’s function is for this place undoubtedly an important one. Lord Venkateshwara lives here and whenever one comes here he gets peace of mind and some kind of solace in his heart.
It is good that sometimes we politicians should come here and get some relief from our day-to-day activities which are full of conflicts, rivalries and competitions. If you take time away from your daily activities and come to a peaceful place like this, it gives you immense relief and also perhaps puts you in a better position to work for the welfare of your countrymen or for running the administration either at the Centre or in the States.
Andhra Pradesh is a prosperous State. It is rich in agriculture, minerals and forests. But I did not fully realise that their Gods are also richer than others. And Krishnappaji says Lord Venkateswara is the richest of all. God is neither rich nor poor. But it is for us—those who are the devotees—to see to it that every pie that comes to the temple should be properly utilised and I am glad to note that the management of this temple is the best.
The Government of India is seriously considering as to what steps should be taken for the better management of the temples in all the States. We had set up a committee with Dr. C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer as the chairman to make recommendations in this regard. They have made very careful recommendations—positive recommendations—but we want to go ahead with them without hurting the sentiments of the people, especially the religious-minded people. When things can be managed well at Tirupati—it gives help and relief to the devotees and also provides funds for social welfare—why then should it not be possible for other temples to adopt the same course ?
Mysore has done well to set up their cottages, etc. here. Now they propose to put up these new buildings which will have 90 rooms. Do not try to build superstructure here in Tirupati. Let the buildings be simple and useful. Do not convert Tirupati into a big city like Bangalore. It should remain a quiet place. At the present moment we rush from one place to the other. We are not satisfied with the trains, and we switch over to aeroplanes. We are not satisfied with dakotas, viscounts and now you will have jet planes. They will travel at speeds of 400 to 600 miles per hour. So there is no end to speed. But the real objective is a peaceful life, a peaceful mind.
Whether you adopt Karma Marg, Bhakti Marg or Gyan Marg, Gyan, Bhakti and Karma remain the means to achieve the highest objectives. There are few Gyanis, knowledgeable people, who attain perfection only with the help of their knowledge, their Gyan, their Vidya. They can see unity in diversity not with their own eyes—physical eyes—but they see within themselves. Similarly, a Karmayogi with selfless motives does not bother much about the consequences. He does his duty and leaves the result to God. But for weaker people like us, even if you work in the political field or social field or in any other field of activity, if you want to achieve success, if you want to discharge your responsibilities fully, there has to be a combination of devotion and action, of Bhakti and Karma. These places are good for us as we get peace of mind here.
I know that religion in the past has done wonders in the country, not from religious point of view but even from political point of view. It has been the source and means of complete integration of India. Thousands of people go from different parts to Prayag, Allahabad, to have a dip in the Sangam. Similarly thousands of others go to Rameswaram, the southernmost point of our country and to the place of Lord Venkateswara.
If religion is practised in its proper from it can not only give real satisfaction to the individuals but it can also bring about a great change and revolution in the whole country. Darshan of God is all right as a source of great solace. But darshan within is also important. We just have the darshan of Lord Venkateswara, we are happy for a moment and as soon as we come out we deliberately or with some ulterior purpose or motive do things which are against the rules of morality. Religion has to be practised both from without and from within. It has both to be external and internal. I am very glad that there is such a desire in the country at the present moment. Especially our younger generation—I am referring to the Hindus—must know something of the Geeta, of Mahabharata and Ramayana, How many of our younger people, especially boy students, have read the whole Geeta, the whole of Ramayana and the whole of Mahabharata? They have not. They do not do it. And Gandhiji once said that “I do not consider that boy to be a Hindu who has not read the whole of Ramayana and the whole of Bhagavad Geeta. In fact, he insisted that every Hindu boy should learn Sanskrit so that he can read Bhagvad Geeta and Mahabharata. It is important that we should lay special emphasis and stress on the values of life. While we worship and go to the temples, we should translate the philosophy of life and the preachings of our great seers and sages into action, into our day-to-day life.
It seems Mysore was a rich State in the past and therefore it agreed to pass over this temple to Andhra Pradesh. So as they were rich, they had to part with their riches. In the present day world, there is no way out except to build a society in which there will be equitable distribution of wealth. We cannot all be equals. There is diversity and there are differences. What is needed is equitable, fair and just distribution of wealth. It will keep the people happy and also make life worth living.
I am indeed very happy that I have been able to visit Tirupati and I had the darshan this morning. Whenever I get an opportunity I shall indeed like to come here and derive real solace and real satisfaction.