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Swamiji unites Singh & rival

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 15.05.05
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New Delhi, May 15: Manmohan Singh and L.K. Advani today put aside their political differences when they came to honour a man they both admired ? Swami Ranganathanandaji, the head of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission who died last month.

This is the first time the Prime Minister and the leader of Opposition met after the BJP decided to boycott Parliament.

“They exchanged pleasantries,” the Prime Minister’s Office said, adding that “the occasion certainly did not warrant any political talk”.

Speaking at the condolence meeting, Advani said: “When we were in the room, I told the Prime Minister that we both are fortunate that we know the swamiji from Karachi and had regular contact with him.”

Singh and Advani were both born in Pakistan.

Singh said Swami Ranganathanandaji was regarded by his disciples as the second Vivekananda.

“He was an unusually gifted individual, a teacher, a scholar, a sage, a companion of the needy and above all, a deeply religious person and a true humanist in the best traditions of Indian culture and civilisation.”

The Prime Minister suggested that the Ramakrishna Mission should publish his writings and preserve the audio-visual tapes of his lectures so that future generations could be “equally enlightened and enriched by his wisdom, grace and compassion”.

Singh recalled attending his lectures and being “engrossed by his voice and thoughts which gave a glimpse of his vast storehouse of knowledge. In his presence, one was far away from the worries of our mundane existence”.

Advani too said he had attended several of Ranganathanandaji’s discourses in Karachi where he was the head of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission from 1942-1948. He came to know Swami Ranganathanandaji personally much later when he went to see him with a colleague from the VHP. Since then, he had always kept in touch with the seer, Advani said.

The Opposition leader said those who worked for the country, whether it was Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi or Atal Bihari Vajpayee, all drew inspiration from Ranganathanandaji.