UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has once again spoken of the inspiration he draws from the Bhagavad Gita, especially to guide him through the difficult decisions that lie ahead as the country battles through an excruciating cost-of-living crisis.
In a letter to Visakha Dasi, President of the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple in Watford, the Prime Minister reiterated the “special resonance” Gita quotations hold for him.
The historical irony of Hindu teachings permeating the heart of the British government would not be lost on anyone, as Britain’s war-time prime minister Winston Churchill is reported to have infamously said of Indians in the sunset years of colonial rule: “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”.
Around eight decades on, the country’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage made history when he lit diyas on the doorstep of 11 Downing Street as the country’s first British Indian Chancellor of the Exchequer and takes inspiration from the revered scriptures of Hinduism to guide him through some of the toughest challenges facing him as he occupies the highest political office in the land.
Rishi Sunak famously has a bronze statue of Lord Ganesha watching over him at his Downing Street desk – something he had left behind to “watch over” former prime minister Boris Johnson when he was isolating during a Covid infection and using his then chancellor’s desk.
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Nestled in England’s Hertfordshire countryside, Bhaktivedanta Manor has welcomed many world leaders over the years and as Sunak notes in his letter to the temple president, it is likely to see many more such visits to be inspired by the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
The temple, donated by Beatle George Harrison, is a spiritual sanctuary complete with a world class Cow Protection Centre Gokul Farm, educational hub and venue for many extravagant festivals all year around.
*Info: Bhaktivedanta Manor