With the words ‘Jai Siya Ram’, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak began his address during a visit to the ongoing Ram Katha by spiritual leader Morari Bapu at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.
During his visit coinciding with Bapu’s 921st recital from the ‘Ramayana’ entitled 'Manas Vishwavidyalay', the British Hindu leader spoke of how his own faith guides him through every aspect of his life and how the Lord Ganesha statuette on his desk at 10 Downing Street brings his great inspiration.
Sunak said: “It is truly an honour and pleasure to be here today at Morari Bapu’s Ram Katha at the University of Cambridge on Indian Independence Day. Bapu, I am here today not as a prime minister but as a Hindu!
“For me faith is very personal. It guides me in every aspect of my life. Being Prime Minister is a great honour, but it is not an easy job. There are difficult decisions to make, hard choices to confront and our faith gives me courage, strength, and resilience to do the best that I can for our country.”
“For me, it was a wonderful and special moment to light diyas for Diwali outside 11 Downing Street back when I was Chancellor. And just like Bapu has a Golden Hanuman in his background, I am proud that a Golden Ganesha sits gleefully on my desk at 10 Downing Street. It is a constant reminder to me about listening and reflecting on issues before acting!”
Sunak said that he was proud to be British and proud to be Hindu. He recalled his childhood in Southampton, where he visited his neighbourhood temple with his siblings and participated in rituals like havans, pujas, aartis, and distribution of prasad with his family.
He added: “Our values and what I see Bapu does each day of his life are the values of selfless service, devotion and keeping faith. But perhaps the greatest value is duty or sewa, as we know it. These Hindu values are very much shared British values.
“I leave here today remembering the ‘Ramayana’ that Bapu speaks on, but also the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’. And for me, Lord Ram will always be an inspirational figure to face life’s challenges with courage, to govern with humility and to work selflessly.
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“Bapu, with your blessings, I aspire to lead in accordance with how our scriptures have taught leaders to lead. Thank you Bapu, for everything that you do. Your teaching of truth, love and compassion are more relevant now than they have ever been.”
In extending a warm welcome to the British Prime Minister, Morari Bapu invoked the blessings of Lord Hanuman, seeking boundless strength to facilitate his devoted service to the people of Britain. Bapu expressed his earnest desire that every citizen of the nation may reap the benefits and rewards stemming from the Prime Minister's visionary leadership.
Bapu also shared that Rishi Sunak's name is derived from the revered sage Rishi Shaunak, and this connection to an esteemed sage resonates deeply with Indians who find great joy in witnessing a leader with such roots occupy the prime ministerial role. The spiritual luminary also commended Rishi Sunak's gesture of offering food as prasad to 50-100 volunteers before to attending the event, highlighting its alignment with intrinsic Indian traditions.
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Before the Katha, Morari Bapu unfurled the Indian Tricolour at Cambridge University to mark 76 years of Indian Independence as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. Morari Bapu's enlightening Katha commenced last weekend with a warm reception by Sonita Alleyne OBE, the 41st Master and the first woman to lead Jesus College since its inception in 1496, along with Lord Dolar Popat, Conservative Party peer representing the organising family.