New Delhi, Dec 08: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj batted for Bhagwad Gita to be the "Rashtriya Granth" (national scripture) of India, triggering a fresh controversy.
Attending "Gita Prerna Mahotsav" in the national capital on Sunday, Sushma said that the holy book should be declared as the national scripture, which teaches the value of life and helps to resolve all the challenges that come on the way of human beings.
Giving her example, she said that she was able to face the challenges as External Affairs Minister only because of the teachings of Bhagwad Gita.
She also said that the respect of a "national scripture" was accorded to Gita when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted it to the US President Barack Obama during his visit to the country in September this year.
"Bhagwad Gita has answers to everybody's problems and that's why I said it while standing in the Parliament that, "Shrimad Bhagwad Gita" should be declared as the national holy book.
"The formal announcement for it has not been made for it since the government came in power but Swamiji Maharaj, I am happy to say that the Prime Minister has already given it the honour of a national "Rashtriya Granth" when he handed over the "Shrimad Bhagwad Gita" to US President Barack Obama".
"Everyone should read two shlokas of Gita everyday...It is a scripture of 700 shlokas and it can be finished in a year. Read it again and continue this till the end. After reading it three to four times, you will discover a path to lead a life, the way I discovered," she said, addressing the crowd.
"When I read Gita for the first time, I did not agree with the concept of whatever happens, happens for the best and whatever happens in future, will be for good".
"But when I read it for the third and fourth time, I understood its meaning. This has helped me all through my life. Even now, when I am handling the External Affairs and the challenges related to it," she said.
Referring to cases where people consume chocolates and pop pills to fight depression, she said, "Eating chocolates or popping pills will not reduce depression. Instead, one must read Gita. This will help relieve the stress and depression in life. It will help in dealing with challenges of life."
The event was organised to celebrate 5,151 years of religious book Gita at the Red Fort Maidan where VHP President Ashok Singhal said PM Modi should immediately declare the sacred text of Hindus as a national scripture.
Reacting to Sushma's remarks, Trinamool Congress said, "Our Constitution says India is a secular country. The Constitution is the Holy Book in a democracy"
"We respect all Holy Books. Quran, Puran, Ved, Vedanta, Bible, Tripitak, Zend Avesta, Guru Granth Sahib, Gita - All are our pride," the TMC tweeted.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said the essence of the Gita lies in its substance and not in its symbolism.
"So, if anybody has seriously read and internalise the teachings of the Gita they would not make such a frivolous statement," he said.
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