Birth of happy, prosperous and enlightened human life
CTCRI is indeed a partner in food security and thereby national development I am delighted to participate in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram. My greetings to CTCRI management, members and employees, staff and large family gathering of CTCRI and the distinguished guests. What does Golden Jubilee Celebrations of CTCRI means? That means CTCRI is in the earth, earth takes one year to orbit around the sun. That means CTCRI has orbited around the sun 50 times. My greetings to all of you on the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
I am happy that you are the only institute of its kind in the world, exclusively working mainly on the basic and applied research on different aspects of edible tropical tuber crops which are bestowed with resilience to global warming and climate change, potential for better return under adverse soil and weather conditions, diverse industrial applications and nutritional attributes, and most of all exceptionally high CO2 fixation potential. My greetings to the CTCRI team for releasing 47 varieties of different tuber crops with high yielding potential with the assured world highest productivity of 36 tonnes per hectare. It is note worthy to mention that the major share being occupied by cassava and sweet potato with the value addition including nutritionally fortified snack foods, technology for fried chips manufacture, and technology for minimal processing of cassava for exporters and commercialization of value added food is getting more attraction which creates number of entrepreneur in this field. Tuber crop products has got tremendous potential for value addition, so that the income of the farmers can be increased. The value addition from the crop to product can be planed through cooperative movement. The document on Vision 2030 of CTCRI is a very important document. I am sure, you will succeed with your mission, particularly biofuel generation that is ethanol. Both cassava and sweet potato have tremendous potential for value addition and farmers have to get involved from farming to value added products through cooperative movement methodology. My greetings to all of you for the success in science and technological mission towards the development of tuber crops and its related products for sustainable development of the nation.
I am happy to note that the event has been named as "The Awakening" since CTCRI is celebrating the Golden Jubilee with your employees and their families. Yes the society needs an awakening. Let me share some thoughts on the Birth of happy, prosperous and enlightened human life.
Origins of Life
Life originated 600 million years ago and continental drift occurred 200 million years ago creating five continents. Mammals evolved 140 million years ago, Hominids that is the human type, evolved 26 million years ago but modern man only arrived on the scene some 200,000 years ago. He migrated and colonized the world only in the last 50,000 years. The spoken language is some 10,000 years old while writing evolved only a few thousand years ago. All this phenomenal progress has been achieved only within the short span of 200 to 400 generations that is in just 10,000 to 5,000 years.
Newer DNA technologies have given us better insight in retracing the history of man. 'The DNA of a human being is his history book ever written'. Nowadays intelligence, cognizance, drug response, behavioral problems everything is related to genes: disease gene mapping is progressing at a faster pace with new age DNA technology. It is probably during the 50,000-30,000 years of co-existence that societies have evolved adopting newer innovations and cultures.
Challenges of Modern Society
Advances in genetics demonstrating great similarity in the genome of man and animals shows that the limbic brain perhaps is the cause for all conflicts within and outside. So far human society, from origin until now has always been at war within and between groups and has led to two World Wars. Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts of the world. Can we find methods by which we can remove these conflicts?
Unity in Diversity
India is a country which has over the years learnt to evolve and maintain a unique unity amongst diversity. It has become an inspirational model and an example to emulate for every region in the world. India supports a social form of economic development and encourages a model of growth with equity. We are conscious of the need for growth to respect the environment and make it sustainable for future generations. With this valuable experience of centuries behind India, we can bring a doctrine of global cooperation built over the foundation of regional collaborations and core competencies of people and society of many nations.
In this context, I am reminded of the dream of the Indian poet கனியன் பூங்குன்றனார் who articulated 3000 years back in the Tamil classic:
புற நானூறு; யாதும் ஊரே; யாவரும் கேளிர்.
Which means "I am a world citizen, Every citizen is my own kith and kin". This feeling itself, I am sure, can be the foundation for the way of human thinking on unity of minds.
Evolution of Enlightened Society
With this spirit of universal brotherhood, I would like to put forth to this important gathering, a methodology for evolving a happy, prosperous and peaceful society in our planet, which I call as "Evolution of Enlightened Society in Planet Earth". How do we create such an enlightened society, which will have three components (a) Education with value system (b) Religion transforming into spirituality and (c) Economic development for societal transformation. Let us discuss.
Education with value system: We have seen that the seeds of peace in the world have their origin in the righteousness in the heart of every individual. Such righteous citizens lead to the evolution of enlightened society. Education with value system has to be so designed that the righteousness in the heart is developed in young minds. That should be the mission of education. The prime learning environment is five to seventeen years of age. This reminds me of an ancient Greek teacher's saying, "Give me a child for seven years; afterwards, let God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child". This indicates the power of great teachers and what good teachers can inculcate in the young minds. Parents and teachers must inculcate moral leadership amongst children. It requires the ability to have insights into the uniqueness and universality of human consciousness. True education is the acquisition of enlightened feelings and enlightened powers to understand daily events and to understand the permanent truth linking man, to his environment, human and planetary.
While I was in college, I remember the lectures given by the highest authority of a Jesuit institution Rev Father Rector Kalathil of St. Joshep?s college, Tiruchirappalli, Southern India. Every week on Monday, he will take a class for an hour. He used to talk about good human beings present and past and what makes a good human being. In this class he used to give lectures on personalities such as Buddha, Confucius, St. Augustine, Califa Omar, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and moral stories linked to our civilizational heritage. In the moral science class, Father Kalathil used to highlight the best aspect of, how the great personalities have been evolved as good human beings through parental care, teaching and companionship of great books. Even though these lessons were given to me in 1950?s during my college days, they inspire me even today. It is essential that in the schools and colleges, lectures are given by great teachers of the institution once in a week for one hour on civilizational heritage and derived value system. This may be called as Moral Science Class that will elevate the young minds to love the country, to love the other human beings and elevate them to higher planes. This will ensure embedding of righteousness in each citizen with eternal goodness and wholesomeness in conduct. As we say in our country:
Where there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
There is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home.
There is an order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.
This is true, for the whole world. When we need peace in the world, we need order in the nation; we need harmony in the home. The origin is righteousness in the heart.
Now, let me take up the area that is transforming religion into spiritual force. Many in the world believe, it is a difficult mission. I would like to share an experience that I have witnessed which has convinced me that it is possible.
Religion Transforming into Spirituality: Universal Mind: Religion has two components, theology and spirituality. Even though theology is unique to every religion, the spiritual component spreads the value to be inculcated by human beings for promoting a good human life and welfare of the society, while pursuing the material life.
I would like to recall one incident, which commonly occurs in some parts of our country. I have witnessed this event when I was a young boy (10 yrs). In our house, periodically I used to see three different unique personalities meet. Pakshi Lakshmana Shastrigal, who was the head priest of the famous Rameshwaram temple and a vedic scholar, Rev Father Bodal, who built the first church in Rameshwaram Island and my father who was an Imam in the mosque. All three of them used to sit and discuss the islands problems and find solutions. In addition they built several religious connectivities with compassion. These connectivities quietly spread to others in the island like the fragrance from the flowers. This sight always comes to my mind whenever, I discuss with people on Dialogue of religions. India has had this advantage of integration of minds for thousands of years. Throughout the nation and the world, the need to have a frank dialogue among cultures, religions and civilizations has been felt now more than ever.
This incident, what I have narrated gives me the confidence that religions definitely can be bridged through spiritual components. We have to spread such "Glad Tidings" to every part of the world.
Let me now talk to you on the message of "Giving".
Science and spirituality meets: It was during early 1960?s, the founder of Indian Space Research Programme Prof. Vikram Sarabhai with his team, had located a place technically most suited for space research after considering many alternatives. The place called Thumba in Kerala, was selected for space research as it was near the magnetic equator, ideally suited for ionospheric and electrojet research in upper atmosphere.
The major challenge for Prof Vikram Sarabhai was to get the place in a specific area. As was normal, Prof. Vikram Sarabhai approached the Kerala Government administrators first. After seeing the profile of the land and the sea coast, the view expressed was that, thousands of fishing folks lived there, the place had an ancient St Mary Magdalene Church, Bishop's House and a school. Hence it would be very difficult to give this land and they were willing to provide land in an alternative area. Similarly the political system also opined that it would be a difficult situation due to the existence of important institutions and the concern for people who were to be relocated. However there was a suggestion to approach the only person who could advise and help. That was "Rev Father Peter Bernard Pereira" who was Bishop of the region. Prof Vikram Sarabhai, approached the Bishop on a Saturday evening, I still remember. The meeting between the two turned out to be historical. Many of us witnessed the event. Rev Father exclaimed, "Oh Vikram, you are asking my children?s abode, my abode and God?s abode. How is it possible?" However, both had a unique quality that they could smile even in difficult situations. Rev Father Peter Bernard Pereira asked Prof. Vikram Sarabhai to come to church on Sunday morning at 9.00 AM. Prof. Vikram Sarabhai went to the church with his team again on Sunday. At that time the prayer was progressing with the recitation of Bible by Father Pereira. After the prayer was over, the Bishop invited Prof. Vikram Sarabhai to come to the dais. The Rev Father introduced Prof Vikram Sarabhai to the people, "Dear children, here is a scientist, Prof. Vikram Sarabhai. What do sciences do? All of us experience, including this church, the light from electricity. I am able to talk to you through the mike which is made possible by technology. The treatment to patients by doctors comes from medical sciences. Science through technology enhances the comfort and quality of human life. What do I do, as a preacher? I pray for you, for your well being, for your peace. In short, what Vikram is doing and what I am doing, are the same - both science and spirituality seek the Almighty's blessings for human prosperity in body and mind. Dear Children, Prof Vikram says, he would build within a year, near the sea-coast, alternative facilities to what we are having. Now dear children, can we give your abode, can we give my abode, can we give the God's abode for a great scientific mission?" There was a total silence, a pin drop silence. Then all of them got up and said 'Amen' which made the whole church reverberate.
That was the church where we had our design centre, where we started rocket assembly and the Bishop?s house was our scientists? working place. Later the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) led to the establishment of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the space activities transformed into multiple space centers throughout the country. Now this church has become an important centre of learning, where thousands of people learn about the dynamic history of the space programme of India and the great minds of a scientist and spiritual leader. Of course, the Thumba citizens got the well equipped facilities, worshiping place and educational centre in an alternate place at the right time.
When I think of this event, I can see how enlightened spiritual and scientific leaders can converge towards giving reverence to the human life. Of course the birth of TERLS and then VSSC gave the country the capability for launch vehicles, spacecraft and space applications that have accelerated social and economic development in India to unprecedented levels.
Today, among us, Prof Vikram Sarabhai is not there, Rev Peter Bernard Pereira is not there, but those who are responsible for creation and making flowers blossom will themselves be a different kind of flower as described in the Bhagwat Gita: "See the flower, how generously it distributes perfume and honey. It gives to all, gives freely of its love. When its work is done, it falls away quietly. Try to be like the flower, unassuming despite all its qualities". What a beautiful message, to the humanity on the purpose of life reflected the spiritual component. I will be very happy to know and hear, similar events where science and religion have come together for great purpose of humanity.
Economic development for societal transformation: Indian Economy is in an ascent phase. There is considerable growth in the manufacturing and service sectors. We have a mission of spreading this economic growth throughout the country including the rural sector. Nearly 300 million people have to be lifted by upgrading their quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Even though the GDP growth indicates our economic growth, people?s participation is essential for achieving the required targets. It is essential to ensure that the citizens are empowered with good quality of life encompassing nutritious food, good habitat, clean environment, affordable healthcare, quality education and productive employment, integrated with our value system drawn from civilizational heritage leading to the comprehensive development of the nation that will bring smiles in one billion people. These are indicators for the growth of the National Prosperity Index.
To achieve that growth rate, we have identified five areas where India has a core competence for integrated action:
- Agriculture and food processing
- Education and Healthcare
- Information and Communication Technology
- Infrastructure development such as power, transportation, and communication and including Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA)
- Self reliance in critical technologies
We propose to realize the vision of transforming India into a developed nation before 2020 by energizing and igniting the minds of all the 650 million youth of the nation.
So far we have discussed the three dimensional approach of providing value based education, religion transforming into spiritual force and economic development for societal transformation leading to the evolution of an enlightened society. This integrated three dimensional methodology of evolution of enlightened society, will pave the way for peaceful, prosperous, happy nations and thereby a world, free from extremisms and further seeds of extremism.
I have explained in detail how the world can get into action a three dimensional approach for prosperity and peace of the world. The three dimensional approach for happy world are combination of; education with value system, spirituality is the bridge of the religions, and economic prosperity free from poverty.
At this stage, let me recall a famous saying of Acharya Mahapragya ji based on His eight decades of Tapas.
Soul is my God,
Renunciations is my prayer,
Amity is my Devotion,
Self-restraint is my strength,
Non-violence is my religion.
Now friends, with non-violence, preached by Acharyas and Jainmunis has in-fact been enriched by the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhiji to realize the Independence of our country in 1947. Now what we need for our country is a new vision.
Second vision for the Nation
"People living in a clean green environment,
Having prosperity without poverty,
Living in peace without fear of war,
Leading life with morality and ethics,
And a happy place to live,
For all citizens of the nation"
How do we achieve? For realizing the second vision, what we need is a fusion of science and spirituality. Clean green environment and economic prosperity leading to removal of poverty can be achieved through intensive application of science and technology for our growth. Simultaneously, citizens have to be provided with an environment free from war, with morality and ethics as a foundation. This can come only from spiritual force of the nation. The combination of science and spirituality will enable us to provide happiness, peace and prosperity to all the citizens.
My best wishes to all the members of CTCRI, Thiruvananthapuram and their families success in evolving an enlightened citizenship from their families understanding the value of science and spirituality.
May God Bless you.
By, Dr. APJ Abdulkalam