India is our guru: Dalai Lama

He laughs from that deep down centre of inner peace, his face all radiance and the beauty of a realized soul. In the glorious wintry sunshine at the front lawns of Diggi Palace in Jaipur, there was a holy hush as hundreds of people, not all of them spiritually inclined, listened intently to the man who spoke about following truths of the heart and the sheer beauty of giving.

In Mumbai, the Tibetan leader said, he saw a lavish wedding being organized with loads of money being spent on pointless ostentation. “Why can’t they fill a truck full of bread, cheese and fruits and give it all to people who don’t have enough to eat,” he said, his voice laden with anguish, but not anger. Be truthful, open and transparent, he said, and stressed that he was not preaching. “Because it’s good for your inner peace,” he said disarmingly.

It is these simple and straight-from-the-heart words that make him such a powerful magnet and an inveterate crowd-puller wherever he goes.

Not surprisingly, the exiled Tibetan leader was the show-stealer at the sixth edition of the Jaipur Literary Festival, a carnival of the word and an entertainment of the spirit that draws in the word-besotted by thousands every year.

He is no PR man, but the Dalai Lama instinctively knows how to win hearts and minds. The Tibetan leader was all praise for Indian culture and philosophy, eliciting loud applause from the audience.

“India’s greatness lies in the idea of Ahimsa. This country is a living example for the world to see how so many religions can exist together for centuries,” said the 77-year-old spiritual leader.

“Secularism doesn’t mean disrespect of other religion. India’s understanding of secularism is to respect all the religions and not give preference to any.”

“India is our guru and we are your chelas (disciple). We are not just your chelas but we are also faithful. All the knowledge to us has come from India,” the Nobel laureate said, evoking peals of laughter from an eclectic audience.

Greed, he seemed to say, begets corruption of the mind and the spirit. “Even if the whole world own, then maybe you will want to buy some land on moon and set up a hotel there”. He warned that corruption had become “the cancer of the whole world – very serious”, and called for a more sustainable economy, more protection for women, and to “forcibly reduce this gap between the rich and the poor”. Terming the 20th century “a century of bloodshed, of violence,” he hoped that the 21st century will be “a century of dialogue.”

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