Bhagwat inaugurated a temple at the Shanti Kali Mission-run premises at Sarbong village in Amarpur of Gomati district, 100 km from Agartala. (Express photo)

By Debraj Deb / Indian Express

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat Saturday called upon followers of the Sanatan Dharma to protect their dharma and said it should not be left for anything and if necessary, one should sacrifice one’s life for it.

Bhagwat inaugurated a temple at the Shanti Kali Mission-run premises at Sarbong village in Amarpur of Gomati district, 100 km from Agartala. Bhagwat was one of invitees along with other Hindu religious sect leaders from across the country.

The Shanti Kali Mission was established by Acharya Shanti Kali, a local Hindu sect leader who was killed by armed insurgents in 2000. His followers now run a chain of 24 temples in the state and operates a few residential schools and hostels, especially among tribals. The sect is now led by Acharya Chitta Maharaj.

Bhagwat said “There are many food habits, culture and traditions in India and despite all these, we all share a sense of kinship. All communities have Indianness in thought, they praise the Sanatan Dharma. This kinship isn’t limited to our country. We consider the entire world our own.”

However, the Hindutva leader said communities that came from outside the country like Huns, Muslims and the British colonials, didn’t share this relationship and tried to convert people or eliminate them.

“They believed anyone having separate ideas of gods, cultures, language were ‘others’ and that they had to be converted or killed,” he said.

Advocating the idea of global kinship, Bhagwat said it promotes world welfare while seeing each other as separate brings exploitation, wars, injustice and destruction of nature.

“This is the philosophy of oneness and kinship in the Sanatan Dharma. We live for dharma, we die for dharma. We have to sacrifice for the protection of dharma,” Bhagwat said.

Hailing Acharya Shanti Kali as a great sage, Bhagwat said he lived and died as per guidance of the Gita and urged upon others to do the same.

“We have to protect Sanatan Dharma. This religion considers everyone their own. It doesn’t convert anyone since it knows praying to anyone with a true heart takes one to one’s god. Others dreaming of fame want to change everyone where they go. Such attacks keep coming. First people like Sikandar (Alexander) came to loot properties, then the Shak, Hun, Islam came. The British came and said the Sun doesn’t set in their empire. The first sunset happened in the world on August 15, 1947,” he said.

Criticising the United States of America, Russia and China, the RSS chief said those nations became powerful and wanted to rule over the world while India seeks to give the sense of religion and spirituality to the world.

He said people need temples to remind them of this thought and “bhakti” and said, “Temples make our lives pure and peaceful.”

Bhagwat arrived in Tripura on Friday and visited the palace of the erstwhile Manikya royals. He met ‘Rajmata’ Bibhu Kumari Devi, mother of royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma who runs the TIPRA Motha party which is now in power in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

His visit elicited speculations about his talks with the erstwhile royals ahead of the upcoming ADC village committee elections this year and assembly polls early next year, especially since Motha is considered to have considerable influence among the tribals.

When contacted, Pradyot Kishore said Bhagwat paid a purely courtesy visit to his mother, paid his tributes to the Tripura royal throne and a Chandi temple at the palace.

The Tripura throne is claimed to be from the times of the Mahabharata and a gift to the state’s erstwhile Manikya monarchs to Pandava king Yudhisthir.

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