EVEN though prayers per se have been an integral part of human civilisation, a Prime Minister dedicating as many as 17 hours to meditation in a Himalayan cave was unheard of. But when Mr. Narendra Modi found time to relive his original inclination, he just launched his journey to Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines in the Himalayas. Having been involved deeply in the election campaign, having been treated as the centre of the electoral hurricane, having suffered being the lone target of the entire Opposition, the Prime Minister sought the first opportunity to visit the Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines, and chose to meditate for as many as 17 hours.
For a mass leader steeped in power politics, such a choice represented a culture that sounded so alien to the general mindset that could not stretch its imagination beyond political gains or losses. The Prime Minister, however, made a conscious choice to follow the instinct that had propelled him in youth to the Himalayas, almost surprising the nation. There, in that cave that was made ready for him, he must have calmed his frayed senses, and focussed on the Divine -- well beyond the general demands the humans make of gods, about material gains, about impossible dreams, about general well being. Stepping out from that seclusion, Mr. Modi made it clear to the waiting media that he did not ask for anything. In such situations, the wise ask for nothing except for blessings of peace and harmony, he said most unambiguously.
His face shone in calmness, and his eyes slightly narrowed from the glare from the snow. Though he spoke of some plans to develop the pilgrimage spot further, the Prime Minister did not fuss about his feat. For him, such a long spell of meditation was just normal. Politics and governmental assignment may never allow leaders such a time and luxury, some may say. Yet, the world does know of countless leaders of nations and governments and other massive organisations taking holidays for recuperation. If those holidays do not surprise the world, Mr. Modi’s trip to Badrinath and Kedarnath and his 17-hour meditation, too, should not surprise anybody. Yet, surprised people did feel, because such a reticent mass leader seeking the cocoon of silence and seclusion in the nearness of the Divine was unheard of.
For Mr. Narendra Modi, however, the break from the routine was hardly a holiday in a traditional sense. Since he first became Chief Minister 18 years ago, Mr. Modi has not sought a single day’s leave, let alone a declared holiday. The trip to the two Himalayan shrines, too, was not part of a leave or holiday but a small break for spiritual rejuvenation, or for a reminder of his inner roots that had magnetised him to the holy mountains as a young man decades ago. The people have often felt amazed by Mr. Modi’s limitless energy that keeps him fit and fresh all the day for days, nay years, on end.
This energy comes from the inner, spiritual core of his being. His yogic practices, his disciplined lifestyle, his general reticence, his abstinence from uncalled for luxuries stand well represented in his Himalayan sojourn and his 17-hour spell in meditation. And to say the least, all these facets of Mr. Modi’s personality do not represent the physical; they symbolise the metaphysical, the quintessential Hindu definition of a complete man whose trinity of body, mind and soul are in best sync with one another. There may be some senseless elements in the country wanting to criticise the Prime Minister for having taken such a Himalayan sojourn. To all those, we have a one-word response: Idiots. They will never understand what meditation means, will never realise the power it builds beyond the physical, beyond the material -- and into the domain dominated by the Divine.