In the backdrop of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India’s freedom struggle was based on a spiritual foundation and was never confined to the expression of protest and political strategies alone.

“While it was a struggle to break the chains of slavery, it was informed by the vision of what we will be as an independent country. What we are opposed to is not important, what we stand for is more important,” he said while participating in the inaugural ceremony of year-long joint celebrations of the 90th anniversary of Sivagiri Pilgrimage and Golden Jubilee of Brahma Vidhyalaya. He also launched the logo for the year-long joint celebrations.

The PM expressed happiness on receiving saints in his house. He recalled meeting Sivagiri Mutt saints and devotees over the years and how he always felt energised by the interaction.

He pointed out that while many countries and civilisations strayed from the path of ‘Dharma’ with materialism replacing spiritualism, the sages in India always refined people’s thoughts and enhanced their behaviour.

Modi said that everyone in the country has only one caste: Indianness. “We have only one religion – the dharma of service and duty. We have only one God – Mother India.”

Sivagiri Pilgrimage is held every year for three days from December 30 to January 1 at Sivagiri, Thiruvananthapuram. According to the Shri Narayana Guru, the aim of pilgrimage is the creation of comprehensive knowledge among the people for their overall development and prosperity. The pilgrimage, therefore, focuses on eight subjects viz education, cleanliness, piety, handicrafts, trade and commerce, agriculture, science and technology and organised endeavour.

The pilgrimage started with a handful of devotees in 1933 but now has become one of the major events in South India. Every year, lakhs of devotees from all over the world, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and language, visit Sivagiri to participate in the pilgrimage.