British Parliament commemorates Indian spiritual leader’s 750th birth anniversary

Published in the Hindu Business Line, July 20, 2018


British parliamentarians cutting across party lines joined several Hindu leaders in the UK at the House of Commons complex in London to commemorate the 750th birth anniversary of Vedanta Desika, one of India’s leading spiritual masters.

Desika, who taught the path of ‘prapatti’ or loving surrender, was described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a shining jewel in the Indian spiritual tradition in a special message for the event held on Wednesday.

A 13th century spiritual leader of the Sri Vaishnava sect in the post-Ramanuja period, Desika was also a poet and a philosopher.

Sri Vedanta Desika enthralled thousands of people with his adeptness at handling both simple, practical realities and sophisticated theological concepts. I hope that the function will make more people aware about the great contributions of Sri Vedanta Desika and motivate them to follow his teachings as well as imbibe his quality of seeking knowledge tirelessly, the Prime Minister’s message said.

The event included a classical dance performance on a composition of Desika.

Cross-party legislators, including Bob Blackman, Virendra Sharma and Alok Sharma, heard presentations about the life, works and achievements of the spiritual master from a delegation of the Sri Vaishnavas sect who had specially flown in from India for the event.

Releasing a special souvenir to mark the occasion, the president of Conservative Friends of India, Rami Ranger, said, The Hindu community in the UK is a peaceful and contributing community. We have always integrated well and contributed to Britain’s economic and social development…I hope that British society can learn from the example of Hindu masters such as Desika, whose teachings are still relevant to modern times.

The event was hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, the Hindu Forum of Britain and the Vedanta Desika Sampradaya Sabha, Mumbai.

“We presented Sri Vedanta Desika not only as a spiritual saint but also as a scientist, a logician, a mathematician and a master of all arts and crafts,” said Sanjay Srivatsan from the Desika Educational Trust.