KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke on Mother Teresa marking her birth centenary in Kolkata on Thursday, 1st December 2011. At the hour-long function held at hotel Taj Bengal there were some 400 “enlightened audience” as the governor of Bengal Mr M.K. Narayanan said.
The governor compared Mother Teresa and His holiness the Dalai Lama as “people of pious disposition and as best known humans on earth.”
Also on the dais with the Governor was Missionaries of Charity superior general Sr Prema. She spoke of Mother Teresa as a disciple of Jesus who “went about doing good to others” in spite of opposition. Sr Prema encouraged all “to perform works of peace and loving deeds.” She reminded the audience, “Peace begins with a smile.”
On behalf of West Bengal Chief Minister Miss Mamta Banerjee who was unable to attend the event due to the illness of her mother, Member of Rajya Sabha, Mr Derek O’Brien conveyed the absent Chief Minister’s good wishes and extended her hearty welcome to His Holiness on behalf of the people of Bengal.
Mr. O’Brien also complimented the Missionaries of Charity “which does Kolkata proud across the world.”
Speaking for over 30 minutes without notes and from the heart, His Holiness Dali Lama (76 years old) a refugee inIndiafor over 50 years now, recalled his two or three meetings with Mother Teresa and his visit to Mother Teresa’s Tomb.
Impressed by the example of the sisters His Holiness complimented the Missionaries of Charity saying “dedicated Sisters, REALLY (underlined), working hard… you practice and implement what Jesus Christ taught.”
Alluding to Mother Teresa His Holiness said, “Compassionate person’s activities are non-violent… hatred, fear, violence and jealousy lead to unhappiness,” said His holiness stressing the Indian tradition of ahimsa and religious harmony.
“Dedicate yourself to the well-being of others and you will find happiness,” said His Holiness to a young girl who asked for a mantra for life.
While asserting the fact that “all religious traditions have same potential for helping humanity,” His Holiness decried the lack of moral and ethical principles in today’s society.
“Moral and ethical principles need not be based on any particular religion,” His Holiness said insisting that “they should be based on secular ethics… common sense, healthy mind and body is very connected for harmony,” he said.
He asserted that Indian spiritual and religious leaders should take more active role to promote ‘ahimsa (non-violence) and harmony, two great Indian values.
He encouraged leaders to speak out against, “caste system and corruption” that is plaguing Indian society.
“It is necessary to point out openly and bluntly about the denegation of the quality of even Tibetan Lamas,” he said alluding to his recent criticism of some Tibetan monks.
His Holiness was expected in Kolkata earlier in the year when artist Sunita Kumar and noted painter M.F Hussain held Mother Teresa art exhibition at the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata.
The programme was organized by industrialist couple Sunita and Naresh Kumar long time Mother Teresa associates.