Shravanabelagola: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday saints and seers have always served the Indian society and made a positive difference to it.
He said the strength of Indian society lay in its ability to change with times. "Many people believe that in our country there is greater religious temperament than social temperament. This perception is not correct.
"Even today we have such a great tradition of saints making relentless efforts....whether it is towards providing health, education or de-addiction," he told a gathering here at the famous Jain pilgrimage centre.
He was speaking after inaugurating the newly carved 630 steps at Vindhyagiri Hill where the statue of Lord Gommateshwara Bahubali stands. The steps have been carved by the Archaeological Survey of India. He also inaugurated a 50-bed Bahubali General Hospital. Modi said the strength of Indian society lay in the fact that it "always changed with the times and adapted well to new contexts".
He said seers and saints showed people the right path when evil practices plagued society and took the form of religious beliefs.
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Union ministers Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and Piyush Goyal were present at the event.
Noting that "Mahamastakabhisheka" (head anointment ceremony) of Lord Bahubali, observed once every 12 years, resembled the 'Kumbh Mela', Modi said seers, saints and thinkers converged here and pondered over the direction the society needed to take over the next 12 years.
Modi referred to his government's 'Ayushman Bharat Yojana' that would provide quality and affordable healthcare to nearly 50 crore people.
"It is our duty to provide good quality and affordable healthcare to the poor," he said, adding it was the biggest scheme of its kind in the world.
A grand 'mahamastakabhisheka' ceremony was performed here on 17 February marked by a montage of traditional rituals, spiritual ecstasy and visual splendour. Observed once every 12 years in the Jain Dharmic cycle, the veneration ceremony this year was the 88th in the series that commenced in the year 981 AD.
The majestic 57-feet statue of Lord Bahubali, carved out of a single piece of rock, is said to be the world's tallest monolith.
The statue stands as testimony to 'tyaga' (renunciation) and conveys the message of 'ahimsa' (non-violence) that embodies the Jain way of life. The statue was commissioned by Chavundaraya, minister and commander of the Ganga dynasty in 981 AD.
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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 18:50:25 IST