Food For All
Report on the Seminar


Shri Kaliyan Vanamamalai Jeeyar Swamiji

Shri Swamiji offered his blessings in Hindi; the following is a brief English rendering of his message:
While taking part in the deliberations of this morning, my heart is indeed brimming with happiness. I also had the good fortune of participating, along with other Acharyas, in the unusual conference organized by the Centre last October at Shri Tirumala in the nearness of Shri Balaji. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the concern expressed by the Acharyas about the state of scarcity and hunger in India has been taken serious note of, and has led to this seminar at Delhi, where the senior political leaders of India are present. Shri Chandra Shekhar, Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Shri Ajit Singh, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Shri Murli Manohar Joshi and many others are scheduled to attend the seminar during the day. Shri Moopanar, Shri Jitendra Prasada and Shri Nawal Kishore Sharma are already here. Shri Vajpayeeji is also here. The honourable union minister for agriculture, Shri Chaturanan Mishraji is himself present. Chaturanana is also a name of Brahma, the creator, who with his four faces looks in all directions and ensures that all are always taken care of. It is perhaps appropriate that our agriculture minister carries the name of Brahma; I believe that this is a good omen. If, like Chaturanana Brahma, we begin to look around ourselves and begin to care for others, the problem of scarcity and hunger shall indeed be soon solved, and our great land shall once again become a land of plenty and prosperity.

The question of food, which is the subject of this seminar, is extremely important. In our ancient literature Anna occupies a central place. There is a story in the Taittiriya Upanishad from which we heard a beautiful invocation this morning: Bhrigu goes to his father, Varuna, and asks to be shown the path towards the realisation of Brahman. The father asks the son to undertake tapas, intense meditation; because that alone is the way for all realisation. The son undertakes tapas; and finds that Anna, food, is indeed Brahman. The father asks him to continue his tapas, and then step by step the son sees Brahman in prana, the breath of life; in manas, the mind; vijnana, the knowledge; and finally in ananda, the bliss. The son thus reaches the ultimate reality of the universe; but the first apprehension of that reality for the great rishi is indeed in Anna. Such is the importance of Anna, which has been recognized not only in the Upanishad, but also in Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita and in the Puranas, Smritis and Dharma-Shastras.

Anna, food, is essential for life; and what is essential for life must be available to all. I am happy that leaders of all political parties have come together to discuss the problem of ensuring food for all. Their presence indicates that this is a problem on which there is indeed a national consensus. There is no problem that cannot be solved with such national consensus.

I offer my blessings to all those who are present here. Let all be happy, healthy and prosperous. Let there be an abundance of Anna in our land. Let our great motherland be laden with crops. This is my prayer to my ishta devata, the divine couple, Shri Varamankamba and Shri Devanayaka Vibhu. Let auspiciousness prevail! Govinda! Govinda! Govinda!