Former President A P J Abdul Kalam [ Images ], who was the chief guest at the anniversary celebrations of the JSS Spiritual Mission, US, in Gaithersburg on Monday, observed that it was incumbent upon Indian Americans to give their adopted country their all.
Addressing more than 2,500 members of the community at the Mission's 51-acre site in rural Maryland, Kalam said that apart from spreading spiritualism and bringing together a unity of minds, the JSS Mission should spread the message that in whichever country the Indian population resides, particularly the US, "you must always give to that country your best of knowledge, you best of work, everything you do."
The erstwhile President, who flew in from New York to Baltimore and then visited with some leading scientists at the NASA [ Images ] Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, before coming over to the JSS Mission to meet the enthusiastic Indian Americans who had waited hours to meet and greet him, emphasized that giving off one's best for one's adopted country was very important.
"Today, 23 million Indian reside abroad. Either, they are citizens of other countries or they are working there. So it is essential that whichever country you go, you make that country a winner," he said, and added, "That is your mission. I am sure the JSS Spiritual Mission in USA will definitely spread this mission."
Kalam also recalled the "power of association," citing the example of the meeting between "industrialist and saint -- this is between Jamshed Tata and Swami Vivekananda.
"On November 23, 1898, both were traveling from Tokyo to Chicago, and when Swami Vivekananda asked Jamshed Tata where he was headed. Jamshed Tata said, 'I am going to buy steel for my plants in India [ Images ]. Vivekananda's advise to Tata was that not only should he have steel manufacturing plants, but he should also start an institute that could study the science of making steel and today that advise has transformed into the Indian Institute of Science."
"This is how a spiritual mind and industrial mind worked together to evolve not only Tata Steel [ Get Quote ] in Jamshednagar -- 7 billion tons they are producing -- but also great research institution was born."
In the same way, the JSS Spiritual Mission in USA, can spread such types of beautiful thoughts, Kalam said.
"Dreams give vision, vision gives thoughts and thoughts lead to action," he declared.
Kalam, who was also celebrating his 76th birthday, joked that since the earth revolves around the sun, "I am in my 77th orbit around the Sun. That means my age is 76, OK."
A huge cake was also rolled out by the organizers and the open-air theater reverberated to the sound of the huge crowd singing Happy Birthday to the popular ex-President.
In his opening remarks, he lauded the JSS Spiritual Mission for all of the educational centers and institutes it had established all across India which had led to the "creation of great human beings."
Kalam said the establishment of a JSS Mission in the US 'is an important step in spreading the value system derived from our civilizational heritage globally," and predicted, "The economic prosperity of the nation and the value system will enable evolution of an enlightened citizen through an integrated effort of the spiritual system."
On his arrival, Kalam was taken by a mini-procession to the small house in the premises, where he was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen and then accompanied by a few select guests for lunch.
During a brief interaction with some of the guests at lunch when asked about the proliferation of the mix of religion and politics, he argued, "I believe religion has got two components -- one is theology and another is spirituality. Theology, not religion would like to change but fortunately spirituality is common to all religions."
"So we have to see how we can bridge religions with spirituality," he said, and then moving on to define politics, said that this too had two components. "One of political politics and the other is development politics."
Kalam said that with regard to "political politics, every party had to do it," and acknowledged that it was "a necessary function."
But development politics, he said, "is when one party will say I will do it in 10 years to make my nation great and another saying it will do it in seven years. But political politics takes up 30 percent of the time and 70 per cent of the time it is development politics. But the reverse happens throughout the world."
After the lunch, he was taken to the small temple on the site for a special puja after which he was taken in procession once again to the massive barn where a stage had been set up for him and the dignitaries, including the several visiting swamis headed by His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswami of Sri Suttur Muth, in Mysore.
Kalam, was also scheduled to visit Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he was billed to make a presentation, before heading out to Houston, Texas, to deliver a Presidential Lecture on Vision for Space Science and Technology at Rice University on October 18.