Backing Supreme Court Judge Justice A R Dave over his call to teach the Gita in schools, a leading Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue on Wednesday said the work is not a mere religious scripture but a spiritual and philosophic classic and called for it to be declared the "national book."
Joining issue with Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju for raising objections to Justice Dave's views, P Parmeswaran, director of pro-RSS cultural forum Bharatiya Vichara Kendram, said that the Gita had profoundly influenced India over centuries.
Those who have read Bhagavad Gita once at least, they will understand it is not a religious text. No other book has got such a wide circulation and published with innumerable interpretations like the Gita, he said.
"Its influence is beyond time and space. It is a treasure house of knowledge for any fertile mind and its influence is eternal. Mahatma Gandhi figuratively called the Gita his mother and he said whenever he felt confusion and sorrow, he had taken refuge in the Gita. Gita has influenced decisively our freedom struggle," Parameswaran said in a statement.
As a work that taught the highest human values, the Gita had always been a solution to the fast deteriorating value systems all over the world, he said. Calling for the Gita to be declared as the "national book of India", he said the original copy of the Indian constitution, which carried the signatures of all the members of the constituent assembly, had a picture of "Gitopadesha."
"The book approved by the constitution, if taught, how does it become unconstitutional," he asked. Justice AR Dave on Saturday had said that Indians should revert to their ancient traditions, and texts such as the Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita should be introduced to children at an early age.