BELUR (WB) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made an emotional visit to the Ramakrishna Math and Mission headquarters at Belurmath which had turned down his request to join the monastic order thrice in the past.
The Prime Minister sat near the slippers of Swami Vivekananda to meditate in the 19th century philosopher-saint's room at the math for around 15 minutes.
He looked visibly emotional after reaching the room where Vivekananda's relics are kept.
Modi also stood amongst monks of the monastic order and got himself photographed with them amidst chanting of Vedic 'shanti mantras'.
Before leaving the math where he was there for about an hour, he offered prayers at the temple of Brahmananda, Ma Sarada and Swami Vivekananda.
He was gifted 'dhoti' and shawl by the authorities who also gave him 'prasad' made of 'Payesh' (Bengali sweet dish) and fruits.
The monks gave the Prime Minister memorabilia related to Belurmath and books like Bible, Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
He thanked the authorities for inviting him to visit the math premises.
As a young boy, Modi was deeply influenced by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and had decided to join the order as a monk. It was during this time that he had first visited Belurmath.
"But our then president had advised him to concentrate more on his education. He was also below the minimum age required to join the Order," Swami Subirananda, assistant secretary of the Math, told PTI.
Later Modi went to the RKM centre in Almora, where his request was turned down again, he said.
"Modi then went to the Himalayas for two years and after that he came back to his village and subsequently started visiting our Rajkot centre where he got the holy company of Swami Atmasthanand, now RKM president. Modi used to get spiritual instructions from him," the monk said.
After Modi expressed his desire once again to be a monk, he was discouraged by the Swami and told that his calling lay elsewhere.
"When Modi visited Belurmath in 2013 when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, he told the Swami, 'Aapne mujhe bhaga diya tha us samay isiliye main aaj mukhyamantri hu' (You had told me to go away that time and that is why I am the chief minister now)," the monks recall.
Last evening he had gone to meet Swami Atmasthananda, president of the order, who is recovering at a Kolkata hospital. When both of them were in Rajkot, Modi used to visit him often to seek spiritual guidance.