Hues of the camouflage fatigues dominated the serene environs of Badrika Ashram on Lt. Gen Ajai Kumar Singh’s arrival at the ashram. Lieutenant General Singh holds the secondhighest rank in the Indian Army. A highly decorated officer, his presence was marked by his humility and grace which matched his distinguished stature in the Indian Army.
Upon reaching the ashram, Rajiv Mittal, the Administration Head and Suvi Gargas, a trustee of the ashram, guided the group on a comprehensive campus tour, where they explored the lush lawn, shared delightful anecdotes on Swamiji and perused the library. The presence of the smart uniformed army officers halted the ashram staff and devotees in their tracks, leaving everybody staring at them in awe!
Swamiji honoured Lieutenant General A.K. Singh, during the evening discourse emphasizing and appreciating the fact that Lt. Gen. Singh had visited the ashram with the humility and devotion of a bhakta (devotee) and expressed heartfelt blessings for him.
Expressing his immense gratitude to the armed forces of India, Swamiji, with a deeply patriotic sentiment, said,
“We are able to live and breathe freely in this country, ONLY because of the Indian Army.”
He felicitated the General by gently placing a shawl around his shoulders and a traditional pahadi topi [Himachali headgear] on his head.
Swamiji also dedicated a beautiful poem, ‘Pushp ki Abhilasha’ by Makhanlal Chaturvedi to express his heartfelt sentiments…
पुष्प की अभिलाषा
चाह नहीं मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ,
चाह नहीं, प्रेमी-माला में
बिंध प्यारी को ललचाऊँ,
चाह नहीं, सम्राटों के शव
पर हे हरि, डाला जाऊँ,
चाह नहीं, देवों के सिर पर
चढ़ूँ भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ।
मुझे तोड़ लेना वनमाली!
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक,
मातृभूमि पर शीश चढ़ाने
जिस पथ जावें वीर अनेक
Later, taking the mic, Lt. Gen. A. K. Singh, speaking softly in Hindi, said that for him Swami ji’s words were Brahmavakya.
He related gripping anecdotes about the extreme and adverse conditions in Siachen where braving snow blizzards and yet keeping their morale high, soldiers survive only due to their mental resilience and toughness.
He said that the Indian Army is one of the biggest and most professional fighting units in the world. It is the only Army that fights glaciated warfare at 22,000 feet.
He also told Swamiji and the assembled audience that the Indian army had been able to counter insurgency and restore normalcy in Punjab, and Jammu & Kashmir. In the North East, too, they had been able to suppress militancy to a large extent.
An ardent reader of spiritual and mythological texts, Lt. Gen. Singh said that our culture and the wisdom and knowledge embedded in our scriptures is our true wealth and we have been able to survive only because of it. In spite of so much of our great works and libraries being destroyed, we still have a wealth of spiritual literature to guide us. He ended his speech by emphasising the importance of spirituality in a soldier’s life.
He attributed a lot of conflict in the world to critical decisions being taken by conditioned minds which then have a far-reaching effect. Hence, it is critical to know oneself deeply and assimilate this knowledge within to resolve situations in the worlds.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Singh received an enthusiastic applause from the audience for his inspiring speech.
Sri Badrika Ashram salutes the valiant armed forces, acknowledging their myriad sacrifices which are a testament to their unwavering commitment to the nation.