As India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited a gurdwara and a temple in Vancouver along with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper earlier this month, he said Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. Both the premiers, who went to Vancouver from Toronto on April 17, visited the Sikh and Hindu houses of worship, where they were gifted with siropas and participated in prayer respectively.
Addressing the crowd in Vancouver, Modi said he was proud of the Sikhs living in Canada because they had earned a lot of respect for India through their work. He spoke of the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and stressed upon the role that Sikhs had played in India’s freedom struggle.
He also emphasized the growing need for people to work for the sake of humanity while highlighting some Sikhs, who have set great examples by sacrificing themselves for the idea.
However, Modi did not forget to talk about Hinduism amidst all his praise for Sikhism.
“The Supreme Court in India has given a nice definition to 'Hindu dharam'...The Supreme Court has said that Hindu dharam is not a religion but a way of life … I believe the Supreme Court's definition shows the way,” Modi said.
He explained how Hindus have worked for the betterment of nature and wildlife through scientific teachings.
“This can show a way out of small problems of life,” he said.
Modi also made a reference to the United Nations declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day, a proposal that received a record co-sponsorship, only 125 days after Modi himself pitched the idea at the world body in 2014. He urged the Indian population in Canada to spread the practice of yoga for the betterment of humanity.
Photo Credits: Office of the Prime Minister, Canada