Kolkata: The flow of civilisation has always been controlled and regulated by religious preachers, saints and social reformers, rather than heads of state and all-powerful emperors, President Pranab Mukherjee said Monday.
"The flow of civilisation, right from the early ages to the present, has never been controlled by any powerful head of state; the regulator of civilisation and its dynamism has never been an all-powerful emperor."
"Through the ages, civilisation has been controlled and regulated not by formidable heroes, but by Hazrat Mohammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Sri Chaitanya," Mukherjee said after laying the foundation stone of the Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Museum of the Gaudiya Mission.
He expressed the hope that the endeavours centring on the museum would not be limited to propagating Vaishnava ideals but lead to the birth of new ideas, thoughts and research.
"With this museum as the hub, not only artwork, or manuscripts, but other strands will also converge to draw people and inspire the researchers and students of the next generation."
Paying glorious tributes to Sri Chaitanya, the president called the saint a revolutionary and a rebel.
"Sri Chaitanya appeared 526 years back. If we remember the situation in India and Bengal during that time, if we think about the Hindu religion and the society centred around Hinduism during that time, we will see for long our social life was fatigued with a sense of guilt and impurity," he said.
On the one hand, the social order then was bound by rituals, tradition, prejudices and regulations. On the other hand, the advent of Islam was a big draw for common people because of its message of unity, equality and universal brotherhood, he said.
"Sri Chaitanya appeared during such a time. He was not only a religious preacher and social reformer, but also a revolutionary, a rebel. He raised his voice against the prevailing system."
"He realised that if the order has to be changed, the social life was to be refined and purified, then one cannot walk the beaten track. An assault was needed, a push was needed. And he did that," said the president during his extempore 11-minute speech in Bengali.
He said Sri Chaitanya`s mantra of liberal universal humanism and his influence on Indian social life has continued till today.
"For 536 years this influence has continued. In art, literature, culture, drama, philosophy, the influence has only increased," he said.
The president said the Indian culture has continued unabated for over 5,000 years despite many political revolutions and regime changes because of the roles played by great men like Sri Chaitanya whose contribution cannot be confined within any geographical boundary.