New Delhi: Hailing Swami Vivekananda for his contribution in the uplift of the masses, President Pranab Mukherjee today said his teachings can be the "guiding light" for the challenges of ethics and morality faced by the society.
"The universality of Swamiji`s teachings holds great relevance in the modern world. Despite progress made by us, our society is confronted with issues challenging our ethics and morality. Swamiji`s teachings should be our guiding light in our path to the future," he said.
Referring to the teachings of Vivekananda, the President said he felt that religion should be a weapon for self- transformation as well as transformation of the society.
"His Guru Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa had taught him that service to man was service to God. Swamiji made this principle the basis of his social service programme," Mukherjee said inaugurating a seminar organised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda.
The President said Vivekananda was deeply troubled by the abject poverty of the masses and held that the country`s downfall was primarily due to suppression of the poor, who were also immersed in ignorance and superstition.
Addressing the gathering here, ICCR Chairman Karan Singh said Vivekananda shone like a meteor against the darkness and gave the message that truth is one though it could be called by many names.
He said, "At a time when the old is collapsing and the new is struggling, we need fresh inspiration like Swami Vivekananda."
Singh recalled struggle of the social reformer for the uplift of the marginalised, especially women.