GAYA: In a veiled criticism of those who practise coercion to propagate their religious belief and engineer conversion in the process, governor Satya Pal Malik said on Monday that Lord Buddha did not invoke ‘fear of God’ and for him compassion and not coercion is the right path.
The governor was speaking on the occasion of the 2562nd birth anniversary of Lord Buddha at Mahabodhi Mahavihara on Monday.
Explaining the relevance of Buddhism, the governor said that Buddha was a true democrat and believed in the inherent goodness of people. He added that good conduct and not empty sermons make qualitative change in people’s life and approach. “One good example is better than any preaching. Buddha did not believe in life after death. He, therefore wanted people to make the best of their lives through compassion, service and devotion. He believed in collective decision making, the true essence of democracy,” said Malik.
Union minister of state Ramdas Athawale and state agriculture minister Prem Kumar also participated in the celebrations.
Earlier in the morning, monks and other devotees took out a peace march to commemorate the teachings of Lord Buddha. The peace marchers included a sizeable foreign contingent as visitors from several countries including Myanmar, Thailand and Srilanka participated in the long procession. The peace marchers carried Panchsheel, the flag symbolising world peace.
The governor also released a souvenir to mark the jayanti celebrations. The souvenir contained articles on different aspects of Lord Buddha’s life and Buddhist philosophy.
Community feasts were separately organised by the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee for the robed monks and laity visiting the place to participate in the event. A benevolent weather God made the summer sun less hostile and more visitor-friendly.