BENGALURU, May 23: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today described himself as a "son of India" and the country a 'guru' for his people who are its 'chelas' (disciples).
The 81-year-old Nobel Laureate, whose visit to Arunachal Pradesh last month had angered China, also called himself the messenger of ancient Indian values and knowledge.
The Dalai Lama was speaking at the state-level seminar on 'Social Justice and Dr B R Ambedkar' where he said deprivation from social justice in the name of caste was not from religion, but was due to feudal systems that existed in our societies.
"India is a guru and we are chelas (disciples), we are reliable chelas, because we have preserved your ancient knowledge.
"I also consider myself as the son of India as every part of my brain cells are filled with ancient Indian knowledge and my body is because of Indian rice and dal," he said.
The religious leader has been in India since 1959. He crossed the border into India after an epic 15-day journey on foot from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, over the Himalayan mountains.
The Dalai Lama said even in the name of religion and religious systems, there were some feudal practices and "it should not be there."
Stating that through education caste-related injustice could be wiped out, the Dalai Lama underlined the need for eliminating the feeling of inferiority in certain sections of the people.
"...so that there is a sense of equality, so that they can build self-confidence. Through self-confidence, hard work and education one can achieve equality," he said.
On ancient Indian values and knowledge, the Dalai Lama said it must be revived in the country, as "it is not ancient, but most relevant."
He said ancient Indian knowledge and values along with modern technology can do great for the country as one can attain mental comfort with ancient knowledge and physical comfort through modern knowledge.
"...ancient knowledge and values side-by-side with modern science is worthy for the society," he said.
Noting that everybody wants to be happy and have that right, he said, "if we consider rest of the humanity as brothers and sisters, there is no chance for exploitation.
"Buddha dharma is Indian dharma as most of its teachings and knowledge came from the country," he said, adding that ancient Indian values like karuna and ahimsa had reached millions of people across the world with the spread of Buddhism.
He also pointed out out that like in many other religions, Buddhism had also different philosophies originating from different schools of thought.
"We need different philosophical views. Wonderful people with great teachings have come form from diverse faith and philosophical backgrounds, but with a common message of love and compassion, as also good 'karma'.
"Any activity which brings happiness is a positive karma and what makes uncomfortable is negative karma," he added.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge participated in the seminar organised by the Social Justice Department of Karnataka government to commemorate Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary. PTI