Morari Bapu’s Ramayana discourse at Cambridge University: First Hindu spiritual event to take place at the historical institution

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@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist

In a historic milestone, spiritual leader Morari Bapu will be holding a 9-day discourse based on the Ramayana at the University of Cambridge from August 12-20. This is the first time that a Hindu spiritual event will take place on the premises of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.

The Ram Katha event will be held at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. The recital is anticipated to be a celebration of the long-standing relationship between the Indian and English civilizations. Cambridge is an inspiring city which is rich in history, culture, and world-changing discoveries. It is home to the world’s third oldest university – the University of Cambridge and has more Nobel Prize winners than any other city.

Through his Ram Katha, Bapu will be bringing together the world of knowledge and spirituality, of Gnana (knowledge) and Adhyatma (spirituality), both of which he speaks about often. Cambridge is where young men and women come for education and evolution. Morari Bapu’s narration too is a powerful transformative tool of storytelling as his discourses inspire individuals to learn and make positive changes in their lives for personal growth. The event would also provide an opportunity to explore the importance of world literature, mythology, and cultural narratives as part of a holistic education.

Morari Bapu is a leading light of the Hindu religion and propagates its rich Vedic roots. He has made Ramayana, a great epic, his medium to establish universal values of truth, love and compassion in the hearts and homes of people. In his Kathas, he makes these great Hindu epics relevant to us today as well as bringing to life these rich stories and divine characters from a bygone era. Today, millions are reading and learning from the ancient scriptures from the Ramayana to the Bhagavad Gita both in India and abroad, thanks to six decades of work put in by Bapu.

Many years ago, when Bapu first started visiting the UK to do Ram Kathas, his kathas were a way for non-resident Indians to connect with their home country; a way to expose their children to a cultural festival, to their mother tongue and faith. Furthermore, many of the children who started listening to him at a young age are now organising kathas themselves.

This Ram Katha event at Cambridge too is being organized by the youth of Britain with the support and under the guidance of Lord Dolar Popat. Bapu’s Katha has united them and sparked lifelong friendships and a common love for their culture and heritage. Bapu’s first Katha in the UK took place in 1979; the last Katha in 2017 at the Wembley Arena brought together almost 10,000 listeners daily. Now, six years later, Bapu is back in the UK, this time at the prestigious Cambridge University.

The Ram Katha event is open to all on a first-come, first-served basis.  Parking arrangements for this Katha will be at Madingley Road Park & Ride where shuttles to the Katha venue will be provided. Vegetarian breakfast and lunch will be served to all attendees.

From former Indian leaders who studied at Cambridge to spiritual leader Morari Bapu

Cambridge is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK and the world. Among former students, three Indian Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, were educated at Cambridge, as were thought leaders like Sri Aurobindo, Amartya Sen, C.R. Rao, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sarojini Naidu. Bapu often references and quotes such leaders, and this Katha will therefore pay homage to this. The event will also demonstrate the global appeal of the ancient scriptures, that they transcend geographical and cultural boundaries, appealing to audiences worldwide. The Katha is a cultural exchange between the Hindu tradition and the academic environment of Cambridge University, bringing mutual enrichment and understanding.

The universality of Morari Bapu’s message crosses the boundaries of religion and is the religion of humanity. This, together with his acceptance of all, no matter what background, religion, caste, or belief, is what brings together such a diversity of people. This is also what would appeal to the Western audience, that there is openness in all that Bapu says and does.

About Morari Bapu
Morari Bapu is a renowned exponent of the Ramayana and has been reciting Ram Kathas for over sixty years throughout the world. The overall ethos of his Katha is universal peace and spreading the message of truth, love, and compassion. While the focal point is the scripture itself, Bapu draws upon examples from other religions and invites people from all faiths to attend the discourses. The remarkable journey of reciting the Ram Charita Manas (a popular version of Ramayana written by Goswami Tulsidas) began in front of three village folk when Bapu was fourteen and has now taken him to all corners of the world from all major cities and pilgrimage sites in India to countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Australia, Israel, and Japan, drawing millions in audiences. Bapu has often gone beyond stereotypes, holding Ram Kathas for sex workers, transgenders, and those living on the margins of society. He has also been in the forefront in providing aid to any area that has been disaster-hit whether within India or countries abroad like war-torn Ukraine.

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