Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Address Delivered at 125th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of the Mother at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.

APJ Abdul Kalam

Dear Friends,

The late Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931—27 July 2015) requires no formal introduction. After graduating from St. Joseph’s College (Tiruchirappalli), he joined the Madras Institute of Technology to study aerospace engineering. Eventually he joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organization as a scientist. In 1969 he was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization where he worked as the Project Director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle. He was closely associated with India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts. His contribution towards the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology earned him the title of ‘Missile Man of India’. He had received honorary doctorates from forty universities. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and 1990 respectively and also bestowed upon him the highest civilian honour—the Bharat Ratna—in 1997. In 2002 he was elected the eleventh President of India and his term lasted from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007. A prolific writer, his published works include India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (1998), Wings of Fire: An Autobiography (1999), Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India (2002), The Luminous Sparks (2004), Indomitable Spirit (2006), Inspiring Thoughts (2007) and Forge your Future: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring (2014) to name a few.

As our humble tribute to the great soul, we have published the text of an address Dr. Kalam had delivered on 27 February 2004 at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata, on the occasion of the Mother’s Birth Anniversary Celebrations, along with some of his photographs taken shortly before he collapsed while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management (Shillong) on 27 July 2015.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Overman Foundation


I am indeed delighted to participate in the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of the Mother. My greetings to the organisers, distinguished guests and devotees. When I am in the midst of this gathering, I am reminded of certain events which took place in the life of the Mother. When she was between the age of 11 and 13 through a series of psychic and spiritual experiences she became aware of the existence of God and her possibility of uniting with Him. This thought, along with the practical methods of fulfilling this mission, was given to her during her body’s sleep by several teachers, some of whom she met afterwards on the physical plane. At that time she had no knowledge of the Indian philosophies and religions. But she would call the unknown force Krishna. She was aware that it was with him that her divine work was to continue. As soon as she saw Sri Aurobindo she recognised in him the well-known being whom she used to call Krishna and that was enough to explain why she was fully convinced that her place and work were near him in India. I am reminded of the famous words of the Mother. I quote:

“I belong to no nation, no civilisation, no society, no race, but to the Divine.”

“I obey no master, no ruler, no law, no social convention, but the Divine.”

Her spirit continues to be here and her words provide us the direction for religion graduating into spiritual force.

Now I would like to share with you some of my experiences after my visit to various religious institutions.

During the last 20 months, I have travelled to almost all the parts of the country. The message I have received from my extensive travels in the country is that most Indians, energetic and middle-aged, young and innocent,— they all look to religion for solace and safety. The religions are like exquisite gardens, places full of surpassing beauty and tranquility, like sacred groves filled with beautiful birds and their melodious song. I truly think that religions are beautiful gardens. But they are islands. They are enchanting islets, veritable oases for the soul and the spirit. But they are islands nevertheless. However, if we can connect all these islands with love and compassion, in a ‘garland project’ for the new millennium, we will have a prosperous India ahead of us, a billion people, through India millennium mission and even for our planet.

God has created the human being with a brain and a thinking faculty. He has commanded His creation that the faculty must be used with reasoning to reach His image. This is the mission of human life. Science is the best boon God has bestowed upon mankind. Science with reasoning becomes the capital of the society. In whatever field we work, be it science, technology, medicine, politics, policing, theology, religion or judiciary, we have to remain in the service of the common man whose well-being is central to all human knowledge and endeavour.

Every religion has a central component — spirituality that is driven by compassion and love. Rationality and logic are intrinsic to science and spirituality. A spiritual experience is the goal of a deeply religious person whereas a major discovery or an invention is the goal of a scientific mind. If both the aspects are unified, amalgamated in our own patterns, we can transcend to that level of thinking in which unity is a cohesive aspect. For this environment the two major components—Science and Spirituality,— have to interact. A Peace prayer can be the foundation for both.

“O Almighty, create thoughts and actions
in the minds of the people of the nation
So that they live united.

O Almighty, bless the people
To take a path of life with righteousness
as righteousness gives the strength of character.

Help all religious leaders of the country to
give strength to the people to combat the divisive forces.

Guide the people to develop an attitude to appreciate different
ideologies and transform enmity among individuals,
organisations and nations, into friendliness and harmony.

Embed the thought ‘Nation is bigger than the Individual’
in the minds of the leaders and people.

O God, bless the people to work with perseverance to
transform the country into a peaceful and prosperous nation
and promote world peace.”

I wish the 125th Birth Centenary celebrations of the Mother all success.








33 Replies to “Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Address Delivered at 125th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of the Mother at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.

  1. Thanks to Anurag for bringing out this wonderful speech, not widely known. Request, if some pictures of his visit to Sri Aurobindo Bhawan on this occasion can be uploaded. I understand the great man had also visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Is it possible to know anything more on that visit ?

  2. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s sudden passing away has left a void and a deep sense of irreparable loss in each and every one of us. For those of us who care for excellence in an all-pervasive life and in the enlightening world of Indian scientific thought, his was a life committed to perseverance, sharply focused on achieving the loftiest of aims and objectives. He gave required impetus to the Indian missile program at a crucial and critical juncture in its nascent years in the early seventies. Our overall defenses and strategic needs have been ably met and our defenses systems have been fortified because of his foresight. APJ was not only a scientist but also a visionary whose ability to foresee the exigent demands on the youth of the future generations of India was simply amazing.

    APJ was a scientist whose genius was nurtured and nourished by none other than another legendary Indian scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, father of ISRO – (Indian Space Research Organization). At a very early age in his professional career, APJ envisioned India’s rapid progress in its missile technology program giving it shape and dimension. The firepower of Agni and Prithvi became a reality because of the highly successful and path breaking indigenous technology that was developed and incorporated due to his pioneering efforts accompanied with inextinguishable enthusiasm. The efficacy of Agni and Prithvi is spoken about with great pride and joy today. No matter how many one uses, words are simply inadequate to map the superhuman achievements of APJ whose name today is a byword for success, dedication and hard work. The quality of performance in every task that he took up, brought to it a striking quality and made his workmanship reach the zenith of perfection. Meticulous to the smallest detail, APJ never paused to rest until the task that he had undertaken was successfully completed.

    His work inspired scores of youngsters tempered with a scientific spirit. He mentored them all equally like a compassionate guru, inculcating on them the undying spirit of enquiry, at the same time impressing upon them the need to develop within themselves the ability to be concentrating focused on their goals while working hard.

    Born and brought up in humble surroundings, APJ rose to great heights by sheer dint of hard work. Being finally rewarded with the President ship of India, he never rested on his laurels and even post-retirement was busy and active with intensity that made younger people wonder in awe, envy and adoration.

    Passionately involved in the lives of school-going children nothing gave greater joy and pleasure to APJ than to be interacting with youngsters and to inspire them to dream big. Children, for APJ, were not just children, but minds ready to absorb , assimilated and deliver. He knew that the moment he ignited these minds, they would be ready to fly on wings of fire.

    Simple in lifestyle, and dignified in demeanor, APJ didn’t let the trappings of power or the pomp of office overwhelm him. As President of India, he was sensitive and sincerely caring. His immediate staff members speak fondly and highly of him even today, as he had endeared himself to them all, by his genial and affable nature. Not at all inclined to wastefulness, APJ did not believe in foreign tours and jaunts, unless they were absolutely necessary.

    His writing was wonderfully inspirational as can be seen from the number of books that he wrote with these books even today being in the current bestsellers’ lists.

    He firmly believed that it is the persistent intensity and self-belief in dedicated and hard work that in the end bring desired results.

    Let us salute this beloved son of Mother India who made a gigantic contribution, giving generously, never in pieces, but all of himself in totality to the service of his country. There was no other purpose in his life than to serve India and his fellow citizens, and also, as he wanted it to be said, “I was born to serve the whole world and as a human being to serve humanity.”

  3. During his trip to the Matrimandir at Auroville, Dr. Kalam had written the following words in the visitors’ book:

    ‘MATRIMANDIR is beautiful divine creation. When I spent few minutes in the concentration chamber, I felt time is infinite; something echoed in me; can I give words to the divine call: “Divine beauty, divine peace, entered into me, and blossoms happiness in my body and soul.”’ (1.11.2004)

  4. This tribute is simply wonderful. It should inspire all of us ..” APJ ” embodied greatness at once supernal and intimately connected to the very Soul of Mother India ..the son of the soil rose to become the master of space . His life echoes these mmortal lines from Savitri — .As a star moves in heaven , unastonished by the immensties of space ..measuring infinity by its own light …the great are strongest when they stand alone
    Surendra .S Chouhan SAICE — 69 .

  5. Dr Kalam was spiritually an elevated soul, who had also read Sri Aurobindo deeply…he was closely attached to the Guru of the Akshardham movement…

  6. A deeply religious Man in the truest sense of the term and a sublime symbol of the many hued culture of the modern-ancient India Dr.Kalam remains immortal!

  7. Swami Vivekananda said ” it is better far better to die while on duty”. Dr Kalam created an example. A Real Karma yogi.

  8. Being an ardent advocate of open sources of software, he gave impetus to IT enabled education at different levels in rural India.

  9. Dr. APJ Abdul kalam was the legend of our country. His stories related to his life inspire number of people who just want to be as him. His participation for the country can never be forgotten. A grand salute to this legend personality from the bottom of my heart.

  10. He was the greatest President of our times. He was a great personality, truly a jewel. People of India, specially children will miss him very much. I had got a chance to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan during his tenure and was amazed to see the displays of his portraits in the galleries sent to him by children from different parts of our country….

  11. Inspiration of every Indian… U r always alive in our soul forever..The real hero grand salute to u.. We always love you…

  12. A President par excellence and a true Teacher in every sense who liked sharing his experience!! A major loss to student fraternity and of course India!! Father of Missile systems who took India to scale all the more new heights!!!

  13. The greatest son of India in our life time. Present political leaders should learn from his life style if they truly love India and want India to be the economic and military power. He was the real Bharat Ratna, the real gold that was discovered by Atalji’s Government. I wish he would have lived longer to inspire the youth of India.

  14. The people’s President, a guide, a role model, inspiration for the young generation. He passed into the next word, doing what he loved the most, lecturing the I I M students.

  15. He did not die while resting on his sofa. He did not die eating his favorite food at a posh restaurant. He did not die while signing his cheques. He did not die sick in his comforting bed. He died while he was interacting with students which has always been his favorite thing in the world. Dieing while doing our most loved thing. How many of us are going to do it? His body may have left. His ‘Wings of Fire’ has no death. They’ll always flutter in air. All around us. When you live, live like him. When you die, die like him. RIP Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Heaven is lucky now!

  16. Salute to the greatest man… Born in a simple family… Selfless, loving, caring.. A great professor… A great scientist.. A true Indian.. A man of dreams.. He who lived the dream.. The man who made us dream… A man of humbleness. A man of simplicity.. A hero of revolutionary reputation.. A winner of youth hearts.. A writer of great quotes… A great leader…. A great orator… The word will miss u… India will miss u.. We, will miss u… You, your thoughts and your quotes will remain in our hearts until the world ends… Salute to the great leader…

  17. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is not DEAD, he can never die He just became a shining STAR which will guide us forever from sky he is greatest legend of our India.

  18. Dr. APJ Abdul kalam was the legend of our country. His stories related to his life inspire number of people who just want to be as him. His participation for the country can never be forgotten. A grand salute to this legend personality from the bottom of my heart.

  19. India’s Best President, Missile man And the true Mentor for all the youths is not between Us! He believed that Indian Youths can Make India developed and world a better place! Its now our responsibility to carry forward his legacy!

  20. APJ Abdul kalam sir is not between us today, but we should not let his dream of India being a super power die. At least this much we can do for him. Let us promise this to him.

  21. A simple person who ignited the minds of young Indian Brigade!! A true humanitarian and secular in all aspects and above politics!!! A firm believer in sharing knowledge!! A great loss to student fraternity as he had sowed seeds for developed India!! May his soul rest in peace!!

  22. Dr Kalam was a man of many parts-a scientist, an inventor, a visionary thinker and a teacher. Through his life and work he ignited the minds of young people. As President he won over the hearts and minds of an entire nation with his warmth and wisdom. He will be missed dearly and remembered fondly by every Indian.

  23. Dr.Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, you were an inspiration to one and all and …from the boy from Rameshwaram who once sold newspapers to the Missile Man of India to the People’s President, the most loved President of India and possibly the only President/politician the youth identified with…to last but not the least, the Teacher who inspired his students till his last day..Sir may your soul rest in peace…You may be gone. ..But these words of yours will forever stay with me- “You have to dream before your dreams can come true” …we shall miss you but will never forget you…

  24. Thank you very much sir for posting this. So touching….we lost one of the icon of humility of our nation! He was the president of common man! The president who inspired the next generation to dream! Kalam sir, Your memories will live as long as there is life on this planet!

  25. Most Popular Inspirational Quotes from A.P.J Abdul Kalam

    • “Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”

    • “All Birds find shelter during a rain. But Eagle avoids rain by flying above the Clouds.”

    • “Failure will never overtake me if my definition to succeed is strong enough”.

    • “Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success.”

    • “If you want to shine like a sun. First burn like a sun.”

    • “It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone”.

    • “All of us do not have equal talent. But , all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”

    • ” Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness.”

    • “Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.”

    • ” Without your involvement you can’t succeed. With your involvement you can’t fail. “

  26. He was a quintessential Gandhi in a scientist robe and the greatest President we had ever had. In a nation where politicians act like pigs looking for the next avenue to rob, he was sitting there building bridges with common people, doing research, writing books and talking science. Our nation was gifted to have him.

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