Sunak told volunteers and pilgrims that he drew strength from the Bhagavad Gita during his quest to be the next leader of the Conservative party. He said it had been “a tough campaign” and he had been “giving it everything he had got”. “But at times of the most difficulty, what Akshata has done for me, is to give me the teachings of the Gita and she has done it on the phone and by message. It is the Gita that has given me strength over the past few weeks,” he said.
His family have visited the Manor many times and were invited this time for a private darshan.
“In an environment like this, where your guard is a little down, you really see the person — either you see a very empty political voice, or you see a human that actually wants to do something — and I really felt we had seen something very human and genuine,” said Vinay Tanna, director of communications at Bhaktivedanta Manor.
“When you meet him in person, his demeanour is so incongruous to what a politician would normally have,” he added. “He did not seem stressed about the leadership contest. He took the time to speak to anyone. Rarely do you find a politician who has time for the elderly to the young and I felt there was a bit of humanity about him which really came out. “
The couple were shown the translation of the Bhagavad Gita to English by Srila Prabhupada, as well as the transcribing machine he had used, which Sunak found “fascinating”, Tanna said.
They were presented with a book displaying all the pictures of Lord Krishna with an inscription by the temple president, Her Grace Vishaka Dasi, saying: “Don’t try to see God but serve him in such a way that he will want to see you.” The couple were touched as they have a daughter called Krishna. They also performed gopuja as the Manor has 62 cows.
“He was in the mood of real spiritual absorption and he felt a sense of absolute calm when he was there, and it was a sense of really what his life is all about,” Tanna said.
Murthy did not speak much but Tanna said “she had a strength of quietness but her presence was obvious.”
“Akshata was mentioned many times during conversation with Rishi – he finds her an enormous strength and not just the usual sort of ‘wife strength’ but she has this enormous spiritual credential which he draws on. There is a genuine sense they are both together in this.”