Jodhpur/New Delhi: Responding to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s recent remark that Prime Narendra Modi did not understand Hinduism, the latter responded today saying that the philosophy, which is a faith of the majority of Indians, could not be grasped fully even by sages.

The Prime Minister was addressing a rally in Jodhpur ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly election. He asked the cheering crowd whether the state would vote on the issue of development or on the basis of whether Modi had enough knowledge of Hinduism.

On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi had said at a public meeting, “What is the essence of Hinduism? What does the Gita say? That knowledge is with everybody, knowledge is all around you. Every living being has knowledge. Our PM says he is a Hindu but he doesn’t understand foundation of Hinduism. What kind of a Hindu is he?”

Modi asked if Gandhi was so knowledgeable about Hinduism, why was he and his party so obsessed with the Prime Minister’s caste.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh shared the angst when he said in Jaipur, “What will they talk about Hindu and Hinduism? They have called Lord Ram a fictional character in the affidavit submitted in Supreme Court in Ram Setu case in 2007.”

Infuriated by Gandhi’s speech, Union minister Smriti Irani said, “Where was the Hindu in Rahul Gandhi when Congress had submitted an affidavit that Lord Ram does not exist?”

In Jodhpur, the Prime Minister asked if Gandhi had inherited a Hindu legacy how come, under the virtual rule of UPA chairperson and then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the government of the time had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, deposing that Lord Rama did not exist?

The said affidavit was submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India, a department under the Ministry of Culture, during the hearing of the case of Sethusamudram. It was a UPA government project inspired by Congress ally DMK. If built, the waterway for ships for transportation between the country’s western and eastern coasts would have demolished the Adam’s Bridge, which Hindus believe to have been built by the army of Lord Rama to reach Ravana’s kingdom Lanka — according to the Ramayana. The project would have also devastated the marine ecology of the gulf between India and Sri Lanka due to dredging.

Not stopping at that, the Prime Minister invoked history of contemporary India. Reminding the Congress president that his family had ruled the country for decades, the Prime Minister recalled Jawaharlal Nehru’s reign when the first Prime Minister had objected to the attendance of the first President, Rajendra Prasad, at the re-opening ceremony of the Somnath Temple.

How Hindu was that, Modi questioned Gandhi. “Since you know so much about Hinduism, can you explain why, when the Somnath temple was rebuilt, did the first prime minister of the country oppose Rajendra Prasad’s going there?”