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Remembering Revered Sage Dada Vaswani

Nandkumar M Kamat

There is this particular verse (44) in “Nuri Granth’ volume IV,  “Nothing endures, and everything turns to dust, none survives in this land ruled by death: O Nuri! Only the Lord’s praises do sing, Only the Name Divine survives so repeat the Name Divine!” which sums up the philosophy of Sadhu Vaswani mission.

A great sage of modern India, the most revered J P Vaswani, lovingly called Dada Vaswani, left the world of mortals at 9.01am on July 12 to undertake the infinite journey in infinite realms of the universe beyond us, plunging millions of his followers in dark valley of pathos. When you meet ever smiling personalities like Dada Vaswani, who always exude the distilled essence of civilisation of India with added flavour of the wisdom of ancient Indus valley- your life is instantly illuminated. I don’t follow any dead or living godman or woman. Dada never claimed to be one. He was a spiritual guide of his people- the Sindhi community traumatised by the wounds of partition in 1947 and he was more like a sage of the age of Vedas and Upanishads, to the followers of Sadhu Vaswani mission at Pune founded by sadhu T K Vaswani.

I was lucky to meet him in Goa and spend some time to listen to his beautiful, simple, practical, action oriented, mind soothing thoughts. Having received his personal blessings at Kala academy in a public interaction event few years ago due to guidance of his follower Radha Pamanani, Chief architect, Goa PWD, I keenly followed his life and work. Then I studied more about sadhu T L Vaswani, the four volumes of his sacred songs compiled in Nuri Granth and the noble work of sadhu Vaswani mission in Pune. I propose to translate selected verses from “Nuri Granth” in Konkani so that Goans would understand this work of high spiritual and metaphysical value.

Despite his old age Dada used to travel widely. On August 9, 2015, he impressed the audience in Margao with a beautiful lecture on the theme “Stay Connected”. His discourse was a simplification of nondualism (advaita) philosophy- why people should stay united and connected. During his last visit to Goa on March 6, 2017, in Panaji he spoke on “change your thoughts, transform your life”. He had stressed on why people should take care of their thoughts. He told the audience that people pay scant attention to their thoughts. He mentioned that thoughts are like the building blocks of life. He talked about how people are the builders of their own destiny. He said, “We are the masters of our destiny. A thought will drive you to action. Thoughts will take you to action and action when it is repeated over and again forms a habit. You must be very careful of forming new habits. That man is the happiest who thinks the happiest thoughts. Everything depends on your thoughts.

The moment you get a negative thought, drive it out. Coming to this earth plane if you give up one evil habit and adopt one good habit, your coming here will not be in vain. His session ended with a simple but profound message for all –“make positive thoughts a habit’.  He was speaking at Maquinez palace, very close to the spot where Swami Vivekananda had stood once admiring the flow of river Mandovi during his brief visit to Panaji. Dada spoke at a place also close to the location where Pope John Paul II had offered prayers on the background of a giant crucifix.

Using his soft voice Dada counseled people in a way which can’t be replicated by anyone. He had a childlike innocence about his personality and it was very rare to catch him without a smile. Dada would have been a centenarian on August 2 and Radha Pamanani participating in Pune in his posthumous ‘satsang’ informed me on phone that preparations were going on for his centenary celebrations. But suddenly his condition deteriorated with some internal problems and he had to be shifted to ICU. It is credit to Maharashtra government for respecting him with full state honors because he belonged to the whole world as one of the wisest apostle of peace on earth.

For his centenary the mission issued a message “Be Love, Live Love”. The mission had chalked a variety of programmes from July 31 to August 2 to celebrate his centenary. Before writing this article I removed the gifts, the four volumes from my shelf which I had received from him- the ‘Nuri Granth”. I could not hold back my tears as I wiped the books and began to read selected verses while bringing his image in front of my eyes. Our country has mountains of problems. There is lot of poverty, hunger, thirst, diseases, social injustice, crime, violence, hatred, ruthless competition. Let us just think about it -who keeps this nation sane? Who spreads sanity among people? Who become apostles of peace and love? Who works tirelessly to unite people divided by politicians and hatred mongers?

The answer is personalities like Dada Vaswani. Wherever he went he lit lamps of love with compassion in heart. He didn’t remain a spiritual guide and leader of only the Sindhi community but exerted a spontaneous influence on people of all religions. That’s why shops in Pune along the route during his procession to perform the last rites at the mission on July 13 evening closed in respect and thousands of people in Pune wept for a modern sage who was no more amongst them.

How many people and NGOs in Goa would follow the missionary work of sadhu Vaswani mission in Pune? The last verse (sloka) in “Nuri Granth” is worth quoting. “O prince do not keep me away from you, but pray seat me in your presence; See not my faults and failings, but grant me your glance of mercy”. Dada Vaswani, the prince among modern Indian spiritual leaders may be away from us but his wise, sensible thoughts have power to transform the most cruel, wicked and violent human on earth.

Goa joins the hard working, enterprising, peace loving and creative Sindhi community and millions of followers of Sadhu Vaswani mission in condoling the death of such a beautiful, loving personality. Goa must celebrate his posthumous centenary by spreading his message –“ Be Love, Live Love”.

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