Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani moves on from the seen to the unseen on the sacred day of guruvaar, July 12, 2018. Devotees and dignitaries poured in from all quarters to have one last glimpse of their Beloved Master in the Mission premises until 2 pm, the following day, July 13, 2018.
Beloved Dada, covered in the Indian National Flag, seemed deep in slumber; peaceful and radiant as ever, ready to move along with his devotees in his final yatra on this earth plane.
The Darshan yatra moved along the silent streets of the city that mourned the loss of an exalted spiritual leader. Retails shut down as a mark of homage to the saint. The lanes bore a somber look, the sky seemed gloomy…
The procession softly kept chanting “Hare Krishna Hare Ram, Dada Shyam, Dada Shyam” passing by the Sadhu Vaswani Chowk, the Council Hall, the Poona Club, the Quarter Gate, the Padamjee, Babajan Chowk, MG Road, Aurora Towers, the Nehru Memorial Hall, Sadhu Vaswani Kunj, Shanti Kunj and finally returning to the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.
Beloved Dada was first laid to rest at the Samadhi of Gurudev Sadhu T. L. Vaswani. Honouring Beloved Dada’s contribution to the compass of spirituality, the President of India, the Prime Minister of India and The Chief Minister of Maharashtra and several stately personalities sent in their condolences. At the final rites ceremony, the tribute messages were read.
The Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s message read as- “Sad to hear of the passing of Dada J.P. Vaswani, a spiritual leader who contributed so much to our society. He dedicated his life to the betterment of humanity, promoting simple living, high thinking and education. My condolences to his countless followers.”
The Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi’s message read as- “I am saddened beyond words on the passing away of Dada J.P. Vaswani. He lived for society and served the poor and needy with compassion. Blessed with immense wisdom, he was passionate about educating the girl child, cleanliness and furthering peace as well as brotherhood. Dada J.P. Vaswani was a guiding light for me. About 28 years ago, I had the honour of being with him at a world religions conference in USA. His clarity of thought stood out. In 2013 I had visited Pune to inaugurate a nursing college associated with him. In August last year, I had addressed the 99th birthday celebrations of Dada J.P. Vaswani. His blessings always gave me courage. I join the lakhs and lakhs of people whose lives were touched by Dada J.P. Vaswani in remembering him. His thoughts, teachings and social service efforts live on, highlighting the values he stood for and the work he did.”
Amid the chanting of shlokas, bhajans and kirtans, Dada, was given a final state salute and the Indian National Flag was handed over to Sister Krishna Kumari, Working Chairperson, Sadhu Vaswani Mission. He was finally laid to rest at his Mahasamadhi, situated right beside his Guru, Sadhu Vaswani. A full state honours and gun salute was given by the Government of Maharashtra.
Finally, Sister Krishna Kumari lit the havan from which was lit the funeral pyre by Babaji, Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. The following days from day of performing of the final rites, daily prayer meetings, bhajans, kirtans and seva were held for the consecutive 12 days. Of the 12 days, the 10th day and the 12th day are of significance when a dear one departs.
Marking this ceremonial activities, students from special schools were given gifts and supplies. Of these, Adhaar School for the deaf and mute that attended the seva session was seen to be equally saddened by the earthly departure of Beloved Dada. The children from the school, were distributed bags, writing pads, games and more during the seva.
“Dada is and will always remain dear to us. On behalf of my school and its students, I extend deepest condolences,” said Ujwala Thorat, Rector of the school. “We are as always thankful to the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. We have been coming from the past three years and these gifts bring a smile to the faces of our students,” she added.
CR Ranganathan Nivasi, Karnabadhir Vidyalaya, Tingre Nagar another of the schools that received supplies and necessities too was grieving. “Dada has been helping our school since forever. He has provided our students with basic necessities; hearing aids, sweaters, school supplies and so much more,” said Suvarna Bhosle. “Dada loved children. Children loved him too. They were always curious and would ask what his teachings are,” added Pratibha Jagtap. “Even today, when we refer to him, they imitate his radiant smile. That is Dada to them, they also point their finger upward. Its ten years since, he has been helping our school. He must have moved on but his blessings are with us,” added Devidas Yewate.
Of the many ceremonies, one of the most significant was that of the enshrining of Dada’s holy ashes in the sacred kutiya. It was when the dawn of 19th July, 2018 rose to the divine havan and chorus of ‘aate nahi nazar par hamare saath ho Dada…” As the ahuti and the ghee flared the flames bright, so did Dada’s radiance shine in all its divine element…
With the sangat pouring in from all quarters for one glimpse of their beloved dada; the atmosphere was truly sacred and sanctified. Beloved Dada’s holy ashes were then placed on the celestial palanquin readied with utmost devotion and love… His life-like image on the palanquin speaking to all present. As the palanquin was taken along the Mission campus; through all places Dada once walked by, the sangat joined in singing ‘Dada Shyam, Dada Shyam’ all along to the sacred kutiya…
Finally, His holy ashes were enshrined in the sacred kutiya, amidst unceasing chanting. The devotees bowed down to their Beloved. The sacred kutiya where once he blessed all, today, seemed more alive with His palpitating presence. Of the 12 days, on the 10th day, 22nd August, 2018, the sangat gathered in huge numbers for the prayer meet. As the Mira Hall, vibrated palpably to the soulful bhajans and kirtans, the evening was divine in all its element. Condolence messages were played at the ceremony, and they were so heartfelt that several eyes in the satsang hall were clearly tear-touched. Later in the evening, prasad was served with utmost devotion.
On the 12th day, the 24th of July, 2018, priests from the local Gurudwara sang from the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. The sangat bowed down in reverence to the Guru Granth Sahib. The afternoon concluded with a langar- fellowship meal.
Kanta Mirpori, speaking on her experience said, “I feel no change. Dada is still here. The way the Mission carries out its satsangs, its events, it is so well-planned and organised. Not one thing has changed after Dada has left his physical body. The langar too, was made with so much devotion, there is no comparison to make. Today, when I leave, as always I take something along, something that cannot be measured but only felt and experienced. The sevas too continued until the 12th day, where along with morning seva, an evening seva of distribution of artificial limbs was done. Persons from and around Pune city, were donated the artificial limbs.
Following the evening satsang, a Deepak Yatra was held wherein every devotee lit a lamp and placed before Rev. Dada’s life-like image at his Mahasamadhi.
“The ambiance of the evening was heavenly. Throughout this ceremony, not for a day, have I or for that matter anyone felt Dada absent from our midst. If I were to say, his presence is felt even more strongly than ever before. And what do I say of the afternoon langar. I was seated in the Gita Mandir that is besides the Samadhi of both Dada and Bade Dada, it was as though we were all having the meal together; and the food, it was served with so much love….” said Ashiyana Nariani, an Ophthalmologist from the United States. “What of the Deepak Yatra, it felt like a realm of light with so many lamps touched by the devotional kirtans and bhajans. I would say each event of the ceremony was intimate; I call it, Moments with the Master.”
Truer words have not been said. Dada was, Dada is and Dada will be. Through these 12 days, several dignitaries poured in. A few among them were L. K. Advani Senior BJP leader, Pratibha Patil former President of India, Girish Bapat Guardian Minister, RSS Representatives, Mukta Tilak Mayor of Pune, Digvijay Singh Ex CM of M.P., besides Lila Poonawalla, Firoz Poonawalla, Ram Buxani, Bahri Malhotra, Dr. K. H. Sancheti, Dr. Parag Sancheti, Dr. Parvez Grant and representatives from many organisations.
To render melody to the bhajans and kirtans, artists like Kaajal Chandirmani, Neal Talreja, Dr. Harish Wadhwani, Renu Gidoomal, Sanket Modi, Jessica Dhanak, Shashank Ombhase, Meeta Shah, Ameya Dabli were present amongst many other.