5:30 am, 16th January, the city awoke to solemn chants of Hare Krishna Hare Ram. The Twilight Procession - Prabhat Pheri— marked the observance of the 53rd Mahayagna of Rev. Sadhu Vaswani.
53 years ago, this day, in the year 1966, Sadhu T. L. Vaswani left this physical abode and merged into the light.
“My mother and I were standing in this very compound when the news came at 8:20am. It was saddening and we were all broken, our Master had passed on,” said a teary-eyed septuagenarian, Nandini Punwani. “That day, it was open to all to have his last darshan. The next day we had the antim yatra before the final rites. To this day, the memory is etched in my heart. There is nothing that is as painful as this loss,” she added. “But yes, I also have beautiful memories of the warmth of his loving touch, the way he would bless us, the walks that he would take and how we would tag along, listening to his flute-like voice and experiencing divinity, none of it is forgettable. I truly believe that he still lives on,” she further added.
Marking the 53rd Mahayagna, the Sadhu Vaswani Mission observed it with a prayer meeting with bhajans and kirtans. This was followed by the khuda hafizsong at the hour of 8:20 am- the Great Master earthly departure. An audio upadesh of Gurudev was played wherein he spoke of the fragility of life, how death can knock at one’s door at any time and how one must prepare oneself to greet death by connecting with the Name Divine. The prayer meet concluded with the serving of prasad.
Garlanding of Sadhu Vaswani’s statute that stands tall in the central part of the city —Sadhu Vaswani Chowk—was done by city mayor, Mukta Tilak.
Evening session was graced by the holy presence of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist Spiritual Leader from the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Visiting in homage on Dada’s Centenary, she said, “Although on one hand it seems that you have lost your Guru, but on another level, He has grown even closer to each one of you because He is no longer divided by material form. Now there are no boundaries, no boundaries at all. He’s there, He represents also the deepest level of the divinity within us.” She further added, “All of you, you are so fortunate because in this day and age society is going really in a very difficult direction. In this day and age there are many teachers, some better than others, and to have a genuine Guru at this time is an enormous privilege. May the light of the Guru shine within ea ch one of you.”
This was followed by the recorded upadesh by Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani where he urged all to ‘awake from the deep slumber one is entangled in’ and Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani who spoke on ‘Going within and connecting with God’.
The day ended with vigil that continued into midnight wherein devotees sang the glory of the Master.
17th January, 2019
Morning: Daridra Narayan Seva:
At early hours of the morning, echoes of Dada Shyam resounded in the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.
The needy and the hungry queued up for a filling meal organised for them. Bread, pav, subzi, rice, oranges, ladoos and loads of love, it sure was one treat of a meal.
Afternoon: Yagna, Havan and Sevas:
Devotees from all quarters gathered at the Mira Hall of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission for a spiritual congregation.
Narration of a verse from the Sukhmani Sahib followed by the kindling of havan initiated the session. The havan burnt bright as devotees offered ahuti’s into it. Simultaneously continuing were kirtans and bhajans rendered in the most soulful vocals. The atmosphere was charged in divinity.
Sadhu Vaswani Centres who had collected maximum Meatless Day pledges were awarded appreciation momentos. Ratan Singh Kukreja of the Ahmedabad Centre that collected eight lacs fifty eight thousand four hundred and six pledges said, “It is solely Dada’s blessings that allows us to achieve all that we do. People believe in his conviction of living in harmony with all living beings. His message is simple and easy to convey but difficult to follow. Those who commit themselves to it, find the Lord. In times as these it is difficult to find a satguru as Dada. We are fortunate to have him. He cannot be limited to the body, he is all pervading,” added Kukreja.
“We couldn’t ask for more. If it were not for the Mission, our household necessities would not be met. We see this as Dada’s blessing,” said Komal a recipient of the seva.At the sides was seen distribution of tiffin boxes, stationery sets and cash to a few students of St. Mira’s School. Groceries, utilities and grains were distributed amongst the poor and needy.
“This seva not only helps us run our homes but coming from a divine atmosphere as this, it has a positive impact on the entire family. Although, today, we miss the physical presence of Beloved Dada, we know he is watching over us,” said Laxmi.
Concluding, the langar prasad —fellowship meal—was placed at the feet of Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani and Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani before being served to all.
Havan, Dada’s Message & Deepak Yatra:
1966, January 17, the funeral pyre of Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani was lit at 5:30 pm in the Mission where stands his Sacred Samadhi. At the marked hour, every year Rev. Dada offers an ardent prayer on behalf of the devotees.
This year, a audio recording of Beloved Dada was played. The prayer said, “We are children of pride and passion. Make us children of light so that we too may shine like the angels above. Swiftly is the time passing, many are our transgressions, forgive us, look upon us with your merciful eyes. Break the bondages of our senses and desires. O Lord free us. ”
The prayer moved one and all. The sangat then proceeded to take forward the tradition of the Deepak Yatra wherein everyone lights a lamp at the Sadhu Vaswani Chowk as the Master’s frame glistens in light.
The evening satsang included upadesh by Rev. Sadhu Vaswani and depictions of scenes from his life.