SADHU .T.L .VASWANI
Sadhu T.L. Vaswani (1879 -1966) is a name synonymous with reverence for all life. Indeed, he was the living embodiment of an unsullied love that knew no bounds, an all-embracing love that included all mankind, animals and all creation. Sadhu Vaswani started the “ Mira Movement in Education ” which is, today, its headquarters at Pune and aims at enriching students with vital truths of modern life and at the same time making them lovers of the Indian ideal and Indian Culture. Sadhu Vaswani was a prolific writer, the author of several hundreds of books in English and Sindhi. He was a born orator. When he spoke, he filled the hall with the rich music of his words and the richer music of his heart. He was a poet, a mystic, a sage. For the last several years, hundreds of thousands of devotees have been observing 25th November, Sadhu Vaswani’s birthday as “ Meatless Day ” and “ Animal Rights Day ” expressing their shared commitment to the ideal of Reverence for all life.
SADHU T.L VASWANI
The 25th November, 1879, was the sacred Karthik Ekadashi Day. In the dark of the dawn, in the hush of holy silence, was Sadhu Vaswani born.
“ Blessed family ”
Sadhu Vaswani was named ‘ Thanwar ’. The word means ‘ steadfast ’ established in holy contemplation, absorbed in the Eternal. ‘Thanwar’ is the man who is calm in wisdom, whose centre is God and circumference, enfolds the entire world.
The father, Diwan Lilaram belonged to a noble family. His ancestors had been wealthy, though he himself was but a small zamindar .. the owner of an unproductive farm. The yield from the land was very little. Sadhu Vaswani was brought up in poverty and contentment.
Diwan Lilaram was a man of learning, of faith and tapasya. He was worshipper of Kali, the Divine Mother of the Universe. Every day, he would stand on one leg, reciting the ‘ Chandi ’, the book sacred to the devotees of ‘ Kali ’.
Sadhu Vaswani’s mother, Varan Devi was a devotee of Guru Nanak. On her lips and in her heart was the holy Name, “ Waheguru”.
“ Compassionate child ”
Even as a child, Sadhu Vaswani was very different from other children. His face was beautiful to behold.
As he grew in years, a far-away look entered his eyes. He become more and more aloof. He felt no joy in mixing with others. He spent much of his time in the silence of an upper room which no one ever used.
Sometime, as he sat down to his meals and heard the cry of a passing beggar, he would take away his food to share it with the hungry one. From the beginning of his days, he was filled with the spirit of compassion for all who were in suffering and pain.
“ Would rather starve ”
This happened when Sadhu Vaswani was a student in the Bakasrai Primary School. One day, as he was on his way to the school, he passed by a butcher’s shop. As the gory sight met his eyes, he wondered what the red carcasses were. His classmates giggled at his ignorance and told him that they were part of the food that he ate every day.
“ And how is it produced ? ”
He asked. His friend said to him : “ It is obtained by slaughtering lambs and goats! ”
As he heard those words, he was shocked. The agony of the slaughtered animals entered his heart and he resolved, on the spot, never to touch that food again.
He could not go to the school that day. With a heavy heart he returned home and told his mother that he would never eat food of violence again.
“ How can you say that, child ? ” The mother said to him. “ Your father is a Kali worshipper, and he regards meat as prasad ! ”
“ But mother ”, the child expostulated,“ meat is obtained by slaughtering innocent animals. I would rather starve than eat food of violence ! ”
To his promise, he remained ever true. In later years, he said : “ I have seen God’s Image shining in birds and animals. And for me, not to love birds and animals would be not to love the Lord ! ”
“ No ‘ prasad ’ ”
One day, his father took him to a ‘ Kali ’ Temple. When the worship was over, the priest distributed ‘ prasad ’. Sadhu Vaswani found that it was chops of meat. A goat had been sacrificed to the Goddess Kali. He shuddered at the very sight of the ‘ prasad ’ and recalled the vow he had taken never to touch meat even though the heavens fell. He refused to accept the ‘ prasad ’.
“ How dare you refuse ‘ prasad ’ ? ” The father said to him sternly.
The child’s eyes were touched with tears as he said : “ Kali is the Mother of the Universe. How can She be pleased when you slaughter one of Her children and offer its flesh to Her ? ”
Neither the priest nor the father could give an answer. The father merely said : “ I shall never bring you to the temple again. ”
“ First vision ”
At night, Sadhu Vaswani would sit on the terrace and, for hours together, gaze in silent wonder at the moon or the stars. “ The moon is a symbol of purity ”, he said : “ May my life be pure as the moon ”. Then he added, “ The moon has spots. So bless me, Lord, that my life may be spotless, stainless ! ”
On one such occasion, as he sat out in the moonlight, he saw, as in a “ vision ”, a white figure with silvery hair and flowing beard. The figure called to him and he answered the call, and was lost in silence, out of which he was awakened by this mother who carried him into the house.
That was his first “ vision ” .. his first link with the unseen world, and he was only eight years old.
“ Silent resolve ”
As a student, Sadhu Vaswani was in his classroom, when something happened and he began to smile.
A new teacher, who was taking the class, asked him why he was smiling. He did not answer, but smiled again. The teacher got angry and slapped him.
Sadhu Vaswani smiled again ! And in the heart within, he resolved that if ever he got a chance, he would start schools of a new type, where teachers would be friends of their pupils. They would neither spank nor scold their pupils, but touch them in reverence and treat them with love.
“ Early scriptural influence ”
When Sadhu Vaswani was in school, his life was touched by a noble soul who was to influence him even in those early, impressionable days. This was Upadhyaya Brahmabandhav .. a learned Bengali Brahmin, who had embraced the Christian faith.He was well versed in ancient Indian scriptures, and was also a patriot of the purest ray serene.
From him, Sadhu Vaswani first heard of the Upanishads, the treasure-trove of Indian wisdom. When Brahmabandhav read out to him the very first sloka of the Isopanishad, the young student felt that a chord in his innermost spirit had been touched.
“ Isha Vasyam Idam Sarvam Yat Kincha Jagathyam Jagath Tene Tyaktena Bhunjitha Ma Gridaha Kasyaswidhanam. ”
The flame kindled by the Bengali teacher would burn long and bright in the heart of the student. Already acquainted with Sanskrit as a second language, Sadhu Vaswani resolved to read the Upanishads in the original.
Later, he would himself become a profound scholar and a great exponent of the Upanishads.
“ Great orator ”
As a student, Sadhu Vaswani had the opportunity to attend a lecture by the renowned nationalist, Dr. Annie Besant.
Sadhu Vaswani listened to her with rapt attention. He was impressed, inspired by her oration. On his way home from the meeting, the thought crossed his mind whether he, too, could become such a powerful orator.
At that time, he was very fond of taking long, solitary walks along the banks of the Phuleli River. During one of those walks, he felt the urge to speak aloud .. and there, beside the flowing waters of the Phuleli, he uttered his first speech.
“ ‘ Dakshina fellow ’ and teacher ”
Having obtained the prestigious Ellis Scholarship after his brilliant results in the B.A. Examination, Sadhu Vaswani became a “ Dakshina Fellow ” at D.J. Sindh College, Karachi, receiving a monthly honorarium while he studied for his Master’s degree.
As a Fellow, he had to teach for a few hours every week .. and the students who attended his lectures were simply enthralled by the wisdom and eloquence of the young scholar, barely a few years older than themselves !
In the year 1902, he obtained his M.A. degree.
“ Young professor ”
Sadhu Vaswani had barely worked in the Union Academy for a few months, when he received a telegram from the famous Metropolitan College, Calcutta. The college offered him the post of Professor of History and Philosophy. This was surely an opportunity Sadhu Vaswani was anxiously waiting for.
Men of wisdom are loved and honoured wherever they go. Prof. Vaswani soon became a much-admired teacher, winning the love and respect of his students and all who saw him and heard him.
Most of the salary received as a Professor, he sent to his beloved mother in Hyderabad, for his needs were few and simple.
Prof. Vaswani was a much sought-after figure in Calcutta. His students loved and admired him. The youth gravitated toward him and found in him a tremendous spiritual presence.
“ At the feet of guru ”
Prof. Vaswani regarded himself as a pilgrim. His wordly status was indeed well taken care of. His livelihood was assured, but he yearned after his spiritual quest.
“ Lord, you have given me a refuge ”, he prayed. “ Now show me your temple. Lead me to a man of God, who will take me forward on the Quest ”.
One day, his steps led him to a small house, from where emanate the soulful kirtan of the very mantra made famous by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu .. “ Haribol, Hari bol, Hari Hari Hari bol ”. He climbed up a staircase that led to a few modest rooms. In one of the rooms, he saw a group of people chanting the mantra dear to his heart .. “ Hari bol, Hari bol, Hari Hari Hari bol ”.
In the midst of the group sat a man whose eyes met those of the new visitor. For what seemed to be an unforgettable moment of stillness, their eyes locked together. The young Professor gazed at the stranger’s face in deep devotion. He, in his turn, fitted his hypnotic gaze upon the young man who was so mysteriously drawn to him. No one introduced them. They discovered each other on their own. The thought crossed Sadhu Vaswani’s mind that he had never before beheld eyes aglow with light. His heart whispered .. “ Here is the Master of a million hearts ”.
The saint-to-be had met the Guru, whom he had sought eagerly for so long. The Master he now beheld was none other than Sri Promotholal Sen .. referred to in great affection and reverence as “ Naluda ” .. nephew of Sri Keshab Chandra Sen, the great-souled founder of the “ Navavidhan Brahmo Samaj ”.
“ Professor becomes a pupil ”
Prof. Vaswani was drawn more and more towards “ Naluda ”, whom he came to accept as his Guru. The Master addressed him affectionately as “ Boka ” .. meaning, the ignorant one.
Later, he would enumerate those special qualities, which he admired in and imbibed from his Guru.
These were : “ Purity, humility, simplicity, love of silence, absence of greed, repetition of the Name Divine and empathy ”.
And so it came to pass, that in the noisy, crowded metropolis of Calcutta, a saint-in-the making discovered a rare and unusual Master, who began his congregation with the words, “ come, let us enter into silence ”.
“ Back to karachi ”
It was the year 1908. Prof. Vaswani’s elder brother, Shri Pahlajrai, learnt that there was a vacancy for the post of Professor of Philosophy in the D.J. Sindh College, Karachi. He immediately requested his younger brother to apply for the same, as that would bring him closer to his consent, sent in his application.
Members of the D.J. Sindh Collegiate Board were glad to have their outstanding ex-student and Dakshina Fellow to join them.
“ Message in Berlin ”
While Prof. Vaswani taught at the D.J. Sindh College, his popularity grew by leaps and bounds. His amazing power of oratory drew many. Various organizations sought him.
It was in the year 1910 that Prof. Vaswani received an invitation to participate in the “ Welt Congress ” .. the World Congress of Religions, to be held in Berlin, Germany.
At first, he was reluctant to accept the offer. His Guru, however, asked him not to miss this opportunity of taking the message of India’s rishis and saints to lands across the seas.
“ Vegetarianism ”
A century ago, “ vegetarianism ” was regarded as a cult of the crazy, and staunch vegetarians had to live on nothing other than boiled potatoes and bread, day after day. It was in those days that Prof. Vaswani, on his visit to Europe, took a vow of vegetarianism.
He remembered his pledge to himself that : “ He would abstain from all food of violence .. flesh, fish and fowl. He would rather starve than hurt or harm a sentient creature. ”
The teachings of Gautama Buddha .. the prophet of compassion and of Shanti Deva .. had strengthened his resolve that not only would he not let innocent creatures be killed but that he would be a friend of the dumb, defenseless creatures and be a voice of those voiceless children of God ! To this pledge also he remained ever true !
For the last two decades, November 25th .. Sadhu Vaswani’s birthday .. is being observed by millions all over the globe as an International “ Meat-less Day ” and “ Animal Rights Day ”.
His pain arose from his sense of kinship with all life. Their pain was his pain, because he did not consider himself apart from animals. On one occasion, indeed, he pleaded, “ Oh take my head, but pray, stop all slaughter ! ”
“ Ancient message of atman ”
Prof. Vaswani arrived in Berlin on Sunday, the 7th August, 1910.
On the day of the Conference, delegates had assembled and intellectual, thought provoking speeches were delivered by men of light and learning.
When it was Prof. Vaswani’s turn, all eyes were focused on the young man
His fiery, stimulating speech moved the hearts of his listeners. “ I bring to you from India ”, he said : “ the ancient message, the message of the Atman, which is the need of Western theology and Western life. ” The audience listened to him with rapt attention. They were transported to a realm of peace and tranquility.
“ Man with a lantern ”
Prof. Vaswani’s speech at the “ Welt Congress ” and his subsequent lectures in different parts of Europe aroused deep interest in Indian thought and religion and linked many with him in India’s mission of help and healing. Prof. Vaswani was like the Man with a Lantern, concerning whom he spoke to us more than once.
Taking a lantern in his hand, the man went from place to place, lighting up dark corners and saying to everyone .. “ Where art thou ? ”
As Prof. Vaswani moved from place to place, as he met men and women and children, and found them asleep to the One Reality of life, he looked at them and put to them the question, “ Where art thou, my child ? Dost thou keep memory ? ” As they heard those words, some of them awoke from their life of ease and indifference and followed the Light.
“ Long arduous path ”
When Sadhu Vaswani was in Patiala as the Principal of Mahendra College, news reached him that plague had broken out in Sindh, and that his beloved mother had fallen a victim to the dreaded disease. She had been taken to Karachi for treatment. Sadhu Vaswani left for Karachi right away, to be with his mother.
At one time, indeed, she asked her son, “ You have never spoken an untruth, my child. Tell me, do I suffer from plague ? ”
At the same time, she asked for a few sips of water. A glass of water was brought to her. She drank just a little. Her beloved son took the glass and drank all the water that remained, to reassure her that she did not suffer from plague. No one would drink from a glass contaminated by the lips of a plague stricken patient. By this wonderful gesture, Sadhu Vaswani was able to offer her the solace and comfort that she needed so badly in those final days of her earthly sojourn. In a moving, final farewell to his mother, Sadhu Vaswani begged her to forgive him for having remained a bachelor despite her earnest entreaties. The dying mother, with tear-touched eyes, blessed her favourite son and said to him, “ My son, I now realize that you did well in not getting married. I have no grief on that account. You have spent your entire life in serving me. Whatever you earned, month after month you offered to me. In every way, you endeavoured to keep me happy. My beloved son, I die a happy woman ! ”
His mother had been the only one who kept Sadhu Vaswani tied to worldly responsibilities.
Now that she was no more, he was free to follow the long and arduous path that he had chosen for himself. He would waste no time in dedicating his life to God and His suffering children.
“ Shakti ashram ”
Sadhu Vaswani had tremendous faith in the youth. “ The youth ” .. he urged .. “ are the builders of tomorrow. ” For the proper training and revitalization of the young, Sadhu Vaswani opened “ Bharat Yuvak Sanghas ” in different parts of the country.
He organized “ Youth Conferences ” and opened Youth Ashramas. One of them was the well-known Shakti Ashram, at Rajpur.
It has a charming scenery, for it commands a picturesque view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges and valley, and has an equable climate.
A bulletin of the Ashram, quoted the ideal of the Ashram as follows :
“ The Ashram aims at balanced life .. a life of synthesis and service, seeking to build up at once the physical, cultural, social and spiritual life of students and young men. The Ashram is meant to be a home of simple life, to unify, purify, simplify and vitalize the nation’s youth for the service of the nation. ”
“ Sakhi satsang ”
In the year 1929, God’s Will brought Sadhu Vaswani to Hyderabad .. Sindh after his brother passed away in Karachi.
This turned out to be a momentous decision not just for the saint, but for hundreds of eager disciples who would now come in ever-increasing numbers.
“ The Brahmo Samaj ”, “ The Guru Sangat ” and “ The Theosophical Society ” of Hyderabad invited him to deliver lectures and conduct classes .. Gita Class, Isa Class, Sunday Class .. in their halls. To these classes flocked several aspiring seekers, many of whom would become lifelong followers and devout disciples of Sadhu Vaswani.
The satsang was held promptly at six every morning. Even young girls who were reluctant to leave their homes so early, came together in groups, singing devotional songs. These songs exhorted sleeping souls to wake up from their slumber. Sadhu Vaswani gave these groups the name “ Hari Sena ” .. “ God’s Troop ”.
The highlights of the early morning satsangs were, of course, the soul-stirring prayers and discourses of Sadhu Vaswani. As more and more sisters came forward to join the newly formed association, good word about the Sakhi Satsang spread all over Hyderabad, even as fragrance spreads from incense.
The Sakhi Satsang began to publish a monthly magazine called Sant Mala. It carried beautiful articles by Sadhu Vaswani on the lives and teachings of saints.
“ Mira movement is born ”
Sadhu Vaswani always took a great interest in matters educational. “ The nation walks on the feet of the little ones ”, he would often remark.
The more he moved among young people, the greater became his awareness that the current education system was failing to serve state and society.
Imbued himself in the ideals of the rishis of ancient India, he was deeply saddened to see the education of the twentieth century moving farther and farther away from the values and ideals that were held dear by India in the golden days of her glorious past. As he reflected upon this, he resolved that schools and colleges of the right type were the crying need of the nation.
On the evening of 3rd June 1933, as he paced to and fro on his house-top with a far-away, dreamy look in his mystic eyes, he heard within him a “ Voice ” urging him to initiate new lines in education. It was a great task : it would need a lot of money.
He looked into his shift-pockets, he opened his purse. There was only a two-paisa coin in it. That was all he had at the moment. What should he do ? Again, the “ Voice ” spoke, “ Give all you have and the ‘ All-in-all ’ will not fail you ! ”
In the early hours of the dawn of 4th June, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras, and in the presence of havan fire, he announced the opening of “ St. Mira’s School of Girls ”.
Sadhu Vaswani solemnly handed over the coin to Mrs. Parpati Malkani, the secretary of the Sakhi Satsang.
“ Our school will be started with this blessed two-paisa coin ”, he told the assembled devotees .. words which have gone down in golden letters in the history of the Mira Movement in Education.
The school was inaugurated in rented premises. To start with, there were just seven classes .. three in the primary section and four in the secondary section. Able and willing devotees offered their services to teach and work in the school in the spirit of service and sacrifice urged by the saintly founder .. and the first Mira School came into being.
Saint Mira’s Movement aimed at unfolding a new renaissance of culture. This new culture, as Sadhu Vaswani thought of it, had seven notes : manual work .. knowledge .. simplicity .. purity .. courage .. service .. and self-consecration.
On 4th June 1933, was planted the seed that had today grown into a vast sheltering tree, with schools in various centres in India and a Post graduate College in Pune. Nearly ten thousand girls receive the value-based education that Sadhu Vaswani advocated with emphasis on training the hand, head and heart. The institutions revere their Founder, and his spirit still presides over their daily Sanctuary.
The Mira Movement has rightly received recognition in East and West.
Tributes have been paid to the Movement and its ideals by eminent educationists like Dr. Maria Montessori, Dr. Arundale and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
Dr. Arundale spoke of the School as “ an oasis in our educational desert ”.
Dr. Radhakrishnan expressed himself as deeply impressed with the strivings of the Movement to reincarnate educational ideals of the Rishis of India in modern forms and modern institutions.
In an American publication, “ Where Do You Belong ? ” the authors describe this Movement as one of the twenty-two great movements of the world. “ women in the new world ”
In many ways, Sadhu Vaswani was a far-sighted visionary, who thought far ahead of his time. A widely read scholar, he was aware that if a society needed to progress in the true sense, it was the women who needed to become instruments of change.
Later, he would write in a soul-stirring article entitled “ Women and the New World ” :
“ A New World is in the making. The man-made world has proved to be a broken, bleeding world. Man has blundered badly, for man has believed in force. Even marriage, at one time, was marriage by capture. Man has had his chance. Masculine mentality has blundered.
Now, woman gets her chance. She is called upon to build a New World. ”
His faith in the “ woman-soul ” was absolute. He believed firmly that it was the woman-soul who would lead society “ forward, upward, on ”.
To cultivate this consciousness among women, he called for a “ Sakhi Conference ” to be organized in Hyderabad, in the year 1921.
A new woman’s movement was born. Long before the term “ Women’s Liberation ” could be heard in India, Sadhu Vaswani shaped and gave life to an exciting social revolution that would emancipate women in spirit.
“ The path of truth and meditation ”
“ I am a seeker after truth ”, a man said to Sadhu Vaswani. “ And, through the influence of your writings and your blessings, I strongly feel that I must refrain from flesh-diet. But, I belong to a family of Kali worshippers. And on certain holy days, I am asked to eat the ‘prasad ’ of meat. What am I to do ? ”
Sadhu Vaswani said :
“ Are you in quest of truth ? Don’t go the ways of multitudes. They follow custom. Custom and tradition must you set aside and tread the lonely path, if you would be a student and a servant of truth. ”
Sadhu Vaswani said : “ The first discipline is meditation, going into silence. In silence, comes a perception of the true Self. The outer, empiric self, with which most of us identify ourselves, is a speck of dust. The real self is ‘ Soham ’. It is divine, a ray from the central Sun of Light. Men wander in the quest outside themselves. They forget that He .. the Atman .. is within. ”
Everything we have, our time and talents, our energy and experience, our wealth and wisdom, our knowledge and influence, our life itself .. is a loan given to us to be passed on to those whose need is greater than ours !
“ India’s message ”
During Sadhu Vaswani’s visit to Calcutta on the 9th December, 1944, the “ Association of Indian Culture ” held its Ninth Annual Meeting under the presidency of the Honorable Mr. Justice C.C. Bisvas, C.E. at Mahabodhi Society Hall. Sadhu Vaswani was requested to address the meeting on “ India’s Message ”.
In the course of this most inspiring address, Sadhu Vaswani said : “ In the day the spirit of sacrifice thrills schools and homes of India, in that day the barriers of Her Freedom will fall and Her chains will be melted by Divine Fire, and the eternal morning of New Life will rise again upon this Ancient Land. India will be acclaimed by the Nations as a Teacher of Humanity, a Saviour of Civilization ! ”
“ So there are wars, global wars ”, Sadhu Vaswani observed. “ There is violence. There is earth-grabbing ”.
India gives to the West a message of Atmavidya .. culture of the Self. It is a message of inner renewal ; it is a message of liberation from within. India’s aspiration is : “ Take us across the darkness, the darkness of desires ”.
“ Aryan India ”, Sadhu Vaswani continued, “ developed a civilization of Light. Men of Light, Light-bringers and seers. ”
“ The Atman .. the Self .. is the light and Life, says India. When the great seer Yagnavalkya met the great King Janaka, the latter asks :
“ ‘ What light does a person need ? ’ And the rishi answers : ‘
When the Sun has set and the moon has set and the fire has gone out, the Atman .. the Self .. is the Light of Man, the Light of his Life ! Yagnavalkya, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Shankara .. all the great ones of our history .. have borne witness to the truth that the Atman is the Light of lights ! ’ ”
“ Meaning and message of yoga ”
During brief stay in Benaras, Sadhu Vaswani was invited to speak at the Theosophical Society.
In his inspiring speech, he expressed the fervent faith that India would soon become a nation of the strong and free, a teacher of humanity in the new age that was about to dawn at the close of the dark times, which witnessed the disintegration of western culture and the decay of western civilization.
Sadhu Vaswani corrected western misconceptions which confounded “ yoga ” with magic or the power to show phenomena.
The “ yogi ” was neither a miracle-man nor a wonder-worker. “ Yoga ” was wisdom : “ Yoga ” was the supreme experience of union with the Divine Source of Life.
Sadhu Vaswani proceeded to explain the way of union and referred to meditation as an opener of the gate of illumination.
“ From Hyderabad to Pune ”
As a result of the partition of India, a movement of migration started in the year 1947.
Sadhu Vaswani became anxious for the safety of those who stayed on in Pakistan just because of him.
He finally decided to leave Hyderabad .. the city of his birth .. and decided to move to India, where he restarted his humanitarian work.
“ Pune, the chosen city ”
Sadhu Vaswani and his close devotees arrived in Bombay on the 10th November, 1948. Bhai Mulchand Uttamchandani, a sincere devotee, had rented a flat for Sadhu Vaswani at Panday Cottage, Pudumjee Park, in the city of Pune, not far from the Western metropolis.
“ The pune satsang ”
Fellowship meetings .. satsangs .. soon commenced at Panday Cottage, marking the historical commencement of the Pune Satsang which still attracts thousands of Sadhu Vaswani’s devotees from all over the world.
As word of the Sadhu Vaswani satsang spread, Sindhis hastened to join the gathering. Soon thereafter, the satsang had to be shifted to the bungalow of a devotee, Bhai Ramchand Daryanani, so that the overgrowing number of the faithful could be accommodated.
Sadhu Vaswani’s presence in Pune began to be felt very soon. At a crowded gathering in Gokhale Hall, he shared the dais with Maharishi Karve, who introduced him to the citizens of Pune as “ The Saint of Sindh ”.
He said that it was the city’s good fortune that a holy man of Sadhu Vaswani’s caliber had come to live there.
In his moving address, Sadhu Vaswani said:
“ I am not a stranger to Pune. I have come here as a pilgrim. When I reached Pune on the 13th February, I bowed to the memory of Shri Lokmanya Tilak, Shri Gokhale and Chatrapati Shivaji.
“ In Maharashtra, my thoughts have turned, over and over again, to her saints .. Ramdas, Tukaram, Eknath and Gnaneshwar.
“ They realized the purpose of life and they imparted teaching which the world has yet to understand… With folded hands, I greet you. I am your brother and a servant of the sages and saints of Humanity. May the benedictions of my Master and your Master shine upon you forever and forever more ! ”
“ Power is within you ”
Sadhu Vaswani was a symbol of India’s deathless culture which stands for the supremacy of the Atman, the Spirit. Many people came to him with their problems. He took up their problems and referred them over to the Atman, the Spirit.
“ You are not the weaklings you take yourselves to be ” this was his repeated word to those who came to him for advice and guidance.
“ Within you, within everyone of you, is a power of the Eternal. Have faith in yourselves. Unfold, release, set free the divine within you, and you will be able to make the impossible possible ! ”
“ final two days ”
On the 14th January, 1966, two days before Sadhu Vaswani dropped his physical body, he said :
“ Bring me all my clothes. Keep only two shirts and two dhotis for me. They will suffice ! I want to give away the rest to the poor. ”
We did not understand, then, the meaning and the significance of those words. We did not realize that our Beloved Master was with us, a guest for two more days. On the 16th January,1966 at 8:22 am, he entered the Unseen.
And his voice says to us :
“ If you will grow, be humble as grass .. patient as the tree .. and prayerful as the daisy that turns its face to the Sun ! ”