A spiritual journey of love (1918-2018)

Meeting Dada J.P. Vaswani (2 August 1918-2 July 2018) to many, was like meeting a living rainbow, a human being who shimmered with myriad colours, bringing joy into the lives of everyone who encountered him.

Ever-loving, the non-sectarian spiritual leader headed the Pune-based ‘Sadhu Vaswani Mission’, founded by his Guru, Sadhu T.L. Vaswani. It is a non-profit organi- sation headquartered in Pune, India, which is involved in social work and charity, and runs educational institutions and hospitals in the city, with centres around the world.

Dada spent 99 years in total sacrifice, strict discipline, and complete devotion, and as a result, achieved the status of an univer- sal icon, a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, and orator, a visionary, an educationist, a celebrity, a crusader for animal rights, a spiritual- ist, a poet and writer, and above all, a ‘Guru’.

World-renowned for promoting vegetarianism and animal rights, he captivated the hearts of millions of people world-
wide. Dada lived by the ideal in letter and deed, of reverence for all life. He felt there would be no peace on earth unless we stop all killing. Animals he felt were our kindred, our kin, and it is the duty of man to protect them from the cruel knife of the butcher.

Regarded as a great inspirational writer and an apostle of non-violence, he has written over 150 self-help books on spiritualism and other topics. He also edited three monthly journals – the Excelsior, the India Digest and the East and West series. His writings gave practical tips on happy, successful, spiritual, and non-violent living. Running into several editions, several of his books have been translated into Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Papio Mento, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, and Indonesian languages.

Though his conclusions were in divergence, the originality of his thesis, The scattering of X-Rays by Solids, impressed the eminent Indian scientist and Nobel laureate C.V. Raman. His numerous speeches included venues like the British House of Commons in London, the Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders in Oxford, the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, at the United Nations in New York. He was also the recipient of the 1998 U Thant Peace Award, given by the United Nations, for his dedicated service to the cause of world peace. His birthday is celebrated as a Global Forgiveness Day. He initiated ‘The Moment of Calm’, a global peace initiative when people observe two minutes of silence, and choose
to forgive one and all.

Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, into a pious Sindhi family, as one of seven siblings, Vaswani took two double promotions, to join High school much earlier. His father’s death, however, plunged the family into a severe financial crisis, forcing him to move to a government school. He later did his M.Sc. in Physics and also worked as a teacher at St. Mira’s College in Pune for some time, where he set a living example for teachers and students.

Though a brilliant student, he later gave up a career in academics in 1966, to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious uncle and guru, Sadhu T.L. Vaswani, who had set up the charity organisation. He symbolised the true spirit of the India of the rishis as a harbinger of love, peace. Dada died of old age related issues at the Mission, aged 99.

He succinctly put it. “Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy”.


A.RADHAKRISHNAN is a Pune based freelance writer who also dabbles in poetry and short stories.