By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: `Hands that help and heal are holier than hands that turn the rosary.’
‘Come lend a helping hand, come make the impossible- I’m possible.’
‘Come lend a helping hand, come let us fulfill our duty of being human.’
So said the revered Sindhi spiritual leader, visionary, philosopher and author Dada J P Vaswani who is visiting Toronto to share his wisdom with the local Indian community.
Headquartered at Pune in India, Dada says he is ‘just a wanderer on the road going from country to country speaking my humble words.’
Humble they may be for this giant of a man, but his words for the rest of the world are power-packed with wisdom on how to cope with the challenges of life. He held two discourses at the weekend – one in a Ganga-Jamuna mix of English and Sindhi at the Sindhi Gurmandir and the other in English at the Sringeri Mandir.
The four points he emphasized in facing the challenges of life are:
1. Turn over your life in childlike trust to the Lord
2. Rejoice in everything that the will of the Lord brings to you
3. Spend some time daily in silent study of spiritual truth
4. Help others! Do sewa!
Advising his followers to follow principles that improve their lives, he expounded on the four aforementioned tenets punctuating his discourse with humourous anecdotes (for instance, he mentioned how Albert Einstein in order to avoid altercations with his spouse, agreed that all minor decisions were to be taken by his wife and all major ones by him, but grab this…no occasion ever arose for major decisions! Now did that ever prompt loud laughter from the attendees!).
Stressing that one should always speak sweetly and softly and always help others without asking for anything in return, he threw the hall open to a Q & A session. After several questions to which a very alert Dada (especially considering he turned 95 in August) responded with wit and depth, a question was asked as to why one should adopt vegetarianism. Dada again responded with intelligence and wisdom following which, an excited devotee jumped up and invited 95 patrons to come up and pledge at least a day of eating vegetarian food to celebrate Dada’s recent 95th birthday. The session stopped as people one by one went up and pledged themselves to at least a day of vegetarianism and to get blessings from Dada. It was a scene to witness!
The session continued and as the audience left the Sringeri Temple, each one was given free refreshments and gifted with a free book written by Dada Jashan himself wherein he answers several questions posed by his followers.
Dada Vaswani was a brilliant student who got his Bachelor of Science degree at the age of 17. For his master, his thesis on ‘The Scattering of X-Rays by Solids’ was assessed by Noble laureate C.V. Raman. But the Dada was destined for something greater. He found his calling thanks to his great uncle Sadhu T.L.Vaswani, who was at that time a great philosopher and inspirational speaker . He became his uncle’s disciple. When Sadhu Vaswani passed away in 1966, he passed on the baton to his nephew Dada Jashan, who has taken his uncle’s teachings and ideas, expanded them, put his own heart and soul into them and taken them to new heights by authoring numerous books that have been translated into various languages gaining him an international following.
His impeccable English and eloquence saw him speak at various prestigious platforms, including the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, The World Hindu Conference in Colombo, the Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders and Parliamentarians at Kyoto – the U.N and the House of Commons in London. He received the U Thant Peace Award in April 1998 for his dedicated service to the cause of world peace.
(Lachman Balani is a financial consultant who lives in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto)