The first time I met Dada J P Vaswani was in 2008, just before his 90th birthday. I did not know then that the opportunity to interview this humble master would touch my heart so deeply. Many more meetings followed over the next few years, each leaving my heart joyful. Little wonder then that I was always looking for an excuse to meet him, talk to him, be in his presence which so calmed my being.
One such excuse arose soon after my first meeting. Our beloved Mumbai city had faced its worst crisis on 26th November 2008 when a handful of terrorists unleashed unprecedented violence on its unsuspecting citizens. There was shock, pain, anger, fear—not just in Mumbai but across India and the world. I, too, was disturbed and angry and was trying to make sense of the tragedy. A trusted friend was among those who lost their lives in the massacre that had lasted four long days. My mind was confused, my heart was in pain. Yet, I wanted to feel love and practise forgiveness. I kept Dada’s strong emphasis on forgiveness in mind but it seemed extremely difficult to put into practice in that instance. So I decided to reach out and ask him directly and he graciously agreed for a one-to-one meeting.
The 1000w smile
As usual, being in his presence was, in itself, soothing enough that the mind became peaceful and all questions vanished. His smiling face was like a 1000w bulb that banishes all darkness from your heart. His humble demeanour aroused in my being a sense of compassion that cannot be described. All I can say is that feelings such as anger, anxiety, hatred and resentment have no place in presence of the light of compassion.
Suddenly, I knew that everything that was happening was in divine order. The apparent injustice pervading the world isn’t something to be angry about or afraid of. What is needed is to connect with the source of wisdom that in intrinsic in each of us and then follow its guidance. I realised that the world out there is only a reflection of my inner world and so all change must begin with me. The world will change when I do.
I was silent. Dada’s loving presence had worked its magic. Since all my turmoil melted away, I let my mom, who had accompanied me, interact with him. She had been very keen to meet Dada and he, too, was delighted to meet her. He made sure she felt comfortable and heard. That’s the thing about him—his love doesn’t discriminate. Since then, every time I met Dada, he never failed to inquire about my mom.
Message to the world
Later, I requested him to say a few words, a message for the world, in the wake of the terrorist attacks. I had carried an amateur video camera, just in case he agrees, which he did. As I turned on the camera to record, Dada began speaking, compassion and love oozing out of his every word. His message was just like him: simple and practical, yet extraordinarily profound. In his impeccable diction, he underlined the importance of faith and urged people to focus on cultivating character. He said that there is an invisible force that is always with us whether we know it or not. If we have faith in this force, we will have courage. And with courage, we can meet any challenge, no matter how arduous or perilous it seems. (Watch the video clip below)
Dada, the epitome of love and compassion, himself merged with the invisible force exactly a year ago. Of course, he is still available to you whenever you feel the need for his loving guidance. Just tune in with faith.
Watch: Dada’s message on the important of cultivating character
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!