When I received an invitation to meet and interview Dada J P Vaswani, I didn’t think twice before accepting. I was aware that he is one of the few living individuals who, with their love and compassion, balance out the negative energy that pervades our world.
As is the usual practice, I had planned to do some research/home work on J P Vaswani. I asked my colleague Rahul Baji to help me in this effort. We were happy to have an opportunity to meet a person of this stature. When the meeting was re-scheduled to an earlier day, I was a bit concerned because I usually like to do my homework before I meet someone for an interview, but in this case I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to meet him. Fortunately for me, Rahul had managed to do some research on the internet, based on which he prepared a decent list of questions we could ask Dada.
The moment arrived. I was looking forward to meeting him because I had heard and read so much about him. But nothing could have prepared me for the encounter that ensued. As he walked into the room, I and Rahul knew this experience would be different than what we had imagined.
My first feeling on seeing the radiant face of Dada was that I am meeting a living saint. His politeness struck a chord. The way he bowed to us when we greeted him, the warmth with which he approached us, the endearing smile on his face, were welcoming and comforting. His soft-spoken manner, his gentle laughter and near-perfect diction added another dimension to his splendid aura.
When I started my “interview“, I felt like I’ve never felt before. It’s indescribable. It was kind of like a combination of nervousness and happiness. From the very first interaction with him, I instinctively knew that the list of questions were inconsequential. My instincts were right. I proceeded with the interview and went on to ask him the first question. His response was something only someone of his stature could have given. [Look out for excerpts of the interview in the Sep’08 issue.] Merely two questions later, I no longer wanted to look at Rahul’s painstakingly prepared list of questions. The interview had somehow got magically transformed into a spiritual experience where I felt I was in a presence of a beautiful human being – a bona fide expression of God.
As our discussion progressed, I was no longer an editor/journalist. I became a witness. In doing so, I could see love for all humanity oozing out of his every cell as he shared with us his exquisite thoughts about how each individual could seek health, happiness, harmony and fulfilment. His thoughts were at once simple and uncommon.
What struck me and Rahul the most was that here was a man who didn’t simply preach that God is in everyone – he believed so himself. This came across emphatically throughout our discussion, but specifically when I thanked him for sharing his thoughts with us and he quickly thanked me in return, saying: “I too have heard it as you are hearing it. I have not said it. I am one of the listeners”.
A Spiritual Dada
J P Vaswani—or “Dada” as he is affectionately called—is the spiritual head of The Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Pune. He is the moving force behind the multitude of humanitarian work that the mission does. Leaving behind a brilliant career in science [he has a BS degree], Dada chose to lead a life propagating the message of universal love and humanity that his uncle Sadhu T L Vaswani taught him. His speeches and books [over 75 of them] illustrate his refreshingly uncommon, yet simple thoughts and an all-encompassing view of the world. Dada has received the prestigious U-Thant Peace Award for his dedicated service to world peace.
During the entire engagement, I noticed several unique traits about Dada: the endearing smile is a permanent feature on his face. His ideas on surrendering to God, serving others and making others happy, living in harmony with nature and such were not merely intellectual concepts. He lives by them. His whole life is an example of a man who practises first, then preaches. His sincere humility is known to inspire. His genuine compassion is contagious. Certainly, I was infected. And so was Rahul.
I was feeling blissful and blessed in his presence. I wanted to continue hearing his soothing voice, listening to his soul-uplifting thoughts and watching his glowing face. No wonder I wanted this meeting to go on and on. But I knew that it had to end. And that thought saddened me. I asked him to bless me and once again he flummoxed me with his humility by asking me to bless him. He then held my chin and said, “You are that.” I felt I had been touched by God because only God can be perfect.
When I turned and looked at Rahul, who was sitting next to me, he was wiping the tears in his eyes. Everyone else in the room also had moist eyes. Dada’s presence is so overwhelming that when the time to leave comes, the heart yearns for more.
[With inputs from Rahul Baji]
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