Time travel, anyone?

If you’re in Pune, don’t miss the spectacular Darshan Museum at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission [SVM] premises located in the heart of the city

Fondly called Dada by his followers and disciples, J P Vaswani, is a protégé of late Sadhu T L Vaswani, a Sindhi saint who walked this planet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dada’s love for his Master is well known, but in creating the Darshan Museum, he has immortalised this love.

Before I share my experience, let me tell you that the word ‘museum’ is misleading, especially due to its connotation of being a dull, boring place filled with historically significant stories and artefacts. Therefore I’ll only refer to it as Darshan.

From the moment I started the Darshan, I was mesmerised. I knew in the first two minutes that the next two hours or so are going to be exciting. But I was wrong. The Darshan was more than just exciting—it was beautiful, heart-rending and memorable.

Spread across 10,000 sq ft on the first floor of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission [SVM] building, Darshan is like a biographical movie, except that you’re not just watching the movie from a distance, but going back in time to be with the Master, as he lives through his glorious life spent in service of humanity.

As the inspiring story unfolds we see that right from early childhood, Sadhu Vaswani was an extraordinary soul keen to serve humanity in some way. This he did, through his youth, to his later years, even though he had to leave his home state.

It’s obvious that the latest technology has been employed in designing and creating this breathtaking piece of art. But the real effect lies in the rich, life-like sets, complete with 3-D holographic imagery and wax statues that could be easily mistaken for real people, much like those in the Madame Tussauds Museum in London. The ‘art-direction’ is awe-inspiring, to say the least. The designers have taken care of the smallest detail to make the costumes, the hairstyles, and the ambience look authentic to the time period being depicted. The voice over [in digital audio] and the timing of the progressive sessions only add to the overall appeal.

What is remarkable about the way the chronicle is directed is that at no point do you feel you’re watching some audio-visual documentary. You’re right there with Sadhu Vaswani at every turn of his life leading right up to the actual kutiya [room] in which he spent his last years.

What I found most interesting is the interactive Q&A session with Sadhu Vaswani towards the end. The way it is conceived is so wonderful, it has to be experienced to be believed. It brings you closer to Sadhu Vaswani as well as Dada Vaswani, by making their presence felt among you. Without revealing more, I would say that the interactive Q&A session alone is worth a visit to this amazing time machine.

In conclusion, I think Darshan is a beautiful, thoughtful and inspiring way to keep alive the message of love, compassion and service —values that Sadhu Vaswani personified.

This is was first published in the April 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is a counseling therapist and the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. An award-winning editor, Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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