Monday, July 23, 2012
Why He is my SADGURU.....
Mumbai- The City that never sleeps as it has always been defined by many. One might wonder about its implications as to whether it means a section of Mumbai that toils through out the night, the one which parties away to glory all & almost every night, which dreams of making it big in this big city, or cries all night about having even dreamt about coming here. A City which geographically is in the East, but faces the West and has been at the forefront of westernization many a times mistaken to be globalization. A city witness to serial bomb blasts which have played a role in either making its citizens stronger but largely indifferent too. A city known for its cosmopolitan fabric where 3-4 different worlds exist together. From skyscrapers, to slums expanding over kilometeres, & communities from different religions forming their own ghettos for their own reasons. Mumbai has a culture,mystery, charm of its own. Though one might feel quite uncertain about things, hapenings around him/her. As they say, a city is a bastion of lonely, despairing people. So now where & to whom do these lonely, despairing people, divided on economic, communal lines go to?
For decades, this great city has been ruled either by big corporates, Mafias or as per the whims & fancies of political leaders. It would'nt be wrong to say that it has always affected the mindsets of its residents. On one hand, the capitalists go on expanding, purchasing land, building estates. To their support are the ruling parties who steal away their commission. The Mafias have been the de facto rulers & to an extent continue to rule even after escaping beyond the international borders. The political leaders have a hold over certain sections on account of the emotional issues raised by them. No matter how much one might extol the 'Oh!the unbreakable spirit of Mumbai!", somehwere there is stress, frustration & an anger which makes them feel more helpless about being unable to do anthing about it. In the city that never sleeps, is there anybody who really toils through the night for some genuine cause?
Now how does Sadguru Shri Aniruddha Bapu comes into the picture? how is he relevant here. Two decades back he used to be one of the normal Mumbaikars known as Dr. Aniruddha Joshi, MD Rheumatology.He was brought up in parel, went to Shirodkar High school, college & medicine in Ruia & Nair hospital, a clinic in parel, then in Dadar..someone amongst us Dadarites....so? Yes..he was someone amongst us only & who noticed, experienced, observed the wrongdoings around him, where things were going wrong and what ought to be done. If you take a close look at Bapu's journey till now, its evident that whatever Bapu has done, is doing & will do in the future must've had a brief preperation & an infallible strategy to execute it, for which Bapu himself must've toiled a great deal. Just because he is a Sadguru would'nt mean everything is too easy for him. Though it undoubtedly is, but then what about God putting an example in front of his devotees about hardwork, patience, tenacity and himself playing the role of a devotee too?
I remember reading a maxim "manipulate the world as you like it & don't let the world ever manipulate you". Bapu had the will, the power, the charisma to go ahead and change the world around him, not for himself but for the others. Just like the city he had been born & brought up into, even Bapu began his 'kaarya' in a bindhaas manner. He donned a metro look, something that the masses could relate to. He held nothing clandestine about himself to avert useless speculations, faced the crowd with the same confidence, conviction & vigour just the way he faced his students in the classroom. All this for the masses to realize that there is someone masterly & experienced enough to lead them in the right direction.
Look at the inception of events itself. He started his discourses in Samarth Vyayam Mandir, in Mumbai's heartland -Dadar; an area which was bred on or used to fiery, demented & sometimes abusive oratory was probably now slowly and steadily witnessing a change. Here, the BIG change was? somebody trying to calm down people's hearts instead of firing them up for the wrong reasons. No wonder that the count kept on escalating and the venue had to be shifted at a stone throw distance away to Dr. Antonio D'Silva High School. People from the same locality, economic background began to revolve around Bapu, so did their lives- the one in whom they saw a leader, a walking talking God & someone who answered to all their queries through his discourses, someone whom they felt an affiliation with owing to his simple yet sophisticated demeanor.
As his name, his repute spread throughout the length and breadth of the city, people from far flung suburbs began to throng Da Siva High School every Thursday just to catch a glimpse of him & listen to his sermons. For every other thursday the crowd seemed to expand considerably as compared to the previous,..so much so that within 2 years the venue had to be shifted again to accomodate more audience i.e the present day New English School, Bandra. What was so special about him that in a city like Mumbai where people are hard-pressed for time & energy made it to the venue even after another tiring weekday & instead came out happy & refreshed! It was Bapu's incisive understanding about the people, their issues, their frustration, their feeling of hopelessness which he must've observed closely and the confidence that he instilled in them.
I am sure his years in Parel village must've introduced him to the issues that mill workers faced. He was well aware of their financial problems, the issues both mental as well as physical. For someone who can author a book like 3rd World War by taking into account the political, geographical, religious aspects in the world, it would'nt be much of a problem to know basic things about his own locality,city. I remember reading the 'Pratyaksha-Special edition'. A nurse who had the good fortunate of having worked with him mentions that Bapu used to tell his patients "you fail or forget to pay me is ok, but dont forget to take your medicines on time ok?"..today, when you find heavy commercialization of the medical field, where can you expect a doctor who cares more about his patient's health, so much so that he is ready to foregoe the consultation fee too. Bapu being born into a rich family & so he had everything typo arguements is one thing. For this, one needs a heart, a heart big enough to fill it with the love for people's well-being & not their pockets.
Lets see how everything changed in town and elsewhere after Bapu's arrival on the scene....
Previously we spoke about Mumbai being a city where contradicitons are very common. You have big slums & plush apartments side by side. The slum dwellers dream about one day owning an aprtment in those hi-rises, while those residing in it don't care a damn about what goes on in those slums. Bapu had once said that, when you grow, make efforts such that even the society around you grows. Imagine what if there was a communist uprising in India? Bapu brought people from all walks of life together, right from people with limited proportions to individuals well known in their fields & consolidated them into one family based on trust, love & values.
Previously, the common mumbaikar might've been a, if not silent spectator, but a confused individual having no clue about what to do in case of a bomb blast, building collapse, sudden fire. A newspaper article once said that “The Govt.’s disaster training programmes themselves have been disasters.” Today, Bapu has about more than 15K trained DMV's (Disaster management Volunteers) spread throughout the city to handle any calamity.
Few years back, after Ganesh visarjans, the statues of the God of Happiness were found in a sad state lying down on the beach with the authorities making half-hearted attempts to pick them up and immerse them respectfully. Today Bapu’s volunteers make eco friendly ganesh murtis out of papers bearing Lord Ram's name, they also take care of the crowd control during the day of visarjan and then the next morning immerse all those statues with the respect they deserve, not just theirs, but of also of those whom they don't even know.
Saturday's too must've been spent either partying, holidaying or just whiling away time.Today, hordes of people make it a point to attend the upasanas at the kendras nearest to them. Right from Borivali to Churchgate & CST to Kalyan and beyond, there are in all 50 upasana kendras. They act as not just centres for praying together but even planning some or the other devotional activity and bringing people together under one roof.
Those who talk about closing the gap between the rich & the poor usually refer only to the financial status, here Bapu closes the gap in a much more meaningful way. Through the medium of his devotional activities & his discourses one can see easily see an under privileged class, a middle class as well as an upper-middle class seated & working side by side for their Sadguru. There is no gap between people doing a blue collar or white collar job. Everybody sheds their ego or complex atleast when it comes to Bapu's kaarya. Here, your willingness & devotion towards your Sadguru's is the basic criterion to join in. If one expects to be granted a post as the area head, city head, a position of power then it would be great if they stay away. Those who have tried these stunts have been ceremoniously driven out. Bapu is the one & only absolute authoirty.We see many of'em who even took an early retirement from their profession & joined Bapu only because they realised his importance & on above all his might as their Sadguru.
The Sanatan Dharma has been endowed with many great saints, seers who time and again or as per conditions have directed the society through their writings, preachings and philosophies and kept the flame of spirituality and religion burning within them. Today, one might get confused as to which grantha is to be referred to, which saints' preaching would help him to lead an easy, ideal life. Bapu came up with 'Shrimad Purusharth' editions which are a conglomeration of Bapu's teachings with references from Ramayan, Mahabharta, Bhagvad Geeta, Vedas, Upanishads etc and are much easier for anybody to understand and practise it in daily life.
Think about it, in a city where only ambition, passion & selfish use of time is the key to success, suddenly saw these few thousands draw some time out of their daily routine for an individual whom they previous did'nt know anything about. Bapu was neither their blood relative nor a childhood friend, he was not even going to pay them any compensation for the work they were supposed to do. Then what made them give away themselves to bapu without any second thought. They made themselves available for Bapu's kaarya while they could've used that time for their own family or rejuvination. Though Bapu's has always said that he does'nt need anyone, he is independent.
We all talk about politicians being corrupt, being casteist, using the country's resources to fill their caufers, but then who are these politicians? They were someone amongst us only, we are the ones who don't take a stand. Bapu is creating a society where there are no walls btw people based on caste or economic lines, where you work only because the work is your Sadguru's and it has to be done in the best possible way. When this drive spills over to a larger section of the society, then can one expect to see some development.
It was always Bapu's word, his concern for all his men, his power that has been the sole driving factor. One might wonder as to why am i potraying Bapu more as a human? It's because the more you try to look at him that way, the more you are introduced to his divinity, the more you realise that a normal man in today's world with family responsibilities can never do what he does. I remember long back in 2003, during Jagannath Ashtatirthdham Mahotsavam, when i was a temporary volunteer, one of the Pramukh Sevaks telling this to another,"yesterday Mr.(some name) told me this, he was driving down on the eastern express hiway and actually dozed off in the car, after 10-15 seconds he felt as if someone had slapped him hard, he wokeup, somehow handled himself & the car, reached Bapu's place; & before he could say anything Bapu questioned him "kay re, evdhya garmi madhe rastyavar ughde paay palavtos"- "what? you wana make me run bare feet in this heat?"...This is the concern that Bapu has for each & everyone devoted to him(maintaining his humour at the same time :)). Though this is just one part of the story. Bapu's love for his devotees can be gauged from the fact that the 1st day of this very Utsav saw the demise of his mother Smt.Arundhati Joshi as she herself wanted it to be...& YET! after performing the last rites & rituals himself, Bapu was present their at the venue at sharp 12pm...He exemplifies why he indeed is the 'Manasamarthyadata Shri Aniruddha'. He himself has the heart of a 'sinha'.
Bapu's aura can be felt everywhere he has been. Apart from 'Savarkar Smarak' & 'Savarkar Sadan'-reminiscents of one of my idols Veer Savarkar & the ample breathing space that Shivaji park provides ,one more reason that i like the place for is when i think that there was a time when even Bapu frequented this very place. Even now when i take a walk from my place in Prabhadevi to Shivaji Park, i come across his building 'Rhugved',thinking 'Hey Bapu lived here' then Shivaji park where Bapu used to come for a morning stroll, then 'Samarth Vyayam Mandir' where he trained, instructed many, the road from where Bapu must be going towards his clinic in Navneet Society behind the Sena Bhavan. I remember someone saying that when Bapu used to come here for a morning stroll, the people who knew about him used to actually fall at his feet right then & there!..as a result, after a few days Bapu had to quit going for a morning walk. Without any intension of sounding goey or filmy but, whenever i go there for a walk, i can actually visualize Bapu there, like all of this happening in front of me. In Anotnio d'Silva too i remember a guy saying this(though sarcastically) that "loka na tyana dev maantat, te jithe paay thevtaat tithli maati loka aaplya kapaalavar laavtat" - "People consider him as God & from wherever he goes, these people take the soil beneath his footsteps & put it on their foreheads."
Well whatever, but thats how our Sadguru is.. He does'nt pose as being a supernatural being, nor does he behave like a sanyaasi , he does'nt utter tounge twisting sanskrit shlokas or confuse the listeners in anyway. Through his discourses he only stresses upon our commitment to God, what we can do for God instead of always expecting God to do something/everything for us everytime. We spoke about how Bapu never charged any fees from poor patients. This habit continues till date, for even today this same doctor never demands any Guru Dakshina from his devotees, be it Guru Pournima or Aniruddha Pournima. All he says is.. 'Hand over your sins to me'.. For all those who have been fortunate enough to get his charansparsh would relate to what i say...when you approach him you wana talk but u can't because u go absolutely numb or are overcome with emotion, you fall at his feet & feel its' tender touch, you get up again watching him waving his hand to you, you look at him so closely for the first time, but your eyes bow down because you just can't look at the absolute love that he has in his eyes, you don't wana move from the place, but you do because you can't stand his magnanimous figure & powerful aura....after which you don't look anywhere else but keep turning back to see him again because there is nothing you wish to see after that...you start to walk away wondering what happened, what did he give or what did he take? so much so that be it for a few moments but you feel something, maybe a light or a twinkle within? you don't know..or just an assurance that......that its just because he cares................hari om