The Dawn of New Era

The Aniruddha Pournima (Tripurari Pournima) this year (2012) witnessed about 2 million Shraddhaavaan, who were blessed with the darshan of Sadguru Shree Aniruddha (Bapu). Doctors, engineers, lawyers, professors, professionals and other Shraddhaavaan from several walks of life came not only from distant suburbs of the city of Mumbai but remote towns of the state of Maharashtra, from the nooks of India and in fact from the world over and could, saying ‘Hari om’, offer their reverence before Sadguru Bapu. Their heart full of love, they came all the way for the one blessed moment, the darshan of the Sadguru.

No saffron clothing, no kamandalu, no mala round the neck, no rosary in the hand, not even a tilak on the forehead and in fact with a clear and explicit view that ‘miracles are jugglery, the tricks of magicians’, how then, is Aniruddhabapu the Sadguru of millions of highly educated and thinking bhaktas? How come? All the special moments of grace that these bhaktas have experienced have led them to believe that Bapu is indeed the Paramatma. Just like every other function in the year, the Aniruddha Pournima was a day that millions spent in an ambience of bhakti. The sight of millions queuing up for seven or even eight hours, calm but disciplined, writing the Ramnaam book of ‘The Aniruddha’s Universal bank of Ramnaam’ through their wait, reciting a mantra or a stotra is bound to arouse curiosity, interest about Bapu in the mind of any person stepping in here for the first time.

Who indeed in Sadguru Aniruddha (Bapu)? Despite the fact that there is nothing conventionally spiritual about Him, how come the bhaktas belive that He is the Sadguru? The volunteers of the organisation participate in the seva-activities under the guidance of Sadguru Bapu; the zeal with which they do so and in no way compromisng on their family responsibilities, on their occupation is truly astonishing. How come this huge following and that too without any deliberate effort at propagation? What does Bapu say? What exactly does He want to do? Why does He want to do all these seva activities? These are some of the questions that crop up in the mind of the new-comer here.

Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi i.e. Shreeaniruddha (Bapu) is an M.D., a professional medical consultant. A perfect family person, through His own conduct, Bapu communicates that it is very much possible to achieve the highest purpose in life without turning away from worldly life. Spirituality is not escapism. And shrugging off responsibilities, giving up home, walking away from the family and smearing the body with ash just cannot be the means to achieving the highest goal in life. ‘Misplaced notions of worldly life indicate equally misplaced notions concerning the Higher purpose’; and leading man on the path of the purushartha, this is what Bapu says pointing to the following verse in the Shreesaisachcharit:

व्यवहारीं पाऊल ठेवितां चौकस।
परमार्थ पावेल अप्रयास।
म्हणूनि प्रपंचीं नसावा आळस।
पुरुषार्थीं उदास असू नये।।
(Explanation: Alertness in worldly affairs facilitates the achievement of the Highest purpose in life. Do not therefore have apathy for your worldly duties, keep striving for the purushartha)
(Shreesaisachcharit, chapter 14/27)
It is this verse that contains the answers to questions like what does Bapu intend to do? and what does Bapu really wish? That every human being,walking on the path of the purushartha, attain the ‘oj’, is what Bapu wants. The attainment of the six purushartha of dharma, artha, kama, moksha, bhakti and maryada, is indeed the highest fulfilment of the human birth. It is in order that both the worldly life and the achievement of the Highest Principle become sources of true joy and at one and the same time, in other words so that every human being walks firm and consistent on the path of the purushartha, that Bapu through His own Word, caused the Work, ‘Shreemadpurushartha Grantharaaj’ to come into being.

Spelling out the purpose of His work, Shreeaniruddha states in clear terms in the Shreemadpurushartha Grantharaaj,
“My dear friends, I, Aniruddha, your Friend, your Mate, have just the one mission in life - to get the entire universe to fulfill this purushartha of maryada, to teach and establish this purushartha - that is My aim and without the fulfilment and the establishment of the purushartha of maryada, the Ramrajya, the reign of Shreeram, the reign of the maryadapurushottam (the ideal, the only complete and perfect being who was the epitome of maryada) can never be ushered in.

....and that is precisely why, ‘to imbibe and cultivate the purushartha of maryada, to nurture it and while doing so, to allow it to develop unrestrained’, is My resolve.”
Bapu connects with every shraddhavan in the role of a friend. He never calls Himself an avataar. In the Shreemadpurushartha Grantharaaj, He states with His signature and very clearly -
‘I am your Friend.’
‘I am not an avataar, not of anybody. I was always Aniruddha, I am Aniruddha and Aniruddha I will always be.’
‘I am a warrior and I enjoy teaching the art of warfare to all those, who wish to fight their destiny.’
The three volumes of the Shreemadpurushartha Grantharaaj, the ‘Satyapravesh’, the ‘Prempravaas’ and the ‘Anandasadhana’ were released and in simple words Bapu opened for us, a means of realizing progress in its entirety, walking all along, the path of the parameshvar. ‘Call Me what you like but it is this one role that I wish to live. I am your Friend, a Friend who never betrays, a Friend who wants to see you happy.’ That indeed is Bapu, that is Bapu’s stand.
In explanation to the purushartha of ‘dharma’ Bapu says, the supreme divine principles of Truth, Love and Joy that stem from purity - their base; and whose one and only decisive norm is purity, are the true dharma. ‘It is the path of maryada that grants the aishvarye of the parameshvar to the human dharma’ adds Shreeaniruddha Bapu in the Shreemadpurushartha.

All the saints of India have upheld the path of bhakti that was always a part of the ancient Indian values. An excessive and unreasonable inclination towards cessation of worldly engagement as also a way of life essentially motivated by material, self-seeking activity, both classify as extremist thought and are largely responsible for the imbalance in individual human life as well as that in society. Science and spirituality are by no means contrary or conflicting, they are complementary. It is by striking an accord of the two, that human civilization can make progress, emphasises Bapu. Bapu instituted the ‘Panchasheel examinations’ based on the great work ‘Shreesaisachcharit’ and in order to shed light on various aspects of bhakti, He included in them, practicals relating to scientific principles indicating thereby, the path of the accord between the two.

In the Shreemadpurushartha Grantharaaj, Shreeaniruddha talks cearly about His five Gurus. ‘Dattaguru is My Lord and Master, Gayatrimata - My vaatsalyaguru, Shreeram is the Doer, Shreehanumanta - My Protector and Shreesainath - the Director.’ Time and again Shreeaniruddha refers to works like the Manache shlok, the Bheemaroopi Maharudra Stotra, the Daasabodh all by Samartha Ramdas Swami as also the following by the great saint Shreetulsidasji viz. the Sunderkand from the Shreeramacharitamanas, the Hanumanchalisa, the Sankatamochan Hanumaanaashtak, indicating to us the path of bhakti of Shreehanumanta, the ideal of those on the path of maryada. All those who were with Bapu as part of the ‘rasayatras’ to Shirdi, Akkalkot, Dehu-Alandi, Goa (Mangesh-Shantadurga) as also of the bhaavayatra to Pandharpur have experienced ever so many blessed moments to cherish in their hearts for ever. The Ganesh festival is celebrated in Bapu’s own home, which then hundreds of thousands of people visit. The procession for the immersion of the Ganesh idol is a huge sea, a sea brimming over with bhakti.

Visiting sacred places of worship, doing different upasanas in these places has drawn the Indian psyche since ancient times. The Gurukul at Juinagar, the Govidyapeetham at Kothimbe near Karjat, the Atulitabaladham and the Sadgurupunyakshetram at Nimbagaon near Dhule are all realizations of ideal sacred places of worship that happened under Bapu’s guidance. Also under His gracious guidance and blessings happened the installation of the dhyaanamoorti of Shreesainath at ‘Sai Nivas’, Bandra, the home of Hemadpant, who penned the Shreesaisachcharit. Hemadpant’s grandson and the present Pipa Appasaheb Dabholkar along with his wife Meenavainee were the ones through whom Bapu got this beautiful deed done. As for the Shree Aniruddhagurukshetram at Khar, Mumbai, all one can say is that it is a sacred place of Supreme eminence, the zenith, the tiara of all sacred places that be.

What every single person coming to Bapu invariably feels, is Shreeaniruddhabapu’s ‘pure, sheer love’, love not loaded with any motive whatsoever- His very essential aspect. Neither does He expect nor does He accept anything from anybody, never - leave alone the day of Gurupournima, just never. It is not even mandatory for those attending His pravachan (discourse) to offer the namaskar to Bapu. The discourse too is a guidance in simple words as to the attainment of progress on the path of bhakti without turning away from worldly life.

Every Thursday Bapu, while doing the pooja of Shreedattatreya, recites along with all present, the fourteenth chapter of the Gurucharitra. He then does the ‘Aradhanajyoti’ upasana with the bhaktas present and even participates in the gajars sung at the time. Bapu says that bhakti is the supreme strength and so He initiated the ‘Aradhanajyoti’ upasana that will equip the shraddhaavaan to face and successfully tide over the difficult times lying ahead and help achieve development and progress in his life. In order that His friends become aware, alert and prepare well in time for the horrific era awaiting the world, Bapu penned the work ‘The Third World War’ for them. This work does not tell the future, it is a visionary’s study of the past and of the present that led to an assessment of the future.

This work contains multiple aspects: an evaluation of the two world wars that occurred, a explanation to the phenomenon of war, the event of the third world war in the context of the current international scenario, biological and chemical weaponry, several means of warfare and many more. The Dattajayanti of 2006 saw the release of this work in Marathi and English and now the Hindi version too is out on the stands. Be it the scheming strategy of China or incidents in the middle-east or any other events for that matter; reading this work through, will confirm all of these as we have indeed experienced many of them in the recent past.

Facing the horrifying era of the third world war, calls for equipping and strengthening the shraddhaavaan at all levels. ‘Defence is defeat. Attack is the best form of defence’ was the core directive of the ancient Indian Balavidya and focussing on this very principle, Shreeaniruddha revived the ancient Indian martial arts, the Mudgalvidya and the Sooryabhedanvidya. He also established the ‘Aniruddha’s Academy of Disaster Management’ (A.A.D.M.) that would train and prepare His friends to face all kinds of natural and man-made disasters, save their own lives and even that of others; in sum train in disaster management.

The above project also happens to be part of the 13-point programme that Bapu gave to us on 3rd October 2002. These training courses that include various rescue methods and CPCR techniques etc. are offered free of cost. To date, the DMVs (disaster management volunteers) have made a valuable contribution towards managing disasters. The unusual downpours of 26th July 2005, the landslide at Sakinaka, the serial blasts in Mumbai’s local trains on 11th July 2006, the bomb blast at Ghatkopar on 2nd December 2002 - DMVs had rushed to offer help at the site of all of these disasters and were part of the rescue operations. They even manage crowds every year at the time of the Ganesh festival. Similarly the DMVs manage and control crowds at annual fairs at Mandhradevi, Jyotiba and even at Nasik at the time of the Kumbha mela.

Under the guidance of Shreeaniruddha Bapu, several seva projects are implemented as part of the 13 point programme. A health and hygiene campaign has been implemented for the last eight years at Kolhapur-Karanjphen. Last year (2012) about 15,900 students and villagers availed of medical examinations. A total of 9281 villagers were benefitted by the camp. Accordingly medicines were distributed and treatment advised. Around 2500 spectacles were distributed. Tests like the ECG, X-ray, etc. and even dental check-ups and treatment are conducted free of cost. Students were examined medically and were then given uniforms (2 sets each and so 15,560 sets), sports material, caps, slippers, etc. all free ofcost and so that they attend school regularly. The uniforms thus distributed are made from the fabric woven from the yarn that results from the ‘vastra project’ (charkha project) under the 13 point programme. The volunteers themselves spin the charkha and the yarn produced is used to make uniforms for the needy students.  Till December 2012, 5567 charkhas have yielded 2,94,986 metres of fabric resulting in 1,15,428 uniform sets that were received by 57,664 needy students.

The ‘Annapoornaprasadam’ project offers to students of the rural and tribal areas a mid-day meal. The volunteers themselves cook the food and serve it to the children. The Kolhapur-Karanjphen project could offer mahaprasad (food) to around 47,000 adults and children in the region. Here again it was the volunteers who cooked and served the food with love to them.

The eco-friendly Ganesh idols, another innovative project is a significant measure towards protecting the environment. Ganesh idols are made by volunteers from the pulp of the paper of the Ramnaam book that the shraddhaavaan bhaktas write. This year (2012) 5760 Ganesh idols were taken home and worshipped.

Moreover, other projects include provision of foodgrains, medicines, clothes, material required in school, etc. to persons suffering from leprosy. These persons also receive guidance as to possibilities of earning their livelihood. Seva is als offered in institutions for the mentally challenged, the mental hospitals. Students residing in remote places difficult to access are also provided with articles of everyday use, school text books, etc.
In the year 2005-2006 the cattle numbering 400 - 500 of the famine-struck regions in Purandar taluka of Pune district received a regular provision of a truckload of fodder for one whole month. This seva on the part of the organization reached the cattle at the right time averting the possibility of starvation. The volunteers then put in their time and physical energy to help the residents of this region to successfully face the paucity of water. Also, under the ‘Old is gold’ project of the 13 point programme, a survey was conducted in the taluka of Purandar and essentials were distributed free of cost among the people.

As the volunteers participate in the various seva projects, they never lose sight of the fact that Bapu always emphasises: He says, bhakti is the essence, the core of seva. It is devotional services that we offer. The term ‘bhakti’ stems from the root verb ‘bhaj sevaayaam’. Thus ‘bhakti’ implies seva offered with love and affection. Neither can bhakti be complete without seva nor can true, heartfelt seva happen without the foundation of bhakti. Bhakti keeps us firmly grounded, it does not allow the ego to take root, says ShreeaniruddhaBapu.

‘Preach only what you practise’ or rather ‘Practise first and only then preach it’ is what Bapu actually follows. Every single day Bapu spins the charkha, He writes the Ramnaam book, walks for an hour as part of the exercise regime, takes up His children’s studies, reads a chapter of the Shreesaisachcharit, two from the Gurucharitra, he reads the Vishnusahasranaam, the entire Sunderkand of the Shreeramacharitamanas, the ‘Ramrasayan’, recites the Dattabavani, reads a chapter from the work ‘Dattamahaatmya’ by Vasudevanandasaraswati and also the Ramaraksha.

He keeps saying, ‘If at all you wish to give me something, give Me the Ramnaam jap, the Ramaraksha stotra jap. I will deposit it in My Dattaguru’s bank but for your sake, not mine and put it to use when you are in real need. Give your time, give your efforts for the seva of your needy brethern, for the upasana of the bhagavant. You need to offer at least twenty-four minutes out of twenty-four hours in bhakti of the bhagavanta. It is this that is ultimately going to be useful. In the horrific times of the third world war, it is this reserve of bhakti and seva that is going to salvage you. Bhakti is the path of the valiant not of the coward. It is a totally misplaced and wrong notion to define for oneself ridiculous associations with bhakti like being shabbily dressed or being foolish or uncaring about worldly affairs. Modern technology, science, an alert yet ethical worldly and material life, being tidily and neatly dressed are all needs of the hour and one just has to move on with time.’

In the preface to the work ‘The Third WorldWar’ Sheereaniruddha Bapu says, ‘There is no doubt that over the next twenty to twenty-five years, conflict will become an aspect of everyday doings and in every region on earth. In the coming times, the equation of today might not be valid tomorrow and what was valid at seven in the morning might be flung right out of the window after its purpose is served and at five minutes past seven. The calendar is released every once in a year because there is a definite kind of mathematical formula and construction involved. The calendar of the coming ‘third world war’ is however, going to be a new one everyday.’

Dwelling on India’s role in the work ‘The Third World War, Shreeaniruddhabapu states in detail that it is indeed going to be a significant one. In explanation He says, ‘What is most important is that the task of salvaging the world on all fronts as also that of its post-war rehabilitation will, in all probability fall to India’s lot.’

Shreeaniruddha strongly believes that no matter how big the destructive power, it is as slight as a blade of grass, just no match for a pure, positive and constructive power. Besides, for the purpose, He is ever willing and committed to undertake a morally worthy and constructive task complying with the norms of the parameshvar. In His role of a Friend, Shreeaniruddha is ever at work, ever willing to take along with Him all the shraddhaavaan on the path of accord mentionned earlier, the path that leads beyond any conflict whatsoever.... to usher in the new era, an era of love! An era of the human, the humane dharma! An era of pure friendship!
He cherishes in His open eyes, the beautiful dream of the dawn, the dawn of the new era. His relentless and infinite effort will mark the break of dawn. 
The one singular focus and aim, the one life mission of the One, who will cause the break of dawn, the sunrise and light the way is,
I shall fill this world with happiness and
abound with joy, all that be.

- Dr. Yogindrasinh Joshi

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