Chicago IL: It was an evening of enlightenment with a spellbound audience and a spiritual Master. The beautiful banquet hall of the Oakbrook Marriott was filled with anticipation. We were honored to have amongst us the Indian Consul General Mr. Asif Syed and the Chief Guest, the President of Dupage County Forest Preserves, Mr. Joseph Cantor.
The evening began with devotional music by two renowned singers of Chicago. Mrs. Pramila Bhatia, a well-known disciple of the famous Purshotamdas Jalota is a singer at the Chinmaya Mission Center of Chicago, and an ardent teacher of bhajans of the children and adults there. The other singer, Mr. Anil Sharma is a talented professional singer whom the Chicago community has had the privilege of hearing for many years. On the tabla was the inevitable Mr. Puranlal Vyas and his keyboard player Mr. Dave, without whose accompaniment professional singers are reluctant to perform. The bhajan singing primed the audience to a religious mood and focused on the arrival of the highlight of the evening, Dada J.P. Vaswani.
Pujya Dada was brought to the banquet hall by his personal cardiologist, Dr. Ramesh Chhablani from the home of Dada’s host family, Dr. Gopal and Mrs Neetu Lalmalani. Dr. and Mrs. Lalmalani have been hosts to Dada and his entourage on his annual visits to Chicago for many years. Dada J.P. Vaswani, or “Dada” as he is lovingly known, belies his age of 97 going on to 98 in the next few months. His body is very frail but his mind is sharp and youthful and his diction is clear. His message is of love, forgiveness and bringing God back into our daily lives. He talks of respecting all forms of life, be they of animals, insects or of plants. The 21st century Dada says should be the century for protecting Animal Rights. Killing animals for food is inhumane. Let us not make our stomachs graveyards for animals, he says.
Dada spoke of forgiveness. The only way to forgive completely is to forget. You cannot forgive if you continue to hold the feelings of the past. The past is over, Dada said. Move on with only love in your heart. Your mind will be at peace.
He talked of having humor in our daily lives. People have forgotten to smile and laugh. Dada said, “you are not fully dressed till you wear a smile on your face.” He gave a small anecdote to make the audience laugh. He said a priest came to a small town to give a talk on “The Path to Heaven” at the town hall. On the way to the town hall he got lost and he stopped to ask a little boy the way. As the boy showed him the way he asked the priest why he was going there. The priest answered that he was going to give a talk. “What are you going to talk about?” asked the boy. “The Path to Heaven” answered the priest. The boy burst into laughter. He said, “You
do not know the way to the town hall and you are going to tell people the way to Heaven”!!!
The delighted audience burst into applause and laughter!! Dada told us to stop complaining and start thanking. Be thankful to God. More good things are happening than bad things in our lives. Focus on the good things.
Dada spoke of bringing God back into your daily life. Everything you do, do it as if you are doing it for God. Remember God as many times a day as possible and in all that you do. Make God your partner in your daily life, be it your business or your personal life. Loneliness can be overcome if you believe that you are not alone, that God is always with you every moment of the day.
After his talk, there was a Q & A session where the audience asked questions that were on their minds of Dada. Dada answered with clarity of thought and experience. Dada emphasized on the value of satsang, on spending time in the company of people of religious mind set. These words of pragmatic advice that our beloved Dada J.P. Vaswani gave us, guides us through our daily life. Dada is the head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission based in Pune, India. The Chairperson of this International Mission is Ms. Krishna Kumari who besides tending to all administrative duties, looks after Dada with such devotion as a mother would look after her child. The Mission has centers all over the world. The goals of the mission are to serve the needy and less fortunate people. It has Cardiac and Eye hospitals where free surgeries are done for the poor. Dada has written over 150 books with very leading titles, some of which are available on Amazon.
The details and activities of the Sadhu Vaswani Center of Chicago, under the leadership of Mr. Prakash Jotwani, can be seen on its website www.svc-chicago.org.
Source: Asian Media USA
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