Navratri Anusthaan, in all it’s splendor
Named after Lord Krishna’s guru, Sandipani Vidyaniketan of Porbandar witnessed a spiritual pageantry of spiritualism and service to mankind during the last Navratri festival in the august presence of Pujya Bhaishri who presided over the Nineteenth Sharadiya Navratri Anushthaan.
Its novelty was participative recitation of revered ‘Shri Ramcharit Manas’, discourses by different saints and above all health and surgery camps during the nine-day long fete. Prominent to join the session were members of the noted industrialist family, the Ambanis. Many a devotees had arrived especially from far off places in India and abroad.
From September 28 to October 6, 2000, thousands of devotees gathered at the Sandipani Vidyaniketan every morning in the imperatorial presence of Pujya Bhaishri. They would start with the recitation of ‘Hanuman Chaleesa’ and then the chorus ‘paath’ (chanting) of ‘Shri Ramcharit Manas’ with musical accompaniment—all led by Pujya Bhaishri. It was unconventional. For normally, a speaker narrates the Manas verses and explains them and others just listen to him. But the anushthaan was different and participative.
After aarati-prasad and an afternoon break, a satsang sabha was organised. This included verbal ‘picturisation’ of childhood episodes (leelas) of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. While Acharyashri Gopalacharya Maharaj of Ayodhya portrayed the events of Shri Ram lalla, Pujya Mamaji sung his own composition on Sudama Charitra, an immortal example of classmates’ friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudama, a poor fellow of Porbandar. Shri Amardasji presented folklores in his typical humorous style laced with devotional songs and narration of examples.
The devotees were not deterred either by the scorching sun or the water shortage. They were all awash with ecstasy of devotion and deep faith. It seemed that the Sandipani campus was out of bounds for fatigue and thirst though these programmes lasted for over ten hours a day.
Equal stress was laid on the devotion by other means i.e. service to humanity. These included medical camps like polio surgery, eye operations, dental check-up and treatment, health check up camps and even leprosy treatment camp. Pujya Bhaishri especially appreciated the efforts of the devotees who had come from Kenya to hold the polio surgery camp and doctors of Shivanand Mission, Veernagar for the eye camp.
While 20 persons underwent polio surgery, 137 benefited from the eye camp, including 21 who received lense implants. Free distribution of calipers, artificial limbs, tricycles etc. helped many a poor patients. Pujya Bhaishri inaugurated a free dispensary at Sandipani Vidyaniketan for the benefit of the entire neighbourhood. Dr. Rasikbhai Lakhani, a trustee is now also serving as its physician.
A water supply scheme for the Sandipani campus was inaugurated on the Vijaya Dashmi Day and the road from the airport to the Sandipani Vidyaniketan was named in the presence of Pujya Bhaishri and saints.