Navratri celebrations begin with Katha on ‘Bhagavat Dharma and Bapu’ by Pujya Bhaishri

The 38th Navratri Anushthan, at Sandipani Vidyaniketan, in the presence of Pujya Bhaishri, began on 29th September 2019.

Navratri this year is particularly unique because Pujya Bhaishri is narrating a Katha in the afternoon sessions on Bhagavat Dharma and Bapu. This is in celebration of the 150th birthday of Shri Mahatma Gandhiji (Pujya Bapu).

On the first day, in the afternoon, Shri Dinkar Joshi, a famous Gujarati author, spoke on ‘Gandhiji and us’ which was very reflective.

The Journey from Mohandas to Mahatma – by Pujya Bhaishri

Pujya Bhaishri commenced the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi in his birth city of Porbandar, Gujarat with a comparison of the values that drive a follower of ‘Bhagavat Dharmaʼ and the unique qualities that transformed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, lawyer and son of a Diwan to ‘Mahatmaʼ Gandhi.

Comparison of Shukdevji with Mahatma Gandhiji

Pujya Bhaishri began with a comparison of the physical characteristics of Shukdevji as described in the Bhagawatam and Mahatma Gandhi:

tatrābhavad bhagavān vyāsa-putro, yadṛcchayā gām aṭamāno ‘napekṣaḥ

alakṣya-liṅgo nija-lābha-tuṣṭo vṛtaś ca bālair avadhūta-veṣaḥ                                 SB 1.19.25

Just as Shukdevji was surrounded by women (representing the power of renunciation to serve with dedication) and children (innocent but simple-minded people), so too was Gandhiji. Both Shukdevji and Mahatma Gandhi are alakṣya-liṅgo, meaning free of all markings and insignia of social or work status. By their garments or outward appearance one cannot determine if they belong to the celibate, householder, forest-dweller or renunciate stage of life. Nor can one determine whether they belong to the Brahmin, warrior, trader or service class of the society. Pujya Bhaishri explained that this was because if you tried to classify them you would need to accept them to be all of the above.

What were the circumstances and locations that triggered the transformation from Mohandas to Mahatma Gandhi?

Pujya Bhaishri recalled visiting those sites in South Africa on his trip during Katha in 1987. He saw the printing press in Durban and the platform at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station where Gandhiji was thrown off the train. Just as the wife of Tulsidasji, Ratna is revered as a great lady for giving us the great Saint Tulsidasji as we know him, Pujya Bhaishri said that these landmark locations are fit to be worshipped as holy sites for giving us the incredible character of Mahatma Gandhi.

What inspired such tremendous confidence in the Mahatma?

Pujya Bhaishri compared Gandhi’s Paramhans like state (brought about by tremendous compassion) as he silently endured ruthless beatings, hatred and torture without retaliation or any hatred in his heart to that of Jadh Bharatji of the Bhagawat.

These qualities of compassion, forbearance, goodwill for all living beings, freedom from enmity and tranquility are the hallmarks of the crest Jewel amongst Saints, as described by Lord Kapil in his sermon to his mother Devhuti in the third canto of the Bhagavat.

titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ, suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām

ajāta-śatravaḥ śāntāḥ, sādhavaḥ sādhu-bhūṣaṇāḥ                            SB 3.25.21

The various events and circumstances that conspired to awaken the natural seed of goodness inherited from his ancestors led Mohandas to grow into the personality we know as Mahatma Gandhi.

Committed to Truth at all times, Gandhiji was a deeply determined individual and this commitment for truth was a quality he inherited from his distinguished forefathers. Just as the character of Parikshit in Bhagavat is discussed after describing the greatness of his lineage, Pujya Bhaishri delved into many historical and biographical details of Gandhiji’s family and the source of his core value system.

These values are encoded in the eleven ‘Mahāvrats’ (Great observances) that shall be discussed during the course of this nine-day journey.

Musical Recitation of Shri Ram Charit Manas in the morning

At the start of the musical recitation of Shri Ram Charit Manas, Pujya Bhaishri said that we begin the first Navratri with the worship of Maa Shailputri. The worship at the start was performed by the chief host, Shri Bajranglal Tapariaji and family. Shri Krishna Nanddevgiriji Maharaj from Mumbai also graced the celebrations on the first day.

Talking about the ongoing rains, Pujya Bhaishri said that they will remove the issue of lack of water in this area this year. In a short time, the cementing of roads within Sandipani will be completed. By Patotsav 2020, the hostel for guests will also be completed.


Shri Hari Mandir Darshan

At Shri Hari Mandir, devotees were blessed with darshan of Maa Lakshmi, Maa Kali and Maa Saraswati.

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