Dada J. P Vaswani is an enigmatic, highly intelligent and wise, though frail,  young man of 97! His strong, meaningful words, bright, intelligent eyes, and quick, charming smile belie his chronological age. Dadaji is a renowned scholar, author of over seventy books, motivational speaker, spiritual guide, and India’s Life Guide Guru.  He recently shared his words of wisdom in a question-answer format at a private event in Los Altos. He expounded on his basic teachings, which are relatable and doable for the common man. He has inspired thousands of followers as an approachable spiritual leader, ultimately establishing the Sadhu Vaswani Center in Pune, India. He not only talks about the principles of higher living, but also exemplifies them in his daily life. A physicist by training, Dadaji received his calling at the tender age of fifteen and has progressed on his spiritual journey thence.

For his global audience, he has the simple message of not turning your back to God. Along with advising youth to perform service, he emphasizes home and educational institutions as the two centers for character building. Since today’s thoughts hold the key to tomorrow’s actions, home and school work as the building blocks of life and destiny. We should strive to exemplify the outcome we hope for our children. “God is watching you” is a good mantra to live by for all of us.

As a means to calm our wandering minds, Dadaji advocates concentrating on “oneness” of one thought or action. When questioned about the plurality of faiths and the discord thereof, Dadaji provides a simplified answer – purity of thought can unite religions. It is the different interpretations of religion that divide us, although most religions point to one goal. So, it is important to focus on oneness rather than interpretations.

An audience member once asked how to define right from wrong, so Dadaji thought immensely before replying that within each of us is an eternal light (akhand jyoti), which guides us in the pursuit of right or wrong and differentiates man from animal. He asked that we seek the silence within to commune with universal oneness and strengthen the light. In our often discordant and strident lives, we all seek the moments of silence that such communion can impart.

Commenting on the link between science and spirituality, Dadaji maintained that spirituality is also a science, following its own laws as much as any other scientific discipline. It is the science of inner being, Atma/Brahma, and he wishes for a day to come when the outer science and inner spirituality will merge to elevate humanity. He claimed there is also a place for rites and rituals from a religious platform that can bridge the gap to actually keep spirituality alive. It is either through deep descent within oneself to seek a union with God or through the touch of a Master that one can realize true spirituality, explains Dadaji.

His final advice was to fulfill the two purposes we have in life: a general one, which is to grow in perfection, and the specific one, which is unique to oneself. Such teachings reinforce what we know to be true and resonate with every human being at the deepest level. Interacting with Dada Vaswani  is bound to yield much food for thought!

Author: Archana Asthana is a biologist by training, and  currently a high school science teacher in Fremont. An adventurer by avocation, she is always on the lookout for something interesting to read, talk, or write about.

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