Lovely thirteen days indeed that my wife, Sudha Sawant and I spent with Kulpita, Acharya and Brahmacharinis of the Dronsthali Aarsh Kanya Gurukul Mahavidyalaya, Dehra dun from 1st June 2014 onwards. Both of us will cherish the memories of those lovely days when we moved from mundane to spiritual realm and remained in a state of bliss. Aanandit Raho, said Swami Dayanand Saraswati to his friends, disciples, karyakartas of the Vedic Yantralaya, Maharana Sajjan Singh Ji of Mewar and others with whom he corresponded. Of course, both of us were really Aanandit for our entire period of stay.
CAUSE OF ACTION
What moved us to Dehra Dun, the city we love more than any other habitat, was an intense desire to celebrate my completion of Eighty years of fruitful life in the midst of Aryas chanting Ved mantras, performing Havan and speaking Sanskrit. Sudha too wished to have her book, MANTRAMAI JEEVAN, released ceremonially on the same date, 2nd June 2014 in the Gurukul. Kulpita and founder of the hallowed place of Vedic learning, Dr Ved Prakash Arya of Lahore received my aforesaid proposal enthusiastically and changed the dates of the annual function of the gurukul to coincide with my becoming an Octogenarian. We were indeed overwhelmed emotionally.
Our joy knew no bounds when the faculty, students, administrative staff and our old friends, Mamata and her extended family of children and grandchildren trooped in to celebrate the birthday and book launch the Vedic way. Chanting Ved mantras, performing Havan, showering flower petals and blessing us, the couple, in Sanskrit was a world apart from the traditional style of lighting and blowing off candles and saying in unison "Happy Birthday to You". The Vedic way is so pleasantly different and indeed lifts our spirits like nothing else. Dr Panda, head of the Sanskrit Department of Ahmedabad, Gujarat and his wife, Jharna were kind enough to extend their stay in the Gurukul to be a part of the ceremony. Dr Annapoorna Ji, Acharya of the Kanya Gurujul presided over the Havan and allied rituals as a Brahma and had a long row of Brahmcharinis in tow to chant the mantras in unison. The event looked like a page out of history of the ancient Aryans of Aaryavart.
Dr Ved Prakash Arya was requested to do the Pustak Vimochan, being the senior most Arya Samajist living in the Doon valley. Despite his myriad medical problems, he walks erect, makes plans and executes them with clockwork precision and runs the Gurukul with a band of devoted colleagues. He is the Pradhan of the Uttarakhand Arya Pratinidhi Sabha and takes his job with all seriousness that it deserves. No wonder he vows to open more Gurukulas and promote the Sanskrit language in its spoken form. There could not have been a better Arya Samajist than he is to launch Mantramai Jeevanwritten by Sudha Sawant. The book that vows to make a reader a better human being was an instant hit, especially among the young student community and the Vanprasthiswho made a beeline to obtain a copy each. The book was given free of cost as a part of Ved Pracharmission of ours. More than 400 books were distributed among the readers who were keen to possess a copy each. It gave us tremendous joy.
Mangoes were distributed among the Brahmcharinis and other diners at the community kitchen, Rishi Langar, and the feedback mentioned their sweetness. The credit, of course, goes to Kulpita for organizing the event so well.
Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati had launched his Ved Prachar mission at the Haridwar Kumbh by flying the unprecedented Pakhand Khandini Pataka in the centre of Pakhand named Haridwar. Superstitious beliefs were promoted and passed on to common man as Vedic dharm. Swami Dayanand Saraswati launched his loud protest by hoisting Pakhand Khandini Pataka to wean away simple masses of Hindus from the thugs masquerading as dharm gurus and panda-purohits.
The Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha, Mandir Marg, New Delhi runs the Vedic Mohan Ashram that encircles the most important historical point where the protest movement was begun by Rishi Dayanand. A memorial is built there and at the centre is a firm fist holding a gerua colouredflag with an inscription in Devnagari script, "Pakhand Khandini Pataka"
Dhani Ram Ji, former Principal of the DAV College, Amritsar runs the precinct as its Manager on behalf of the Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha. The present President of the Sabha, Shri Punam Suri tkes keen interest in making the campus a lively place with one Vedic Shivir or the other going on for the benefit of the youth of the DAV institutuions. The day Sudha and I visited the place as per plan, Dhani Ram ji made sure that we interact with the DAV students from Fazilka, the place on border with our arch enemy, Pakistan. It was a success. Sudha felt inspired to give away copies of her book, Mantramai Jeevan, to members of the academic staff and senior students present.
Arya Virakt Ashram was our next halt. Many a time I had delivered sermons from the pulpit of the Yajnashala there. It is known as the Vyas Peeth and sermons are carried by the monthly magazine, Swasti Pantha.The old residents met us warmly and extended an invitation to stay on for a couple of days. We regretted our inability to stay on on account of the pressing engagements at the Dronsthali Gurukul, Dehra Dun. Sudha gave 170 copies of her book to be given away to the resident Vanprasthiswho are ever keen to receive and read Vedic literature. Viresh Tiwari drove from Noida to Haridwar with 200 books to be given away to avid readers free of charge. Nice of him, his wife, Vasudha and two teenagers, Gaurav and his sister.They are publishers of the book and took interest in its circulation.
We wished to visit the Uttarakhand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya and meet the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mahavir Ji, a committed Arya Samajist and an old friend. It could not be done as the VC was away. However, the job was done later when we met at another Vedic event in Dehra Dun Gurukul. A few books were sent across to the magnificent library of the Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalay, Haridwar for their reading room.
BACK TO VEDAS
Dr Ved Prakash Arya and Dr Annapoorna Ji had invited a fairly good number of speakers and listeners to their Ved Prachar Sammelan. We were honoured to be a part of it and contribute our share of knowledge and experience. Among the distinguished scholars who came were Swami Ashotosh Ji of Ashram at Rojad, Gujarat, Swami Pranavanand, Dr Mahavir Agarwal, Pundit Pathik Ji, the famous Bhajnopdeshakof yesteryears still going strong, Acharya Aashish Ji of Tapovan. The learned Vaidyaraj who walked away with the cake was Acharya Balkrishna Ji of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Swami Dayanand Gram, Haridwar. A large crowd emerged to see him and hear him in the Sabhagar of the Dronsthali Gurukul. On arrival, he performed the opening ceremony of establishing a Yoga Mandir on campus of the Gurukul in the midst of chanting of Ved mantras. Dr Ved Prakash Arya welcomed him and outlined his plan for future. The cost of construction is estimated to be Rs sixteen lakhs plus. A request was made to Acharya Balkrishna Ji to chip in with financial and academic support to run the Yoga Mandir. He seemed to be receptive to the proposal.
I have had the privilege of introducing the friend of Yoga Guru Swami Ram Dev's friend, Acharya Balkrishna ji to the rather large audience from the local standards. I said that he was compiling a Vishwa Bheshaj Samhitathat will contain names of over eleven thousand names of medicinal herbs and their Vedic names where available. Acharya Balkrishna Ji said in his touching address that he had already collected over 50,000 names of medicinal herbs and the number may mark a million or so. The information was received by the audience with a prolonged applause. He wished o make the human society free from diseases and the effort plus research was going on in that direction.
Acharya Balkrishna Ji made an emotion touching speech by recalling how he and the Yoga Guru, Swami Ramdev Maharaj were harassed persistently by the Congress led government for voicing their concerns about the anti-Hindu and anti-national activities of the Manmohan governments. They threatened the Yoga Guru that his aashram would be bulldozed and razed to ground. Threats to their lives were issued every now and then. They bore the brunt with courage. Our souls will survive, that sustained them. People's support sustained them. The Modi government would change the scenario for the Hindu nationalist forces, so he hoped.
Acharya Balkrishna Ji broke bread with us, the common folks before returning to his Patanjali Yog Peeth, Haridwar.
The Pravachans went on for three days and were heard with rapt attention by the devotees.
Thus ended our thirteen-day sojourn in Dronsthali Aarsh Kanya Gurukul , Dehra Dun. It was spiritually beneficial to both of us and raised our morale sky high.