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“Do your duty and a little bit more,” Says Dada J. P. Vaswani at a Spiritual Discourse

April 2007
“Do your duty and a little bit more,” Says Dada J. P. Vaswani at a Spiritual Discourse

Rev. Dada Vaswani addressed a full house at the Holiday Inn in Roswell on a short-stop visit in Atlanta on Saturday, March 17th. Revered by folks from all religious denominations for having an influence on the world momentum on peace and tolerance, Dada is known for his lectures on practical spirituality. He is a mentor, philosopher and educator and, judging by his discourses, knowledgeable about most religions. As before, Dada was able to win the hearts and minds of the young and the not so young in the audience, with his wit and graceful humor. The topic of the discussion was "Do your duty and a little bit more!"

In addition to thunderous applause, Dada Vaswani was given accolades and awards that included: (1) Gandhi Foundation USA's Peace-Pilgrim Award, which epitomizes Dadaji's lifetime pursuit and achievements of service, love and caring for all in need, irrespective of their caste, color or creed – the foundational principal of Gandhi. (2) A proclamation by the President of Atlanta City Council, Ms. Lisa Borders, who proclaimed that Dada Vaswani is a philosopher, humanitarian, an acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa (non-violence) and a non-sectarian spiritual leader who has captivated the hearts of millions worldwide. The proclamation was delivered at the venue by Dr. Gloria Bromell-Tinubu, former member of the Georgia Board of Education and a former member of the Atlanta City Council (3) A recognition by Mr. Isaac Newton Ferris, CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, who commended Dada for carrying forward and continually promoting universal values of love, truth, compassion, peace, harmony and the unification of all people – precious legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dada's message at the discourse was based on Lord Krishna's central message in the Bhagwad Gita, that of karma yoga – the doctrine of action. According to him, in the present world, we are all engaged in claiming our rights, while duties are often forgotten. "Women want their rights, employees want their rights, children want their rights?. But what about our duties? If each one of us did our duty and a little but more, the world would be a very happy place, and none of us would need to fight for our rights."

"The universe is a dynamic cosmic drama, forever changing the scenes and forcing us to change our roles, every minute to adapt to it. We each have a role to play and therefore it is not what we do but how we do it. There are generally three types of people: (a) the ones who will not do their duty (b) the ones that will only do their duty and (c) the ones that will do their duty and a little bit more. This latter group of people, according to Dada, is destined to succeed and be large contributors to lok sangraha (welfare of the people.)

The generous notion of our universe is ‘to give'. The universe gives us life generating light from the sun, the Earth gives us space to live and air to breathe, the mighty rivers give us water to drink and the trees give us shade and food to eat?..hence we must learn to give as well, because we are but a part of the same universe."

More gems of wisdom were shared by Dada Vaswani in the Q&A session that followed. "To be happy, make others happy!" "Young adults do not listen as much as they observe. If you want the children to practice spirituality then don't tell them to do so but let them watch you in action, and they will." "The beginning of actions is thoughts. It is also said: ‘Thoughts are things: what you think that you become!' A long held thought in the memory eventually culminates in good or bad action."

Dada cited Dr Sarah Jones, a clinical psychologist, who has said that daily meditation is like giving your mind a shampoo everyday. Silence with a focus opens up avenues to information, knowledge and self regulated power of the senses.

"There is an old Chinese proverb, ‘It is no use cursing the darkness – light a candle!'" Dada said let us all be the small lit-up candles that together can brighten the world of darkness. "Religions must cooperate not compete with one another. Religions were not created by God but men in different times, in different places for different needs. Let us all be receivers of God's love." He gave an example of a bucket which when turned up-side down can be under a huge waterfall but not collect any water. "Similarly our souls, if turned up-side down, will not collect any of God's love and mercy even though it is bestowed in plenty. Let's turn our buckets the right way and receive all we can."

- Viren Mayani


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