Memorial celebrations at the Carter Center for Dada J. P. Vaswani’s “Legacy of Love”
On Sunday, July 15, 2018, communities gathered at the Carter Center to celebrate the life of Rev. Dada J. P. Vaswani and his legacy of love. Noted spiritual leader and educationist Dada Vaswani—the moral force behind the Sadhu Vaswani Mission and a tireless promoter of vegetarianism and animal rights—had passed away Thursday morning at the age of 99, days short of his centenary. He was an an acclaimed orator, author, spiritual leader, and philosopher with millions of followers across the world. The Sadhu Vaswani Center seeks to bear witness to the truth that there is but One Life flowing in all: men, birds, animals, things animate and inanimate.
Centenary celebrations for Dada had started on July 23, 2017 with the theme “Aao Jyot Jagaein” (Switch on the Light). This unique event included representatives from various organizations representing various virtues and values. During this first program, community representatives lit lamps for each upcoming month of the centenary year as follows: Forgiveness – August; Truth – September; Service – October; Reverence for Life – November; Compassion – December, Peace – January, Love – February; Empowerment – March; Purity – April; Silence – May; Unity – June, and Knowledge – July. Sadhu Vaswani Center Atlanta hosted community service and spiritual upliftment events virtually every month leading up to the marquee event at the Carter Center. The activities for the year included devotional group chanting, annual spiritual Sadhana Camp with Dada, divine musical concert by acclaimed singer Kaajal Chandiramani, donation of hygiene kits, blankets, and other items to the needy, and promotion of yoga and meditation. All these values culminated in the theme, “Be Love. Live Love.”
(Left) Mr. and Mrs. R. K. Sehgal light a lamp in celebration of “Be Love. Live Love.” (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions LLC)
Emcees Anjali Nagrani and Priya Sahetiya welcomed a crowd of over 300 attendees. Chief guest was Mr. R. K. Sehgal, former Commissioner of Georgia, Industry, Trade and Tourism, and member of the Board of Directors of Pharmacy Industries International, India, Northside Hospital, the Carter Center, and Southern Center for International Studies in Atlanta. Mr. Sehgal and Mrs. Surishtha Sehgal lit a candle in honor of Sadhu T. L. Vaswani and Dada J. P. Vaswani. Geeta Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Sadhu Vaswani Center Atlanta, and organizer of this event, garlanded Dada’s portrait along with event co-chair Neera Bahl and satsang coordinator Asha Advani.
(Right) A garland adorns the image of Sadhu Vaswani for his memorial at the Carter Center.
There was an outpouring of personal tributes, including from President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Nathan Deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of India Ram Nath Kovind, Gurukul supporter Meeta Dama, and “Bridge Builder” Nikhil Howlett.
Tanweer Mian and his musical group entertained the crowd with his devotional singing as a tribute to Dada’s teaching to remember God in every moment of life. Highlights of 2017, with messages and Dada’s meetings with various world leaders, were shown, leaving the audience to reflect on the beautiful life that Dada had created and the footprints he left for many to follow.
Geeta Mehrotra shared her last satsang in Pune on March 9, 2018. Dada’s message was that the purpose of life was to overcome our negative tendencies and purify ourselves. For example, envy and competition: Often we are envious when we are able to achieve like others, but fail to do so as we have not sown the seeds in the field of life. Remembrance of Name divine is the highest seed that we can sow in the field of life that will help us overcome negative tendencies and prepare for the journey beyond. Dada through his life and messages has shown us a path of moving from competition to contribution and finally offering everything to the Lord.
(Left) Dance performance by various youth members of the Dada family. (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions LLC)
The bittersweet event included a medley dance mix choreographed by the talented and beautiful Shilpa Ailani Jadwani, with songs penned by Dada: “Love Anthem” and “Thanksgiving Anthem.” The program was beautifully orchestrated, and Dada's presence at the program was felt by many.
Every family received a gift bag with an inspirational book by Dada J. P. Vaswani, a commemorative candle holder, and a souvenir book.
Pledges for the Moment of Calm were collected: At 2pm local time on every August 2 around the world, including at SVCA, a Moment of Calm is observed for 2 minutes, and prayers are said together to forgive and seek forgiveness, to breathe out an aspiration for peace and love. People pledge to participate in this way: in fact, 1,87,48,881 pledges (one crore, eighty seven lakhs, forty eight thousand, eight hundred and eight one) were collected by Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Pune in honor of Dada’s 99th birthday.
The program concluded with videos of Dada’s last rites and the bhajan “Dada Shyam Sharanam Namah.” Several events remain in the centenary year.
Website Bonus Feature
"Highlights of 2017 with Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani," shown at the event.
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