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He is the guiding light, the paragon of devotion, the eternal well-wisher, the beloved friend, the divine in human form, the sum of all of these, and much more. His life is purposeful, powerful and prayerful. One thing is for certain, you cannot meet Pujya Gurudevshri and walk away unaffected. He is the Unmoved Mover.
Divinity shines through all that Pujya Gurudevshri is. And this was evident since birth. He was no ordinary child. His advent was heralded by auspicious dreams.
His parents Rekhaben and Dilipbhai Jhaveri were devout followers of the Jain religion. He was named Rakesh – lord of the full moon. True to His name, He was luminous. He delighted those around with His virtuous and gentle demeanour.
Unlike other children, by age four, He would effortlessly slip into meditation for hours. He would engage in conversations on profound subjects, something He had never heard or learnt before.
Commencing education at Activity High School in Mumbai, He naturally excelled in studies. He was quiet, observant, kind and compassionate. Living the principle of nonviolence and concerned that His classmates consumed meat, He would share all His food, often going hungry Himself.
Divine destiny unfolded. At age eight, He fortuitously encountered a book containing a picture of Shrimad Rajchandraji. Upon beholding the image, He slipped into a trance for three continuous days and attained a high spiritual state.
The veil had been lifted. It was a divine reunion – the meeting of the Master and the disciple. He recalled past associations from previous lifetimes and recognised Shrimadji as His Sadguru. From that moment on, His spiritual endeavours gained tremendous momentum.
Aspirants from far and wide would come to meet Him. Even saints and ascetics would ask for an audience. He had not yet read the scriptures, but He had answers to the most profound questions.
On one hand, He continued His education in school, and on the other, the exceptional child had begun leading seekers on the path of liberation. Regular bhakti and satsangs began as a group. He was 11 years old. They called Him Gurudev.
“What dream has my Guru seen for me?” One day in Jaipur, yearning for His Master’s vision, observing complete silence, He began prostrations to Shrimad Rajchandraji. Morning turned to evening; evening became night. Unswerving faith and 10,000 prostrations later, He got the answer.
He devoted the rest of His life for the pursuit and spread of spirituality. On Akhatrij in 1983, after completing His tenth standard examination, He formally renounced social and professional life, embracing lifelong celibacy.
Disappearing into solitude, He spent one and a half years in the caves of Hampi in Southern India, immersed in deep spiritual practice. Engaged in study and meditation, He retreated to Palitana, Idar, Mt. Abu and Dumas.
Observing 18 hours of silence a day, often extending to days on end, His practice encompassed Indian philosophies, Jain scriptures, Sanskrit, logic, yoga, astrology and classical music. Challenging spiritual experiments solidified His equanimity. He remained detached in favourable and unfavourable circumstances. He revelled in the ecstasy of His self.
Like the gushing flow of a stream, He was realising His Guru’s vision. There came a new milestone – academic excellence – a simple pursuit for an awakened being. In 1988, He obtained a bachelor’s degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad, completing five years of study in only three months. He went on to get a Master’s in Philosophy from the University of Mumbai, and was awarded a gold medal for His brilliance.
Inspiring individuals through discourses, bhakti, pilgrimages and personal guidance in the form of meetings and letters, Pujya Gurudevshri encouraged the blossoming of each one’s inner potential.
His vision of spreading Shrimad Rajchandraji’s message beyond borders unfolded, and Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (formerly known as Shrimad Rajchandra Adhyatmik Satsang Sadhana Kendra) was formed in 1994. This laid the foundations for a spiritual movement that would soon engulf the world.
Pujya Gurudevshri authored an extensive research treatise on Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra, Shrimadji’s finest literary creation. He had written over 3000 pages, and yet had not finished, He had only stopped. He was conferred the Ph.D. degree by the University of Mumbai. Offering the Ph.D. degree and the title of Dr. at His Guru’s lotus feet, He has never used the title since.
It was time for a spiritual sanctuary. A place for inner prosperity. A space to kindle everlasting love for the Divine. On the auspicious occasion of Mahavira Jayanti in 2001, Pujya Gurudevshri’s compassion manifested in the form of the glorious Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, Dharampur.
Pujya Gurudevshri had been intrinsically pulled towards the hillock for selection as the Ashram site because this land was sanctified by Shrimad Rajchandraji’s physical presence about a century ago.
With an increasing number of people converging at the Ashram, He opened the next chapter. The tradition of satsang shibirs began – expounding of spiritual treasures by Pujya Gurudevshri from an annually chosen sacred text every month. He also introduced sadhana bhatti – a three-day meditation retreat to embark on the journey within.
Pujya Gurudevshri’s birth anniversary marked the beginning of the tradition of the Atmarpit Diksha initiation every year on September 26. He has galvanized educated youth to devote their lives in the pursuit of spirituality. Atmarpits are lifelong celibate devotees who have dedicated their life to sadhana and seva.
Devising the path of selfless service benefitting lakhs of lives, He founded an umbrella programme for all social service initiatives that were being undertaken – Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care. It is a mega 10-fold development programme delivering high quality, charitable, and sustainable projects for the welfare of humanity, animals, and the environment.
Sitting on a swing on a breezy summer day, Pujya Gurudevshri envisaged what would be a revolution in modern value education. And it was the birth of Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch – a journey of inner awakening for children through Magictouch, Arhat Touch, and Spiritualtouch.
Pujya Gurudevshri had something planned for everyone. The network of spiritual and seva activities expanded. He traversed the globe for the welfare of scores of new aspirants. Long days often spanning 20 hours of activity with as little as four hours of sleep; being on a dharmayatra four days after an angioplasty; His body was never the barrier.
Elevating dharmayatras across the world led to the emergence of spiritual centres and vibrant hubs of transformation for all ages and backgrounds. Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur USA, Canada, UK, Singapore and Hongkong were established.
A true ambassador of the universal truth, Pujya Gurudevshri upholds harmony in diversity. A renowned sought-after leader and speaker, He represented Jainism at World Alliance of Religions Peace Summit in Seoul, Korea. He attended the Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and was felicitated by the American Ambassador at the Global Interfaith Water and Sanitation Alliance (GIWA) reception in New Delhi.
Creating waves of joy and change, the Master inspired Amazing Grace – a multi-faith musical concert – and charity walks in UK and USA.
His 50th birth anniversary year was a landmark occasion. He graced five continents in 12 months for the spiritual upliftment of seekers. Thousands from all over the world congregated in Mumbai to celebrate Pujya Gurudevshri’s Golden Jubilee Birth Anniversary with a three-day devotional extravaganza on September 24 – 26, 2016, at N.S.C.I. Dome, in the presence of renowned saints and dignitaries.
The Master received the Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Member of Congress, 33 District, in Los Angeles. Several initiatives and welfare projects were launched as a part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations including the public awareness campaign, Shrimad Rajchandra Organ Donation Programme. He also graced the World Culture Festival by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in New Delhi.
June 29 witnessed the monumental launch of commemorative stamps and coins honouring Shrimad Rajchandraji’s 150th Birth Anniversary by Pujya Gurudevshri and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, in the presence of Hon’ble Governor of Gujarat – Shri Om Prakash Kohli, and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat – Shri Vijaybhai Rupani.
The 150th birth anniversary year of Shrimad Rajchandraji opened with the play Yugpurush – Mahatma na Mahatma, a heart-touching portrayal of the special bond between Shrimad Rajchandraji and Mahatma Gandhi that catapulted Mohandas into a Mahatma. The theatrical phenomenon was performed in seven languages by eight teams, completing 1060+ shows in twelve months, reaching 6,80,000+ people in 312 cities across the world, sweeping multiple awards and recognitions along the way.
The 150th Birth Anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandraji was a celebration like none other. Devotees from world over congregated for the Yugpurush Saardh Shatabdi Mahotsav, a majestic tribute to the spiritual titan from November 2 – 5, 2017, at Dharampur Ashram.
The world’s largest idol of Shrimad Rajchandraji was unveiled at the Ashram, and a grand Mahamastakabhishek ceremony of the idol was performed. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the new 250-bed Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital in Dharampur was conducted.
Pujya Gurudevshri received the New York State Assembly Citation – a Certificate of Recognition from New York State for contribution in service, the Gandhi Seva Medal from U.N. accredited organisation Gandhi Global Family and was proclaimed the Living Embodiment of Jainism on Congressional Record from IL-8 U.S. House of Representatives.
Shrimad Rajchandra Udyan was instated by Pujya Gurudevshri at Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai. The Mission’s 108th centre was inaugurated.
Sculpted by the vision of Pujya Gurudevshri, in January 2019, the new year heralded new beginnings with the grand opening of London Spiritual Centre.
After the resounding success of Yugpurush – Mahatma na Mahatma, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur in association with the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, and the Govt. of Gujarat, launched a play – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, a heartfelt tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, commemorating his 150th birth anniversary. The play has been touring since across the country.
The Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind graciously invited Pujya Gurudevshri to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, in May 2019, for a special performance of Bharat Bhagya Vidhata. Pujya Gurudevshri had an endearing meeting with the Hon’ble President and was respectfully felicitated.
These are only glimpses of Pujya Gurudevshri’s external life. To try to fathom His internal state is like attempting to grasp the vastness of the sky, in the small of one’s hand. To comprehend the heights of His dispassion and the depths of His compassion, is nearly impossible. To contemplate on His bliss of the self, is beyond the capacity of the mind. It is truly inspiring to watch an enlightened master at work. You can hope for enchantment going forward, but you can certainly see it looking back.