Saturday, July 19, 2008

BRAHMIN'S DUTY

Hence as a Brahmin, it was his duty to accept charity and at the same time he should, in turn do charity also for a deserving cause. This gave rise to a thought in his mind that he could very well make use of the charity by spending it for the upliftment of the cultural heritage. This is a prime responsibility of a Brahmin. He also thought that by refusing, he might be able to earn a reputation for renouncing such charities but at the same time what good would such a reputation be if he had to fall back on his responsibilities enjoined upon him by the scriptures. So he started looking for an outlet, which would give him the satisfaction of executing this responsibility.

In his pursuit to find such an outlet a thought crossed his mind, that so far he had been devoting his entire time to reciting kathas, so why not now use some of this time to do something, which would help the society in developing assets within themselves. Such an opportunity soon lay at his feet when he was invited to Porbandar to recite a Bhagwat katha. Porbandar is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, a town in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat State on the West Coast of India. It is also the birth place of Sudama, a dear friend of Lord Krishna.

The locals of Porbandar requested him to visit the Sanskrit school in a village called Babada, close to Porbandar. It was during this visit that he immediately decided that this is what he would like to do and this is exactly what he should be doing. That is to run a school, which would teach Sanskrit and develop in the students the cultural heritage and induct lineage into them. At the request of the locals, he accepted the trusteeship and started infusing funds into the school, which very soon gained recognition and the number of applicants to it increased. He was later appointed Chairman of the trust. In order that he could accept more applications for admission he started looking for a new place to house the school.

The government of Gujarat was kind enough to give him 85 acres of land opposite the Porbandar airport for this purpose. More trustees were chosen by Bhaishri and inducted into the trust called Shree Bhartiya Sanskruti Samvardhak Trust, which was responsible for running the school. The trustees under the guidance of Bhaishri went all out to develop this school into a Vidyaniketan (residential college).

Goals

Plans were formulated to set up a complex with total amenities to house 500 students on the campus and to have their education in Sanskrit, grammar and other essential modern subjects necessary to become capable and virtuous Brahmins. The college would be called Rishikul and the teaching would be given as per the ancient Vedic Tapovan system.

In the modern context, the society is unable to get educated Brahmins who are well versed in scriptures and can conduct religious functions and rituals. Bhaishri noticed that practicing Brahmins did not even have sufficient knowledge of Sanskrit, leave aside conversing in Sanskrit. Hence Bhaishri thought that his Vidyaniketan will fill the void and produce proficient Brahmins with the following qualities:

SANDIPANI VIDHYA NIKETAN

Holding discourse on Geeta

An event associated with his childhood is still alive in the minds of the villagers of Devka. At the age of 13 years when Bhaishri was studying in standard seven, he collected friends of his age to organize a seven-day discourse on the Geeta on an amateurish scale. They collected donations of one rupee each to meet the expenses. A large tent was set up and invitation cards were distributed in person. Bhaishri still has a copy of this invite. Offerings of all kinds e.g., water, flower, prasadam, etc. were brought. To organize the whole program, committees were set up headed by one or two boys. A Vyaspeeth, which basically is a throne on which, normally a saint would sit to deliver his teachings, was installed to accommodate the preacher. Bhaishri would then take the Vyaspeeth preach the teachings of Geeta to the children. On the first day, the importance of Geeta was stressed and rest of the six days the eighteen chapters of the Geeta were completed in two sessions each day. In the beginning the village folk thought that this was just another childish prank and would get over no sooner it started, but to their dismay they observed that day by day numbers kept rising and the elders also started participating in the event. The discourses were extremely popular and included singing of bhajans and chanting of ‘mantras’.


Bhaishri was admitted to a Sanskrit school named Tatvajyoti in a nearby town called Rajula. During the very first year of his education in the school he exhibited signs of what he is today. The family culture, devotion of his grandmother and the environment in which he resided contributed to his disciplined, dedicated and devotional upbringing, which has made his life so divine and exemplary.

Thereafter he was admitted to a school in a town called Dungar for a short period. Here he completed standard nine and then came to Bombay, secured admission in the tenth standard and stayed in Bombay with his mother and father. After completing school he took commerce at college. It is noteworthy that during his entire span of academic activity he always stood first in his class. Never allowing any spare time for himself he was continuously engaged in studying Bhagwat, Ramayana, the Holy Geeta and several other religious texts. At other times he would sit quietly to meditate and engross himself in thoughts arising from the teachings of these texts and also from what he heard from the various saints that he kept interacting with.

Bhaishri grew into a smart young man, with radiance on his face, observant, attentive and intelligent. Nature endowed him with a melodious voice and a clear reverberating speech. He developed a unique style of oration, which held the listener’s attention and left him enchanted. His singing added to his personality, keeping listeners enthralled. His very presence emanated a glow suffused with spirituality, making a person feel so much a part of him, unmindful of his own identity.

Universal in appeal Bhaishri is accessible to just anybody. Time knows no limits with him and when one meets him, one feels he has all the time for them in the world. Logical in his presentation, he issues no commandments, says so little yet means so much. His messages are inspiring and thought provoking, helping people to transform radically into better human beings.

Bhaishri has now become synonymous with youthfulness and his scholastic aptitude, in depth thinking and pious life has given a tremendous boost to his personality akin to a fresh blooming rose in a divine garden. A true representative of Indian sainthood, he has the blessings of "Maa Saraswati" the Goddess of learning. Impressed by his intellect and spiritual awareness, saints from far and near conferred upon him various titles like ‘BhagwatAcharya’, ‘BhagwatBhushan’, ‘BhagwatRatna’. Despite his prodigious achievements Bhaishri is totally unassuming. He revels in simplicity and wholly detached from the trappings of luxury or self-glorification. This is the reason why he accepted to be called just "Bhaiji" or "Bhaishri" and nothing more than that.

Spiritual Development

From his early childhood, Bhaishri’s father inculcated in him the habit to recite Bhagwat Geeta daily. He thus developed a very special love for Geeta and this one book alone is the major driving force in his life. Bhaishri’s Uncle Shri Jeevraj Bhai Oza was himself a reciter of the Bhagwat katha. During his vacations after Std. seven Bhaishri would go to his uncle’s place to stay and travel along with him wherever he went to recite the Bhagwat. He gained considerable experience and confidence from accompanying him, coupled with his own study he was able to conduct discourses on Geeta right from his childhood at the age of a mere 13 years.

It was at the behest of his uncle that he was admitted to the Sanskrit school, which initiated him into the realm of spirituality. During his college days he used to attend the daily pravachans by his uncle, held in Borivali locality of Mumbai and on several occasions his uncle used to pass on the cord to him to do the pravachan. During such discourses there were recitations from the Mahabharat, Ramayana, Shivpuran, Bhagwat etc; he used to pick up the recitation from wherever his uncle left. In the evenings Bhaishri used to hold pravachans in the college at some place or the other and his fellow students would sit in front of him to listen to him ever so intently.

Destined to transform the lives of mankind Bhaishri’s interest started veering away at a tangent from his college studies. Initially he had decided to select science as his subject, planning to become a doctor but landed up in commerce to become a Chartered Accountant. By the time he reached the final year of his graduation academics appeared dry and uninteresting. The ‘adhyatmic sanskaras’ of childhood blossomed and his interest in Kathas caught on, taking him still closer to the Almighty Lord.


The first katha outside Bombay took place in a town called Mandvi in Kutch, a district in the state of Gujarat. In the beginning he started with 5-6 kathas a year and by the time he completed his graduation he became totally occupied, also because of the pravachans which kept taking place alongside with his uncle.

Now there was no stopping him. As Bhaishri followed in the footsteps of his Uncle who was also reciting the Bhagwat himself, he took to recitation of Bhagwat as his main subject. The underlying fact remains that while studying the Geeta, Bhaishri developed a very special attachment to Lord Krishna, which made him choose his path through Bhagwat.

Due to Bhaishri’s very special style of presentation and blessed by the nature with a beautiful musical voice, every body and anybody who listened to him got energised by the impact of his select verbosity and resonant voice, singing simultaneously with great feeling. The entire environment appeared so pure and serene that the listener could easily assimilate whatever was said. His in depth knowledge blossomed forth during the recitation of the kathas overwhelming the listener with his vast knowledge. The flow of well selected spiritual words held the listener in a trance, transporting him into a world of unalloyed joy and happiness.

Enlightenment of the general public became the focal point of his life. To achieve this he found Bhagwat, a very effective medium and also to develop feelings of love and devotion in the devotees towards the Almighty.

Many a time Bhagwat is recited in the house of a family after the death of an elderly family member so as to sanctify the departed soul. In fact what actually transpires is that the young ones get to hear the recitation of the Bhagwat and through this medium, prepare themselves to step confidently into the mainstream of life without the protective umbrella of the elderly who remain no more. It prepares them in stepping into the shoes of their departed elder and from then on to lead their life with responsibility and to hold the reigns of the family.

BHAI SHRI

Pujya Shri Rameshbhai Oza, popularly known as Bhaishri or Bhaiji, has been all his life the supreme propagator of faith. Faith in oneself, faith in the Almighty and the spiritual power. Bhaishri has been a lifetime crusader for humanness in humans. At the Sandipani Vidyaniketan Bhaishri is creating an atmosphere for students to inculcate lineage, virtues and attributes directly from the Vedas and the Upanishads. After completing their studies, these students will be the persons who will be competent enough to preach and guide, to lead people on the path of love, goodness and spirituality. They will be such persons who know only to give and will never ask.

Pujya Bhaishri

Though a revered name, Bhaishri has never portrayed himself as a Godman or clergyman. He never desired to be addressed as a Guru or Maharaj. "Bhaishri", a name with which he is addressed, is a salutation to an elder brother. True to his name, he is the elder brother who gives advice and guidance, which is precisely what he intends to portray. His goal is to educate humans into enriching this world through their own lives. He wishes to show the path to see within, take an insight into the human nature, so as to evolve goodness and reject evilness.

Few would have guessed that some day this name would resound in every nook and corner of India and even transcend it’s boundaries. He has carved an enviable niche in the hearts of millions in India and abroad and he is determined to make the Indian culture flow like an eternal river, only to bring peace, happiness and sense of responsibility into the lives of humans through knowledge, awakening and spirituality.Born in a small village named Devka, on the 31st day of August, 1957 A.D. Bhaishri was nursed and nurtured in an unparalleled stream of life learning early in life the consciousness about the inner self. The village Devka is situated in the elitist coastal district of Saurashtra, in the state of Gujarat, having its boundaries on the west coast of India, which is north of Bombay, now known as Mumbai.

His father, a modest Brahmin, hailed from the "Audichya" community. Late Shri Vrajlal Kanjibhai Oza and his mother Smt. Laxmi ben Oza were overjoyed over his birth in their family as their second son, in a family of four brothers and two sisters.

Bhaishri’s grandmother, Smt. Bhagirathi ben, a staunch follower of Bhagwat, was devoted to educating and teaching the uneducated elderly folks of the village. She would practice different ways and means to evoke religious feelings in the villagers. Bhagirathi ben had a very strong desire to have a recitation of the Bhagwat in her house but the financial position of the family at that time would not allow such an event. Obsessed by the strong desire she took a very special vow that she would eat her meals by bringing her hands from below the knees while sitting in a squat posture and that she would continue to eat like this till the time her vow was fulfilled.
It took full seventeen years for such an event to take place. The best narrator of Bhagwat, the honorable Shri Mohanlalji Shastri accepted the holy seat of the "Vyas Peeth" and concluded the Bhagwat Yagna to show his regard and love for Smt. Bhagirathibain whom he looked upon as his sister.

At this juncture, Bhaishri was four months in his mother’s womb. It is believed that whatever the mother does, hear and think, directly affects the embryo in the womb during it’s 3rd- 4th month and that is the time when the "sanskars" (values) are inculcated in the child over and above the genes of the parents. This fact is indeed vouchsafed by the way Bhaishri developed into a totally unique person with remarkable qualities evidently inherent in him since birth.


Five months after this katha Bhaishri took birth. Bhaishri’s mother is of the belief that the birth of this son of hers was a result of seventeen years of unending devotion and dedication of her mother-in-law whom she looked upon as her own mother.

Brought up in a Brahmin family as per the Vedic Traditions, Bhaishri took to religious activities right from childhood. His mother very proudly recollects that when Bhaishri was young he was never involved in any kind of naughtiness or pranks. He never troubled the village people nor did she ever receive any complaints about him from anybody. While the other children would play, he would according to his own way of thinking create YagnaVedis, as if to perform a yagna, the religious sacrifice. He would collect his friends and ask them to gather dry leaves and small sticks with which he would enact the performance of a Yagna chanting the sacred word ‘SWAHA’. His mother Laxmiben never had the faintest idea that some day this young boy would carry the sacred torch of Indian culture through out the entire world, raising devotional feelings through the Bhagwat, showing the way of life through the Ramayana and spreading the spiritual teachings of the Geeta.