Volume - 1 : Issue - 4

Published : Jul. - Sep. 2002

Group : Personalities


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What is the true definition of greatness? When we call someone a great man, do we refer to one who has achieved extraordinary success in his chosen field of endeavour? Do we bestow the title on someone who has amassed countless riches and lives in splendour? Do we mean a person with talent in the arts, academics, sports or medicine? Are we talking about someone of such exquisite physical beauty that he is the envy of all others?
I have always believed that the true measure of greatness lies not in these external features, but in the effect an individual has on those around him. How does the individual inspire others to behave? Does he lead by example? Is he true to his word and his principles? Does he reflect the glory of God in all he does and says? Is he a servant of the humblest of the humble? By each of these measures, Dada J. P. Vaswani can be called “the greatest of the great”.
But this is not to say that God has not favoured Dada with the outer trappings of greatness. Dada is indeed handsome, with twinkling jade eyes, the most beautiful teeth I’ve ever seen in a human being, a swirl of shining silvery hair and refinement of face and form usually reserved for matinee idols. Yet the blind children, who delight in Dada’s company, cannot see his physical beauty. There is something much more. There is a magic at work. Dada’s magic is love!
“The Kingdom of God is spread upon the Earth,” is Jesus’ reply, “but men do not see it!”
“It is so simple,” he said at a recent program. “It is so simple.”
It is so simple.
The magic is love!


When a man of science turns to matters of the mind, he becomes, first of all, a philosopher. His broad prespective affords deeper insight into human life. Inevitably the philosopher then turns to matters of the Spirit. We either lose him somewhere along the way, or he emerges with great clarity of vision, and is hailed as a spiritual leader.
Such a man is Dada Jashan Vaswani. And such is the path he has trodden. The transition from the man of science to philosopher and then spiritualist has been a progressive crystallization producing a rare jewel radiating infinite light.
His eyes are like two great pools of serenity. You become aware that they are looking at you, into you, and through you. Yet, strangely enough, instead of intimidating you, they gently soothe and reassure. There is boundless compassion in those eyes, sympathetic understanding, communicable strength and also twinkling humor.

by YVES VAZ  -  in The Bharat Ratna, Hong Kong

He wears no ochre robes, nor sports tulsi beads. He has no Ashram, nor does he live in a Himalayan abode. Yet, people from all over the world fly in, to spend a few celestial moments in his company.

Described as ‘super human’ and ‘incarnation of compassion and humanity’, he is a religious head who is highly educated yet comes down to the level of the masses. Even a layman easily builds a rapport with him. He is often described as an intellectual on the path of Bhakti. That is Brother Jashan now known as Dada J. P. Vaswani. From early childhood, brother Jashan was in quest of the Truth. He found mathematics incomplete. What is between zero and one? He would ask as a child. He said science is full of lacuna; space and energy beyond specification. His intellectual curiosity took him above the ‘mind’ and beyond the other shores of life. The end result was a dynamic soul.

Dada J. P. Vaswani is a blend of many paradoxes. He is a man of science and of religion, of wisdom and pragmatism, a man of head and heart. It is these ‘blends’ which make him so unique, so distinguished.

A first class first, in M.Sc., (Physics), his thesis in physics was greatly appreciated by his professor. It was evaluated by none other than Dr. C.V. Raman. Later, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by a Canadian university. Yet his spiritual teachings are very simple. He emphasizes ‘Nam Jap and service’. His spiritualism does not involve mental acrobatics. It is down to earth. “In this Kaliyug nam kirtan has great significance. And those who cannot follow the marg of bhakti, they should serve the poor, for poor are the broken images of God”.

“There ought to be something between one and two, between point one and point two. Go and find out”. May be you will tumble upon a precious treasure!

Dada J. P. Vaswani was born on 2nd August, 1918 at Hyderabad Sind, at 2.10 p.m. It was a bright sunny day in the sizzling heat of summer of Sindh. Dada had a beautiful smile on his lips. On the sixth day, his horoscope was cast, and he was named ‘Viru’—Strength. He, indeed is a spiritual, emotional and intellectual strength to his devotees and admirers.

Dada J.P. Vaswani, was the first son of his parents, — Pahlajrai and Krishna Devi. He was the third child in the family. He had 2 sisters before him, Shakuntala and Hari. He was nick named “Jashan’, a name that stuck to him permanently.

Dada’s formal education started at the tender age of three. Shri Pahlajrai, his revered father, was the supervisor of all the primary schools in Karachi. Therefore, as a special case, Dada was allowed to join school unofficially at the age of three, without his name appearing on the school register.

Even as a little child, Dada was very brilliant. He took a number of double promotions and finished his primary education in three years instead of six. He completed his primary education from the T.C. Sindhi Medium School at the age of 7. A special tutor was engaged to coach Dada in the English language as Dada’s father wished that his son should now receive education in an English medium school.

Dada was admitted to the Rosary School, where, too, he excelled in academic brilliance. He received a triple promotion enabling him to join High School sooner than expected.

Dada now moved on to the St. Patrick’s School where he completed 2 years of High School, when suddenly Dada’s revered father passed away. The family faced severe financial crisis. Dada was again transferred to the N. J. High School (Sindhi Medium) where Shri Lilaram Bhojwani was the Headmaster.

As a child, Dada Jashan was full of pranks. He had a psychic experience at the age of nine soon after his father died. It left an impact on his young mind. Seemingly he continued to be a joyful, mischievous child. Once Dada Jashan said, “The mathematics we learn is yet incomplete”, then he narrated his experience in the nursery class. The teacher would make the kids recite one, two, three, four, etc. This puzzled him greatly, so he asked the teacher “What comes after one and before two? What separates one from two?” Even today he smiles, as he poses the question, “There ought to be something between one and two, between point one and point two. Go and find out”.

That’s it. Go and find out. Maybe you will tumble upon a precious treasure!

During his college days, he often spent the night in the library, devouring books of interest, even forgetting to take his meals. Only self-effacing men of perseverance can dedicate themselves to a pursuit.  This was true of Dada Jashan who was then dedicated to books and to his Beloved Master Sadhu Vaswani.

He works with single-minded concentration, dealing with every problem in a practical manner.

Dada had a brilliant academic career. He secured a First Class in M.Sc. (Physics). His thesis was appreciated by Dr. C.V. Raman. His thesis was on the scattering of X-rays by solids. When asked by a journalist about the same, Dada J.P. Vaswani said, “That was way back in 1939. No body would be interested in it now”. Sir C. V. Raman was appointed to examine the thesis. Its conclusion did not confirm the Raman Effect, but was more in favour of Barcka theory. This intrigued him, so he had a number of interviews. But finally as a man of Truth, he accepted it”.

I came to Poona in 1974. I used to go and see Brother Jashan often. This is what I wrote in my diary in 1975.

“To see Brother Jashan in the College is to know the other side of his personality. Even as he goes through the files, he meets the students, answers his phone calls, and then has a brief conference with his staff.  He works with single-minded concentration, dealing with every problem in a practical manner. Except for a lean hour or two in the office, Brother Jashan moves around, now praying with his workers, now discussing problems with them. He knows most of the students by their first names; and his staff and their families are as close to him as his own disciples”.

“The most wonderful quality of our Brother Jashan is that he can guage your inner most need, draw out troubling thoughts and then help accordingly”, remarked a senior lecturer, who has worked with this institution from the very day of its inception in 1962.

“Go get involved in the good work of God but do your duty by yourself and by those who owe it to you”.

His kindness attracts floundering men and women. “It is so much easier to open out your heart to him, because he will never condemn; never accuse. He does not make you feel guilty about your sins,” says another Bombay business woman, whose glittering diamonds hide the fact of her ‘inner vacuum’. In the sanctuary, Brother Jashan repeatedly says ‘there is no sinner. Because each one of us is a sinner”. It is this attitude, which has drawn many erring unhappy women to him.

Brother Jashan’s kindness takes full concrete shape in the industrial homes he had set up for poor women, to help widows, and the like to earn their living!. Brother Jashan would like every woman to be independent, and to be free, to express her personality just as he would like every woman to be pure and devoted to her home and to humanity. “Go get involved in the good work of God” he exhorts, “But do your duty by yourself and by those who owe it to you”.

I will wait till you finish eating prasad. You cannot digest two things at a time.

It is said, faith begins with compassion. It is the kindness that heals and lends meaning to our striving in the life, giving us confidence in the future.

“I know many of you would wish to run away. But I would not allow you to,” he says interrupting his heavy discources, “remember, it is not so easy to get away”. He is capable of laughing at himself. “A woman in Bombay told me, that my speeches are too long. I think I have become a talkative bore”.

In the middle of a discussion, he would halt and smile, “I will wait till you finish eating prasad. You cannot digest two things at a time, your prasad and my teachings”. In the last 20 years, I have never seen Brother Jashan get angry. Sad, yes, but never angry.  Introspective, yes. But never gloomy.

“Be a burden-bearer go and help as many people as possible. Go and share the sorrow and pain of people around you”.

It is natural to be sad. It is sinful to be gloomy.
The pen name of Dada Jashan is
‘Anjali’—an offering; an offering to God.
Anjali is the non de plume of Dada J. P. Vaswani.
Anjali means an offering.
Dada’s life is an offering to his Master.
Anjali means dedication.

Dada’s life is a “dedication” to the cause of suffering humanity. “Leave all your problems and worries here”, says he. “And like a good servant, I shall sweep them away”. He is the saint who bears the burden of all ! His “Super Love” makes him “Super Sensitive”, to the pain and suffering of all living creatures. The unshed tears of his heart.

Sometimes, Dada is referred to as the man with the singing heart. But I have always found him sad. I have seen unshed tears in his eyes. He is quickly moved by pain and suffering of human beings. No, he is equally moved by the pain and suffering of animals, birds and beasts. His whole being is extremely sensitive to suffering on this planet. In fact, his whole purpose is to mitigate suffering – emotional, mental, physical.

“Be a burden-bearer”, he urges his devotees. “Go and help as many people as possible. Go and share the sorrow and pain of people around you”. There is so much human suffering. So much pain and hurt. So much frustration, so much tension and anxiety.

From Jashan to Brother Jashan, to Shri J. P. Vaswani, to Dada Jashan to Anjali is not a long journey.

Dressed in his white pyjama kurta, Dada J.P. Vaswani looks very ordinary, a social worker, a teacher, at the most, a preacher. His conversation with people around him is down to earth, pragmatic. One feels, ‘Oh, he is like one of us, wishing us on our birthday, giving us gifts, discussing family trivia.’ Yet, he is not one of us. He cannot be. His ordinariness is deliberate. It is a camouflage for his spirituality.

He is a man of the masses. He likes to mingle with people. His one to one relationship with his devotees is extraordinary. There are no barriers, no walls of fear built around him.

One remarkable feature of Dada is that he does not avoid ‘unhappy consciousness’. His empathy and sympathy are total. He loves to be with his devotees, in the hope, that some of them will follow him on the spiritual path.

Dada Jashan’s ‘ordinariness’ is the combined result of his humility and ‘samadhrishti’, two hallmarks of a great Saint. It is often perplexing and one wonders, how his devotees and disciples, share their marital and business problems with him.

I often wonder, why does Dada hide his higher consciousness, his omnipresence, from the masses. Maybe, his approach can be summed up in his own words, “I am nothing, but a humble servant of my Master.

Most of us see only one side of Dada Jashan. The one that faces us. As a teacher, as a preacher. As the head of the Mission. As the principal of the college. As a man, perfect in this world. We marvel at his photographic memory. We relish his public lectures. We admire the multifarious activities he conducts, with the efficiency of a Harvard management expert. We are taken aback by his disciplinarian authority. We wonder why a spiritual man has to be so practical as to impose strict work ethics. We become skeptical, when he cuts birthday cakes and witnesses engagements and other ceremonies. He is so exact and organized even in these matters, that many begin to doubt him. He respects customs and traditions, loves to be a good host, and observes etiquette to the point of seeing you to the car and opening the door for you. He does all these worldly things with a thoroughness, nay perfection. This ‘perfection’ in worldly affairs does not make him worldly. It is a mark of the holy man, who lives in the world and has not taken ‘sanyas’ in that sense.

From Jashan to Brother Jashan, to Shri J. P. Vaswani, to Dada Jashan to Anjali is not a long journey. For Brother Jashan’s spirituality is instant. It must have been earned in earlier births. Probably, this present life of ‘Dada Jashan’ or ‘Shri J. P. Vaswani’, is the life by choice, to bring comfort to the distressed people. Saints have a choice of “yoga”, — of merging with ‘paramatma’, or what we commonly call ‘Moksha’ or of rebirth/reincarnation, of the life of their ‘willed path’. Having reached a high level of consciousness, saints have the free-will to do good.

Dada Jashan can live between the earth and the sky literally, among the subtle divine forces – away from the earth, yet close enough. Like his Master, he chose to be among the masses.

He had no inward journey to make. No mountains to scale. His transformation was instantaneous. He has to spread the message of His Master. He had to serve humanity. This chosen path-life-style, must be very difficult for him to live. For it is the life-style, within and without, it is pragmatic and poetic. It is humdrum and above heaven. Contradictions & paradoxes notwithstanding, Dada Vaswani lives an ordinary life, with an extraordinary goal. It is like being on two shores, one green and the other golden. His inner life is one of identification with the Supreme One. His outer life is that of a perfect human being.

An Eternal soul/breaks/a thousand sound/barriers to say a comforting word of love.

An Eternal soul/blows/a thousand nights/away/to flow/as river of compassion/everyday.