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Universal Brotherhood under the divine Fatherhood of God

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
Today, while I was arranging my bookshelf, I had a look on my published write-up on Revered Pandurang Shastri Athavle in the 1990’s . I feel myself luck that I got an opportunity to meet Dada on many occasions in 1990 in Veraval (Gujarat), and his words still echo in my ears: “I don’t try to mold anyone or sculpt them. I just see how a person can be used, each individual’s capacity and capability.” India has been the land of culture and many leaders have been produced by the country who has done good to the country. One among them was renowned Activist and social reformer, Revered Pandurang Shastri Athavale (Dadaji). He was an activist philosopher who formed the family (pariwar) of millions of Swadhayees World-wide. He was recipient of 100s of awards including Magsaysay award, Templeton Award, Gandhi award, Tilak award etc. He was a leader of a spiritual self-knowledge movement in India that has today liberated millions from the shackles of poverty and moral dissipation. In 1991 Shyam Benegal created and directed the film Antarnaad (The Inner Voice), based on Rev. Athavale’s Swadhyaya movements or Prayogs, starring Shabana Azmi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda, among others.[13] In 2004 Abir Bazaz also directed the documentary Swadhyaya, based on the life and works of Rev. Athavale.
Born to a Sanskrit teacher Vaijanath Athavale and housewife Parvati Athavale, Pandurang was one of their five children. The roots of spirituality and philosophy grew inside him from his childhood days itself. At the age of 12, Pandurang Athavale was given a separate course to study by his grandfather. It resembled the Tapovan system being followed in ancient India.
Impressed by his ideas, the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Arthur Holly Compton, offered him to provide his preaching at the United States which was a golden opportunity for Dada but he declined and stated the reason for the decline that there was much left to do for his native place, India and that he visioned India to be a model community practicing the Vedic ideas. His philosophy asks people to recognize the inner presence of God which, , leads to a sense of self-esteem as well as an awareness of the divine presence within all persons. Dada’s middle-class disciples started moving into rural villages to propagate Swadhyaya and to advance their teacher’s belief that barriers of caste, gender, and religion must be transcended in order to recognize the true equality of all people.
Tatvadnyaan Vidyapeeth is an institution in which Athavale, himself, often gave discourses to the many youths that studied there. The youths study a broad variety of religious and spiritual subjects and live as they would have done in a “tapovan” thousands of years ago.
Athavale’s lessons and learnings from Bhagavad Gita have been spread to millions of people. He has been instrumental in introducing a realistic social change in India’s rural communities and believes that selfless service, without expecting returns, is the mantra that can bring humanity together. He always wanted to spread the message of equality, unity, and spirituality in the society. His vision was to have a United Global family by eradication of all the worldly problems based on the single principle of Universal blood maker, which was possible with the foundation of Swadhyaya Parivar.
Today Dada is not with us but his followers are continuing spreading and leading his vision to others ”Universal Brotherhood under the divine Fatherhood of God.”

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