Tridib Raman is a senior journalist with over 35 years experience in Print, Broadcast and Digital Media. As a political journalist he has closely tracked politicians and politics of every kind, educating readers to nuances. He has founded Parliamentarian magazine with the sole objective to encourage pro-people politics.
DATE is the same and so is the time. The only difference is that this happened a year ago. While receiving his honorary D.Litt. in a convocation function of DY Patil University last year, Bhaiyyu ji Maharaj sprung a surprise by announcing retirement from public life. He was apparently not comfortable being surrounded by the rich and the famous round the clock.
The announcement created quite a stir. But he kept on sporting his known familiar stoic smile. For, he is not a typical saint.
He doesn’t don saffron robes. Neither sports long tresses and beard like a typical ‘baba’. He is a family person. He likes to put on everything – from a track suit to a suit, kurta-pyjama and a dhoti. Yet he is a saint. He is a multi-faced personality. He likes fencing, enjoys cricket, has done modelling, and is a practicing farmer, a perfect husband and a father.
He is into spiritualism but does not like to make a show of it. That is why his announcement about retiring from public life created such a stir.
He can be spotted anywhere and everywhere – from Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast to Narendra Modi’s Sadbhawna Upvas; from Prime Minister’s swearing in ceremony to a common man’s house warming ceremony. But where does his heart lie? Who are the people, whose company he cherishes?
There is no need for such queries because he has a crystal clear vision of his life-goals. In the words of
Ravindra Nath Tagore…
Desh ki Maati, Desh Ka jal,
Hawa desh ki, desh ke phal,
Saras bane prabhu saras bane,
Desh ke ghar aur desh ke ghat,
Desh ke van aur desh ki baat,
Saral bane prabhu saral bane,
Desh ke tan aur desh ke man,
Desh ke ghar ke bhai bahen,
Vimal bane prabhu vimal bane.
Bhaiyyu ji wants this simple, good and pure life for every citizen of India. His life and its vigour are directed at achieving this goal. This is why before understanding the import of Tagore’s poem, he tried to imbibe the true meaning of life.
But, what is closest to his heart is serving humanity, especially the deprived. He wants to wipe away the tears from every eye. He treats everybody’s problem and pain as his own. He feels everybody has the right to have food and dignity. This is what makes him different from a typical religious saint.
He, first of all, comprehended the darkness behind the glittering lives. He could identify tears, compulsions, poverty, hunger and inability from his childhood itself. That made people call this child who used to deliver pearls of wisdom from when he was very young – Bhaiyyu ji and later suffixed Maharaj to it.
At the time, nobody would have realised that the child whom they used to lovingly call Bhaiyyu ji Maharaj would ascend to such heights and indeed become a saint. The person running hundreds of projects and helping lakhs of needy and deprived, catapulted to the national centre stage when he was summoned by Anna Hazare for a meeting. Anna was then fasting for a strong Lokpal (ombudsman) at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Bhaiyyu ji not only met Anna but also persuaded him to end his fast. Another such instance came when he persuaded Narendra Modi to end his Sadbhavna Upvas. The long list of his disciples has politicians, film stars, industrialists and corporate besides dignitaries like RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. But, he doesn’t like throwing his weight around. He doesn’t relish even the ever-growing list of followers. Neither does he want a position, nor recognition. He only wants to immerse himself deeply into serving the people without any expectations and without getting tired.
He is out to paint such a picture of the country where pillars of development are being erected on the strong foundation of spiritualism. He doesn’t accept guru dakshina. He only asks people willing to donate him, only planting trees. That demonstrates that he is as committed to the environment as he is for the welfare of the needy, the deprived and the helpless. There is hardly any work left in the fields of education, health, environment, public welfare and social service which doesn’t have his active participation.
Bhaiyyu ji is the strongest support system for the deprived. He is the best medicine for those suffering from ailments. He is the teacher for the illiterates. He is the guardian angel of the orphans. Everyone finds something in him for himself.
That is why he lent his name as the father of 51 children of Pandharpur’s sex workers. He opened a residential school for 700 tribal children in Buldhana. He was showered with stones when he went to meet Pardhi tribesmen for setting up this school. But, accepting defeat or retracing steps is not part of his nature. He is running several ashrams in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra helping people in various walks of life.
He doesn’t like accepting garlands or coconut. He terms these as wasteful expenditure. He wants this money to be spent on the poor. Each penny counts for him and with help of such pennies, his trust has been offering over ten thousand scholarships so that children can get a better education, become a better citizen and contribute their bit in nation building.
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