Dada Vaswani: A Life in Spirituality offers an unusual viewpoint - a nonbeliever's perspective, it takes a fresh look at spirituality. The author creates a mischievous being who flits about and hovers -doubting and cynical - observing Dada as he follows his own convictions with implicit courage and faith.
Known for her adventure and thriller novels, Shobha Nihalani says that meeting Dada J, as she calls him, was a turning point in her journey as an author. His open heart and inner strength inspired her to grow spiritually and take on the immense task of penning the story of his life. Through this book, we are welcomed into Dada Vaswani's life to witness his selfless service and dedicated mission to build love, forgiveness, and unity.
I have had the immense privilege of meeting with Dada more than once since my adolescent days, and each time, my love and admiration for him only grows stronger and deeper. A soulful wisdom coupled with disarming humility, an elegant dignity accented with an ever-ready smile, noble words matched by equally noble action - all testament to a lifetime's practice of virtues - is how I always remember dear Dada JP Vaswani.
It is therefore my honour to be writing this brief message introducing a book on a life so rich in the Spirit, serious seekers know, it can hardly be captured in words, let alone appraised adequately.
A stirring read for devotees and non-devotees alike, this biography by the very talented and sincere Shobha Nihalani traces Dada's blessed journey from his early days as a disciple of that great Sindhi saint, Sadhu TL Vaswani, to his prime as a spiritual leader and a perpetual guiding light to many. The story is told in a most charming manner: through a blend of philosophical teachings and collected anecdotes.
Very interestingly, the narrative proceeds from the vantage point of a fictitious character who is a sceptic, reflecting the questions and concerns of ordinary people. The spiritually inclined (and more so saints) have always had to face doubters and disbelievers, of course, but the story of Dada holds up wonderfully. Readers will certainly find this book insightful on many levels. And in the process, I hope, their own doubts on or about the spiritual path will be quickly cleared up.
English-speaking, erudite, a man who would be science genius, Dada JP Vaswani the spiritual master is every bit an exemplar for our times. May he continue to educate, empower and inspire us, thus I pray.
While journeying through Dada Jashan's life, this book explores many of the core enquiries that religions have historically addressed: daily problems, death, sorrow, the purpose of our existence, the ego and the world that is changing so rapidly.
What do you really WANT? Have you thought about this? Deep down inside, within the core of your being, what is it that you crave?
More often than not, a discontentment burns deep within you, it drives you into a restless state. It's demanding, fervent and gushing with feelings. The mind wants instant answers to appease the mayhem within. It wants to be in a constant happy frame. And when happiness doesn't come, it resorts to quick fixes of sensory gratification. But this doesn't dissolve the disharmony within. The turmoil resumes as soon as the temporary solace fades away. One burns again in fires of unrest. In many attempts, one tries and fails to find a solution to ease the mind. And time goes on, while the yearning continues.
This is called Divine discontent.
However, there is a way to settle this chattering mind. Even at those moments when the ground beneath shakes terribly -when there's a loss that alters life - believe that there's a way home to the inner self. This is possible only if you truly trust in a journey that will silence the unsettled mind.
There are many paths and they lead to faith. Call it idealistic if you wish, but faith intrinsically reins in the senses, because from faith comes acceptance, then comes gratitude, then awareness of thoughts and then discipline.
But what is faith?
People often say, "I have faith," without specifying what they have faith in.
According to Wikipedia: "Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion or view (e.g. having strong political faith). It can also be belief that is not based on proof. The word faith is often used as a substitute for hope, trust or belief. In religion, faith often involves accepting claims about the character of a deity, nature, or the universe. While some have argued that faith is opposed to reason, proponents of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions that cannot be settled by evidence:'
Evidence is the key word here. Evidence is the interpretation of a situation. Not all interpretations are the same, but all may lead to the same conclusion. Uncertainties are inherent in the world, and no one can give absolute evidence of what will happen in thirty years, or even one year.
But when there is faith, there is reason to believe in an end result, and a direction towards the goal. Faith is the riverbank that keeps water flowing in a certain direction, an undercurrent energizes its progress. Faith is a means to an end - a laser focus on a certain path - but not an end in itself. So what the mind really needs is to latch onto a faith, an inner power source that offers a continuous stream of positivity.
I am a restless being, here to disprove, or prove, whichever way you want to look at it. I am a pesky entity, a cosmic trooper, I do what I do best: observe, worry and doubt. I excel in the ability to be cynical, especially in this virtue called Faith. In the kingdom of logic, faith has no basis.
So, when I came upon this particular man of faith, I wanted to understand him. I was there with him, constantly hovering, judging his life choices. This obstinate, faith-driven human - Jashan P Vaswani - has been ignoring my scepticism. I intend to bother him with countless questions and agitate him at the crossroads of his life.
According to TL Vaswani, "Seekers often pass through a period of intense anguish. During this evolutionary phase of their spiritual growth, perhaps, they themselves do not know for certain what it is that they are seeking. But seek they do, on the highways and byways of life, for that something that will put an end to their dark night of despair:'
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