PUNE – Sadhu J.P. Vaswani, an eminent spiritual leader, philosopher, and philanthropist of the Sindhi community, died here on Thursday following a brief illness, an official spokesperson said. He was 99.
“Dadaji breathed his last at 9.01 a.m. today. He was 99. His body has been kept for final darshan at his ashram, Sadhu Vaswani Mission,” the spokesperson told IANS.
He was admitted to a private hospital here a few days ago for treatment of age related issues and had been discharged on Wednesday.
His ‘mahasamadhi’, or last rites will be performed at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission on Friday evening, the spokesperson said here on Thursday.
Vaswani’s body has been kept for viewing by thousands of his devotees who have started thronging here from Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar and other parts of the country.
On Friday at 2 pm, the body will taken out in a procession starting from SVM, and traversing through prominent localities like Council Hall, Poona Club, Quarter Gate, Irwin Road, Babajan Chowk, MG Road, Nehru Memorial Hall, Shanti Kunj, before returning to the SVM.
At 5 p.m., his last rites will be performed in the SVM premises followed by 10 days of prayer ceremonies in his memory, said the spokesperson.
Vaswani passed away amid mega-plans for his 100th birthday on August 2, which his devotees from all over the world were expected to attend.
Born on August 2, 1918, to a Sindhi couple Pahlajrai and Krishnadevi Vaswani of Hyderabad (Sindh) in undivided India, Dada Vaswani – as he was revered by the community – was one among seven children – three sisters and four brothers.
He headed the Sadhu Vaswani Mission – founded by his uncle and spiritual Guru, the late Sadhu T.L. Vaswani in Hyderabad in 1929, which has now branched out all over the world.
Following his demise in 1966, Sadhu J.P. Vaswani was anointed his successor and he carried forward the legacy of his Guru’s Mission globally.
A proponent of world peace, vegetarianism, girls’ education, compassion for the poor, among others, Sadhu Vaswani addressed the British House of Commons, Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders in Oxford, World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Millenium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the UN, and Parliament of World Religions in South Africa,.
He initiated a global peace initiative – The Moment of Calm, when people observe two-minutes of silence to forgive all, on August 2, with eminent personalities like the Dalai Lama joining it.
Among various national and international honours conferred on Sadhu Vaswani were the U Thant Peace Award in 1998, jointly with Pope John Paul II.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani was a familiar face at the Pune Mission, while President R. N. Kovind had inaugurated the Sadhu Vaswani International School here in May, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed Sadhu Vaswani’s 99th birthday celebrations last year through a video conference.
Kovind, Modi, Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state Congress President Ashok Chavan, and several other prominent personalities have condoled Vaswani’s demise.