'The World Needs Love'
Spiritual leader, philosopher, writer, and educator Dada J.P. Vaswani talks about his mission.
People have the same problems wherever I go. God has taken me to five continents. The problem is not outside of you, you are your problem.
The Lord says in the Bhagavad Gita, man is his own friend, man is his own foe. No one outside can do you harm. It depends on your attitude. If your attitude is correct, nobody can upset you. If your attitude is incorrect, in every step and every round of life, you will face problems. Your attitude should be constructive and friendly.
What made you join the Mission?
I was in the second year of college when I felt a pull from my master, Sadhu Vaswani. My thinking pattern changed. I matriculated at 13. They said you will graduate at 17 and will have four years to prepare for the Indian Civil Services examination. I aimed to do that, but felt it was not for me. I would go and surrender to my master.
I came to my master. He said I must finish my education. I did my master's at 19 and sought shelter at the lotus feet of my master.
Was it a tough life?
Very easy, very simple [he laughs]. I used to talk to friends and laugh with them. They used to ask me, why do you laugh? I told them my life is a life of love and laughter.
Where does the humility come from?
My master was humble. He was a learned man, a great writer, philosopher, educationist, the founder of the Mira movement in education [We have Mira schools and colleges in India.] He presided over a big meeting in Mumbai and held a press conference. They asked him, who are you? Are you a poet? Are you an educationist? Are you an author? Are you a saint? He said I am a zero. He paused for a while and added, I'm not the English zero as the English zero occupies space. I am the Sindhi nukta. In Sindhi, zero is written like a point. It was the ideal placed before me.
What are your views on religion?
I don't believe so much in religion as I do in spirituality. Religion divides, creates discord, but spirituality unites. Each one of us is spirit. On the spiritual plane, unity is not to be worked out. It is there. On the plane of religion, we have to work for unity.
In India, we have seen the fundamental face of Hindutva [Hindu nationalism] in recent days.
Religion divides. What we want is a force that brings people together. The task that lies ahead of us is that of building a brave new world, a world without war, a world without want, a world in which every man, whatever his religion be, his caste, his creed, can hold his head high. We must unite and work for it.
What draws Americans to spirituality in India?