Pramukh Swami Maharaj has a unique aptitude to understand youths, and also to help them understand others. He has discoursed to them, but his talks have never weighed them down. He has transformed them, but they have not felt the convulsions of change.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj has liberated countless youths from the harrowing issues of life. A renowned educationist, the late Shri Ramlal Parikh, who was the vice-chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith in Ahmedabad, echoes his experience about how Pramukh Swami Maharaj fosters the youths, “In my 35 years of experience in education, I feel that we teachers are unable to inspire students. But by coming to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, I have found that the youths sacrifice their time, energy, talent and expertise at his call. Students who refuse to touch litter and dirt in schools are ready to endeavour, sweat and sacrifice themselves before Swamishri. This proves that the capacity to transform them lies in the path shown by Swamishri. I am fully convinced about this. We guide students in doing PhDs on ‘Morality in Action’, but we cannot help them live or experience it. Whereas, here, before Pramukh Swami Maharaj, we can see it being practised.”
What is the elixir that Pramukh Swami Maharaj possesses in transforming the lives of youths? The answer is, selfless love for others. Many dissertations can be written about his selfless love for students and others and the impact it has on them. Whenever Pramukh Swami Maharaj arrives at a BAPS chhatralaya, school or a satsang assembly full of children or youths, they all celebrate with joy. The vibrant scene absorbs anyone and everyone. It is amazing how Swamishri has cared by meeting innumerable students and youths personally, by talking to them on the phone or through writing letters. The resulting mutual bonds created reflect a unique spiritual experience.
Some of the incidents of Swamishri’s love and care for students are as follows.
Cares of All
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The point to be made here is that two persons enter each other’s hearts through the channel of mutual care. Volumes can be written about how Pramukh Swami Maharaj has cared for students.
On 14 July 2007, about 2,000 youths were attending a shibir in USA. Several questions were asked to the audience in one of the sessions:
“If Swamishri has named you or your son, please stand up.” Many youths stood up.
“If Swamishri has advised or given guidance to any youth, please stand up.” Again many youths got up from their seats.
“Youths who have had a telephone conversation with Swamishri may stand up.” A lot more youths stood up.
“Youths who were inspired by Swamishri during their academic years stand up.” Once again there were many youths who responded.
In conclusion, it was observed that all the youths in the assembly had stood up by the time the questions were over.
Over the decades, Swamishri has remembered and communicated with countless youths in India and abroad. It is because of his spiritual nourishment and support that countless youths have remained steadfast in practising the satsang niyams despite facing enticements and obstacles.
Once a disabled youth came up to Swamishri and expressed his woes: “I come from Pune. I lost my parents way back, so I was raised by my grandfather. But recently, my uncle wants to claim my share of the property. Now what should I do and where should I go? I’m in a dilemma. I’ve got an admission for B.E. Electronics in a college in remote Simla, but I’m penniless.”
The hapless youth then broke down. Swamishri was moved by his situation. He patted the youth and reassured him, “Don’t worry!” Immediately, Swamishri made the financial and other arrangements for his college studies. The youth beamed with joy and hope. He thanked Swamishri.
On another occasion a bright but financially poor youth came to Swamishri in Atladara. He revealed that he was asked by an official to give him a bribe of Rs 500,000 to pass a government exam. The youth gave up appearing for the exam and decided to give the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam. Swamishri made all the arrangements to help him, saying, “Give the exams. Whenever you need any help come and see me. There’s no need for you to worry anymore.”
Once, Swamishri was engaged in Thakorji’s darshan in Mumbai. Rasikbhai Ajmera was standing nearby. On seeing him, Swamishri asked a sadhu for a rose placed at the feet of Thakorji. Then, he gave it to Rasikbhai and said, “Here, take this and give it to Pintu (Rasikbhai’s son) because he is appearing for his 10th standard exams.” Swamishri’s blessings not only touched Rasikbhai but his gesture also infused confidence and joy in Pintu when he received the rose.
A brilliant youth was studying in a prestigious college in Ahmedabad. But because of his parents’ conflict the youth was disturbed and unable to perform well at college. He had written the details of his predicament in a letter to Swamishri. In his reply, Swamishri advised, “Give up all your worries and progress in your studies. I am instructing you to study. You may be thinking about how to bear the cost of your education, but do not fret. You will get financial help as per your needs. Thus, do not worry about excelling in your education.”
Swamishri assured the youth of getting monetary help and relieved him of his anxiety. Thereafter, Swamishri also encouraged him regularly through letters to study properly. Today, the youth is a graduate and has a lucrative job.
Swamishri is a custodian of youth welfare and their all-round development. Just as he emphasizes upon the youths to practise integrity, he also equally lays stress on them to attain good academic results.
On 21 June 2002, Swamishri advised the sadhus handling the kishore mandal in Mumbai, “Pay attention to the students’ academic performance. Just as they are active in satsang activities they should also work hard for their studies. They should not fail and miss out a year.” Swamishri earnestly expressed his concern about nurturing the youths academically.
Once, Swamishri cautioned the administrators of the BAPS Chhatralaya in Atladara, “Take care that students receive proper education, facilities and values. You should not be overly inclined towards decorating their residential buildings. Make efforts in grooming the students culturally. Also, endeavour and spend money for them to attain good results in their studies.”
Thus, Swamishri has always made efforts for the holistic development of students. He provides grants and scholarships for the needy and has established schools, colleges, chhatralayas and gurukuls for the students.