Both the Indian and mainstream communities of Atlanta welcomed Dada J.P. Vaswani, worldwide spiritual leader from the Sadhu Vaswani mission, in a grand manner at the Holiday Inn in Atlanta on Saturday, March 17.
During his welcome address, Isaac Newton Ferris, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, hailed Dada “as an impassioned advocate of non-violence and for promoting universal values of love, truth, and compassion, peace and harmony and the unity of all people.” He commended Dada J.P. Vaswani “for carrying forward the precious legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
On the occasion, Gandhi foundation of USA presented the Peace Pilgrim award to Dada Vaswani recognizing his services towards the cause of universal spirituality and peace. While presenting the award the executive director of Gandhi Foundation, Giriraj Rao said Mahatma Gandhi was the role model of multi-culturalism. He was an icon of peace, pacifism, tolerance and brotherly love. The Gandhi Foundation found a kindred soul-force in Dada J.P. Vaswani, who not only symbolizes peace, but has epitomized it by a lifetime of service, love and caring for all those in need, irrespective of caste, colour, creed or status. Dr. Rao also said that Dada “has dedicated his life and his extensive travels to spreading the message of peace” and described Dada, “as the chosen one of God.”
Giriraj Rao also informed the gathering that Atlanta will soon become a triangle of peace with the establishment of the Gandhi Center- the other two peace centers being the Martin Luther King Center and the Carter Peace Center.
Earlier in the same meeting at the same venue Lisa M. Borders, President of Atlanta City Council presented the proclamation from the Atlanta City Council. The proclamation referred to Dada J.P. Vaswani “as a philosopher, humanitarian, an acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and a non-sectarian spiritual leader, who has captivated the hearts of millions worldwide, a man who symbolizes the true spirit of the Indian rishis and as a harbinger of love, peace, and hope.”
At this grand function, Dada’s acceptance of the Awards was endearingly humble. This was offset by his forceful and electrifying speech, in which he said: “Our hearts need to be saturated with the spirit of love—for love is the light that can illumine this world! Therefore, love thy neighbor even as you love yourself. Love those who are different from you—those who do not share your religion, your nationality, those who have a different skin color, those who profess a different faith, those who speak a different language. Is not love the first note in the musical scale of peace!” The sea of faces had their unflinching gazes fixed on the podium, overwhelmed with feelings of joy and gratitude. The pleasure of seeing the lifetime’s efforts of their Dada being recognized and acknowledged, brought lumps to their throats, choking them with the intensity of emotions. They rose as one and broke out into a thunderous applause in appreciation. All in all, it was a memorable and an unforgettable evening.
Dada has been a tireless traveler, reaching out to people across the world. An internationally acclaimed thinker and philosopher, Dada has spoken world wide. Dada has been the recipient of many awards. His many parables, his wisdom, his humor and his approachability make his message accessible to both the scholar and the lay one. At 89, he maintains the optimism and joy of a child and takes each day as a gift from God.
Dada Vaswani's life is a life well lived, proof that even one person can make a difference in changing mindsets and changing the world. He was drawn to the teachings of his mentor, the great spiritual leader Sadhu Vaswani.
Dada has translated Sadhu Vaswani’s ideals into reality through many humanitarian activities of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Sadhu Vaswani centers spread world over with many followers. Readers can see more details in the mission’s web site at www.sadhuvaswani.org
Dada always tells individuals and groups to be happy, and make others happy. He humbly tells that I'm doing my little bit to spread the message of the master. They want something from me because they think I am an agent of the master. I'm a servant, one of the many servants of the master, he adds.