It was a period when a nation that had seen almost a thousand years of slavery and suppression by virtue of various foreign rules, seemed to be at crossroads with its own identity. India became a free country in mid of 20th century. On one hand, it had the backing of its age-old glorious past?the great noble heritage of its forefathers (the great rishis and the visionary sages); and on the other hand, there was the stark reality of the contemporary India which was poor, underdeveloped, underprivileged, and beleaguered by the Partition and butchered by communalism. Indians, in the post Independence period were feeling directionless and stranded in the modern comity of nations.
Chaos and confusion was the order of the day. Common man did not know whom to blame for his predicaments and woes. Politically, he was battered; and religiously, he was confused. Ambassadors from other religions were looking down upon the Hindus as a gone case. A Hindu, then, was an entity with no prospective future in sight, whose belly was hungry and pocket empty. Adding woes and aggravating the matters further was the onslaught of the western culture and the attraction of the general society towards westernisation. The society was in dire need of a saviour who would deliver the masses from all its woes and miseries.
At this juncture there arose from anonymity, a stalwart figure, a spiritual giant, who stood upright like a lighthouse and steered millions towards bliss, peace and religious succour. His mesmerising personality, eloquence and erudition stood firm against all odds and offered solace to all those who had lost their way in darkness and ignorance.
This towering personality was none other than His Holiness revered Swami Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj who eventually ascended to the throne of Shankaracharya of Bhanpura Peeth (a branch of Jyotish Peth of the Himalayas) just in the second decade of post Independent India. With his noble words, capable organising skills and straightforward attitude, he appeared to be the remedy for all the ills which the society faced then. He cleared the doubts, dispelled darkness, and provided fresh direction to the stranded masses. With his unmatched oratorical expertise and masterly grip over the language, his appeal to the masses is direct, to the point and unsurpassed in the contemporary spiritual sphere.
Exponent of the unique Samanvaya theory
Born on September 19, 1932, Swami Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj graduated in scriptural studies and showed strong inkling towards asceticism, spirituality, tendency for human service and strong fervour for national integrity. His extensive travels as Brahmachari Satyamitra revealed to him gross indifference towards Vedic values and the glorious heritage of ancient India. There was widespread deprivation and suffering amongst masses. He strongly felt a desperate need to reunite and revive Hinduism according to the modern context and a general rejuvenation of the Hindu ideology. In his deep meditation, there flashed the concept of Samanvaya (Harmonious compatibility/coordination) of the religious and social ethos. Thenceforth, he made this concept the aim and object of his life mission and undertook a pledge to propagate this message to all the nooks and corners of India and also abroad. The only capital with him at the embarkation on this arduous project was his wealth of inner bliss and his saintliness, his infinite love and compassion for humanity, his mastery of the holy scripture and brilliant synthesis of Indian darshans.
At 21, he rose to fame as the editor of a philosophical magazine Gita Sandesh. At 27, he was coronated as Shankara-charya of Bhanpura Peeth (a branch of Jyotish Peeth, Himalayas). Still in the prime of his youth, he had always wished to expand his activities on global level. The high office offered him name and fame but the rigid restrictions that accompanied it, appeared to restrain his scope of activities. Finally, he renounced the hierarchical office to transcend the geographical boundaries and serve humanity at large. As an akinchan (penniless) sanyasi monk?reinforced only with his padukas and kamandal, he roamed unaccompanied in more than 50 countries all around the globe.
Bharat Mata Mandir
The epitome of Swamiji'sSamanvaya theory and the doctrine of Harmonious Coexistence can be witnessed in the form of the world renowned Bharat Mata Mandir situated on the banks of the Holy Ganga at Haridwar.
It is the supreme symbol of national integrity, religious unity and a rightful pride for the glorious ancient heritage. It is a unique temple complex?a shrine dedicated to Mother India, to her cultural and spiritual glory. It is a sanctuary for national harmony, unity and integrity; a crystallised manifestation of the vast spectrum of Indian history. Over the years it has assumed the status of an unsurpassed national monument. This rare national symbol was inaugurated by none other than the late Prime Minister of India?Smt. Indira Gandhi on May 15, 1983. The unique edifice stands tall with its seven story structure which contains within itself separate floors to celebrate a particular theme.
The ground floor is dedicated to ?Mother India? herself with Bharat Mata'sidol installed in her full glory. The second floor is assigned to the martyrs of India titled ?Shoor Mandir? The 3rd floor worships the Mother element named as ?Matri Mandir?. The 4th one is devoted to the saints of India (Sant Mandir). The 5th floor highlights the salient features of the different states of the Indian union. The sixth one is dedicated to the worship of energy as ?Shakti? Mandir?. The seventh floor is ?Vishnu Mandir? depicting various avtars of Lord Vishnu. The top floor is the abode of Lord Shiva sitting atop Mount Kailash. The entire structure stands against the magnificent view of the Great Himalayas, overlooking the Sapta Dharas of the holy Ganga. The entire panorama is breathtaking in its splendour and glory.
The parent institute for all the activities of the widespread Samanvaya Parivars all around the world is Samanvaya Kutir which is the nucleus of several welfare services where one can be a witness to devotional prayers, holy congregations of saints, spiritual discourses, mass feeding of the poor and the needy. It also runs a free physiotherapy centre for the medically unfit, a well stocked reference library, a well equipped cow-shed, a well furnished old age home for senior citizens, a student hostel with free lodging, boarding and free education facility. There is a full-fledged Ved Vidyalaya being run by the institution where students are trained in the traditional knowledge and ancient karma kanda (rituals). The brain and spirit behind this successful ongoing show is the ever youthful, energetic and enthusiastic personality of Pt. Nyay Mitraji Sharma, who dynamically monitors and oversees the affairs round the clock. He is also the Managing Trustee of Samanvaya Seva Trust.
There are many centres of Samanvaya Parivars functioning all over India and in various parts of the world. Prominent among them are: the Samanvaya Parivars of Jodhpur, Jabalpur, London, Leicester, Canada, USA, Uganda, Kenya, Portugal, Mumbai, Renukut, Haldwani, Ujjain, Bhawanimandi, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Baroda, etc. Daily prayers, weekly satsangs, organising of Ramayana and Bhagwat Kathas, Sadhana Shivirs are some of the routine activities undertaken by these centres.
Many yajyas on mass scale have been arranged and performed under the direct inspiration and supervision of Swamiji Maharaj in all parts of the world. Mass Yagnopaveet Sanskra, Sri Hanumat Mahayajna, Maha Vishnu Yaag and Chaturved Mahayajna have been undertaken most successfully and fruitfully.
Swamiji has honoured many rare personalities by conferring on them the prestigious Samanvaya Puraskar. Dr. V. Kurien (the pioneer of White Revolution), Shri Ramanand Sagar (the maker of Ramayana on TV), Dr. Gulam Dast Gir (a Muslim Sanskrit Scholar), Shri Nanaji Deshmukh (the veteran social reformist) and Swami Ramdevji (the famous Yoga exponent) are some of the prominent recipients of this unique award.
His Holiness Swamiji Maharaj is always keen to lend a helping hand to the grief-stricken humanity wherever the need arises. He has been instrumental in helping the earthquake victims of Gujarat, Latur and Jabalpur; the tsunami victims of South India, the poverty stricken Dalits, Vanvasis, Advasis. Innumerable free polio camps, eye camps have been organised under the auspices of Samanvaya Seva Trust which have gone a long way in helping the poor and needy. Wheelchairs, tricycles, crutches, and other such accessories have been distributed free of cost, to several needy disabled persons, crossing beyond the barriers of religion, caste and creed. He has helped renovation of many ancient temples in remote areas of India and abroad.
His thousands of devotees recently celebrated the Platinum Jubilee (Amrit Mahotsavam?the 75th birthday) just a couple of years ago in a grand and magnificent function. It is the humble prayer and the most cherished wish of all his followers and devotees at the lotus feet of Lord Narayana to keep aflame this powerhouse of energy and inspiration, this sparkling lighthouse of radiant luster of knowledge and spirituality for years to come so that the faltering humanity can rest assured of a gentle guide, a soothing hand to wipe its tears and a widespread umbrella where all can take shelter and find lasting solace.
(Samanvaya Seva Trust, Samanvaya Kutir, Sapta Sarovar, Haridwar-249 410. Uttarakhand)