Swami Govindadev Giri Maharaj is not the name of an individual. It stands for yet another manifestation of the immortal classical tradition that has flown down the ages, giving Indian society its unique identity.
Born and brought up in a deeply devout and religious family in rural Maharashtra and initiated and blessed by Kanchi Kamakoti Shankaracharya, Swamiji is better known as Acharya Kishoreji Vyas, his name before he was formally initiated into sannyas by Swami Satyamitrananda Giri Maharaj of Haridwar. After completing formal education in Varanasi in 1978, his 12 year tapa of disseminating the message of Shrimad Bhagavata all over the country resulted in his penetrative diagnosis of the maladies of our society. He responded by founding organisations in collaboration with like-minded people from all socio-economic strata. Swamiji'sinitial samskars as RSS swayamsevak are manifested in all these organisations: people'sparticipation, emphasis on solid output and a cold shoulder to pomp and publicity.
Maharshi Vedavyas Pratishthan, founded in 1990, is devoted to the preservation of Vedic education. Because of its 12 vedic schools having more than 300 Vedic students and managing 28 Vedic teachers all over the country providing free education in all the existing branches of Vedas, honouring outstanding senior vedic scholars with awards, providing financial assistance to aged Vedic teachers and supporting the upcoming vaidics in their tottering years, the Pratishthan is rightly hailed by religious heads and educationists as a model of true service to Vedas. Many of the alumni are now leading these Vedic schools after claiming national limelight as outstanding students. The outstanding way of this Vedic mission can be imagined by the simple advice by the great Sanskrit scholar Dr Varnekarji to Dr Laxmikumari that she should not consult any University scholar but just to observe Pratishthan activities as a model for starting Vivekanand Vedic Vision. A great religious leader Chinna Jeer Swami exclaimed oh ! Pratishthan'swork is just on the line of Arya Chanakya.
Recently, Pratishthan'ssustained service to Vedas has also won two outstanding recognitions: by Maharshi Sandipani Pratishthan of Ujjain and UNESCO under its world Heritage Preservator scheme. But what is worth noting is that a major part of its Rs. 10 crore plus expenditure on aims and objects by Pratishthan and allied institutes like Brama Savitri Veda Vidyapeeth Pushkar and others, so far comes from the pocket of the common man.
Geeta Pariwar : The 22 year track record of Geeta Pariwar in the field of Bal Samskars is truely mindboggling. What began as a small-scale in Sangamner (Maharashtra) by a few amature enthusiasts in 1986 has blossomed into a nation-wide network of dedicated groups. Daily and weekly Kendras, special get together, Shivirs in vacation, celebration of festivals, publication of quality literature for students and Karyakartas, and make importantly a cadre of trained Karyakartas, there is no stone in this field that is left unturned by Geeta Pariwar under the leadership of Dr. Sanjay Malpani, himself a product of the Pariwar. Two years before, Swamiji'sappeal inspired more than 42 thousand kids nation wide to learn one new chapter of Geeta by heart in Diwali vacation. Recently, an appeal by the Pariwar to the children to make one lakh recitations of Hanuman Chalisa on the day of Hanuman Jayanti was met by an overwhelming response of three lakhs recitations.
Sant Shri Jnaneshwar Gurukul : The saints through their literature in lingua franca were the main reason why the masses in India are culturally and spiritually rich in spite of poverty and illiteracy. The Gurukul was established in 2000 to continue carrying the message of saints to people at large. Besides conducting spiritual retreats and publishing enlighting literature in print and electronic media, the Gurukul finds its fulfillment in serving those serving the cause of saints. At Alandi near Pune, the Gurukul looks after the well-being of some 60 students and many senior members of the Warakari sect. Ditto at Vrindavan where the future Bhagavatam scholars are being cared for in every way.
For Swamiji all these ventures are nothing but ways to worship God in his most obvious manifestation – the world.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])
( Dharmashri, Mansara Apartments, Near Suryamukhi …. Mandir Pune University Road, Pune-411 011 (Maharashtra).