Lake Cruise embellished by Sudhanshu Ji satsang

Sudhanshuji with a group of volunteers

CHICAGO: It was an evening to remember not because Kanan Cruises took 150 plus members of the Indian community cruising in Lake Michigan – Chicago but because of the presence of one of the revered saints from India – Sudhanshuji Maharaj – and his uplifting spiritual ideas and thought thru Amrit Varsha.
There was never a dull moment as the organizers headed by Sudhir Kumar and Vandana Jhingan had planned the event so beautifully with befitting decoration, elevating bhajans rendered by eminent singers Naresh Ji and Anju Ji, chanting of Sanskrit shlokas by young children, one to one interaction with Sudhanshu Ji and last but not the least, a sumptuous vegetarian dinner served by Shree Restaurant.
The cruise on Michigan Lake was the culmination of four days crowded program organized by Vishwa Jagriti Mission Chicago from August 9 to August 12 at different places in Chicagoland. There was discourse at Hindu Mandir of Lake County (Grayslake) as well as at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont; Meditation and Empowerment Workshop at Swami Vivekanand Spiritual Center in Lemont and at Arya Samaj in Hill View, on Friday – Saturday, and Cruise on Sunday.
Sudhanshu Ji was accompanied by his learned daughter Dr. Archika who endeared herself with the Chicagoans with her talks on meditation technique and explanation of Chakras (centers) in human body. It was highly informative and hence, really exemplary. The cruising culmination was a bit different in that Sudhanshu Ji decided against giving a spiritual address but instead switching it into a question answer session that was enthusiastically participated by a good number of attendees.
Sudhanshu Ji displayed a rare mix of deep spiritual and scriptural knowledge with humor in responding to questions. Talking about destiny and Kama (action) he said that both played an important role in the life of human beings but over-emphasis on Kismat (destiny) should be avoided as Kismat can be changed with righteous action.
To a question on immortality of the soul and the use of the word Mrutatma, he said it was a figure of speech as it referred to a person whose soul had left a dead body. It is opposite to Jivatma referring to persons still alive. Soul is neither dead nor alive. It is eternal, he said
In response to a question on castes as prescribed in Manu Smruti, he said that Manu was a great king and a teacher, and that he did not inject class distinctions among four major groups as all the four groups – Brahmins, Kshtriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras – cohesively performed their functions for the good of the social body (society).
In the same way, humorously he deciphered a Tulsi Ramayan chopai that said that woman, animal, illiterate and low caste chamar deserved beating, and urged not to attach undue importance to it.
In a talk to this paper, he said that India needed a spiritual re-awakening as the mad rush for ‘consumerism’ triggered in a way by scientific advancement was impacting adversely on values. “There should be a fine tuning between science and spiritualism as one cannot exist without the other,” he said. In this context, he cautioned against hordes of “spiritual” persons descending in America and urged caution against “incompetent” and “half-knowledged” masters. He also decried those who preyed on peoples’ fears about the ill effects of planets like Mars-Saturn and shadowy planets like Rahu-Ketu.
He laid repeated emphasis on picking up socially rewarding programs like spread of education, easy access to health care facilities, helping orphaned children and battered women, etc. Vishwa Jagriti Mission set up in 1991 in India has been rendering yeoman services in spheres of health thru Karuna Sindhu Hospital, complete check up camps, blood donation and eye camps besides running Maharshi Vedvyas Gurukul, organizing food Bhandara, distribution of blankets and host of religious and cultural activities. He said that since inception the health care activities of VJM have helped over 700,000 people without charging fee.
The Chicago based VJM is a national outfit of the parent body in India and it has also been rendering huge service in the spread of education of Indian culture thru socio religious activities and health related projects. This was in evidence when a good number of young children came forward during the cruise and chanted shlokas in praise of Guru and God.
Singers Naren Ji and Anju Ji were in their element singing bhajans, songs and Shabad (a Sikh version in praise of God). The martyrs at the Gurudwara in Wisconsin were remembered and paid homage with observance of silence. Hari bhajans were sung by Naren and Ram Bhajans by Anju, who were accompanied by Puranji on Tabla, Anilbhai on Manjira and Narenji on Harmonium. Neha Rathi from Boston, who is a classical singer from India, sang a bhajan. Narenji sang a bhajan, ‘Ganga Tera Pani Amrit’. Tarikbhai Parekh sang ‘Ya Vidhi Manko Lagaye Prabhu Ave’ and a patriotic song from Jagriti film
A singer from Kirtinagar sang a special song for Swamiji: “Vahalere Avinashi, Tera Jivan Hai Din Char.” Floral tributes were presented to Sudhanhuji Maharaj by representative from Divya Bhaskar and India Post, Ramesh Soparawala, TV Asia Inder Mohanji, Alok Suri from Shree Restaurant and Suresh Bodiwala, Chairman Asian Media. There was a dance presented by a small kid Megna Bansal, and shlokas by others
Sudhanshuji Maharaj was born on 2nd May 1955 in Himalayan valleys of Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. He would sit for hours in solitude chanting the holy name of the Lord. After the ‘light of realization’ dawned upon him, he traveled across the length and breadth of the country to have a first hand feel of the spiritual wealth of the land. It seemed like a divine call for him to spread the spell-binding depth of Indian spiritual thought to every corner of the world.

Ramesh Soparawala & Asian Media

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