Difference between revisions of "Swami Avdheshanand Giri"

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{{Author|Krishna Maheshwari}}
 
[[image:Swami Avdheshanand Giri-image.jpg|frame|right|<center>Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj</center>]]
 
[[image:Swami Avdheshanand Giri-image.jpg|frame|right|<center>Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj</center>]]
  
Sri Avdheshananda Giri Maharaj, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, a guru to thousands and an inspiration to millions, Swami Avdheshananda has initiated more than a hundred thousand sannyasins, transformed lives with his social activities and leads the Juna Akhara<ref>The Juna Akhara is the largest of the thirteen akharas consisting of over 500,000 sadhus and five million sanyassis</ref>, into the 21st century.  
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Sri Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, is [[a]] guru to thousands and an inspiration to millions. Swami Avdheshanand has initiated more than a hundred thousand sannyasins, transformed lives with his social activities, and leads the Juna Akhara<ref>The Juna Akhara is the largest of the thirteen akharas consisting of over 500,000 sadhus and five million sanyassis</ref> into the 21st century.  
  
 
==Childhood==
 
==Childhood==
Maharaj was born in a pious brahmin family in the District of Khurja.
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Swamiji was born in a respectable brahmin family. As an infant, he had no interest in playing with toys or making friends. He used to be lost in the memories of the events of his previous births and quite often used to share these with his family members. He was ordained to be a saint in this life, as he put it.
  
Even as an infant, he had no interest in his surroundings or playing with toys and friends. At the age of 2 and a half years, he indicated is first interest in becoming a wandering sadhy--by wandering away from his home. He took a small shoulder sling bag and a local village dog as support, left. A search party later found him over two miles away at an interstate bus stand.
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At the tender age of two and a half years, he displayed an interest in becoming a wandering monk. One day, he hung a small sling bag on his shoulders and, accompanied by stray dogs and pups, he left for the onward journey. However, the family members and neighbors, after looking for him in every nook and corner, were relieved to find him near a bus stand waiting to board a bus that would take him far away. After bringing him back, his parents got worried about his flings. It was advised that if he is put on a potter’s wheel (Chak of Kumhar) and churned anti-clockwise with force, he would forget his past. So this method was tried on him so that he might behave like other ordinary village children. However, the fire in him for knowing the truth could not be extinguished with these rituals. Rather, as Swamiji mentions, eventually his remembrances of the events of his previous births became more impressionable at this juncture. Swamiji’s first encounter of witnessing the accomplishment of a Sage in the field of [[Yoga]] was when he was in ninth grade of High School. During the summer that year, he visited an Ashram to spend some time practicing spiritual studies and [[Yoga]]. At this Ashram in the middle of one night, he watched [[a]] Yogi who was levitating in the air almost one foot above the ground. When the authorities of the Ashram came to know that this young boy had seen the sadhna, the yogi was admonished. However, the Yogi retorted “What is wrong with this child watching me? He is going to become a Sadhu anyway.
 
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His alarmed father saw this scene and decided that he had to do something to turn the child towards worldly things. He sat the young boy on a potter wheel of the local village khumaar. The potter wheel was churned anti-clockwise and the potter kept turning it until his father completed the japa of 108 Gayatri Mantras. This was done for 140 days.
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After this ritual, the young boy started becoming more like other village children. However, Swamiji remembers that he first remembered his previous births around this time.
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Swamiji first real tryst with serious sadhana was in highschool while he was in the nineth grade. During the summer time, he went to an ashram to spend some time in adhytmic studies. During one of those times he observed a sadhu who had been spending sometime there levetating in air almost one feet above the ground in the middle of the night. When the ashram administrator found out that the young boy had seen the sadhu's sadhana, he admonished him. The sadhu's response was "What’s wrong with this child watching me, he is going to became a sadhu anyway".
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==College==
 
==College==
While he was in college, during his B.Sc., he used to stay as a paying guest at a local pundit's house.  The pundit would perform puja and katha for various people in the local area.  When the pundit wanted to have a puja performed for his own benefit, he asked the boy to officiate the ceremony. At the end of the puja, he received his first dakshina.
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While he was in the College, he actively participated in the debates, composing and recitation of poems and Prayers. After the morning assembly, he would give the current news on topics of interest to the masses. He was fond of organizing and participating in the relief camps for mitigating the hardship of flood and famine victims, people suffering from contagious diseases and other physical ailments. He was then staying as a paying guest at the [[house]] of a local priest who used to perform on occasions the necessary rituals and [[puja]] in reverence to the Gods.  When the Priest had a busy schedule, he authorized him to perform the [[worship]] and retain the [[dakshina]] given to him. From the money so received, he could to a great extent meet his expenses for education as he always wished to be independent. Once, the Principal of the local college approached the local priest to conduct a [[worship]] ceremony at his home. However, the priest had a very tight schedule and recommended the boy for the ceremony.
 
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Later on, the principal of the college requested the pundit to conduct a puja at his home--but the pundit had a scheduling conflict--so he pointed to his guest's quarters saying that ‘he was unable to do the puja but he would recommended another pundit whom he highly recommends’. The Principal came over to Maharajji’s room to inquire about the pundit. He knocked on the door and was quite surprised to see his student was the pundit the priest had recommended.
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The boy conducted the puja at the principal's house.  At the end, the principal was very happy about both the quality and depth of the ceremony conducted and the katha that he delivered. After that point, he started referring to the boy as Punditji and the boy started conducting puja for other members of the community.
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The young boy performed the [[worship]] with such exactness, knowledge and command over the spirit of the rituals that the principal was overjoyed and offered him [[Dakshina]]. This was his first [[Dakshina]] and from that day on, he was the most sought after priest for performing the [[worship]] of the [[deities]]. However, this was only his formal recognition as a priest and not an end to his quest for self-realization. So one day, he quit his worldly life and quietly left for the Himalayas in search of Gyana and Satya.
Once day, he told his father, “One of these days I will be going away for some time, so please do not report the matter to the police. Also when I will return there will be few people with me”.  Soon after, he left his home, took sanyaas and left for for the Himalayas.
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==Meeting his Guru==
 
==Meeting his Guru==
Wandering for months at the lower ranges of Himalayas, he realized that he needed a teacher to guide him, one who had achieved Bhagwan realization. The young man found his guru, Swami Avdhoot Prakash Maharaj, an elderly sage who was self-realized, god-realized, and an expert in [[yoga]] and the scriptures.
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Wandering for months over the lower ranges of Himalayas, he realized that he needed a God-realized guru to guide him. The young man found his Guru, Swami Avdhoot Prakash Maharaj who was both self-realized and an expert in [[Yoga]]and versatile in knowledge about the [[Veda]] and other scriptures.
  
Under the master’s tutelage, he studied the scriptures and developed a taste for [[Sanskrit]]. Eventually he received his first formal diksha as a naishtika brahmachari from Swami Avdhoot Prakash Maharaj. Soon after his initiation, he guru left his mortal form and left the young brahmachari to continue his sadhana on his own. In 1985, after five years of intense sadhana, a very different yogi emerged from the caves of the Himalayas. He approached Swami Satyamitranand Maharaj of Bharat Mata Mandir and soon after received sannyas diksha and entered the Juna Akhara. His new name was Swami Avdheshananda Giri Maharaj.
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Under the master’s direct guidance, he studied the [[Vedas]] and scriptures and cultivated his knowledge of [[Sanskrit]]. Eventually he received his first formal initiation (Diksha) by observing complete celibacy ([[Brahmacharya]]). Soon after his initiation, his Guru left the mortal body, leaving the young disciple to carry on his devotion to [[yoga]] and meditation on his own. In 1985, after intense Sadhana, a great Yogi emerged from the caves of the Himalayas. He contacted Swami Satyamittranandji, founder of Bharat Mata Temple, and soon after, received initiation to enter a true monastic life. He entered Junapeeth Akhara, one of the seven Akharas. The new name given to him was [[Swami Avdheshanand Giri]].
  
==Sanyaas==
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==Monastic Life==
Until now, he had been free and detached, an inner explorer, who gave little thought to the external world. But after donning the kavi robes of the sannyasin, he learned how to became a teacher.  
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Until now he had been an inner explorer, free and detached from the external world. But after donning the ochre robes of a sannyasin, he learned how to make his life useful to others.
  
After spending significant time teaching and getting involved in social work, he realized that he needed to become an agent of social reform, not just social help. This, he saw, had to be done through the transformation of the individual, based on the precepts laid down by the rishis of yore.  
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After spending some time teaching and getting involved in social work, he realized that he needed to become an instrument of social reform instead of remaining merely a medium of social help. This, he saw, had to be done through the transformation of individuals, based on the precepts and parameters laid down by the great Saints and Sages.
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This realization led the young Swami to become a preacher of the philosophy of [[Hindu]] religion. As the popularity of his oratory rose, so did his travel all over India and overseas. In a very short span of time, the whirlwind tours which Swamiji made earned him respect and love from seekers of truth all over the globe.
  
This realization led young Maharaj to became a Katha Vaachak<ref>The Katha Vaachak is the master of Ram Katha, employing stories, drama, [[music]] and debate to elucidate religious concepts. He must be able to speak for hours, keeping the audience immersed in the performance, entranced and spiritually uplifted.  
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==Visiting his Native Village==
</ref>. As the popularity of his katha rose, so did his travel. He quickly earned the respect and love of eager seekers around the world.
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After an interval of over two decades of his departure from his native place, Swamiji was once addressing a congregation of aspirants in Northern India. One close relative of Swamiji who was attending the initiation ceremony spotted him. After Swamiji’s affirmation that he was indeed a child of the same family, the news of his elopement and turning into a great Sanyasi reached his village. Swamiji clearly mentioned that, being a wandering monk devoted to the monastic life as ordained by the wish of God, he had severed his past and family connections. Subject to this understanding, Swamiji agreed to a visit to his native village. When he reached his home, a large crowd with a big bandwagon accompanied him. There were high ranking government officers, ministers, and governors present. On meeting Swamiji, his father was startled to see that the little master had been truthful to his words and had mastered the art of self-realization, and had become instrumental in churning society into a new world order.
  
==Visiting his Village==
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==Master Orator==
Some twenty five years after leaving his home, he was leading a satsang at which many people had gathered to express their wish to receive diksha from him.  Amoung those people, was his bhabhi.  When he approached near her, she recognized him as her brother-in-law. Excited at this recognition, she went up to him and asked to speak in private. When her wish was granted, she mentioned about her much younger brother-in-law who had disappeared twenty five years earlier, and wanted to confirmed if he was the same person. Maharajji confirmed that he was the same person, but that was in the past. His past has been burnt and that now he has no connection to that life anymore.
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She, with his permission, informed everyone in the village that their beloved child was now a revered and learned Swami. Later a day was arranged for his visit to the village of his birth. When he returned back home –as he had promised his father - a huge crowd accompanied him. There were officials from both the State and the Central government including some cabinet ministers and security people.
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On meeting him, his father remarked “I could never have imagined that ‘some time’ would be twenty five years and ‘few people’ would be this huge crowd with cabinet ministers and security persons in full regalia”.
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==The Katha Vachak==
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[[image:Swami Avdheshanand Giri-giving-a-lecture-image.jpg|thumb|right]]
 
[[image:Swami Avdheshanand Giri-giving-a-lecture-image.jpg|thumb|right]]
Swami Avheshanand was recognized as a gifted speaker soon after he became a Katha Vachak. He was able to influence his listeners regardless of their age or background.  Many people left his kathas felt an instant connection with him. In the late 80's and 90's, he quickly became a popular guest and speaker.  
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Swami Avdheshanand Giriji was recognized as a gifted speaker soon after he became a preacher of the ideology of [[Hindu]] religion. He was able to develop a rapport and an instant relationship with the devotees. A large number of people after listening to his lectures from the scriptures become his ardent disciples and devotees, seeking to get initiation from him. Swamiji has never discouraged anybody from following the path of self realization, though he maintains that it is a difficult path; but by practice and complete devotion one can achieve the goal.  His lectures on various scriptures are given in India and abroad and are televised on many T.V. channels for humanity.
  
===Becoming Acharya of the Juna Akhara===
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==Acharya of the Juna Akhara==
In 1998, the Juna Akhara formally decided to make him one of the Mahamandaleshwars. There was a formal ceremony and a religious ritual, in which his “Mahamandaleshwar Patt-Abhishekam” was done. Immediately, after that he was chosen as the new acharya. This position is designed only by the assigned saints. No one is permitted to ask for it, and no one will be appointed from outside.  
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In 1998, the Juna Akhara, representing a clan of accredited saints, formally decided to make him the head acharya, or Mahamandalashewar. A formal ceremony with necessary rituals was held in which he was commemorated with the Pattabhishekam of Mahamandeleshwar. Some time after this ceremony he was chosen as the new acharya, a spiritual preceptor. This position is designated by the assigned saints after their own intense evaluation of the spiritual heights achieved by a saint engaged in the field of spirituality. No one can ask for it and no one from outside is appointed to such a distinguished position.
  
As the acharya, Swamiji assumed the mantle of Guru for the Akhara’s numerous devotees. No matter where he is in the world, at 9AM his doors are open to devotees. With three to four flights every month and an average of twenty days away from the main ashram, Swamiji finds it helpful to plan ahead in detail. Everything is scheduled, even the time allocated for each meal. It is a demanding social routine, far removed from his beginnings as a Himalayan yogi. According to him, it is the meditation which gives him energy, bliss, peace and vitality and there is nothing more powerful than Dhyaan which introduces one to their own self. When you close your eyes and sit in a proper posture, energy will grow and flow at a very rapid speed. Just close your eyes and observe it.  
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As an acharya, Swami Avdheshanand also became the preceptor for several sanyassins who had become part of the order and had decided to work closely with him The fellow sanyassins realized that it was the greatness of Acharya Sri that he had open heartedly accepted them into his team. They were grateful to him because after meeting him, their life was transformed. A number of sanyassins have been associated with him for over a decade. They feel whatever sankalpa they undertake for the welfare of the society and the people is fulfilled in no time, to their satisfaction.
  
As the acharya, Swami Avdheshanandji also became the preceptor for several sannyasins who were already part of the order and decided to work closely with him. Swami Nachiketa Giri shares, "It is the greatness of Acharya Sri that he has open–heartedly accepted me and other sannyasins who are working in his team. I am grateful to him, because after our meeting my life was transformed. I have been associated with him for over one decade. Whatever sankalpam we undertake are quickly and auspiciously fulfilled. We do them all for the welfare of the society and for the world."
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The Acharya has assumed the mantle of a guru for the numerous devotees. No matter where he is in the world, his doors were always open to the devotees. Swamiji plans all his itineraries well in advance, with three to four flights a month, and on an average 20 days a month away from the Ashram. Everything is meticulously scheduled, even the time allocated between each meal. It is a demanding daily routine as strenuous, yet diversified, as of the Himalayan yogi of yesterday. According to Swamiji, it is the meditation which keeps him rejuvenated; which gives him energy, vitality, peace and bliss. There is nothing more powerful than meditation if one wants to realize one's goal. When you close your eyes and sit in a steady posture energy will rise and stir every cell of your body, mind and the system. Just close your eyes and start the meditation. Swamiji says that if there is anything difficult in the world, it is to start. Once you have taken off, you have nearly accomplished the task.
  
Swami has initiated about one lakh saints from 1998 through 2008. After becoming acharya, he has been the guiding spirit behind all the activities of both the Juna Akhada and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha. Harihar Ashram in Kankhal, Haridwar is the main seat of the Acharya.
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Swamiji has initiated about a million devotees and sanyassins during the last ten years or so. Swamiji will not say no to an aspirant who wants to engage himself in search of truth. As an Acharya, he is the guiding spirit behind all the activities of Juna Akhada and the [[Hindu]] Acharya Sabha. Harihar Ashram in Kankhal (Hardwar) is the main Ashram and seat of Acharya. In order to inculcate amongst his devotee followers the habit of service, self study and attending to religious congregations are also necessary for upliftment and self realization. Swamiji founded Prabhu Premi Sangh, a charitable body in 1991 which has about a million members as devotees. Prabhu Premi Sangh has its registered office and headquarters at Ambala Cantt. In this Ashram is conducted daily Hawan in the morning, satsang in the evening and an akhand naam sankirtan  every day. It also has Akhand Jawala. The Ashram has also a pen for the herds of cows, the service of which is rendered by the devotees of the Ashram. Many hospitals, education centres & NGOs are serving the society under the divine guidance of Swamiji.
  
==Prabhu Premi Sangh==
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==Religion & God==
In order to inculcate among his devotee followers the loft habits of service, self-study and satsang-ultimately leading to the final goal of self-realisation, Swamiji founded the Prabhu Premi Sangh in 1991 which in 2008, has one hundred branches in India and abroad with a membership running into millions of devoted seekers. Prabhu Prem Ashram on the bank of river Tangri in Ambala Cantt is the head-quarters of the Prabhu Premi Sangh. The ashram holds a daily hawan in the morning, satsang every evening, and akhand nam sankirtan. It also holds an akhand jawala and a go-shala.
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Swamiji has faith and respect for all religions. The universe is one family and God is one. Swamiji affirms and expresses his belief that there is only one God who controls the whole universe. All the creations in the universe are purely out of His will and wish. Further, all human beings are children of the same Almighty. We are just like waves in the ocean longing to merge with our source of origin, that is, God whose fraction we are. We take birth again and again to bear the fruits of [[Karma]].
  
==Swami Avdheshanand Welfare Association==
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Swamiji has firm belief that all the religions of the world convey the same basic message of love, peace and brotherhood. However, the ways and means for achieving God may be different due to diverse climatic, cultural, ethnic, regional factors and compulsions; but the ultimate goal is that of God-realization. Swamiji keeps an interaction with the heads of all the religions throughout the world. He is strictly opposed to the confining of religious fervour and altruism to the precincts of any sect, area or region. The entire international community must be benefitted by a religion. Swamiji says that secularism means showing respect to all religions in words and deeds. He particularly mentions that removal of illiteracy, economic backwardness and inculcation of character-building measures endowed with the feeling of affinity for all the people and religions are necessary for the harmony and peace in the society.
Swami Avdheshanand Welfare Association (SAWA) is the latest institution founded in Mumbai by Swamiji and engages in social activities under his guidance. These activities cross the fields of education, health care, food and spiritual awareness. SAWA is helping economically deprived children in their education by providing them educational material such as books, note-books, bags and other articles of stationery. More than a thousand children benefit through the activities of SAWA.
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SAWA has a mobile dispensary to treat patients of rural areas. It has already provided medical treatment to more than 2 lakh people. It conducts blood donation camps and eye treatment camps at frequent intervals. It also provides spectacles to the needy. Besides SAWA, the Indore, Jamshedpur and Jabalpur branches of Prabhu Premi Sangh are also serving the patients through their mobile dispensaries. SAWA offers food to the needy regularly and on special occasions bhandaras are also arranged where all those present enjoy community feasts.
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==Books Published==
 
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{|
To propagate spiritual awareness among the devotees SAWA organises spiritual gatherings also on weekly basis. Rituals like puja, hawan etc. are organised on some of the main festivals of the Hindus. SAWA organises Bhagwan Jagannath Rath yatra also every year in Mumbai. More than twenty thousand devotees participate in this grand festival every year.
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| rowspan=2 width=60% valign=top|
 
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* Sagar Ke Moti
==Service Projects==
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* Atmanusandhan
Swamiji has organized and leads many service projects to educate, train, and feed the common man.  Swamiji points out that there is a blurry line between the Juna Akhara and himself because the cooperation within the Akhara is so complete. “My projects, the Juna Akhara and I are so merged with one another that they are just one for me.” And his team’s projects are manifold. They like great ideas and small solutions, trying to make India and the world a better place one step at a time, focusing  on basic strategies-from breeding better cows to creating chemical free farms of ayurvedic farms.
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* Atam Avbodh
 
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* Satyam Shivam Sundram
Swamiji explains that “[[Dharma]] is something that has to be imbibed and adopted in our lives. We ask that devotees spare some time and devote it to projects which serve all people, contributing with both funds and personal energy. We must treat all people as God. Their cities should be clean and green, their water pure. We should offer medical services and education. We want to appeal to the Hindu world. We must understand that wherever selfless service exists, prosperity follows. With samkaras and education, prosperity is bound to come. People will become self reliant and self confident. They will become strong. This is what I see for India.”
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* Muktipath
 
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* Sawaren Apna Jeevan
===Bhopal Project===
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* Jeevan Darshan
One new initiative receiving much of his attention is Bhopal project, an outreach to educate the most promising minds of the next generation- not in the latest fads of the global market place, but in skills  meaningful to Hinduism. Though barely underway, this project carries the full force of the Juna Akhara, which is well known for its successful social enterprises.
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* Sadhna [[Mantra]]
 
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* Prerna Ke Pushp
In this Project, their dream is to educate youth who are already talented and create an institute that will teach them [[Sanskrit]] and English primarily, but also Spanish, Chinese and French. Their dream is to teach the [[Vastu]] Shastras (sacred architecture), the [[Vedas]], [[astrology]], [[Ayurveda]] and our culture to these youth. This will be a higher learning institution to teach not only book knowledge but also introduce them to nature and provide organic food for their meals from their own farms. We will prepare them to be sent to countries outside India, to go out all over the world, spreading the message of the Santana [[Dharma]].
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* Swarnim Suktiya
 
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* Amrit Ganga
The candidates for this new ambassadorship of dharma are children selected from the schools run by the Juna AKhara and other related [[institutions]]. Sannysins teaching at these schools act as talent scouts. The goal is not to create traditional pundits, but rather a new generation of professionals who can interact with other professionals and pollinate society with traditional Hindu values. They may become engineers, doctors or scientists or specialize in skills they learn at Bhopal, but they will be expected to always make a difference.
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* Kalapvriksh Ki Chhav
 
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* Gyan Sutra
===Shiv Ganga Abhiyan===
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* Journey To Self
Shiv Ganga Abhiyan is a joint activity of Prabhu Premi Sangh and Samagra Gram Vikas Parishad for the development of the rural Vanvasi areas of Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh. This project distinguishs itself from other similar projects by its commitment to preserving the local’s customs and self respect, it stands out for the efficiency of its methods and has brought extensive positive exposure in the Indian media.
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* Atam Anubhav
 
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* Purnata Ki Aur
Swami Naisargika Giriji, president of the Sadhvi Shakti Parishad and disciple of Swami Avdheshananda Giri says, "Swamiji has brought a revolution there. This was an area where people had not seen automobiles. Today they are good farmers, with enough water available. Some are moving out to get education in the cities. For centuries their goal was to feed themselves, but now Swamiji has connected them to God by establishing Shivlinga shrines in their villages, which gives a higher purposes to their lives. "
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* Adhyatamik Kathayain
 
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* Sadhna Path
The project is well organized and the process they follow is well orchestrated. Work begins by gathering young men who have completed a brief formal education and will live in the village for rest of their lives. Training happens during 3 to 20 day intensive camps. The first step is to train them in team skills and group cooperation. Because the young men as seen as the heart of the village’s transformation, they are taught to lead and make informed decisions. In the middle of a remote, quasi desert area, they have classes on group interaction, addressing the  public, time management, event management, evaluation methodology and how to pass on what they are absorbing. And perhaps for the first time, they see others believing in their potential.
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* Amrit Prabachan
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* Bramh Hi Satya Hai
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* Samhuik Sapthik Satsang
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* Dristhaant Mahasagar
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* Atam Alok
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* Gharisth Gita
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| [[image:Garishta Gita by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Gharisth Gita</center>]]
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| [[image:Journey To Self by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Journey To Self</center>]]
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| [[image:Atmanusandhan by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Atmanusandhan</center>]]
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|-
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| [[image:Muktipath by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Muktipath</center>]]
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| [[image:Atam Avbodh by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Atam Avbodh</center>]]
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| [[image:Adhyatamik Kathayain by Swami Avdheshananda-bookcover-image.jpg|thumb|<center>Adhyatamik Kathayain</center>]]
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|}
  
Shivganga camp training moves from theory to action quickly. A typical program includes:
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==Online Media==
# How to organize the village
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<div class="thumb tright">
# Indentifying village problems and their root causes
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{{#evt:
# Finding solutions
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service=youtube
# Establishing a center for bhajans and worship
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|id=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGbiR29G6mE
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|alignment=right
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}}
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<center>[[Swami Avdheshanand Giri]] Maharaj's [[Devi]] Bhagwat, Part 1</center>
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</div>
  
The initial projects spearheaded by the group are designed to engage and give confidence to all participants. First they orchestrate a festival for Lord [[Ganesha]] and one for [[Lord Rama]] and then hold a community event. Later, the budding entrepreneurs work on the water supply and build a permanent shrine or temple.
 
  
Cumulatively, they have constructed 350 to 400 dams, and installed 1300 Shivlingas, one in each village. They have worked on building these dams while simultaneously developing their faith in God.  The list of projects in each village continues to grow with the immediate focus on improving education and providing basic medical help.
 
  
The result is that the confidence of participating villages has increased, they have developed their faith in God, and large scale conversion has stopped altogetherWhere there were no religious events, now, there are priests officiating at festivals with the villagers joining in whole heartedly.
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Swamiji is also technology-savvy and uses it to reach out to his audienceHis pravachans are regularly shown on TV on the Aastha, Sanskar, Shradha channels.  They are also available online in several places
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* The [http://www.prabhupremisangh.org/Videogallery.aspx Prabhu Premi Sangh website] has a good collection of introductory videos
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* [http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=avdheshanand|avdeshanand You Tube] contains several video clips of Swamiji making comments, performing [[Aarti]]
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* [http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=avdeshanand|avdheshanand+&emb=0&aq=f# Google Video] contains several video clips of Swamiji as well as his rendering of [[Devi]] Bhagwat in its entirety.
 +
* [http://totalbhakti.com/Swami%20Avdheshanand%20Giri%20Maharaj Other websites] have started streaming his pravachans as well.
  
==Awards & Honors==
+
He also makes himself available via both cell phone and email to his disciples and devotees.
* Shri Shimon Peres, President of Israel, personally invited Swamiji as a representative of the Hindu community in May 2008 along with the former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Shri Ratan Tata and Maulana Jameel Ahmed, president, All India Organisation of Imams to participate in an International Presidential Conference on the subject “Facing Tomorrow”. It was a conference of focused on exploration of prominent world leaders, thinkers, artists and scientists including young men and women of exceptional promise and originality. It was attended by 18 present heads of state including George W. Bush, President of USA, and many former heads like M. Gorbachev from Russia, Tony Blair of UK along with many state representatives.
+
* Vikram University, Ujjain, conferred on him the honorary degree of D. Litt. for his extraordinary work in Hindi literature and excellent oratory skills. .
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* Swamiji has been nominated as a member of the World Council of Religious Leaders.
+
  
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
Line 111: Line 110:
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
* Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, in response to a question about his early childhood posed by Sunita Kapur during a satsang
+
* Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, in response to questions about his early childhood posed by devotees during satsang
* Hinduism Today
+
* Malik, Rajiv, "Swami Avdheshananda Giri, [[Hindu]] of the Year", Hinduism Today, Jan/Feb/March 2009
 
* Kesari, Somnath, [http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=250&page=10 "Shri Juna Akhada - Physical strength, spiritual power,"] Organiser, August 17, 2008
 
* Kesari, Somnath, [http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=250&page=10 "Shri Juna Akhada - Physical strength, spiritual power,"] Organiser, August 17, 2008

Latest revision as of 07:10, 19 November 2017

By Krishna Maheshwari

Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj

Sri Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, is a guru to thousands and an inspiration to millions. Swami Avdheshanand has initiated more than a hundred thousand sannyasins, transformed lives with his social activities, and leads the Juna Akhara[1] into the 21st century.

Childhood

Swamiji was born in a respectable brahmin family. As an infant, he had no interest in playing with toys or making friends. He used to be lost in the memories of the events of his previous births and quite often used to share these with his family members. He was ordained to be a saint in this life, as he put it.

At the tender age of two and a half years, he displayed an interest in becoming a wandering monk. One day, he hung a small sling bag on his shoulders and, accompanied by stray dogs and pups, he left for the onward journey. However, the family members and neighbors, after looking for him in every nook and corner, were relieved to find him near a bus stand waiting to board a bus that would take him far away. After bringing him back, his parents got worried about his flings. It was advised that if he is put on a potter’s wheel (Chak of Kumhar) and churned anti-clockwise with force, he would forget his past. So this method was tried on him so that he might behave like other ordinary village children. However, the fire in him for knowing the truth could not be extinguished with these rituals. Rather, as Swamiji mentions, eventually his remembrances of the events of his previous births became more impressionable at this juncture. Swamiji’s first encounter of witnessing the accomplishment of a Sage in the field of Yoga was when he was in ninth grade of High School. During the summer that year, he visited an Ashram to spend some time practicing spiritual studies and Yoga. At this Ashram in the middle of one night, he watched a Yogi who was levitating in the air almost one foot above the ground. When the authorities of the Ashram came to know that this young boy had seen the sadhna, the yogi was admonished. However, the Yogi retorted “What is wrong with this child watching me? He is going to become a Sadhu anyway.”

College

While he was in the College, he actively participated in the debates, composing and recitation of poems and Prayers. After the morning assembly, he would give the current news on topics of interest to the masses. He was fond of organizing and participating in the relief camps for mitigating the hardship of flood and famine victims, people suffering from contagious diseases and other physical ailments. He was then staying as a paying guest at the house of a local priest who used to perform on occasions the necessary rituals and puja in reverence to the Gods. When the Priest had a busy schedule, he authorized him to perform the worship and retain the dakshina given to him. From the money so received, he could to a great extent meet his expenses for education as he always wished to be independent. Once, the Principal of the local college approached the local priest to conduct a worship ceremony at his home. However, the priest had a very tight schedule and recommended the boy for the ceremony.

   
Swami Avdheshanand Giri
When you develop a craving to know the Truth, the mountains and caves start attracting you and it happened to me in 1980.
   
Swami Avdheshanand Giri

—Swami Avdheshanand

The young boy performed the worship with such exactness, knowledge and command over the spirit of the rituals that the principal was overjoyed and offered him Dakshina. This was his first Dakshina and from that day on, he was the most sought after priest for performing the worship of the deities. However, this was only his formal recognition as a priest and not an end to his quest for self-realization. So one day, he quit his worldly life and quietly left for the Himalayas in search of Gyana and Satya.

Meeting his Guru

Wandering for months over the lower ranges of Himalayas, he realized that he needed a God-realized guru to guide him. The young man found his Guru, Swami Avdhoot Prakash Maharaj who was both self-realized and an expert in Yoga, and versatile in knowledge about the Veda and other scriptures.

Under the master’s direct guidance, he studied the Vedas and scriptures and cultivated his knowledge of Sanskrit. Eventually he received his first formal initiation (Diksha) by observing complete celibacy (Brahmacharya). Soon after his initiation, his Guru left the mortal body, leaving the young disciple to carry on his devotion to yoga and meditation on his own. In 1985, after intense Sadhana, a great Yogi emerged from the caves of the Himalayas. He contacted Swami Satyamittranandji, founder of Bharat Mata Temple, and soon after, received initiation to enter a true monastic life. He entered Junapeeth Akhara, one of the seven Akharas. The new name given to him was Swami Avdheshanand Giri.

Monastic Life

Until now he had been an inner explorer, free and detached from the external world. But after donning the ochre robes of a sannyasin, he learned how to make his life useful to others.

After spending some time teaching and getting involved in social work, he realized that he needed to become an instrument of social reform instead of remaining merely a medium of social help. This, he saw, had to be done through the transformation of individuals, based on the precepts and parameters laid down by the great Saints and Sages. This realization led the young Swami to become a preacher of the philosophy of Hindu religion. As the popularity of his oratory rose, so did his travel all over India and overseas. In a very short span of time, the whirlwind tours which Swamiji made earned him respect and love from seekers of truth all over the globe.

Visiting his Native Village

After an interval of over two decades of his departure from his native place, Swamiji was once addressing a congregation of aspirants in Northern India. One close relative of Swamiji who was attending the initiation ceremony spotted him. After Swamiji’s affirmation that he was indeed a child of the same family, the news of his elopement and turning into a great Sanyasi reached his village. Swamiji clearly mentioned that, being a wandering monk devoted to the monastic life as ordained by the wish of God, he had severed his past and family connections. Subject to this understanding, Swamiji agreed to a visit to his native village. When he reached his home, a large crowd with a big bandwagon accompanied him. There were high ranking government officers, ministers, and governors present. On meeting Swamiji, his father was startled to see that the little master had been truthful to his words and had mastered the art of self-realization, and had become instrumental in churning society into a new world order.

Master Orator

Swami Avdheshanand Giri-giving-a-lecture-image.jpg

Swami Avdheshanand Giriji was recognized as a gifted speaker soon after he became a preacher of the ideology of Hindu religion. He was able to develop a rapport and an instant relationship with the devotees. A large number of people after listening to his lectures from the scriptures become his ardent disciples and devotees, seeking to get initiation from him. Swamiji has never discouraged anybody from following the path of self realization, though he maintains that it is a difficult path; but by practice and complete devotion one can achieve the goal. His lectures on various scriptures are given in India and abroad and are televised on many T.V. channels for humanity.

Acharya of the Juna Akhara

In 1998, the Juna Akhara, representing a clan of accredited saints, formally decided to make him the head acharya, or Mahamandalashewar. A formal ceremony with necessary rituals was held in which he was commemorated with the Pattabhishekam of Mahamandeleshwar. Some time after this ceremony he was chosen as the new acharya, a spiritual preceptor. This position is designated by the assigned saints after their own intense evaluation of the spiritual heights achieved by a saint engaged in the field of spirituality. No one can ask for it and no one from outside is appointed to such a distinguished position.

As an acharya, Swami Avdheshanand also became the preceptor for several sanyassins who had become part of the order and had decided to work closely with him The fellow sanyassins realized that it was the greatness of Acharya Sri that he had open heartedly accepted them into his team. They were grateful to him because after meeting him, their life was transformed. A number of sanyassins have been associated with him for over a decade. They feel whatever sankalpa they undertake for the welfare of the society and the people is fulfilled in no time, to their satisfaction.

The Acharya has assumed the mantle of a guru for the numerous devotees. No matter where he is in the world, his doors were always open to the devotees. Swamiji plans all his itineraries well in advance, with three to four flights a month, and on an average 20 days a month away from the Ashram. Everything is meticulously scheduled, even the time allocated between each meal. It is a demanding daily routine as strenuous, yet diversified, as of the Himalayan yogi of yesterday. According to Swamiji, it is the meditation which keeps him rejuvenated; which gives him energy, vitality, peace and bliss. There is nothing more powerful than meditation if one wants to realize one's goal. When you close your eyes and sit in a steady posture energy will rise and stir every cell of your body, mind and the system. Just close your eyes and start the meditation. Swamiji says that if there is anything difficult in the world, it is to start. Once you have taken off, you have nearly accomplished the task.

Swamiji has initiated about a million devotees and sanyassins during the last ten years or so. Swamiji will not say no to an aspirant who wants to engage himself in search of truth. As an Acharya, he is the guiding spirit behind all the activities of Juna Akhada and the Hindu Acharya Sabha. Harihar Ashram in Kankhal (Hardwar) is the main Ashram and seat of Acharya. In order to inculcate amongst his devotee followers the habit of service, self study and attending to religious congregations are also necessary for upliftment and self realization. Swamiji founded Prabhu Premi Sangh, a charitable body in 1991 which has about a million members as devotees. Prabhu Premi Sangh has its registered office and headquarters at Ambala Cantt. In this Ashram is conducted daily Hawan in the morning, satsang in the evening and an akhand naam sankirtan every day. It also has Akhand Jawala. The Ashram has also a pen for the herds of cows, the service of which is rendered by the devotees of the Ashram. Many hospitals, education centres & NGOs are serving the society under the divine guidance of Swamiji.

Religion & God

Swamiji has faith and respect for all religions. The universe is one family and God is one. Swamiji affirms and expresses his belief that there is only one God who controls the whole universe. All the creations in the universe are purely out of His will and wish. Further, all human beings are children of the same Almighty. We are just like waves in the ocean longing to merge with our source of origin, that is, God whose fraction we are. We take birth again and again to bear the fruits of Karma.

Swamiji has firm belief that all the religions of the world convey the same basic message of love, peace and brotherhood. However, the ways and means for achieving God may be different due to diverse climatic, cultural, ethnic, regional factors and compulsions; but the ultimate goal is that of God-realization. Swamiji keeps an interaction with the heads of all the religions throughout the world. He is strictly opposed to the confining of religious fervour and altruism to the precincts of any sect, area or region. The entire international community must be benefitted by a religion. Swamiji says that secularism means showing respect to all religions in words and deeds. He particularly mentions that removal of illiteracy, economic backwardness and inculcation of character-building measures endowed with the feeling of affinity for all the people and religions are necessary for the harmony and peace in the society.

Books Published

  • Sagar Ke Moti
  • Atmanusandhan
  • Atam Avbodh
  • Satyam Shivam Sundram
  • Muktipath
  • Sawaren Apna Jeevan
  • Jeevan Darshan
  • Sadhna Mantra
  • Prerna Ke Pushp
  • Swarnim Suktiya
  • Amrit Ganga
  • Kalapvriksh Ki Chhav
  • Gyan Sutra
  • Journey To Self
  • Atam Anubhav
  • Purnata Ki Aur
  • Adhyatamik Kathayain
  • Sadhna Path
  • Amrit Prabachan
  • Bramh Hi Satya Hai
  • Samhuik Sapthik Satsang
  • Dristhaant Mahasagar
  • Atam Alok
  • Gharisth Gita
Gharisth Gita
Journey To Self
Atmanusandhan
Muktipath
Atam Avbodh
Adhyatamik Kathayain

Online Media

Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj's Devi Bhagwat, Part 1


Swamiji is also technology-savvy and uses it to reach out to his audience. His pravachans are regularly shown on TV on the Aastha, Sanskar, Shradha channels. They are also available online in several places

He also makes himself available via both cell phone and email to his disciples and devotees.

Notes

  1. The Juna Akhara is the largest of the thirteen akharas consisting of over 500,000 sadhus and five million sanyassis

References

  • Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, in response to questions about his early childhood posed by devotees during satsang
  • Malik, Rajiv, "Swami Avdheshananda Giri, Hindu of the Year", Hinduism Today, Jan/Feb/March 2009
  • Kesari, Somnath, "Shri Juna Akhada - Physical strength, spiritual power," Organiser, August 17, 2008