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CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS OF DEPARTURE OF PPPD HAZUR MAHARAJ

A report on the Centenary Celebrations by Meera Kumar


The year 1998 marks the 100th year of the departure of Param Purush Puran Dhani Hazur Maharaj to Nij Dham. To mark the occasion, the Shatabdi Bhandara of Hazur Maharaj was held at Hazuri Bhawan from December 25th to December 28th on a very large scale, the main Bhandara taking place on the 27th. Though a heart-breaking event for the satsangis, the return of the Sant Satguru to Nij Dham is also considered to be an occasion of the profuse downpour of daya and maher. Nevertheless, this is the time for satsangis to look into themselves -- introspection. Thousands of satsangis gathered at Hazuri Bhawan, Pipal Mandi to pay obeisance to the holy samadh of Hazur Maharaj and to receive special daya and mercy so freely bestowed upon them.

The Welcome

In spite of the December cold, people from all over India, all over the world, and even from different branches of the Radhasoami faith gathered together at Hazuri Bhawan, Peepal Mandi to celebrate the Shatabdi Bhandara of Hazur Maharaj. The gates of Hazuri Bhawan were opened wide like the arms of a welcoming mother awaiting the arrival of her long-lost children. Hundreds of thousands of satsangis, from near and far, flooded Hazuri Bhawan to embrace Parmarth, experience spiritual bliss and refulgence, and bathe in the sweet ambrosia of daya and maher so generously showered upon every satsangi.


The Preparations

The renovation of Hazuri Bhawan is unique. Just as the palace is thoroughly polished to perfection for the return of the king, Hazuri Bhawan glittered like a beacon light. The red carpet was literally rolled out in anticipation of the auspicious arrival of the royal Hazur Maharaj Data Dayal. Executed in only ten months, satsangis participated in large numbers in the remarkable construction and work. The remodeling was done in such a way as it could both restore old architectural beauty and give a modern look. Knowing very well that the Shatabdi Bhandara was going to elicit the largest gathering Hazuri Bhawan has ever welcomed, commensurable adjustments were made. Doors were widened, lights were added, and space was created through the thoughtful and careful planning of the Master. Beginning with the completion of the intricate inlay work easily rivaling that of the Taj Mahal, Hazur Maharaj's samadh was rendered even more beautiful than ever before. The surrounding arches of the main part of the samadh were painted to match those in the foreground and were shined until they glistened. Paint of real gold was used to accent the form and shape of each interior column while the golden lines from the various shabds of the poetic Hazur Maharaj attract the eyes to the arches above each Swaroop.

Each Swaroop conveys the different aspects of Hazur Maharaj's personality and is complemented by ornate red and gold backdrops (poshaak) as if symbolizing the unification -- the wedding -- of the surat with the Supreme Being. The main structure likened a beckoning candle, strewn with soft, fresh, sweet-smelling flowers. The light of the main portion of the samadh emanated a rich, warm hue like the rising of the sun, flooding one's heart with refulgent light, life and love -- the same feeling one experiences while looking at the guru. Orbs of warm blues, greens, reds, and oranges served to add to the rich splendor as they delicately dangle from the gold-striped ceiling within the samadh as well as from the swirly patterned marble of the exterior.

The renovation and creation of the exterior of Hazur Maharaj's samadh knew no bounds and neither did the daya bestowed upon the satsangis who designed and executed the remodeling. Pristine marble of flawless hue and pattern was used on a scale larger than life to constitute the exterior walls and ceiling. Mughal-style columns of monumental size coupled with sharply and precisely cut arches serve to confirm the royal presence of Hazur Maharaj. These exterior arches echo those of the interior of Hazur Maharaj's samadh, establishing the sense of renewal without committing any break in artistic continuity and wholeness as well as holiness, latent in the architecture.

A wide marble staircase splitting to the left and right and later flooded with satsangis yearning to have darshan, provided the masses with access to the side balconies which overlook the cloister. The edges of each balcony are dappled with beads of white and candle light, symbolic of the inner spiritual experience as well as the ever-burning flame of love in each satsangi's heart. The banisters of wrought iron echo the intricate, organic, and floral design of precious, colorful stones in the interior of the samadh.

The stairs veering to the left lead to the Barah Dari, appropriately named so because of its twelve doors. Now an enclosed area with several  windows  for  light  and cool breezes,  PP Dadaji Maharaj has given discourses here to hundreds of satsangis. Barah Dari is also where on every Bhandara hundreds of satsangis are served food in multiple shifts beginning in the early afternoon and ending only when every satsangi has been fed, sometimes lasting into the wee hours of the morning. Anticipating the enormous turnout for the Shatabdi Bhandara, organizers planned for adequate food arrangements aside from those in the Barah Dari. Everyone eats and everyone serves; it is quite an energizing and fulfilling experience.

The Hazuri room was also completely renovated. Previously bright mint green, this room also known as "Rubber ka Kamra" is now of pure marble, literally from floor to ceiling inclusive, providing reflective surfaces to compliment the ever-present refulgent light of this historical room. Though only 18 x 18 feet, this "elastic" room once held innumerable satsangis during an elevating bilas session led by Hazur Maharaj. Welcoming all and never turning any away is the inherent nature of this faith and the lavish daya of Hazur Maharaj.

Designed and executed by satsangis, these construction and renovations are their pride and joy. With preet and bhakti as their sources of energy and flawless taste, it is no wonder that these external preparations and construction were a fruitful success. Rich colours and ornate designs attempted to express love in a visually lyrical and rhythmic manner; they successfully foreshadowed, but paled in comparison to, however, the colourful and passionate writings and discourses of our beloved Dada ji Maharaj.

The Literature

The four-day celebrations began with the distribution of a discourse specially delivered by Dadaji Maharaj on this auspicious occasion. Written in just a matter of a few hours, this small pamphlet served as a short but profound injunction to satsangis. He exhorted upon them to follow the ideal of love so poignantly preached and practiced by Hazur Maharaj. Dada ji Maharaj stressed that in order to be an ideal devotee, one should be humble, simple, kind-hearted, and tolerant in thought and action both.

Meticulously written in about a fortnight by the prolific PP Dadaji Maharaj, a book of some two-hundred thirty pages was dedicated to Hazur Maharaj. In the Hazuri Daya ki Jhalkiyan, PP Dadaji Maharaj provides readers with a rare glimpse of the astounding spiritual personality of Hazur Maharaj. In a lucid and captivating style, PP Dadaji Maharaj recounts many a story of Hazur Maharaj's insurmountable grace and mercy. He succinctly describes Hazur Maharaj's philosophy of the Radhasoami faith. PP Dadaji also has included in his book the life stories of Lalaji Maharaj and Kunwarji Maharaj and the development of satsang in Hazuri Bhawan during the last 100 years.

Satsang and Exhibition of Holy Relics

On the 25th of December the soft murmur of the overflowing crowd dwindled and came to a complete arrest when the regal Dada ji Maharaj made his majestic entrance. Breath-taking and awe-inspiring in appearance, the impeccably attired Dadaji Maharaj paid His respects to each Swaroop of Hazur Maharaj before commencing satsang. The first satsang of the Shatabdi Bhandara began promptly at 10:30am with the sonorous voice of Dadaji Maharaj, His powerful shining eyes full of pure love and sincerity demand one's attention and command one's mind. One is enveloped in the energizing light radiating from just His one glance. Discernible creases in His forehead and in between His eyebrows are evidence of deep meditation and omniscience. His glowing face and emanating presence drenched the samadh in golden glory. Hazur Maharaj's samadh was all aglow as were the rosy faces of each and every satsangi. Lyrical and rhythmic path which echoed throughout the golden atmosphere of the samadh, drenched in Hazuri refulgence. As Dadaji Maharaj read from the holy scriptures of Soamiji Maharaj and Hazur Maharaj, his voice permeated each and every satsangi heart. From the Swaroop of the beloved Hazur Maharaj emanated love, light and life. Vibrations of His presence resounded in rhythm with every beat of each satsangi's heart as Dadaji Maharaj softly and touchingly started delineating the personality of Hazur Maharaj.

It was on this day that an exhibition of articles of Hazur Maharaj was open to the people. Hazur Maharaj's family has carefully preserved these precious items and in light of this occasion shared them with the masses. The "Hazuri Divya Darshan", exhibited Hazur's various attires, including His ornate caps and crowns, royal gowns, and embroidered shoes. Also on display were his office suits and canes. Original hand-written manuscripts of Sar Bachan and Prem Patra (holy books) were also exhibited. Another highlight was the Hazuri Diary. This display was open to the general public until the 28th.

Later that evening satsang began at 7pm in the cloister, known as Prem Bilas, between the two samadh. After the melodious and elating path, Dada ji Maharaj delivered an enlightening and inspirational discourse. The path started once again and continued throughout the night.

On the 26th the satsang was commenced once again at 10:30 am by Dada ji Maharaj. Braving the unprecedented cold, Dada ji Maharaj gave darshan and a discourse in Prem Bilas at 7:00pm to all the eagerly waiting satsangis. Once again, path continued throughout the night.

December 27, 1998 was the most auspicious day. The special aarti satsang started at 10:30am. Hazuri love colored the samadh and reflected off satsangi's faces. PP Dadaji Saheb's bachan was more philosophical and described Hazur Maharaj's exemplary behavior and love for the Guru. In this revealing and forceful discourse, Dada ji also explained the Radhasoami faith in detail. Immediately after satsang, Dada ji Maharaj sat in the samadh while path continued and individually met each satsangi until 12:10am. After the satsang around 1:00pm, the Bhandara (religious feast) began with fervent enthusiasm. The menu consisted of puri, kachori, alloo ki sabjee, gobi ki sabjee, and baigan. Also, part of the meal included raita and saunth, mirchouni, sev, nagori, and khasta kachori. For dessert, basin ke laddoo, sujee ke laddoo, maal puha, khurma were distributed. The feasts continued until 2:00am.

The 28th was the last day of this large-scale celebration. In conclusion, Dada ji Maharaj reminded one and all of the importance of living the perfect life of a true satsangi as Hazur Maharaj demonstrated in His life.

Conclusion

Throughout his discourses, Dada ji Maharaj stressed the importance of love and fraternity among and between all satsangis. Love for the Guru of the Time was emphasized as a priority and the first step towards living the lifestyle of a satsangi. Dada ji Maharaj also gave Hazur Maharaj as the most epitomizing example of how a true satsangi should live his life. Hazur Maharaj's unblemished love for and devotion to Soami ji Maharaj as well as his general behavior towards others were held up as exemplary behavior to be emulated by everyone who calls himself a satsangi.

Times have greatly changed since those of Hazur Maharaj's era and the behavior of satsangis during that period needs to resurface. Dada ji Maharaj relayed the challenges Hazur Maharaj had to face beginning at the tender age of four when His father passed away. Hazur Maharaj educated Himself, provided for His family, and secured the highest post any Indian had ever attained during those times, earning more than enough to support His family. Through hard work, determination, and devotion, He did all of this and led a well-balanced life with His wife and family, never faltering in His spiritual endeavors despite all the hardships He had to face in His life. Times were much more difficult back then in terms of supporting oneself and one's family and yet Hazur Maharaj never allowed any obstacle to impede His spiritual practices and love for Soami ji Maharaj all the while maintaining a healthy balance within His lifestyle.

Dada ji Maharaj acknowledges that now in the modern era, times have drastically changed. The 20th century in particular has been a period of explosive changes and paradoxical advancement in technology and science. But where are the signs and results of humanitarian, moral, and spiritual progress? After "advancement" we are witnessing regression. Herein lies the paradox. How many starving people in the world have been fed? Which societies have been able to live side by side without pointing fingers of blame and hatred? How many children have been educated? How many souls have experienced unconditional love?

The year 1999 is a significant year as we stand on the threshold of the next millennium. More spiritual bhakti and abhyaas is the need of the hour in this modern era ruled by so-called scientific and technological advancement. Though guided by Radhasoami Dayal, whether or not a truly positive change is going to take place in this world largely lies in the hands and hearts of each and every satsangi. In effect, the choice is ours whether or not we want to waste our lives or live them. As Hazur Maharaj Himself has clearly demonstrated, "Charity begins at home. . ." As witness to and participant in this glorious external as well as internal experience, it is my gathering that all which has been accomplished here within the last year is but a mere fraction of not only the capabilities of satsangis, but the capabilities and potential of humanity at large.

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