09/05/17 0 Comment
Introduction Dvaita, Advaita and Vishishtadvaita are the principal schools of Vedanta, each with its own community of followers, religious institutions and extensive philosophical literature in…
Morari Bapu is a renowned exponent of the Ram Charit Manas and has been reciting Ram Kathas for over fifty years throughout the world. The overall ethos of his Katha is universal peace and spreading the message of truth, love and compassion. While the focal point is the scripture itself, Bapu draws upon examples from other religions and invites people from all faiths to attend the discourses.
Bapu was born on the day of Shivratri in 1947 in the village of Talgajarda, close to Mahuva in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat and he still lives there with his family. He belongs to the Vaishnav Bava Sadhu Nimbarka lineage and spent much of his childhood under the care of his grandfather and guru, Tribhovandas Dada, and grandmother, Amrit Ma. While his grandmother would lovingly relay folktales to him for hours, his grandfather shared with him his knowledge of the Ram Charit Manas. By the age of twelve, Bapu had memorised the entire Ram Charit Manas and had begun reciting and singing the Ram Katha at fourteen.
The remarkable journey of reciting the Ramayana, which began in the presence of three village folk, has now taken Bapu to all corners of the world. For the over 700 Kathas held to date, Bapu has traversed every major city and pilgrimage in India and travelled to many countries from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa and Kenya to the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Australia, Israel and Japan, drawing millions in audiences. In 2011, Bapu held one of the most significant and historical Ram Kathas to date at the foothills of Mount Kailas, in Tibet. In addition to Ram Katha, Bapu has also orated 19 kathas on Gopi Geet, dedicating one katha for each verse, usually during the nine days of Navratri.
As well as doing Ram Kathas, Bapu has devoted much of his energy in bringing together communities, religions, sects and castes, in advocating peace and harmony both in India and globally. For two decades now, Bapu is the chief guest at the annual Yaad-e-Hussain programme held by the Muslim community in Mahuva. He also organises marriage ceremonies for Hindu and Muslim girls who are not able to pay for their wedding and participates in Kathas and other functions that are held by Dalits and Devi Pujaks.
At times of calamity in India and abroad, be it the Gujarat earthquake or Bihar floods or nuclear leak in Fukushima, Japan, Bapu has contributed generously to provide aid wherever possible. In his hometown of Talgajarda, Bapu has organised several literary and cultural programmes, honouring litterateurs, musicians, dancers, dramatists and actors among others. A conference on World Religions, Dialogue and Harmony, was held in 2009, inaugurated by the honourable Dalai Lama. Religious leaders of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity as well as Hinduism spoke about the fundamental principles of their orders and advocated continuous dialogue for establishing inter-faith harmony.
For 16 years now, eminent writers and poets meet to discuss literary and scholastic issues and developments during the three-day Asmita Parva. The evening classical music programmes bring together renowned vocalists and instrumentalists of India.
Every year for the last 14 years, scholars of Sanskrit from all over India have also been meeting to analyse and examine the literary and scriptural texts written in this most ancient language.
In 2006, a seminar was organised in Talgajarda on the regional versions of Ramayana in modern Indian languages. Experts from various regions of India from Tamil Nadu and Punjab to Gujarat and Assam convened to participate in this seminar.
In July 2012, a national conference on Valmiki Ramayana was graced by Dr Satyavrata Shashtri, Dr Radhavallabh Tripathi, Dr Rajendra Nanavati and several other scholars of the Ramayana.
An International Conference on the Ramayana is now being proposed in 2014.
Shree Sitaram Seva Trust (UK) under the auspices of Hanumanji Maharaj was graced with organizing the Setubandh Ram Katha on board the Cunard Princess, a Mediterranean flagship, to enable the sea world with the opportunity to listen to a Ram Katha. This benevolent Katha was to mark the beginning of Pujya Bapu’s long-standing inner wish for peace in the universe. In 1992, an International katha was staged in New York to mark Bapu’s thirty years of recitations with a variety of exhibitions and partaking events. This was followed by Pujya Bapu circumambulating (Parikramaa) the United Nations Building in New York and The White House in Washington praying for World Peace.
From 9th August to 19th August 1997, Pujya Bapu recited from the Ram Charit Manas in the most sacred of abodes at Manasarovar “Lake of the Mind” at the foot of Mount Kailas in the Himalayas. Manasarovar is a natural lake at 15,500 feet above sea level which is the source of the River Saryu which flows in Ayodhya (India ) and the origin of Ram Katha by Lord Shiva. Those privileged enough to accompany Pujya Bapu to listen to Ram Katha at Manasarovar were blessed with Pujya Bapu’s words and experience the greatest episode of their lifetime. Again, Pujya Bapu’s love and respect for the Ram Charit Manas and it’s status in resolving all miseries was recited in the most sacred abode.
The Maanas-Kailas Yatra (Pilgrimage) commenced on 26th July 1997 and concluded on 26th August 1997 taking the two hundred pilgrims during the holy Hindu Shraavan Month from Lhasa to Maansarovar. Eleven pilgrims undertook a three day circumambulation (Parikramaa) of the Mount Kailas where Lord Shiv resided with his consort Goddess Parvati. A time-capsule containing Pujya Bapu’s personal items, the Shree Ram Charit Manas and Srimad Bhagvat Gita scriptures, various books, photographs, artifacts and documents, was also be laid by Pujya Bapu to commemorate the Yatra and the Katha at Manasarovar. During the Katha, Pujya Bapu together with the pilgrims also celebrated the 500th Jayanti (birthday) of Goswami Tulsidas, the author and composer of the Shri Ramcharitmaanas on Sunday 10th August 1997, India’s 50th Independence Day on Friday the 15th August 1997 and Rakshaa Bandhan (tying an auspicious band by the Guru on the Shisya or sister on the brother wishing them a blissful year) and Purnima (full moon) on Monday the 18th August 1997.
The Manas – kailas Yatra is a focal point for all those who aspire to reach this sacred abode and for all those who were unable to join. Over the past 38 years Pujya Bapu has undertaken Ram Charit Maanas pilgrimages in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, UK, USA, in the air around the world and at sea but Maanasarovar is considered to be the most important recital ever to take place.
On Full Moon in July of every year is “Guru Purnima”, the most important day for all shishyas (disciples) to pay homage to their respective Guru (teacher). As usual, every year on Guru Purnima thousands gather to listen to and pay their respects to Pujya Morari Bapu in Talgajarda. This is the most important day in the Guru – Shisya Paramparaa and people from all over the world converge at Chitrakut Dham, Talgajarda to listen to Pujya Bapu’s divine message.
He is one of the very few living sages who has been conferred the title of ‘Sant” (Saint), by a multitude, who admire and love him.
Let us then follow in his footsteps. Let us do what he bids us to do which is:
"Khud ki khoj karo, Jag ki seva karo, Prabhu Se Preet karo."
Which means: Look deep into yourself And find the Essence. Do service unto Mankind, And Love the Lord.
“This is not the first time that I have come for the darshana of highly revered Pujya Bapuji. His pious darshana reminds me of the sloka- Day by day it grows in intensity every moment i.e. Bapuji is an ever new and every growing fountain of bliss which I am presently, and naturally experiencing right now. Many obeisances at His holy feet”