The South Asian Times

18 November 2018 02:48 AM

Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai: Inspiring Inner Awakening and Social Service

Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai, fondly addressed as ‘Gurudev’, ‘Sahebji’ and ‘Bapa’, is the founder of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur. He is a spiritual visionary and compassionate seer of today’s age. Pujya Gurudevshri’s deep-seated love for all beings aspires for all souls to attain inner peace. With the sole objective of uplifting people spiritually, he travels the world, during dharmayatras, blazing the trail of spirituality. He imparts invaluable teachings through life-transforming discourses, meditation camps, self-development workshops and spiritual retreats. He also inspires several social service initiatives. A traditionalist in his beliefs and a reformist in his expressions, Pujya Gurudevshri has demystified religion and conferred a universal appeal to age-old spiritual principles. Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, Dharampur in Gujarat, India serves as the Mission’s International Headquarters.

During Pujya Gurudevshri’s recent dharmayatra to America, from 14 June – 18 July, whether it was the hot and rugged Phoenix or icy Alaska; the strikingly fashionable Los Angeles; the beach city of Miami or the hotbed of commerce New York, Pujya Gurudevshri’s unstoppable surge of grace touched the hearts of thousands.

Throughout the dharmayatra, he encouraged aspirants to connect to their True Nature while traversing the journey of life through vibrant discourses on topics like Remaining aware and centered in all situations, Managing your thoughts, The power of a smile, Looking within and tackling passions. He also engendered the value of supporting society through social service activities. Phoenix, AZ seekers adopted a street under the Adopt-A-Street program to help maintain and beautify Phoenix streets. Pujya Gurudevshri unveiled the street board, ‘Adopt a Street - Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram.’

Aspirants thus charged and inspired by Pujya Gurudevshri’s wisdom and empowered by the joy of reaching out to society, form a strong internal network, to remain aligned to these principles and positivity throughout the year. An International Trust, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (USA) serves as a platform to support the Mission’s spiritual and social activities in America.

There are 26 centers in various cities across USA at present and members meet every week to discuss and deepen their understanding of Pujya Gurudevshri’s spiritual teachings; as well as to perform acts of community service locally.

Pujya Gurudevshri’s endearing personality and vibrant spirituality has attracted multitudes of youngsters towards a life with a higher goal. He is aptly addressed as a 'Leader of the Youth'.  The US has 5 Youth Groups that meet either weekly or bi-weekly and engage in discussions of spiritual topics as well as social service activities while creating deep and meaningful connections.

Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch (SRD) is a journey of inner awakening for children. As our children race ahead in the outside world, SRD takes them on a divine journey by addressing their character, moral and spiritual development, enabling them to develop and blossom to their full potential. SRD is an initiative aimed at inspiring and enabling children to live a more enriching and meaningful life, in line with the teachings of the Enlightened Souls. USA currently has 18 SRD Centers.

Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care is a Mission Initiative to bring joy and offer service to all living beings.  Included in this program are 10 Cares such as medical care, education care, animal care and environmental care to name a few. Each center in USA supports these activities in various ways. They often have daily food donation routes partnering with local restaurants and chains of stores such as Walmart and Costco, where they donate unused food to shelters for the homeless. Distributing school supplies and clothing, as well as cleaning up local streets are activities that are regularly performed. Centers often organize nation-wide activities as well.

Once a year, SRMD (USA) comes together to have a Love and Care Walk, which is a 5K Charity Walkathon used to bring awareness to the social causes supported by the Mission.   In 2015, this event was held at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, overlooking the NYC skyline.  They drew more than 700 participants and raised over $350,000 in their first year of running the charity event.  In 2016, the 2nd Annual Love and Care Walk was held in Icy Strait Point, Alaska, drawing over 900 participants and raising over $650,000.  These funds are used to support social causes run by the Mission in India such as medical care and education for severely underprivileged children in rural Gujarat.  This year, due to these efforts, Love and Care USA contributed significantly towards building a science college for these children.

Members of all ages have described substantial changes in their lives through the application of Pujya Gurudevshri’s teachings.   Mansee Shah, a member of the Manhattan Youth Group, says, “While we used to spend time on movies, dinners, and other trivial activities, Pujya Gurudevshri gave us a higher purpose.  He has taught us to use our time wisely, to make a difference, and realize that we are here to use every moment to uplift ourselves and those around us.  Being able to take part in spiritual and social service activities truly makes our lives worth living.”

Pujya Gurudevshri’s affable demeanour and integrative approach have built close ties with eminent spiritual leaders and organisations. To celebrate universal brotherhood and unity in diversity, he was invited as a representative of Jainism in the World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) Summit held in Seoul, South Korea in 2014. He also participated in an insightful interaction at ‘A Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India’ - a Spiritual Meet Hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at New Delhi.

In support of the efforts towards enhancing sanitation and hygiene conditions in India and world over Pujya Gurudevshri attended a reception hosted by Richard Verma, US Ambassador to India. He was awarded for his leadership in addressing Health and Sanitation issues amongst the underprivileged in May 2015.

In so many ways, under Pujya Gurudevshri’s able guidance, the Mission is reaching out and enhancing lives across the globe.  

For more information, please visit: www.shrimadrajchandramission.org

or call: SRMD (USA) President Snehal Shah at 856-912-6200.

Update: 31 July, 2016

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