PUNE: Amidst devotion and sadness, bhajans and nostalgia, followers and devotees bid a final emotional adieu to spiritual leader Dada JP Vaswani on Friday evening. The absolutely disciplined Darshan Yatra started from the mission at Sadhu Vaswani Chowk and returned via Cycle Society, Pudumjee Compound, Agarwal Colony and MG Road.
Dada was given the State honour of a 21-gun salute and his body was draped with the Tricolour. Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram laid a flower wreath as a gesture of respect.
Dada (99) passed away on Thursday morning due to old age. He was cremated at Sadhu Vaswani Mission, besides the Samadhi of his Guru Sadhu Vaswani as per the Sindhi community rituals.
Religious gurus of several faiths were present at the funeral including Catholic Bishop of Pune Thomas Dabre, Gyani Mangalsingh of Namdeo Gurudwara in Dighi and Buddhist Monk Bhantey Rajratan offered their prayers for Dada before the cremation.
Thousands of devotees and followers, including politicians, celebrities and other dignitaries personalities visited the Mission for the last darshan of Dada.
Hundreds of followers took part in the Darshan Yatra holding placards saying ‘Parampujya Dada Amar Rahe’. The followers not only joined the funeral in person, but also through Skype and WhatsApp calls made by their friends and family present here.
The devotees, emotional and nostalgic, spoke of their fond memories of Dada. Ram Buxani, a businessman who had flown in from Dubai, said that to him, Dada meant only love.
“I have been in touch with Dada for the past 50 years, meeting him whenever I came to India, or when he came to Dubai. Each and every interaction with him has been a memorable one. He never liked to be a Guru, but always said that he was a disciple. He wasn’t a person who would instruct. He would do everything himself and create an example,” Buxani said.
Narrating a fond memory, he said, “On my 50th birth anniversary, I wanted to distribute something to the people, on which Dada suggested me one of his books.
I wanted Dada to write a quote with his hands on my copy, as a message. While the people at the Mission opposed as Dada couldn’t write due to his age, Dada didn’t want me to go back unhappy and agreed. So he wrote some 20 lines, which he wrote a line per day.”
Pushpa Nathani, another devotee who has been a follower of Dada since her marriage, said Dada was the kindest soul she knew and he was one in a million.