JAIN SAINT RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI: The True Successor of Shrimad Rajchandraji

 In Jainism, Saints and Service

JAIN SAINT RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI: The One whose every step, a dharmayatra; every breath, a promise of Grace

One whose life is dedicated solely towards the emancipation of Himself, and others, this self-realised soul was born on the auspicious day of 26th September 1966, to Smt. Rekhaben and Shri Dilipbhai Jhaveri, in a Jain Shwetambar Murtipujak family. Born prematurely, during the 8th month of pregnancy; though He was physically weak, He was blessed with immense inner strength and zeal to illuminate the path of spirituality for the world.

He was named Rakesh, and carried with Him a cache of great spiritual attainments from His past births, which manifested into many inherent divine qualities, leading to numerous spiritual experiences right from the time of His birth. The signs of His divinity were clearly apparent to friends and family alike. At the tender age of four, He would often slip into meditation for long periods of time. At that young age, He would engage in conversations with His father on profound subjects like spiritual discrimination – recognising the Self as distinctly separate from the non-self. It was clearly evident that He was no ordinary child but a Divine Soul, destined to lead the world to great spiritual heights.

Read Also : Shrimad Rajchandra Endowed Chair in Jain Studies in University of California

SURRENDERING TO SHRIMAD RAJCHANDRAJI
[1974 – 1982]

It was when He was merely eight years old that RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI accidentally came across a book in which He first set sight on the divine picture of Param Krupalu Dev Shrimad Rajchandraji and instantly He went into trance for three continuous days. Memories of past events and instances flooded His young mind drawing Him immensely close to Shrimadji. He acknowledged Shrimadji as His Guru and surrendered completely, at His lotus feet.

From that moment on, His spiritual endeavours gathered unprecedented momentum. He would frequently slip into meditation, constantly experiencing a divine energy enveloping Him. RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s divinity attracted many saints, scholars and seekers who engaged in profound discussions about spirituality with Him. At that time, neither had He studied the scriptures, nor was He well-versed with the Gujarati language. However, in spite of having no prior knowledge of a subject, having heard the question, the answers were at the tip of His tongue and He was able to resolve doubts based on deep philosophical and religious subjects. His replies were accurate and convincing to even the most learned scholars!

His ability to predict the future led to many people approaching Him for worldly matters. His compassion at first, invoked Him to answer their questions, but His Inner Self was not satisfied with this, and finally He withdrew His attention from those exceptional powers, focusing more on His spiritual endeavours.

From 1977, bhakti-satsang were organised regularly and gradually a congregation formed. It was at this time that the practice of addressing Him as ‘Gurudev’ began. On one hand, this ‘young boy’ continued His education at Activity High School in Mumbai, on the other hand, His spiritual maturity led numerous people on the path of Divinity.

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INTENSE STUDY AND SADHANA
[1983 – 1987]

“What dream has my Guru seen for me?” was the question that burnt within RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI, and He yearned for an answer; as it was His Guru Shrimad Rajchandraji’s wish, His ajna that was of paramount importance to Him. This longing became so intense that one day, in Jaipur, He observed complete silence, consumed nothing but milk and offered 10,000 khamasamans at Shrimadji’s Lotus Feet, till He received an answer to the question. It was on the completion of His I.C.S.E. exams in 1983, on the auspicious day of akhatreej, that RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI declared His resolution to devote the rest of His life to the pursuit and spread of spirituality. He dedicated His life to the higher cause of uplifting the universe, embraced celibacy and renounced professional and social life.

He spent one and a half years, in the caves of Hampi, in Southern India, immersed in deep meditation. He would sit still in padmasan for hours on end. After 1984, He spent months in solitude at sacred places like Palitana, Idar, Mt. Abu and Dumas etc. engaged in silence, study and sadhana.

One would find Him engrossed in deep meditation or intense study. While on one hand, He studied the literary works of Shrimadji, on the other, He pored over Shwetambar and Digambar Jain scriptures, while simultaneously studying Sanskrit, Logic, Indian Philosophies, Yoga, Astrology and Classical Indian Music etc. During the same period He would observe silence for twelve hours daily. He also observed complete silence for three continuous days at the end of every month remaining absorbed in the ecstasy of the Self. This practice continued for a period of twelve and a half years.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

[1988-1998]

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI excelled on the academic front as well. He graduated with a first-class, as an external student from Hyderabad’s Osmania University in 1988. An interesting point to note here is that He completed the entire three-year Bachelor of Arts course in the short span of only three months.
His extraordinary brilliance shone forth again in 1991, during His post-graduation where He emerged a gold medalist in His Master of Arts course in Philosophy, from the University of Mumbai.

Thereafter, under the guidance of the highly respected professor, Dr. Ramanlal Shah, RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI wrote an extensive research treatise on Shrimadji’s finest literary creation, Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra.

The University of Mumbai conferred the Ph.D degree on Him The University of Mumbai conferred the Ph.D degree on Him for this thesis, on December 2nd 1998, entitling Him Dr. Rakesh Jhaveri. However, in spite of earning accolades from the world, RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s single-minded focus was on His Guru. The very night that He obtained His degree, RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI dedicated it at the Lotus Feet of His Beloved Master. His disinterest in worldly desires was evident when He decided not to use the ‘Dr.’ prefix before His name. RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI remained entirely detached from the world, wholly absorbed in His spiritual vocation.

INCEPTION OF THE ASHRAM
[1999 – 2001]

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s pious virtues, multi-faceted personality, boundless love, simple yet effective guidance led to a rapid increase in the number of devotees. As a natural outcome, to organise the various ongoing spiritual activities of this large group of seekers, He inspired the formation of the Trust – ‘Shrimad Rajchandra Adhyatmik Satsang Sadhana Kendra’ in 1994. RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s discourses, stemming from His profound Self experience and numerous other spiritual activities were all propelling forces that enabled seekers to progress on the path of liberation.

In order to provide a conducive atmosphere for the devotees’ spiritual progress, a committee was formed with the blessings of RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI, for the purpose of selecting a suitable place for the Ashram. The blessed land of Mohangadh Hill located on the outskirts of Dharampur and spread over 223 acres was selected for the establishment of the Ashram on 13th May, 1999 and the construction of the Ashram commenced.

SPREADING THE MISSION
[2002 – 2017]

Once a strong base was set up at the Ashram, it was time to spread the wings of the Mission, by extending Shrimadji’s message across the globe. Without a grain of doership, He worked tirelessly to accomplish this mission. For those seeking spiritual well-being, RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI designed satsang shibirs, meditation retreats, workshops etc.

 

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s boundless love and His practical approach towards religion have drawn and inspired several youngsters to take the vow of lifelong celibacy and surrender their lives to the Mission. Known as Atmarpits (renunciate devotees), these aspirants are incessantly engaged in sadhana and seva. With RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s guidance, they have shouldered the responsibility of the Ashram administration.

The year 2002 marked the beginning of the tradition by RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI of initiating Atmarpits on the auspicious day of His birth (26th September) each year. Till date, 89 enthusiastic aspirants have embraced the blessed Atmarpit way of life.

In 2010, on the auspicious day of Gurupurnima, He introduced the Panchdiksha Vikasyatra. Corresponding to the various stages of the growth of a tree, He formulated Beejam, Ankuram, Parnam, Pushpam and Falam diksha signifying the spiritual growth of a seeker. In the same year on His birthday, He blessed 108 aspirants with Vanprastha Diksha i.e. a life of spiritual retreats with deep sadhana.

YOUTH IN SPIRITUALITY

His broad vision, progressive thinking and natural ability to bond with the youth encouraged large numbers of youngsters to embrace religion as a way of life. Their unmitigated enthusiasm led to the formation of the Shrimad Rajchandra Youthwing, youth groups in India as well as abroad. His endearing disposition and joyful attitude have also won the hearts of thousands of children.

He inspires the moulding of young minds and hearts right from a tender age through spiritual and self-development courses conducted under the banner of Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch, namely, Magictouch, Arhat Touch and Spiritualtouch, which have been instrumental in unfolding their inherent divinity.

INSPIRING OTHERS IN SEVA

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s compassionate heart harbours the auspicious desire for all beings to attain eternal bliss through the sanctuary of Shrimadji’s teachings. How can such a tender, all-encompassing heart then bear to see the misery of another living being?

 

As a natural outcome of His empathy, RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI sowed the seeds of several projects to alleviate physical, mental and financial suffering. In 2003, He established the Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital in Dharampur to provide expert medical help to the needy. The Shrimad Rajchandra Rural Health Project has been initiated to conduct outreach activities for the underprivileged residing around Dharampur. Through two mega camps, complimentary aid was provided to thousands of underprivileged physically challenged patients.

To provide educational assistance to tribal children, a residential school at Tamachhadi, Gujarat was adopted in 2004. Thereafter, it was renamed Shrimad Rajchandra Vidyavihar.

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s love was not confined to humans alone. Illustrating Bhagwan Mahavira’s doctrine of ahimsa, the bhoomipujan of Shrimad Rajchandra Jivamaitridham was performed and a cow-shelter, named Shrimad Rajchandra Gaushala was established.

In order to increase the extent of seva activities undertaken, and to give it a more concrete shape, the ten-fold Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care Programme was launched in the 10th year after the inauguration of the Ashram.

REACHING OUT GLOBALLY

RAKESH BHAI JHAVERI’s overflowing compassion does not wait for seekers to find Him; instead it extends Him towards His seekers. To espouse the eternal path of liberation as propounded by the Jinas, right at the seekers’ doorsteps, He embarked on several dharmayatras; the seekers’ spiritual welfare His only purpose, illuminating the path to liberation, His only aim.

The religion of equanimity has been explained to thousands, in its true form. In India, He has graced cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Bharuch. Abroad, the countries that have been blessed by His presence are USA, Canada, U.K., Belgium, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, UAE, Oman, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka.

On His very first dharmayatra to USA in 2005, He received an awe-inspiring response at the JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations in North America) Convention. As a result of His powerfully elevating dharmayatras, the Mission presently has 16 centres in Mumbai, 31 centres in India and 55 centres abroad.

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