Saturday, 4 March 2017

Eknathji...

Eknathji As I Knew Him

Original Writer: Shri Ajitkumar Vishwas

Ref:Swastika: Bengali Weekly

Eknathji had to face financial hardships while he was in Kolkata in 1950. He was on very good friendly terms with the swayamsevaks of the Sangha while he was working as Sangha-Pracharak. So boarding was not a problem. The swayamsevaks used to take care of him as a guest. During these difficult days, a Pracharak arrived there from Nagpur. He came to stay in the office of the Sangha at 26, Bidhan Sarani and he knew Prabhat Dada. When Prabhat Dada came to the office, Eknathji welcomed him and after they had talked for some time Eknathji asked Prabhakar how much money he had in his pocket. This new Pracharak who had come from Nagpur was called Prabhakar. When Prabhat Dada understood the situation he took out Rs. 16 from his own pocket and gave it to Eknathji. Eknathji sent one of the swayamsevaks to the market to buy some rice. The rice was cooked and they had lunch. They could not afford to cook everyday in the office in 1950s. Amaldada's maternal aunt stayed there behind the office of the Sangha. He used to go to her house everyday for lunch. Another Pracharak, Anantlal Soni had a relative staying nearby. They used to send lunch for him every day. 

I came to Kolkata from Kalyangarh in 1958 and stayed at 26, Bidhan Sarani. There, Amaldada gave me some personal work to handle. There is a locality called Nimtala in the Howrah region. I was asked to do some small mechanical job of a domestic kind there. Eknathji used to come to the office occasionally in those days.  So I could enjoy his company whenever he came. It was a great pleasure to have him around. The printing press of Swastika was at 27, Bidhan Sarani. I used to work as mechanical engineer in that printing house. Eknathji and Amaldada would visit regularly to supervise the work and to look after the problems if any. Eknathji reached Nagpur on the day of Vijaya Dashmi (Dasera) in 1959. Because I also accompanied him there, I had a chance to see the Head office of the Sangha at Nagpur. I was also able to enjoy the festival of Dasera in the company of all. There I saw Shri Guruji in the complete attire of the Sangha uniform for the first time. I got to know a lot of people in Nagpur.  I met Pracharak Babasaheb Apte, Moropant Pingle, Bhaiyaji Dani, Dattopant Thengdi and many others for the first time in a small house there and that memory proved to be long lasting.

The first Shakha in Nagpur started in a ground in front of the Sangha office. Eknathji used to attend the Shakha regularly since he was 12. Vivekananda Birth centenary was in the year 1963. We got to know a very rare aspect of Eknathji's personality during those days. Since 1962 Eknathji's mind was occupied by various ideas. In November 1962, a committee was formed, presided over by a well-known leader of Kerala, Sri Manmath Padmanabhan ji. 

It was as if Swami Vivekananda had given the mandate to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha to organise the work which Swamiji had left as his legacy. Shri Guruji Golwalkar was a disciple of the third president of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Akhandananda ji. Following the mandate of Swami Akhandananda, Shri Guruji had come out of the Belur Math and took up Sangh work at Nagpur. Preparations had started all over the country to celebrate the birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda. The work in Kolkata started under the leadership of Eknathji at Subodh Mallik Square. There is a big rock in the mid-sea off Kanyakumari shore. Swamiji had meditated on that rock. For three days Swamiji sat there and meditated on how Dharma of our country and our nation could be revived. He was passionate about his dream. There he found the mission of His life of rejuvenating Bharat and decided to go to the Parliament of Religions at Chicago.