India, the land of Vedas and the birthplace of the oldest religion in the world , Hinduism – Sanatan Dharma, the guiding principle teachings that doesn’t force individuals to convert but motivate to live life , has always been the subject of curiosity and awe of individuals worldwide who visit and research about Hinduism. The western world, development and technology has had a great impact in our lives but somewhere down the line, the essence of life has lost in this maddening crowd of modernization. We are no atheists, but yes not a firm believer of religion and tradition, perhaps because we chose to be called modern and feel modern by defying religion. We would have been in our aura of pseudo modernity for life if not that one meeting with Sri Sri Shanakaracharya (Swami Sri Nischalanand Saraswati Ji) that changed our perception about the religion that we practice, Hinduism.
I (Arpita Deb) personally have always felt that religion is a forced entity that we follow without being given the option to choose. As a child being born and raised in a Christian state, my early memories of religion were visits to the church during Sundays and Christmas with goodies to gorge. Religion was nothing more than a word to fill in the blank space of my school admission paper. As I grew up that perception did fade but as yet I prefer to call myself as a believer of Hinduism with a personal twist. My mindset would have remained the same till eternity had I not met this simple clad revered soul, who the world lauds as “Sri Sri Shanakaracharya”. A cold December evening, we, the Daily Mirage team step out to meet Sri Shankaracharya of Puri at a Pravachan Sabha organized at North Kolkata , Darpa Narayan Tagore street’s Satsang Sabha .As we enter the crowded lanes of the old Kolkata, a peaceful building welcomes us in. Moving upstairs we were guided to a large hall wherein from a distant we could see a saint like figure talking and addressing concerns of individuals gathered. One look at this holy man beckons one to a different world, a world where knowledge, serenity and tranquility reside.
Sri Sri Shankaracharya’s preaching’s were not about religion only, he spoke at length about life, philosophy, politics, economics and the sad state of current affairs. His views on the current Indian economy, the world arena and the different super powers fighting to make a mark with stories from the Vedas can awaken any lay man. Shri Shankaracharya spoke about reinterpretations of Hindu scriptures, especially on Upanishads or Vedanta and advocated the greatness of the Vedas . Being an eminent mathematician himself who has authored several books on Vedic mathematician, his approach to problems in day to day life and solutions to them appeared so simple yet logical. His verbiage is simple but powerful enough to conquer depths of knowledge. The congregation lasted for a couple of hours but the experience that we gathered meeting him would last a life time. From a confused believer to an enlightened believer, our transformation within a few hours has been miraculous.
Swami Sri Nischalanand Saraswati Ji not only runs educational institutions like Ved Pathsahla where students learn about the sacred Vedas but Govardhan Peeth , the sacred Math where Sri Sri Shankaracharya resides also offers free education, food and logging to deprived and poor kids. His idea of religion is not mastering religious books but mastering life to lead others to live. Daily mirage believes in contemplating life and our mission has been indeed enlightened with a new zest after meeting Sri Sri Shankaracharya. We look forward to retain the preaching of the holy soul and advocate this in our day to day lives to attain happiness and real pursuit of our existence.
Daily Mirage Team (Aroon Shah, Devraj Lahiri and Arpita Deb)