I once asked Giriraj Swami what was that love and purpose that burnt like a blazing fire within him? What inspired him to serve selflessly for over five decades? His answer changed my paradigm of mission-driven life. He said it wasn’t love that motivated him to serve. Instead, it was consistent service over a long time that filled his heart with love.
A potent combination
When humble hearing unites with real service, the result is a volcanic eruption of ecstasy and contribution.
Madan Mohan Malviya, popularly known as Panditji, was a towering Educationist and leader of the Indian Freedom Struggle. He commanded the respect of stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. He was also awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honor of India.
As a young boy, he learned the Sanskrit language and began to study the sacred Srimad Bhagavatam from his father who spoke about the revered scriptures. As he grew up, he studied Law, rose to be the editor of popular newspapers, founded the Banaras Hindu University – the largest residential university in Asia and headed it for over two decades. Despite his sterling leadership qualities and being a prominent National leader, he retired from his law practice at the high point of his career. The reason: so that he could lead a life of silent social service and prayerful contemplation.
India however, was not silent; the country burned in violent protests and the demand for freedom from the British Empire engulfed the Nation’s conscience.
Fourteen years passed and in 1924 Madan Mohan was remembered once again by the Nationalist leaders. Around 170 men were sent to the gallows by the British for burning a police station and the Indian National Congress requested him to defend the case on their behalf. Despite the hiatus of over a decade, he came back in style. So impressive were his presentations that the then Chief Justice Hon’ble Sir Grimwood Mears bowed thrice as a mark of great appreciation for the utter genius of his defense. More than 160 of them were acquitted and for the rest who were proven guilty and had been awarded the death sentence, Malviya managed to reduce their sentence to life imprisonment; all of their lives were spared.To be continued…