Shantikunj

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Shantikunj is the headquarters of the spiritual and social organisation All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP). Established in 1971 at Haridwar, it has emerged over the years as a center of the global movement of Yug Nirman Yojana (Movement for the Reconstruction of the Era) for moral-spiritual regeneration in the light of hoary Indian heritage. Situated at the bank of holy Ganges and between the Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas, it is also a place of attraction for tourists and seekers of spiritual guidance.[1]

Location[edit]

Shantikunj is located 6 kilometers from Haridwar railway station towards Rishikesh/Dehradun on NH58 in India. The nearest airports are Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun and Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

History[edit]

Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya founded Shantikunj in 1971

Shantikunj was established in 1971 by Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya on a small piece of land. Later it spread over a large area named as Gayatri Nagar. Several higher level spiritual practice camps were organised here under his guidance. In 1979 a satellite campus was added at a distance of 1/2 km south named as Brahmavarchas Shodh Sansthan (Research Institute).

Sharaddhanjali samaroh (1990) organised here in the memory of Acharya was attended by lakhs of devotees. In 1998 one more campus was added 1/2 km north named as Gayatrikunj. Now it is campus of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya. In November 2000 Srijan Sankalp Vibhuti Mahayajna was organised here marking the completion of 12 years Yugsandhi Mahapurashcharan which was attended by 4 million devotees.

Shantikunj has been visited by several saints, leaders and scholars, including H.H.Dalai Lama, Mahatma Anand Swami of Arya Samaj, Swami Ramdev, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (vice president of India), famous environmentalist Sundarlal Bahuguna, Murari Baapu, Abdul Kalam, Harish Rawat,PM Narendra Modi, Former President Pranab Mukherjee and many foreign dignitaries etc.

At present Shantikunj is functioning under Shri Vedmata Gayatri Trust, headed by Mrs. Shailbala Pandya, daughter of Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya.

Patron founders[edit]

Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya born on 20 September 1911 in the village Anwalkhera, Agra (UP) India. As a freedom fighter he also went to jail three times. In 1935, he embarked upon the task of improving society through spiritual means with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi. He started a Hindi magazine Akhand Jyoti in 1940. In 1946, he married Bhagwati Devi Sharma (also known by followers as "Mata" or "Mataji" ['mother'][2]) Right after marriage she started managing arrangements of publication for Akhand Jyoti. She also used to help Acharyaji in replying to the letters of readers. With spreading circulation of magazine, number of visitors also started increasing. As Akhand Jyoti Sansthan (publication office of magazine) was not enough to accommodate increasing number of visitors, it was decided that there must be a dedicated centre, where regular camps of spiritual practices can be conducted. Acharyaji purchased land on Mathura Vrindavan road with all of his savings and was left with no money in hand for construction. At this critical point of time, Bhagwati Devi came forward and donated all of her jewelry for the purpose.[3] In 1960, Acharyaji handed over the management of Gayatri Tapobhumi to her.

Acharya established Gayatri Pariwar and for more than 20 years conducted its activities from Mathura. In 1971 he shifted its head office to Shantikunj Haridwar and spent his remaining life here, writing literature and directing the activities of the organisation.

Following the death of her husband in 1991, Shamra took over the running of Gayatri Pariwar.[4] Involved in editing Akhand Jyoti, the journal he founded, since at least 1962, she took over as editor on his death and continued until her own.[5]

Sharma was born on 20 September 1926 in Agra. She was an Indian social reformer and a great devotee of Gayatri Mantra. As a co-founder of All World Gayatri Pariwar she started various social uplift programs and successfully organised a series of Ashwamedha Yajnas. She also published Bhashya on four Vedas.

Aim[edit]

Shantikunj is devoted to cultural, ethical, moral and spiritual awakening and national integration. Development of divinity in mankind is the foremost goal and avowed objective. Pledged for national peace, prosperity, amity, love, goodwill and fraternity irrespective of region, religion, faith, caste, creed, sect etc., Shantikunj is a unique abode true to its name. Visitors of all faiths & linkages visit the Ashram (Spiritual Center).[6]

Expansion of national unity, amity and brotherhood and extinction of ignorance, jealousy, hatred, and strife from globe are being attempted by popularizing Gayatri Mantra, Yajna and Sanskaars (sacramental rites), the adoption of which invokes celestial thoughts and inspires for divine deeds. The divinity may be seen firmly fixed in every activity of this holy pilgrimage center.

Training camps[edit]

For upliftment of the moral, cultural, spiritual and ethical values, national integration and development of youths, various trainings are organized frequently. Amongst these, the regular ones are:

  • Nine days training of Sanjeewani Vidyaa (Art of Living & Art of Relating training camps)
  • One month training of Yug Shilpi and Parivraajak (Art of Serving & Art of Leading training camps)
  • Three months training for proficiency in Sangeet (music).

Occasional trainings of officers, and employees of Govt., local bodies, Corporations, Banks, factories etc. are also organized on: elegant life style, organizational management, efficient working methodology, work culture, glory of labor, health, behavioral science, value of time, inculcation of discipline, duty consciousness, national integration.[7]

For the all round development of villages and self-employment generation, 9 days training is also imparted to selected village folk. Training relates to: agriculture, horticulture, herbal production, Dairy and Cottage industries.

All these trainings aim at the all round development of the nation & integration of the country by inducing noble sentiments in the minds of individuals by adoption of scientific ways of spirituality, which can provide a remedy for all the ills afflicting the nation.

Other establishments[edit]

Brahmavarchas Shodh Sansthan
Established in 1979, this Research Institute is dedicated for the scientific establishment of spirituality. Equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory, a library and a garden containing rare Ayurvedic herbs, it is working on unique projects like Yagyopathy, Ayurveda and Mantras.

Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya
Established in 2002 by the act of the Uttaranchal Government is a fully residential university run by Sri Vedmata Gayatri Trust, Shantikunj Haridwar.[8] It provides different degree, diploma and certificate courses in areas like Clinical Psychology, Yogic Science, Alternative Therapy, Indian Culture, Tourism, Rural Management, Theology (Dharm Vigyan), Spiritual Counseling etc. A new medical center is about to established.

Sri Ram Puram
It is new extension of shantikunj, established with new residential buildings, a hospital, canteen, hall and workshop.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ India By Sarina Singh, Lindsay Brown, Mark Elliott... 2009, Lonely Planet ISBN 978-1-74179-151-8
  2. ^ Daniel Philip Heifetz, 'From Gurudev to Doctor-Sahib: Religion, Science, and Charisma in the All World Gayatri Pariwar', Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 30.3 (2018), 252-78 (p. 254 fn. 4), doi:10.1163/15700682-12341433.
  3. ^ Brahmavarchas (2010). Mahashakti ki Lokyatra. Mathura: Gayatri Tapobhumi. p. 39.
  4. ^ Lise McKean, Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist Movement (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 45 ISBN 0226560090.
  5. ^ Annual Report of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1962), part 2 p. 423; Press in India (Office of the Registrar of Newspapers, 1992), part 2, vol. 2, p. 1323; Directory of Periodicals Published in India (Sapra and Sapra, 1994), vol. 3 p. 378.
  6. ^ page-46, Tracing the Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions by Hans Kung, 2002 Continuum International Publishing Group New York
  7. ^ page 113-114 Disaster Management Through Panchayati Raj by Kamal Taori (IAS), Concept Publishing Company, 2005 ISBN 81-8069-215-9
  8. ^ [1] State act for DSVV

External links[edit]