- Name: Pandurang Shastri Athavale
- Also Known As: Dadaji
- Famous As: Spiritual Leader and Activist Philosopher
- Birth Date: 19 October 1920
- Died On: 25 October 2003
- Nationality: Indian
- Birth Place: Roha, Maharashtra
- Awards: Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (1997), Ramon Magsaysay Award (1996) and Padma Vibhushan (1999)
India has been the land of culture and many leaders have been produced by the country who has done good to the country. One among them was renowned Activist and social reformer, Pandurang Shastri Athavale.
From his early days to his death, he emerged himself to do well towards the society. The spiritual leader founded a Swadhyaya Parivar, (Swadhyaya means self Study) which is based on the learnings of sacred Bhagavad Gita.
Born to a Sanskrit teacher Vaijanath Athavale and housewife Parvati Athavale, Pandurang was one of their five children. The roots of spirituality and philosophy grew inside him from his childhood days itself.
At the age of 12, Pandurang Athavale was given a separate course to study by his grandfather. It resembled the Tapovan system being followed in ancient India.
At the young age of 22 years in 1942, he gave discourses of the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads at the Srimad Bhagavad Gita Pathshala established by his father.
Philosophical and Reform Influences
Since the young age Pandurang had the habit of reading and in the Royal Asiatic Library, he read all Nonfiction literature books over a period of 14 years. In the year 1954, Pandurang Shastri Athavale presented his Vedic ideology and preachings of Bhagavad Gita at Second World Philosopher’s conference in Japan.
Impressed by his ideas, Dr. Arthur Holly Compton, the Nobel Prize winner offered him to provide his preaching at the United States. This was a golden opportunity for Athavale but he declined. The social reformer stated the reason for the decline that there was much left to do for his native place, India and that he visioned India to be a model community practicing the Vedic ideas.
Foundation of Swadhyaya Parivar
The Swadhaya Parivar was started in the year 1978 in the UK where all the adherents would meet on Sunday to sing prayers and seek preachings from Athavale via video recording. Athavale, the founder of Swadhyaya Parivar focused on the Vedic Philosophy of the In-depth study of self. All the members of this family are known as Swadhyayees.
Pandurang Athavale’s lessons and learnings from Bhagavad Gita have been spread to millions of people. There were many Prayogs carried out in the Indian Villages by the family. The followers of Spiritual leader and social activist do not only limit to India but also have followers across 35 countries such as Asia, Europe, America, Middle East Africa and more.
Quotes by Pandurang Athavale
“Fearlessness is a result of faith in oneself and faith in God.”
“The most Superior amongst the colours in the universe the colour of Devotion.”
“Only he who accepts clashes and conflicts in life, loves life.”
“Bhakti is a social force.”
Vision of the Great Indian Activist Philosopher
Athavale had always wanted to spread the message of equality, unity, and spirituality in the society. His vision was to have a United Global family by eradication of all the worldly problems based on the single principle of Universal blood maker, which was possible with the foundation of Swadhyaya Parivar.
These thoughts were possible as Pandurang Athavale thought the Bhagavad Gita teachings is a guide to the humanity.
Now his followers are spreading and leading his vision to others “Universal Brotherhood under the divine Fatherhood of God.”