He was well known as Guruji throughout Bharat and was the second Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. His life was wholly dedicated to the service of Motherland. Pure like fire, tender like a flower, his was a personality lofty like the Himalayas. He was a great leader with indomitable courage and a sharp intellect.
Guruji is a name familiar to all. Guruji was the second Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. His full name was Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar.
His was an impressive personality: dignified gait; a long flowing beard reaching down to his chest; curly locks of hair touching the shoulders; a face luminous with innate intellect and learning. His was an inspiring presence. It aroused instant reverence. Whoever saw him spontaneously folded their hands and bowed their heads.
Such was Guruji.
He instilled patriotism in the hearts of millions of youths of the country. He explained to them the Hindu way of life and philosophy in simple words. Like a true friend, he shared in the joys and sorrows of his countrymen. He molded them into effective instruments for the worship of Bharat Mata as her worthy children.
He demonstrated that strength derives from the organization. He traveled untiringly through the length and breadth of the country almost a hundred times during the 33 years of his glorious tenure as Sarsanghchalak, kindling in the society the immortal flame of enduring love for the Motherland.
He had scaled the highest levels of spirituality through his intense austerity and perseverance. By constant study and reflection, he had become a veritable treasure of knowledge. He was a voracious reader even as a boy. He avidly read whatever books he could lay his hands on, from childhood through youth.
Several are the disciplines in which he had acquired commendable mastery – History, Art, Religion, Culture, Sciences, Sociology, and Economics, to name a few; and he dedicated all his stupendous intellectual faculties to the service of the country. He vastly expanded the network of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in multiple directions and inspired and guided thousands of efficient dedicated workers spread throughout the country.
On 19th February 1906, a child was born in Nagpur to Sadashiv Golwalkar and Lakshmibai.
The Golwalkar family originally hailed from Gulwali village in the Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra.
Lakshmibai was endearingly called as Tai and Sadashivarao as Bhauji by all acquaintances. In the beginning, Sadashivarao served as a clerk in the Posts and Telegraphs Department. Later, he took up the job of a schoolteacher. The boy was named Madhav at birth. It is customary in Maharashtra to append the father’s name and the family name after a person’s surname. Thus Madhav became Madhavrao Sadashivarao Golwalkar.
Madhav had an elder brother named Amrut.
Madhav was fondly called Madhu in the family circle. Mother Lakshmibai was a devout lady.
Amrut was gentle by nature. Madhu was rather mischievous, but always good in studies as well as in sports. He was agile, though not particularly well built.
When Bhauji sat for worship, little Madhu too sat beside him and quickly learned the Mantras by heart. Endowed with stupendous memory, he could recall whatever he once heard with ease and precision. After hearing a story he could narrate it to others with further elaboration added to it. Naturally, a large circle of friends would always surround him. He had an unsuitable thirst to learn and understand everything that came his way with alacrity and enthusiasm.
It was Madhus practice to complete reading his class textbooks in the house itself, and utilize his time in the school to study other general books. However, he never lagged in his school studies. He was always the first to reply to any question asked by the teachers.
Bhauji was from time to time transferred from one place to another. The new places provided fresh opportunities for Madhu to enlarge his friends’ circle. Marathi, of course, was his mother tongue. But he soon acquired familiarity with Sanskrit, Hindi, and English too.
He wrote letters to his friends in English. He was seldom alone; while walking he was invariably accompanied by a group of friends. He never forgot his friends even after leaving that place. He maintained his intimate contact with them through letters.
Madhu completed Middle School and High School education creditably. The physical culture instructor in High School was particularly fond of him, as he excelled in physical exercises also.
He continued to train Madhu even after he completed matriculation, as Madhu always strove to attain a high level of proficiency in whatever he attempted.
Bhauji desire was that Madhav should become a doctor. As preparatory to it, Madhav joined the course of first-year science in Fergusson College, Pune, in June 1922. But that was not to be on account of a new rule to admit only the residents of the province in the Pune college, Madhav returned to Nagpur and secured admission in Hislop college. He stayed in the house of his maternal uncle and pursued his studies.
Madavarao was a brilliant student in his college days. Once during the class-lecture, the teacher, prof. Gardiner wrongly quoted a verse from the Bible. Madavarao promptly pointed it out,” sir what you said is not accurate. The line read thus. The surprised teacher you had thought the Bible for years, sent for a copy of the text. It was found that what Madavarao had recalled was the correct version. The learned professor was all praise for the talent and memory of his young student.
On another occasion, while lecturing on a particular Plant, the professor of Botany said, ”This plant is not available for this reason”. Madavarao kept silent for the time being. But on the very next day, he displayed his keen observation by producing in the class the said plant, which he had brought from beneath an old bridge in the city.
In 1924 he passed his Intermediate science in first class.
Later Madavarao joined Banares Hindu university for his B.Sc course.
Won Over By Kashi
On arrival in Kashi, Madhavrao immersed himself in books with an irrepressible passion to know and understand almost everything. He gained proficiency in Sanskrit (read some Sanskrit Shlokas from this link) to delve deep into the Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas.
He read and re-read texts of Vedanta for the sake of his friends who gathered around him every day for discussion. He studied extraneous subjects like Sociology, Economics, etc. to be able to assist his University mates. Alongside, he practiced Yogasanas and swimming and also learned to play flute and sitar. He would be so engrossed in the study that once, when he was stung by a scorpion, he continued his reading saying, It has stung my leg and not my head.
When attacked by fever he would say, fever is there for itself, and I am here for myself and continue his study. His room was full of books. He was always reading: when not reading he would be engaged in discussions with friends. Swimming in the morning; exercises in the evening.
Whenever he went back to his home for a short duration, his parents felt inwardly happy to see the glowing face of their son. He had indeed blossomed into a sprightly youth.
Madhavrao completed his B-Sc. in 1926, but he did not feel like leaving Kashi; so deep had been its influence on his mind. Under the pretext of pursuing his post-graduation in zoology, he managed to remain there for a further period of two years. During that period he applied himself to a deep study of the literature of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda (read on Bhagini Nivedita, a follower of Swami Vivekananda here).
He also became a member of a Theosophy Center, which had just then been started in Kashi. This proved to be a turning point in his life, in so far as his attitude, outlook, and lifestyle were concerned. It also brought about a complete change in his mode of dress. A white, loose kurta and a slack pajama became his attire – as was common among theosophists. Madhavrao liked the dress. He completed his M.Sc. also with distinction in 1928. He had to leave Kashi thereafter, though reluctantly.
Madhavrao went to Madras for doing his Ph.D. in the science of fishery. All the while his father had desired that Madhav should become a Doctor. Now he was going to be one, perhaps though a doctor of a different sort.
It was a hard life in Madras. He had to meet all his expenses out of a monthly allowance of Rs.50. He did all the daily chores by himself in his room. The local language was unfamiliar to him, and he had no acquaintances. He utilized this opportunity; in a way, this served to help him to brush up his English further, as he had to rely on it most of the time. He made full use of the enforced solitude for his contemplative pursuits.
The patriotic instinct, which had sprouted in his heart at Kashi, blossomed forth during his stay in Madras and reinforced his resolve to do anything for the sake of the country. He had clarity in his thought, purposiveness in action, firm faith in mental and physical powers, and a fearless disposition developed through his intellectual integrity.
Once he was having breakfast in a hotel with his friends, amidst conversation. There ensued a discussion about the sturdiness of the glass-pane on the table where they were sitting. Someone remarked, “How can such a delicate glass-top withstand rough handling?”
“It is not so easy to break it,” remarked the hotel owner rather challengingly.
“Suppose I break it with a single blow?” countered Madhavrao.
“If you do that, all of you can have a free breakfast here from me, “answered the owner, provoked further. By then curious onlookers had gathered around the table. His friends looked askance at Madhavrao.
“So, shall I break it?” – asked Madhavrao. “Do so.”
Madhavrao stood up, raised his hand, clenched his fist, and brought down a hammerlock blow.
The glass-pane was reduced to splinters! His friends, the owner, and the onlookers were all amazed.
On another occasion, the Nizam of Hyderabad was scheduled to visit the Madras aquarium.
They were faced with a problem: should they allow the Nizam without a ticket? Madhavrao insisted, “None should be permitted to break the rule.” He did not rest at that but ensured the entry of the Nizam to the aquarium only on production of a ticket. Only when it was over could the fear-stricken administration heave a sigh of relief.
It was natural for youth in the early twenties to think of his prospects, wife, family life, etc… But such thoughts never crossed the mind of Madhavrao even once. On the contrary, he cherished a desire to cross the bounds of the worldly life, take to sannyasa, and retire to the Himalayas for penance. But when he saw the plight of the country at that time, his cherished desire was shaken.
“I have decided not to go in search of solitude; let solitude itself come to me” – he wrote to a friend of his. That proved prophetic. At about the same time, Bhauji retired from service. The source of income for the family suddenly dried up. Naturally, Madhavraos’ pursuit of his studies at Madras became impossible. With a heavy heart, he returned to Nagpur. He then came into contact with Ramakrishna Ashram at Dhantoli in Nagpur. This contact gradually became more and more intimate. It was as if the timeless voice of Vivekananda had begun to beckon him.
Prof. Golwalkar Guruji
In May 1930, a letter came: “Shri M. S. Golwalkar is hereby appointed as professor of zoology in Kashi Hindu Vidyapeeth.” The parents were overjoyed that their ambition had been fulfilled.
Madhavrao left for Kashi. Prof. Golwalkar was a strict disciplinarian. With his sharp intellect and clarity of thought, he was a class apart from other professors there. His activities now were different from those of his student life. Every single activity in his routine had an assigned place and schedule. Sandhyavandana, then Yogasanas and Pranayama immediately followed the bath.
The duration of meditation and reflection had doubled. Having himself experienced poverty in boyhood, he was ever eager to help the poor and needy students in all possible ways. Although he was a professor of zoology, he taught subjects like English, Mathematics, Economics, Philosophy, etc. outside the class-hours without expectation of any return.
Because of this habit of engaging himself in extra studies only to help others, Professor Golwalkar came to be endearingly called as Guru. That epithet stuck to him and became popular not only among the youth in the University but, later, throughout the country.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
By that time, the activities of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had already started in Kashi.
Doctor Hedgewar, the founder of the Sangh, had asked his close associate Bhaiyaji Dani to initiate Sangh work in Kashi, while he was there for his studies. Guruji was very fond of Bhaiyaji. A close kinship developed between them. Guruji keenly observed the Sangh activities like the daily prayer, exercises, sports, discussions and other intellectual activities, conducive to nationalist thinking. Guruji said, “All these activities are dear to my heart too” and became one with the Sangh.
During his stay at Nagpur after return from Madras, Guruji had come to know about the Sangh and Doctor Hedgewar, who could attract any person towards him through his affability and magnetic personality.
Guruji soon succeeded in securing the blessings of eminent persons like Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya for the Sangh activities. Malaviya had made available a room for the Sangh office and also a ground for Shakha activities on the campus of the University. Malaviya often discussed with Guruji about the future of the country. The former was all appreciation for the discipline and dedication of Swayamsevaks.
The three years tenure of Guruji’s professorship came to an end in 1933. Guruji had to return to Nagpur. The parents thought that it would be better if Madhavrao did his Law, as he could thereby earn a lot. Following his parent’s wish, Guruji joined the Law College. Study for the Law course occupied very little of his time; he spent more time in the Ramakrishna Ashram at Dhantoli.
In 1934, Guruji was made the Karyavaha (executive) of the Kendriya Shakha at Nagpur. Doctorji had noticed the inexhaustible enthusiasm and devotion bubbling in this youth and gradually went on assigning to him more and more responsibilities. On the advice of Doctorji, Guruji went to Mumbai as Sangh Pracharak (organizer) for a time.
Guruji’s parents naturally felt that Madhav should marry now. But Guruji avoided it by saying I am willing to marry for your sake. But I don’t have the slightest interest in it. The parents did not pursue the matter further. Guruji was quite good at law; but it was beyond him to employ false witnesses or evidence, as lawyers are prone to do.
Thus Golwalkar became known as an advocate who is preferable for cases needing intellectual arguments, but not for the general run of appeal cases.
One fine day Guruji was missing!
For another cause
Guruji went straight to Saragachi in the Murshidabad district of Bengal. Sakaguchi Ramakrishna Ashram was then headed by Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and thus a Gurubhai of Swami Vivekananda.
Madhavrao desired initiation from Akhandananda who was elderly and a realized soul. Madhavrao served his preceptor whole-heartedly and received the initiation. Akhandananda had developed a very special affinity for this highly talented and well-educated disciple of his. While leading him on his spiritual path, Akhandananda said,
“Sannyas is not the destiny of Golwalkar. Another great cause awaits him.”
Guru Maharaj thus ordained his disciple for service of Bharat Mata.
Guruji returned to Nagpur after Swami Akhandananda left the mortal coil in 1937. Doctorji was the happiest person to see Guruji back in Nagpur.
Guruji had made up his mind that he should make some concrete contributions for the well being of the country, serving the society in a spirit of worship. This needed a specific field of activity. He began to take a greater interest in the work begun by Doctorji.
A most popular leader Doctorji was suffering from a severe attack of typhoid. His health seemed irrecoverable. Guruji remained like a shadow with him, nursed him, and served him till his end. Doctorji passed on the responsibility of the Sangh work to the able shoulders of Guruji and breathed his last on 21st June 1940.
Guruji assumed the office of Sarsanghchalak of the R.S.S. after the obsequies of doctorji were over. In a message for a hand-written periodical, which was being brought out by the Swayamsevaks of Wardha in those days, Guruji said:
“Let us not depend on any external instruments or sources of power. Let us draw inspiration from the memory of our beloved leader and his burning patriotism. Let us fulfill our mission with firm faith and let us strive hard to achieve our objective of ensuring pride of place to Hindu Rashtra on the world stage.”
Guruji pursed this goal tirelessly till the very end.
A Fountain Of Inspiration
Then began Guruji’s untiring and country-wide tours with a meticulously planned itinerary.
During the tours, as a wandering mendicant, he would spend each night in a different city or village, ceaselessly participating in camps, rallies, meetings, discussions, training camps, baithaks (structured organizational meetings) and contacts, inspiring thousands of youths, educating them about the significance of Sangh work and instilling in them a missionary zeal for wholehearted involvement in the task of national rejuvenation.
In the meantime, Guruji had to protect the growing organization from the hostile British rulers. He skillfully managed each such crisis.
In response to the call given by Guruji in 1942, thousands of youths all over the country vowed to dedicate themselves entirely for the Sangh work, on a wholesome basis. Thus Sangh Shakhas sprouted even in remote corners of the country.
Sangh activities thus grew apace.
During tours Guruji was very particular about keeping to the time-schedules, totally unmindful of vagaries of weather, floods, winds, heat or cold. Nothing came in the way of his predetermined programs. Never for a moment did he feel superior as the Sarsanghchalak of such a vast organization.
If no conveyance were available, he would walk the whole distance without a murmur. Once rains began to pour right at the time of the Prarthana (Sangh prayer). The Swayamsevaks were naturally upset. One of them made him bold, opened an umbrella and tried to hold it over Guru.
Without disturbing his posture of prayer, Guruji closed the umbrella with his left hand and completed the prayer in the torrential rain. While talking to the Karyakartas soon thereafter he said:
“If we are scared of even inclement weather, how can we achieve our goal? Those ready to do anything for the cause of the country should pay the least heed to the needs of their body.
How could we become eligible for the worship of the nation, unless we overcome nature?”
The basic endeavor of the Sangh is: to bring a person to the Sanghasthan, observe him closely, inform him about the Sangh work, instruct him in the Sangh thoughts, persuade him, and finally make that person commit himself to the Sangh ideology and patriotism through the daily and periodic programs of the Sangh.
Other Sangh activities like games, baithaks, discussion-sessions, physical exercise, patriotic songs, Prarthana, etc., are supplementary aids to the above process. Individuals should mix and mingle with one another based on their shared national outlook and become one with the strong bond of brotherhood and discipline. Only then could the problems faced by the country be solved.
This was the essence of the teachings of Guruji.
Fire – Ordeal
The opponents of the Sangh started disturbances. There was stone-throwing in Nagpur and other places on 31st January. They attacked the house of Guruji and pelted stones. Unperturbed, Guruji kept on reciting Bhagavad Gita with perfect equanimity and poise.
The Government arrested Guruji under the baseless accusation of Gandhis’ assassination.
The Sangh was banned, and thousands of Swayamsevaks and workers were dumped behind the bars. Being alarmed by the growing strength of the Sangh, and due to the enormous public approbation, Guruji had been receiving all over the country, the Government cracked down on the Sangh in a bid to trample and finish it.
There was, in fact, no connection whatsoever between the Sangh and the murder of Gandhiji.
The Government had to withdraw the charges barely within a week. The courts of law released the Swayamsevaks and passed strictures against the Government action.
The Government released Guruji also on 6 August with certain restrictions imposed on him. He entered into prolonged correspondence with the top leaders of the country. He appealed to the Government to lift the ban on the Sangh and to clear it of the charges since they were all baseless. The restrictions on Guruji too were eventually removed.
Guruji went to Delhi. Thousands of citizens gave him a rousing welcome by showering flowers on him. Talks ensued. A suggestion was put forward for the merger of the Sangh with Congress.
Guruji at once rejected it. Talks and correspondence failed. Preparations for a nation-wide movement to start the Sangh Shakhas in defiance of the ban order were set in motion over-night, with lightning speed. As expected, Guruji was re-arrested. Sangh Shakhas was started in hamlets, villages, towns, and cities all over the country again.
More than a hundred thousand Swayamsevaks offered Satyagraha. They were promptly jailed. They were subjected to untold miseries and torture. People took out protest marches demanding the immediate removal of the ban. Many eminent personages came forward for mediation and began negotiation with the Government. The Swayamsevaks were denied even the minimum facilities that were normally made available to ordinary prisoners in the jails.
As a result, their health condition began to deteriorate. Guruji never bent before the Government.
His cardinal faith was that “Ultimately Truth alone triumphs.”
On 12 July 1949, the Government removed the eighteen-month-old ban on the Sangh.
Guruji advised the Swayamsevaks,
“Forget the nightmarish episode of the ban. You should not harbor even the slightest bitterness in your minds about those responsible for causing us harm and injustice. After all, they are our countrymen. Remember that both the tongue and the teeth always remain together. Once in a way by accident, the teeth may bite the tongue, but on that account, we do not knock them down.
If one leg trips the other, are we to cut that leg?
Those who have harmed us are very much our own people, not outsiders. Hence let us forget and forgive.”
In The Service Of People Again
Thousands of Hindus started pouring in from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on account of their forcible conversion to Islam. The Sangh, under the able stewardship of Guruji, girded up its loins for the service of the people thus rendered homeless. Guruji once again swung into swift action to supervise these arrangements of succor to the refugees.
He alerted the Government about their duty towards these unfortunate brethren of ours and gave his guidance for the appropriate course of action under those difficult circumstances. He appealed to the people to extend their helping hand in mitigation of the distress caused by the neighboring State.
People of Delhi presented a purse of Rs.101001/- to Shri Guruji. Shri J. A. Kurien, a journalist from the U.S.A., and Prof. Wilson from Australia came to Bharat to study the Sangh and its working. The name and fame of the Sangh reached to the distant corners of the world.
Guruji then led a movement against cow-slaughter. He articulated the Hindus deeply rooted feeling towards the cow, which has been a focal point of our culture and Dharma, in the minds of the multitudes. The movement set a world record of 1,74,89,332 signatures collected by fifty-four thousand Swayamsevaks from 84,000 villages and cities all over the country.
Guruji never tolerated any insult either to the unity and integrity of the country, to Dharma and Culture, or the cherished beliefs of people. Narrating the story of a lion-cub that had acquired all the sheepish traits after it strayed into a herd of sheep for a long time and which was later on restored to its innate leonine nature by another lion, Guruji exhorted the people to stand up-right and assert themselves once again.
Guruji stoutly protested against all that was inimical to the integrity of Bharat. He opposed every act of treachery against the nation. Due to inertia on the part of the Government, China gobbled up Tibet.
There was no reaction from our Government. The Portuguese were torturing our people in Goa, which was a part of Bharat. The Government maintained a sullen silence. Guruji cautioned the Government on all such occasions. Guruji was the first nationalist thinker to openly warn that the re-organization of the States solely based on language would do much harm to the country.
Guruji was a fountain of perennial inspiration to thousands of Hindu youths. He was a Karmayogi. His physique was fragile. But spiritual glow and serenity flowed from his face. Curly locks of hair reaching up to shoulders; a flowing beard; a broad forehead; lips hiding behind the curved mustache; an observant pair of bright eyes; a sprinkle of a sweet smile in his talks and conversation; and often bouts of hearty laughter too.
His softly couched and aptly delivered cryptic remarks had a drive-home quality about them.
He was invariably clothed in a baggy dhoti and loose kurta, and shawl on the shoulders. Seeing his erect chest and fast pace with long strides, one felt tempted to call him a saint in a hurry.
His pious Personality reflected the dynamism of a noble commander. His heart emitted concentrated confidence of a thousand lions. With all this, he shunned publicity like poison. Such was his self-effacing nature.
1956 saw the fifty-first birthday of Shri Guru.
It was celebrated in a befitting manner. On that occasion, the Sangh workers not only arranged colorful functions but also conveyed the thoughts Guruji held dear to his heart, to every heart and home in the country.
1963 was the birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda. Guruji addressed a mammoth public meeting in Madras and other important cities.
He reminded the people of the rousing call of Swami Vivekananda to build a strong organization in Hindu Samaj, for national reconstruction.
Guruji shaped the Sangh into a protective shield and also as fighting arms of the country whenever it was confronted with an external crisis.
In 1962, China betrayed Bharat. It pushed its army into our territory. Guruji gave a call to the Swayamsevaks to stand by the Government in protecting the nation.
“Now that a powerful enemy has attacked our nation, let us set aside our differences and be united as an invincible force. This is the need of time. All the people of Bharat should stand erect as one Virat-Purusha for safeguarding the national interests.”
Millions of hearts throbbed in unison with this call of Guru. Swayamsevak responded in full measure and stood as pillars of support to all the governmental and social efforts in this direction.
They helped the Government in maintaining the internal security of the metropolitan cities of Delhi, Calcutta, and Mumbai.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad
Even as his concern about the security of the country from external threats was paramount, his anxiety was no less in the reforms to be brought about in the society from within. Most of the Hindus of the world live in Bharat. But millions of them have settled in several other countries of the world too.
They have gone there for vocation, studies, trade, business, etc., and have stayed back in those countries. Many a great Hindu social thinker felt the need for a forum for bringing the Hindus of the world together.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad was thus founded on the Krishna Janmashtami day in 1964. Guruji conceptualized the founding of the V.H.P. and continued to guide it for the next few years.
The Parishad convened its First World Conference at Prayagraj in 1966. The First Karnataka State-level Conference was held at Udupi in 1969. Both these conferences were attended by a record number of delegates and blessed by the Dharmacharyas of all the major religious orders and traditions such as Shaiva, Vaishnava, Veerasaiva, Bouddha, Jain, Sikh, Aryasamaj, etc.
The Sant-Sadhus assembled there proclaimed in unequivocal terms the natural brotherhood and equality of all Hindus. They defended the right of the Hindus to self-protection. Guruji was the leading light of these conferences.
The Dharmacharyas declared with one voice that there is neither prescription nor any sanction for the most heinous practice of untouchability in our Dharma or scriptures. When this resolution was adopted unanimously, the eyes of Guruji were full of tears of fulfillment.
He exclaimed, “Momentous session!” Guruji was traveling throughout the country at least twice a year. He was interacting with thousands of Sangh workers and members of the public through various programs like the month-long State-level Sangh Shiksha Vargas (training camps), short-duration camps, baithaks, meetings, wide public contacts, etc…
He was establishing personal rapport with the associates and the people everywhere, and always discussing the problems faced by the country and emphasizing our duty to it. He was clearing their doubts and providing constant guidance. Added to this, he had to meet the harassment caused by the Government from time to time.
It is not as if Guruji, who had accepted the parivrajaka-vrata (life-style of mendicants) for the national rejuvenation, had no bodily ailments. The malady that began with pain due to a clot in the chest was treated by several therapies. But the pain did not subside. Guruji, however, went ahead with his itinerary unhindered.
In 1969, the attending experts identified his affliction as cancer. It was a great shock for people all over the country. They performed poojas, prayers, and homas for his speedy recovery. Guruji maintained his calm and poise. He gathered all information about cancer with equanimity and quietly underwent the dreaded operation.
The operation, no doubt, was declared to be successful. But he knew that his days were coming to a close sooner than expected. Knowing his approaching end, he hastened to complete the tasks on hand. “Treatment during tours, and travel while you treat” – that was how he conducted himself during the rest of his life.
There were endless treatments and medicines. He finished every item of the work he wanted to complete. Finally, on 3rd April 1973, he wrote three letters as his testament and kept them with instructions to be opened after his demise: the first addressed to all the Swayamsevak brethren, the second about his successor, and the third relating to his posthumous rites.
To Immortal Glory
On 10 April, Guruji tumbled down from the chair. It caused him severe pain. On the 11th he observed fast as it was Sri Rama Navami. He sent away all the articles of his daily personal worship to his cousin brother.
The 5th day of June 1973: It was the Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami of the Hindu calendar. Breathing trouble became aggravated. He was given a bath. He completed his sandhyavandan (ablutions) and while sitting on his easy – chair, kept his Kamandalu (water pitcher) on his right side, indicating an onward journey. On other occasions, he used to keep the Kamandalu on his left side always. But today it was different. “Everything is ready. I can start any time” – he said to a by-standing visitor. He joined in the Sangh prayer in the evening.
Guruji left his mortal coil at 9.05 p.m, attaining immortal glory.
Thus Spake Guruji
Countless discourses, thousands of letters and hundreds of press statements by Shri Guruji are now part of the cherished knowledge legacy of humanity. The life of Shri Guruji is lustrous and multifaceted. His thoughts are a perennial source of inspiration for mankind. Here are a few rays of that brilliance:
- Fearlessness is the first and foremost virtue of the brave, and the starting point of all sublime qualities.
- This is my Dharma, my Vedanta. This is my Hindu Rashtra. I have to live and strive for its realization. I must live as an example for the entire world to follow-only such abiding faith would provide a firm foundation for the reorganization of the Hindus.
- The will of a person becomes tempered like steel when he prepares himself for the supreme sacrifice for a just and lofty goal.
- We are not so narrow-minded as to call anyone as alien merely because he has changed his mode of worship. We have no objection to the use of any name in addressing God. We in the Sangh are Hindus in every particle of ours. That is why we respect all religious faiths equally.
- A person with religious intolerance cannot be called a Hindu at all.
- The most demeaning sin is to remain weak in the world. It not only destroys us but also incites others to attack us with violence.
- No doubt it requires two to fight. But both of them need not necessarily be fighters. It is, all the same, a fight, even if one goes on beating and the other gets beaten. There is no guarantee that others would behave properly with us even if we remain peaceful and cordial with them.
- There must be an axis at the center of a wheel if it has to rotate. No wheel would rotate if its axis were outside it. There cannot be a circle with its center outside it. It is an impossibility. Those cherishing extra-national loyalties can only be called traitors. Will it not be treacherous if an individual is drawing inspiration from elements beyond the boundaries of his country?
- A grain of salt completely dissolves in water and then retains no separate existence. But the salty taste will be evident in each drop of that water. Likewise, an individual should dissolve him in the nation.