This profile was last updated in 2002
Activities and Schedule
There is a Sunday meeting, from 11:45 am to 1 pm. The ceremony begins with the chanting of mantras, then Bhajan (hymn) singing, followed by a video-taped sermon of Dada J. P. Vaswani, then arthi, and finally the “langar” or prasad, a group meal. The group also sponsors classes on yoga, cooking, and music, and ladies meetings. The group emphasizes education, service, simplicity, prayer, purity, and the kind treatment of animals. Every third Sunday of the month, the group takes food to homeless families in Hackensack, NJ. At Christmas time, the youth take toys and clothes to the Ronald McDonald House. Twice a year, they do the same for the local school for the handicapped. They also donate to local hospitals and provide money to cancer patients who are also members of the Sadhu Vaswani community. They also have plans to open a daycare center. The community is known for its “Abstain from Meat Day” on November 25, the founder T.L. Vaswani’s birthday.
The community traces its heritage back to Mirabai, the well-known sixteenth-century North Indian bhakti (devotional) poet. The community’s founder, T. L. Vaswani, was a devotee of Mirabai, and was inspired by her personal story to start girls’ schools and a girls’ college, all named after Saint Mira. The group advocates for education and development for girls and young women. Sadhu J.P. Vaswani has been coming to visit members of the community in the US for 19 years. In 1988, he encouraged the NJ group to seek a center where they could meet regularly. In 1990, they bought an old Masonic temple, and refurbished it. The bottom level has the offices, kitchen and large activity/eating room. Upstairs is the worship space, painted in soft pearl and pink colors, carpeted in pearl wall-to-wall carpet, and lit by glass chandeliers. The look is simple and elegant. A life-size painting of the founder, framed in a gold frame, sits over the small stage up front. There is a similar painting of J.P. Vaswani at the head of the stairs, which is taken down at his request when he visits. To the left of the stage is the reading couch, and a reading stand holds an open copy of the “Nuri Namani,” the “humble Nuri,” or collection of poems by the founder, T.L. Vaswani, whose poetic signature was “Nuri.” It is covered in satin cloth, and read from as part of the weekly ceremony.
Pray give me the strength, that I install Thee in my very being!
If all the seven oceans were to turn into ink,
And all the forests of the world were converted into pens,
And the whole surface of the earth became a vast sheet of paper,
Even then, none can write Thy full description and praise!
None can fathom Thee, says Nuri Nimani,
Nor can any one comprehend Thy form or attributes!