“Being with Radhanath Swami today has given me as much pleasure as when I received the national award, Padma Vibhushan,” confessed Dr. Kantilal Sancheti. Sancheti was the chief guest at the unveiling of the audio CD version of Radhanath Swami’s book The Journey Home. The CD launch was held on December 20th, 2013, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Hall in Pune, India. The audio version made by Poona Blind Men’s Association (PBMA) is available in four languages – English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati – and was made especially for the benefit of the blind all over the world.
Dr. Sancheti is the inventor of India’s first indigenous knee implant – indus knee – and founder of the first hospital in Maharashtra (India) dedicated specifically to orthopedic care. He has won many national and international awards, including the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in the Republic of India. In his address to the seven hundred guests, including over a hundred blind men and women, he praised The Journey Home, saying: “The real art of communication is to be able to convey to each and every person a simple message that can touch his or her heart. And The Journey Home has done exactly that,” said Dr. Sancheti. He also shared his feeling that the book is a great literature for revealing that merely focusing on the externals does not add value to our lives, and that The Journey Home can certainly help us find the truth within ourselves.
Mr. Niranjan Pandya, the president of the PBMA, hosted the event. Mr. Pandya lost his eyes at the age of seventeen while playing cricket. He then resolved to dedicate his life to the welfare of the blind and to help prevent blindness in society. For over fifty years he has worked tirelessly in this field, and in 2011 he was awarded the Padma Shri award by the government of India in recognition of his extensive social service. Upon reading The Journey Home Mr. Pandya was inspired to convert the book into a CD and to gift the CD to blind boys and girls all over the world.
Radhanath Swami spoke in his address from the Bhagavad-gita, explaining that real vision is not in having eyes but in possessing the ability to see every living being as a child of God and as one’s own brother and sister. Glorifying the recenty-departed world legend Nelson Mandela, Radhanath Swami spoke about Mandela’s determination to forgive and love all people, seeing beyond their external designations. Quoting many examples from history, Radhanath Swami spoke about the exemplary devotion and service of devotees of Krishna who were physically blind. “If we live by the principles of selfless service, sincerely doing the best we can for the right cause, then that is greatness in the eyes of God.”
Radhanath Swami concluded his talk by sharing his realization that to do great things in life we do not need eyes as much as shelter of God’s grace. “See with God’s eyes, work with God’s hands, hear with God’s ears, and speak with God’s mouth. That is Bhakti – to be an instrument of God’s love.”
The PBMA was especially grateful to Radhanath Swami for his kindness to accept the invitation for the launch. Amongst many projects, the PBMA manages a home for elderly blind women, a talking book library, and a modern computerized Braille press with a facility to print almost 600 Braille papers in an hour.