NITYALILALINA BHAIJI SHRI HANUMAN PRASADJI PODDAR
Hanuman Prasad Poddar (1892-1971)
The Punyatithi of Nityalilalina Bhaiji Hanuman Prasadji Poddar falls on 29-3-2011 (Tuesday). Endearingly called as Bhaiji by millions of his devotees throughout the world, he was a sparkling and multi-faceted personality. As the Founder-Editor of the internationally famous Hindu religious Magazine called ‘KALYAN’, he was known for his untiring efforts to propagate and disseminate Hindu religion across the world. He was a prolific author on Hindu religion and Sanatana Dharma. He was also a great freedom fighter who worked in close touch with the extremists and armed revolutionaries of Bengal between 1913 and 1920. the Government of India issued a postagestamp in his honour in 1992.
Stamp Issue Date : 19/09/1992
Postage Stamp Denomination : 1.00
Postal Stamp Serial Number : 1515
Postal Stamp Name : HANUMAN PRASAD PODDAR
Stamp Currency : P
Stamp Type : COMMEMORATIVE
Stamp Language : English
Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar was one of the luminaries of the national resurgence and spiritual renaissance that swept the country in the early part of the 20th century. Shri Poddar was born on 17th September, 1892 at Shillong in a Vaishnava family. He had very little formal schooling, but due to his dedication and self effort he attained mastery over half a dozen languages. Like many of his contemporaries, he began his early life as a revolutionary, determined to overthrow the British and free his motherland Because of his close association with young revolutionaries of Bengal, he was imprisoned and put under house arrest for 21 months, which proved to be turning point in his life. He undertook to edit the spiritual Hindi magazine ‘Kalayan’ in 1927. Starting with a circulation of 1600 copies in 1927, today it has a circulation of more than 300,000 copies. Under the advice of Mahatmaji, ‘Kalyan’ magazine had no columns for book reviews, criticism and commercial advertisements. On account of Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar’s unique spiritual zeal, inspiring leadership and organising capacity, the Hindi magazine ‘Kalyan’ became a force for the propagation and dissemination of Hindu Scriptures and Sanatana Dharma.
Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar also published and edited ‘KALYANA – KALPATARU’ IN ENGLISH FROM 1934 and this Journal still continues to be in publication and large scale circulation. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar dedicated his whole life from 1927 to the sacred and lofty cause of propagation of Hindu Scriptures such as the Baghvad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas through the large scale publication of books in Hindi and other major Indian languages like Marathi, Gujrati, Bengali, Oriya, Telegu, Kannada, Tamil to the common people at affordable prices. The Ramayan, the Geeta and the Upnishads were published by him in the original Sanskrit text with a rendering of the Hindi translation or in any other major Indian language thus making them all available to the common man at affordable prices. Millions of copies of these inspirational spiritual books and fountainheads of ancient knowledge and wisdom were thus distributed from Himalayas to Kanyakumari and from Ran of Kutch to the Bay of Bengal.
The Hindi Journal Kalyan, the English Journal Kalyan Kalpataru and all the other sacred books like the Bhagavat Geeta, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana in Hindi and allthe major Indian Languages were published by the GITA PRESS IN GORAKHPUR.
SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA (1880-1965)
FOUNDER OF GITA PRESS, GORAKHPUR
The GITA PRESS in GORAKHPUR city in Uttar Pradesh State was founded by SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA (1885-1965) on April 29, 1923 for promoting the principles of Sanatana Dharma. It was started as a unit of Gobind Bhawan Karyalaya registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (presently governed by the West Bengal Societies Act, 1960). Five months later it acquired its first printing machine for Rs 600. The Gita Press is one of the world's largest publishers of Hindu religious texts. Since its establishment, the Gita Press has published 63.4 million (6.34 crore) copies of the Gita (in different editions) and 64.9 million (6.49 crore) copies of the Ramcharitamanas, at subsidized prices throughout India and the world.
Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar and SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA were great personal friends. Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar became editor of the Hindi Journal ‘Kalyan’ in 1927 and remained as its editor till his death in 1971. The close association between these two spiritual giants from 1927 till SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA’s death in 1965 really made great history in the field of large-scale publication of sacred books on Hindu religion and Sanatana Dharma.
The Gita Press in Gorakhpur
GITA PRESS, GORAKHPUR - MAIN ENTRANCE
Gita Press Gate, with its pillars inspired by the cave temples of Ellora, the gopuram inspired by Meenakshi temple, Madurai
In the Gita Press in Gorakhpur, each day starts with a morning prayer. A person roams around throughout the day to remind the name of God to each worker several times. Over the years, the Gita Press, as a great National Institution has made available more than 450 million copies of the Gita, Ramayan, Bhagvat, Durga Saptashati, Puranas, Upanishads, Bhakta-Gathas, and other character-building books in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, and other Indian regional languages.
I am presenting below the front cover of the Sacred Sundara Kandh published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
Now let me come back to describe the multi-dimensional greatness of Shri NITYALILALINA BHAIJI HANUMAN PRASAD JI PODDAR as a Saint, Sage, Seer and Spiritual Thinker. He was in the true, long and unbroken tradition of the great Saints and Sages of Ancient India. He was a Bhakti Maargi who was a great Devotee of Lord Krishna. He wrote thousands of poems (pad) in Hindi under the title Pad Ratnakar published by the Geeta Press in Gorakhpur.
NITYALILALINA BHAIJI HANUMAN PRASAD JI PODDAR wrote Shodash Geet, on the love of Lord Krishna and Radha. He was associated with a Saint, called RADHA BABA who lived with him.
Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji and Radha Baba Ji
The Great Saint Shri Radha Baba of Gorakhpur never came into prominence during his lifetime. He earnestly believed that a Sanyasi should never publicise himself. Only those devotees who were closely associated with Saint Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji, who was popularly known as ‘Bhaiji’ came into close contact with Shri Radha Baba because he lived with Bhaiji in Gita Garden in Gorakhpur. Shri Radha Baba was a follower of Vedanta and a firm believer in intellectual Gyana Marga. But after his close association with Shri Bhaiji, Shri Radha Baba also became a Bhakti Margi and a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. Shri.Radha Baba strictly followed the path of Braj Sadhana and worshipped Lord Krishna in the concept and tradition of Radha Bhava.
Though Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji was never a self-proclaimed preceptor, yet millions flocked to meet him for spiritual counsel and guidance. With love, care and affectionate homilies as also with scholarly articles and books he brought about a sea-change in the minds of the millions who heard him and read him. In the sphere of social service, he was always in the forefront whether it was a flood, a drought a fire or an epidemic. He showed superhuman capacity for such relief operations by heading squads to take care of the affected and the afflicted.
Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji set up a number of schools for the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the needy, the sick, the destitute and the lepers. In recognition of his services to the country, the Government of India has published his biography both in Hindi and English under the 'Builders of Modern India' series. Regarded as a rare saint among saints, he spent the latter half of his life totally immersed in spiritual pursuits along with his role as a leading social reformer, in addition to his role as a householder in the true tradition of King Janaka of Mithila. Shri Poddar shed his mortal coil on March 22nd, 1971 and he will be remembered unto eternity for his selfless service to humanity.
In an article in Kalyan Kalpataru Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji laid down 51 Rules in accordance with Sanatana Dharma for leading a selfless life marked by virtue and devotion. In this article he wrote as follows: “
1. Serve all, expect nothing
2. When a person needs anything which you possess, and you gladly give it to him without the desire of receiving any service from him in return, you do an act of service. The thing, however, must be such that its receipt does him good, and no injury.
3. As far as possible, do not allow your service to be known; do not try to reveal it. If it gets revealed, feel yourself ashamed.
4. Do not feel proud by doing an act of service. Do not seek anything from one whom you serve. Do not desire that he should feel obliged to you. Do not upset by his shortcomings. Do not feel irritated with him, Do not censure him.
5. Do not advertise your service, and thus make the recipient of service uneasy about it. This will make him hesitate to accept your service in future. He will repent for having accepted your service, and thus the value of the service will be lost.
6. When an opportunity of service presents itself before you, do not wait for special time and special resources. Take up the service with whatever resources you may possess at the time.
7. Generally speaking, all creatures can claim our services, but service to elders, to aged men, to widows, to house holders suffering from poverty, to the humble and distressed, to persons suffering from disease, to creatures without any protectors, are matters of supreme dharma (duty). It should be considered a privilege when one gets an opportunity to serve such people.
8. Do not serve with a view to gain honour, position and worship.
9. Do not serve with the idea of making the person you serve your follower and disciple.
10. Renunciation is necessary for service, and for renunciation control of the senses. He whose senses are not under control can do no service.
11. Freeing the mind of all desire for wealth, honour and fame, to propagate pure spiritual ideas, rightness of conduct and universal love is a great service to people.
Surveying the saga of unsurpassed service and sacrifice of a sage like Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji, who had an unshakable faith in the eternal relevance of Sanatana Dharma, thefollowing great spiritual poem titled
UNSHAKEBLE FAITH By Swami Ramdas comes to my mind:
Unshakable faith in God and His will:
Nothing short of this.
Take thorough refuge in Him.
Give up all fears,
all anxieties, all doubts,
all thoughts of weakness.
You have put yourself under the guidance and control
of an all-powerful being.
Let Him do what He pleases with you.
Give up I and mine. Make no plans.
Let nothing of the past or the future disturb you.
God is the sole doer and you are His child. His servant.
Your I and mine has no existence. It is all He, He alone.
Submit, resign, surrender yourself to Him.
Be always cheerful, be peaceful and blissful. In this state
You will always remain. This is your goal.
God is always in you and you are always in Him.
He and you are one. This is the truth.