Who was Shri Guruji?
Let us look at the brief answers to these questions. Shri Guruji was the second all-Bharat Chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was born in 1906. The special occasion round the corner is the celebration of his birth centenary. ‘Guruji’ was not his original name. This name was used out of regard, by his students in Banaras Hindu University where he taught. He is better known by this name even today throughout the Sangh and the nation. His name was Madhav Sadashivrao Golwalkar. His father’s name was Sadashivrao and his mother was Lakshmibai. They lived in Nagpur. In his childhood, Shri Guruji was called lovingly as Madhu. Eight progenies of his parents before him had met a premature death. Those days, Nagpur was a province of modern Madhya Pradesh. His father was a teacher. He was continuously posted in Hindi speaking areas. Although, his mother tongue was Marathi, since Hindi was the general spoken language, Madhu had a firm grip on Hindi as well. And as his school was managed by the Christian missionaries, Madhavrao (his name in school) developed mastery in English, too.
The atmosphere in Madhavrao’s house was pious and religious. Right from his childhood, his mother would wake him up with devotional songs, rendered in her melodious voice. This left a deep cultural imprint on him. He would cherish her songs very fondly, when he grew older.
Prodigious Intellectual Talent
Madhavrao was a sharp boy with prodigious memory. Once, his school teacher Prof. Gardener was teaching the Bible. Madhavrao interrupted saying, “Sir, the reference given by you is not correct, actually it should have been like this....” And saying thus he uttered another sentence. All the students and Prof. Gardener were amazed. But when it was cross-checked with the Bible, he was found to be correct. At the end of the class, the Professor gave him a fond pat on the back. This incident served as a witness to his qualities, like exceptional memory, courage and unshakeble self-confidence. His memory served him till his last day. Even today, throughout the country, people recall anecdotes of his phenomenal memory.
Extraordinary Forbearance
In 1924, having completed his studies up to Intermediate, Madhavrao left for the famous Banaras Hindu University, to finish his B.Sc. The huge repository of invaluable books in the library there was as if waiting to quench his thirst for knowledge. Madhavrao started reading the books, through and through, one by one. One day, his toe was bitten by a scorpion, but he very casually cut that portion of his foot, dipped that foot in potassium permanganate solution and resumed his study. Amazed at this, one of his friends asked, “How do you manage to study despite such severe pain?” Madhavrao replied, “Well, the scorpion has bitten my foot, not my head!” Later on also, people have many a time witnessed his tranquil tolerance under most excruciating physical pains.
Madhavrao returned to Nagpur after completing his Masters in Zoology with first class from Kashi and a few months later, left for Chennai for research in aquarium. There also, people experienced his passion for strict discipline. Once, the Nizam of Hyderabad paid a visit to the laboratory. All the visitors were charged with entrance fee. The managers, however, thought it inappropriate to ask for entrance fee from a big shot like the Nizam. But Madhavrao insisted and the Nizam could enter only after paying the entrance fee. In 1929, his father retired from service and this led to a financial crunch. Money could no longer be sent for pursuance of Madhavrao’s studies and ultimately, he left research work and returned to Nagpur. In his correspondence of those days, to his friends, Madhavrao expressed his sentiments as to how he felt in consonance about the incidents of the aggressive patriotism of revolutionaries.
Boundless Love for Students
From August 1931, Madhavrao began teaching at Banaras Hindu University. During this period, many of his hidden talents came to light. His unfathomable love for his students drove him to help them at studies in every possible way; often he would purchase the necessary text-books for needy students or financially assist them to pay their examination fees. He would be happy spending a large sum of his salary to this end. He would delve deep into other subjects also, so that he could help students in those subjects. Doing all this, Madhavarao had no expectation in return at all. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya noticed his talent as well as his deep affection for the students, and grew fond of him. It was through a Swayamsevak from Nagpur, Shri Bhaiyyaji Dani, who was sent there as a student by Doctorji, (Dr. Hedgewar, the founder of RSS) that Shri Guruji came into contact with the Sangh. He also became the Palak (guardian) of that Shakha.
In February 1933, on the expiry of his teaching term, Shri Guruji returned to Nagpur and by 1935, completed his study of law.
What If The Family Tree does Not Branch Out Further?
Meanwhile, having seen Shri Guruji from closer quarters, Doctorji tried to maintain contact with him. Recognizing his extraordinary working capacity and intellectual talents, he started delegating greater responsibilities to him. In 1934, Shri Guruji ably discharged the duties of Sarvadhikari (officer-in-charge) of Sangh Shiksha Varga (Officer's training camp) in Akola. By now, it was very natural for his parents to think of his marriage. Shri Guruji’s mother put forth the proposal for his marriage and said if he decided against marrying, their Golwalkar family lineage would cease to exist - he being the only surviving son. Shri Guruji replied, “In the present situation it is necessary, that, for the welfare of the society, if the family lineages of not only me, but several others like me are terminated, I am not in the least worried.” The debate over his marriage ended then and there.
In Search of his Life Mission
Shri Guruji was seriously thinking of orienting his life in a definite direction. The pathetic plight of the Hindu society and of an enslaved nation tortured him on the one side; on the other, it was his inborn spiritual pursuit that pulled him. He started visiting the President of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, Swami Bhaskareshvarananda in Nagpur. There he came in close and friendly contact with Sri Amitabh Maharaj. He came to know through him that in the Sargachi Ashram, in Bengal, there stayed Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of revered Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. In 1936, one fine day, based on the information received from Amitabh Maharaj, Shri Guruji quietly left for Sargachi in search of a spiritual guide. Neither his parents nor anybody else knew his whereabouts. When Shri Guruji left for Sargachi, Doctorji who was thinking about entrusting him with more and more responsibilities became equally concerned for him.
Unique Personification of Service
Sargachi witnessed another brilliant aspect of Shri Guruji’s personality. He immersed himself in the service of Swami Akhandananda, who was quite old and indisposed. Shri Guruji would daily bathe him, wash his clothes, offer him tea and meals, and put him to bed. Often Shri Guruji would sit through the night at his bed-side and serve him. About six months passed in this manner. His untiring dedicated service and his spiritual orientation pleased Swamiji so much that he decided to initiate him into the Order. Shri Guruji was overwhelmed after getting initiated. Later, he described the moment thus, “I have received the blessings one gets after innumerable births. My body felt thrilled all over and I am finding myself an altogether changed person.” 13th January, 1937 (Makar Sankranti) was the auspicious day of initiation. A few days later, on 24th January, Guru Maharaj gave his blessing to Shri Guruji, saying, “Whatever good I have, I am giving it to you; and whatever bad you have, you give it to me.” That day, till 3.30 a.m. Swamiji disclosed the secrets of spirituality to Shri Guruji and Amitabh Maharaj. One day, Swamiji told Amitabh Maharaj, “It seems that Golwalkar would work in association with Dr. Hedgewar.” As a mark of his memory, Swamiji gave his personal belongings like Kamandal etc. to Shri Guruji. After a short while, in February, 1937 the revered Swamiji left his mortal coil. Later, Shri Guruji spent some time in Ramakrishna Ashram, Belur Math and then along with Amitabh Maharaj returned to Nagpur.
In Nagpur, Shri Guruji’s, life took an altogether new turn. In Doctorji, he saw a personality intensely motivated and dedicated to the nation. On being asked by some gentleman on the subject, Shri Guruji replied, “Like spirituality, organization of the Nation has also been my inclination from early days. I believe that I would be in a better position to achieve it successfully being a part of the Sangh. Hence, I have dedicated myself to the activities of Sangh. In the light of the insight and practical approach of Swami Vivekananda, I think my decision is appropriate.”
Shri Guruji was also closely observing Doctorji, who had put his heart and soul into this work. From 1938 onwards, Shri Guruji identified the work of Sangh as the sole mission of his life. In the close company of Doctorji, he focussed his entire attention on the activities of Sangh. This also relieved Doctorji of his worries.