It was 1991-92 when Manju and I met Maheshbhai for the first time in Atlanta. He was an extraordinary person but was very well-grounded in realities of the time along with feasible expectations from the fellow workers. He chose to work at every level with everyone at the same level. He conducted several training sessions for the VHPA Atlanta Chapter karyakartas, while we were preparing for the 1993 Global Vision conference in parallel. It was during this preparation, our chapter organized a fund raising event and the first ever public program I hosted with him as the main speaker. This was just the beginning of experience of working with him directly, and there was no looking back since then. Working with him taught me personally about dealing with successes as well as failures. He was a guide, mentor, an elder brother and a friend with whom you could openly share thoughts and ideas without any reservations or risk of being judged. At times, he would act as a counselor as well as VHPA official to guide you at every step of the way. One could always count on him for the advice and resources as and when needed. Last time we visited him in his home in Boston before he left for Bharat.
Manju and I wanted to see him in November 2021 but I was advised to wait till he’s back from the hospital! Shri Maheshbhai’s departure for his onward journey has left a huge void with no visible substitute and may take a very long time to fill. While continuing our work towards the fulfillment of the goals he envisioned, I join everyone in praying for Moksha for his Atman. I also pray for the well-being of Raginiben, and rest of his global Hindu family to withstand his permanent physical absence going forward.
Shyam Tiwari is a member of VHPA’s Executive Board and vice president for publications.