Mahashay Raghubir (Teacher, philosopher, poet, leader, Hindu priest and Humanitarian) “Question: What is the key to happiness in one word?
Pandit Mahashay Raghubir
Mahashay (Teacher) Raghubir was a man of strict ethics and a behavioral code in which his every action was fore-thought and measured. He was the truest example of the man who stood tall for his beliefs and refused to take a single step backwards, refusing to compromise in any way, in his quest to excel in his personal life, and in helping others.
He was the spiritual teacher of Pandit Budhram Mahadeo and he came to be very proud of his exceptional student.
His quiet, contemplative, demeanor was one that made those in society of lesser morals uncomfortable in his presence even though he was not one to demean others under any circumstances. He was the teacher of all and was the most respected of the elders of the Number 64-66 Village Arya Samaj Mandir. Here every Sunday, he took the opportunity to impart his wisdom on the congregation in a way which was quite unique. At each Sunday’s service he gave lectures on topics which were not only religious, but practical to every day life. An example of this was when one Sunday when he asked everyone to take home with them a question, think of the answer all week and come next Sunday with their best answer. The question was ‘What is the key to happiness in one word?’ The following Sunday every person came with their own answer or explanation and of course, they were all incorrect. He calmly gave the answer as ‘Contentment’ and through his unique and gentle way of speaking; he explained his answer using very simple language and analogies so that the children could receive and understand his full message.
He was the most vocal during the weeks leading up to the celebrations of the immensely popular Phagwah (Holi) festival which was sometime in March. (depending on the Moon’s position in the sky) This was when his loud resonant voice would be above everyone else in the daily group singing of ‘Chowtal’ in each other’s homes. Here he led the youths in learning the words and vocalizing them in his unique way. This interaction with the youths made the singing of ‘chowtal’ a yearly treat for the young minds in his care.
His countenance was always of one deep in thought and one felt a sense of awe and utmost respect in his presence. He was never without one of his many philosophical books from his home library, which made up a good portion of his bedroom, or a pen and paper upon which he scribbled his thoughts. In his home were furniture which he built with his own hands and a black board on which he wrote while trying to impart his wisdom to his grandchildren or occasional visitors. He was always willing to teach and spent many years teaching Hindi at the Tagore Memorial High School.
At a time when most people were hesitant to have their daughters out of the house, he broke the mold and sent his daughter to the Guyana Teacher’s Training College far away in the country’s capital of Georgetown. This very act sent a message of liberation to other young women and made them feel empowered and free in actually seeking a career and independence from the expectation of just being a housewife who helped in the fields.
He was the family counselor for many families and together with Louis Aja, Pandit Mahadeo, Uncle Birbal, Uncle Silva, and a few others they formed the ‘Panchayat’ which in Indian tradition was the assembly of five wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the community. This group helped to resolve many of the community issues at the time.
His days in his later life were spent researching and trying to further his education and spirituality. His leadership style was one of leading by example and this he did with great vigor. He was a great soul who encouraged everyone, especially the children to reach for the stars.
He was a great motivator and coach and there are many today who owe their way of life and value system to him and his teachings.
This was our much beloved Mahashay Aja, a staunch believer in people, God, spirituality, and the need to continuously improve the Self in this classroom of life.
Written By Jag B Mahadeo - From 'The Heart of The Sun'