Piousness, forgiveness, energy, courage and humility, are his virtues who has come with heavenly wealth with him.” – Geeta {chapter 16)

The Chapter 16 of Lord Krishna’s Bhagwad Geeta describes a great man who has been gifted with heavenly virtues, in the above lines. Dattopant Thengadi was one such person who had such heavenly virtues. He was the first generation pracharak of RSS. He dedicated his whole life for the cause of RSS or for the cause of the nation. RSS had become a part of his breath. Once Narad had asked Lord Krishna: “Who’s your best disciple?” Krish­na replied that it was Arjun. Narad was not convinced. He thought: “I have the Lord’s name on my lips for all the 24 hours. Arjun doesn’t even remember -the Lord once a day.” Sensing what was going on in Narad’s  mind, Krishna sent him to Arjun who was sleeping at the moment. To Narad’s utter surprise, in the calm of the night, every single breath and artery of Arjun was resounding with ‘Krishna Krishna’! Thengadi ji’s situation was sim­ilar. His every breath was RSS. His life was RSS.

As a pracharak he was sent into different areas. He was with INTUC for a while. He was also active with Bharatiya Jan Sangh for some time. He founded Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. Moreover, he was the brainchild of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Samajik Samrasata Manch and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. But he did not get in­volved in any of these beyond a point. Like a lotus growing out of muddy water, he maintained his aloofness. He worked without expectation' for reward and in doing so practiced non-violence, peace, sacrifice, compassion and forgiveness.

Thengadi ji often gave the example of Kach. To obtain the Sanjivani from Shukracharya, once Kach came to the demons. Shukracharya’s daughter, Devyani, fell for Kach. She rescued him from all catastrophes. Finally, Kach acquired the Sanjivani powers. Now Devyani told him: “You marry me. Don’t go back to the gods’ abode, but stay here. Here you will lead a lavish life.” But Kach didn’t wait there. He returned to the gods’ abode on finishing his task. A pracharak’s primary responsibility is RSS’ work, including shakhas. After achieving whatever is required in other areas, a pracharak should get back to the pavilion, Thengadi ji would always say. He practiced what he preached. He was a brilliant, contemplative and foresighted Organiser, but more than that, he was an image of love. Dr. Muley from Pune, who monitored his health, said: “Thengadi ji used to behave like ‘I love you, but I don’t expect anything in return from you.”

Innumerable pracharak’s and swayamsevaks across the country expe­rienced his love. Everybody used to feel that he was the closest to Thengadi ji. Ail felt that he behaved like a close friend with everyone. The same has been said about Krishna’s love. All of Krishna’s playmates used to believe | that he loves them the most. Only a person who has dedicated himself fully can love like this,

A RSS song goes like this: “Love is the one that only knows sacrifice. And it is the one that gets personal satisfaction from such sacrifice.” RSS, to which Thengadi ji devoted his entire life, could grow in different fields due to the un­conditional love of people like him. Thoughts are heavy.”

Philosophy is difficult to understand. Theories and corollaries can’t be fathomed easily, but love can be experienced by everybody. All people who came in touch with Thengadi ji felt blessed that they have been fortunate enough to be loved by him. Thengadi ji wrote more than 100 books. The number of ‘boudhik’ sessions that he conducted cannot be counted. His analysis of any given situation used to be astonishing. But all this does not necessarily remain in memory. But Thengadi ji s loving pat and his compassion­ate talk in person will always remain fresh and blooming in the hearts of many, like a lotus flower.

(The piece above is literal translation of the editori­al that appeared in Marathi weekly ‘Saptahik Vivek’ in 24thOctober, 2004 issue. Translation done by Atul Sathe)