Homage to Shri Bakshi Jagdish Chander Baglal (August 1921- November 22, 2006)
By: Surinder Tuli
Pita Ji sharda ke suman yeh hein aap ke naam,
Prathna he Prabhu se milley Vekunth aap ko dham.
On November 22 our dear Bakshi Pita Ji left for his heavenly abode after a brief illness in New Delhi, leaving behind Mata Ji, three sons, four daughters, twenty four grand children and five great grand children. Pita Ji was born in Jehlam (now in Pakistan) in 1921 and moved to New Delhi in 1947, where he worked with Delhi Transport Corporation until he retired.
Pita Ji has left us, however, his legacy and sweet memories will always be with us. Pita Ji strongly believed in joint family values, after the death of his younger brother’s wife, he brought up his brother’s children as his own, actually he showered more love to them than his own children. Pita Ji was very religious person, he would go to the Temple everyday before going to work and ensured that all his children do the same-get up early in the morning, take shower, go to the Temple and then go to the school.
Pita Ji’s contributions to the Hindu Temple of Arizona are invaluable, he was the first person to honor us by litting the first Joyt in this Temple. He was Bakshi Pita Ji to everyone visiting the Hindu Temple of Arizona. He was the father who cradled and nurtured the Temple during its infancy. He instilled a grand vision for the Temple, based on the true principles of Sanatan Hindu Dharma worshipping multiple deities under one roof. He guided the initial growth of the Temple by sharing his wisdom and selflessly dedicated his time and energy. He energized, motivated and inspired bhakti in those who were putting together the Temple organization. He was the priest who performed puja and havans in the Temple and the saint who blessed everyone who came to the Temple.
Pita Ji worked very hard for bringing us where we are today in the Hindu Temple of Arizona. His smiling face was the hallmark of his greeting and even now when I go to Temple, I can feel his smiling face around. He was always there in the Temple to greet all the devotees in person one by one. Pitaji was well versed in many languages - he spoke mantras in Sanskrit, wrote them in Urdu, edited the translation and narration in English.. Pitaji taught us how to pray and gave us the mantras structure that we chant every Sunday. During puja he would make sure that everyone gets the Mantra pages, bhajan books and Hanuman chalisa and are comfortable in reading and reciting. If someone left the Temple before the Arti, he will personally go and give them fruit as parsad.
Bakshi Pita Ji was a pious soul he was truly a JAGAT PITA JI. He would always say ‘I am so blessed that this Temple is here in front of my home where I can come and serve the God. As a matter of fact I am already living in Vekunth.” He was an excellent caretaker who daily opened and closed the Temple. Lots of time when the Temple was closed between 12:00Noon to 4:00PM people would call him and ask if they could come and visit the Temple, he would very gladly come to the Temple and open the doors for them. He loved the devotees so much that if you did not come to the Temple for few times he will make a personal call and ask if everything was OK, and how he missed them in the Temple. Most of the devotees in the Temple wanted him to perform Haven and other Puja at their place. Pita Ji would gladly go and oblige them, all the dakshana he received would go in to the Temple Hundi. Pitaji made us realize the true presence of God in this Temple as several devotees were successful in their manorath after praying at the Temple. He was the ultimate bond for this Temple.
Pita Ji knew how to attract people to the Temple, with his pleasant mannerism and soft-spoken words he would make everyone- even the strangers so comfortable that they would love to talk to him and touch his feet to get his blessings. Wherever he went he popularized Hanuman Ji’s Puja. It’s a tribute to him that even when none of his sons are living in Austin or Lubbock there is Hanuman Puja going on every Tuesday.
Pita Ji loved children, he would give them candies, small gifts on their birthday and particularly on Rakhi or during Navratras. The children also responded to him in kind they would sit around him to learn strong religious values.
I still remember the day when I first met him at Vidya Bakshi’s home during one of the Tuesday puja. He was sitting in a corner as Shashi and I walked in the room he greeted us with a great smile, I felt as if my own father was sitting there. Whenever I saw him the first words out of his mouth were Beta Ji God Bless you. I was just remembering you; you have a very long life. After hearing these words all the tension in my mind would melt away and I would sit for hours and listen to his life experiences. Even a few weeks back when I called to check on his health’ inspite of his poor health he talked to me and he showered my family and I with all his blessings.
He led by example in his modesty, humility, and constant upholding of truth as the only path to freedom from the bondage of our Karma. His blessings are enshrined in the Temple and his souls lives in our hearts. As Lord Krishan in his sermon to Arjuna in Gita in chapter2 verse 22: says
Vasamsi jirnani vihava navani grhnati naro prani
Tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
Anyani samyati navani dehi
Translation: As a person puts on new clothes, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material body, giving up the old and sick one.
Pita Ji will always be with us in our memories, in our hearts and in this Temple. Today let us all work together to keep his legacy in this Temple and let us work for the success of this Temple and make it the best Temple in our community. Let us all pray to God to give peace to Pita Ji’s soul and grant him place in heaven. Let us also pray that God give strength to Mata Ji, their sons, daughters, grand and great grand children to bear Pita Ji’s loss.
Contributors: Surinder Tuli, Prem Bhardwaja, Sanjay Sangani, Vivek Gupta, Jagdish Sharma