The most liberal and magnanimous of world faiths on Sunday opened its arms to a high-profile “faithful” from down under.
The nephew of a top Australian theologian Father David and 10 devotees from European countries were initiated to “sainthood” on the occasion of Makar Sakranti at Mahamandaleshwar Mahanirvani Akhada Swami Maheshwaranand’s camp here.
They pledged to propagate the religion in other countries and follow principles of “celibacy, non-violence and the ethos of Vasudheva Kutumbakam.” Two devotees among them took to “brahmcharya” — the first step to complete renunciation. Father David, also an advisor to Australian government, attended the initiation ceremony.
The devotees from Australia, Croatia, Check Republic, Switzerland, Hungry and Germany first took a holy dip in the Ganga, under the guidance of Swami Maheshwaranand ji. They returned to the camp for an early morning “Abhishek, hawan and sanyasi diksha”— the initiation rites — by Swami Maheshwaranand ji. Their were tonsured and they vowed to stay away from meat, animal products and intoxicants. They pledged to “leave behind” their past and acquired new spiritual names. “They have been associated with me for the last 15 to 35 years. And they slowly realised the concept of Hindu religion and decided to take sanyas.”
Gyaneshwar Puri, who converted on Sunday, said, “The Hindu culture is more than 4,000 years old. Now, I want to learn Sanskrit.”