Message of peace and hope
International spiritual leader visits Secaucus
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Sep 15, 2013 | 7507 views | 1 1 comments | 187 187 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KINDRED SOULS – Spiritual leader Dada J.P. Vaswani meets up once again with Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli at the “Joy & Peace” celebration at the Sadhu Vaswani Meditation Garden on Sept. 8.
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More than 700 people packed the Sadhu Vaswani Meditation Garden at the town recreation center on Sept. 8 to listen to a message of “Joy & Peace” delivered by world renowned spiritual leader Dada J.P. Vaswani.

“I have met him before. You get good vibes when you meet him, whenever he talks,” said Roger Menda of North Bergen. “This is what it’s all about, to be happy and make others happy.”

Preciosa Lisondra of County Avenue was compelled to visit and hear Vaswani speak.

“I had to find out the good information he will share about spiritual and philosophical life,” she said. “The good you can do for yourself and for others.”

“I also want to participate in the community with my daughter,” Lisondra said. “She is here today, and we want to support the town.”
“He has an aura, there’s no mistake about it.” – Mitch Greenberg
Flute player Mitch Greenberg, versed in the music of India, said he also felt he needed to attend the function to see Vaswani.

“He has an aura, there’s no mistake about it,” he said. “I have played in his presence twice before.”

The introduction

Mayor Michael Gonnelli, who had met the spiritual leader on four occasions previously, introduced him to the throng. Gonnelli first met Vaswani three years ago in Secaucus on his 92nd birthday, the first time the spiritual leader had ever celebrated it outside of India.

The mayor said he was concerned about the weather after seeing the forecast the night before.

“[But] I knew that to see the sun here this morning, I knew there was a great person coming,” he said. “It’s great to see different religions here today in this place to sit, relax, pray and just meditate.”

Vaswani’s thoughts and insight

The mayor noted that Vaswani had said that Secaucus’ meditation garden was “heaven on Earth.”

“Having heaven on Earth in Secaucus is a cool thing,” Gonnelli said. “It is probably the only place in the world where you can sit in quiet, look out over the beautiful scenic view and wildlife in the Meadowlands, and in the far distance, see the Empire State Building. And that doesn’t happen anywhere else. This truly is heaven on earth.”

The mayor also recounted a story that he believed showed the strength of Vaswani’s vision, his ability to see things that the normal eye would not see.

When he first came to the garden, “there was nothing there but a stump. I said, ‘let’s get that stump out and make it look beautiful.’ but Dada said, ‘Let it stay.’ And see what happened. The tree has grown and matured. The tree is now a symbol of this area. Its life has been saved by Dada’s three words, ‘Let it stay.’ ”

Vaswani said he had met “many mayors in different countries and cities, but not anyone like Mayor Gonnelli. “You are all blessed, you are all fortunate, you are all lucky to have a mayor of this type. I am deeply impressed by his quality of head and heart. He is a man of courage, faith, sincerity, sympathy, service, and much more.”

His message

Vaswani talked at length about meditation and faith.

“Our greatest blunder is that we have identified ourselves with the physical body,” he said. “We are neither the body nor the mind. Mind is only an instrument that we have brought our self to do our work.

“Essentially, each one of us is an immortal soul,” he said. “We cannot die. Once God has given us a gift of life, this will last forever and forever more. This body is only a garment, a house, a temporary address.”

His ‘lineage’

Vaswani met Pope John Paul II in 1997 in the Vatican City. He has also met with the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Sr. Krishna Kumari, working chairperson of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission in Puni, India, introduced the center to the crowd and spoke of its objectives. Later, a representative of Mary Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, N.Y., met and addressed the scientist and philosopher.

The Children’s Choir from Immaculate Conception Church and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Men’s Choir in Secaucus performed, as did the Mary Queen of Heaven Youth Chamber Choir from Brooklyn.

During the program, the audience was led through a six-step meditation process by a recording of Vaswani.

In addition to Gonnelli, Deputy Mayor John Bueckner, Councilmen James Clancy, Robert Costantino, and Gary Jeffas, and Councilwoman Susan Pirro attended the event.

The event was sponsored by the Sadhu Vaswani Center of Closter.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

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September 15, 2013
[The mayor noted that Vaswani had said that Secaucus’ meditation garden was “heaven on Earth.”] Wow! Heaven on Earth. Secaucus? Seventy years ago it was a pig farm, and now it is heaven on earth. Sounds like a good excuse to raise taxes.