Guiding Light of The Month

WHY all this noise, all this movement, this vain and futile agitation; why this whirlwind carrying men away like a swarm of flies caught in a storm? How sad is the sight of all that wasted energy, all those useless efforts! When will they stop dancing like puppets on a string, pulled they know not by whom or what? When will they find time to sit quietly and go within, to recollect themselves and open that inner door which screens from them Thy priceless treasures, Thy infinite boons? - The Mother

Tributes to Shri Shashi Lal Kashyap


06.10.1936 – 06.06.2018

Shri Shashi Lal Kashyap, the chairperson of Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore since 2010, passed away peacefully on the 6th of June 2018 in his home in Singapore. He leaves behind very many people who have benefitted from his way of being as well as his generosity, materially or through his unrelenting spirit that always surges forward to accomplish a work he would have taken up for himself. In this issue of our Newsletter, we carry a few pages of tributes bestowed upon him by society members and well-wishers 

***

‘Shashi-bhai’, as we used to call him, occupies a very special place in our hearts. We shifted to Singapore in the mid 90’s and, he has been a very loving and steady family friend since then for the last 2 ½ decades. We came to know him through Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore and late Nandalal Bhai (NC Patel) introduced him to us. Our first meeting was very interesting, it was a special function at Sri Aurobindo Society, and I had just heard that there will be a sitar recital and some songs. I had little introduction and assumed Shashi-bhai was a musician who is going to perform ! …. Only later that I realised he was the key sponsor and organiser of the program and we met him at the centre, with his beaming smile.

Shashi bhai, has led a most remarkable like that is multi-dimensional. He was not only a leading member of Sri Aurobindo Society, SIFAS amongst others, over the later years he became deeply interested in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. He had has great proclivity and a wide inner opening for all things that were spiritual. His own prayer room (pooja room), was a most beautiful place full of all Hindu Gods, Goddesses, Saints, and prophets that were displayed with much artistic fervour, and included musical instruments. He used to practice there every day, as a way of invoking the Gods with his music. His innate ability to synthesise all the good that flows through multiple streams of spiritual lineage and finding a common patterns was a natural gift to him.

This nerve centre of a prayer room was central to a most beautiful home he built and lived in with his large family. It was a remarkable edifice, that truly represented the best of the values of a three generation, large Indian Hindu joint family living together. His love for the good things in life, good food, life, travel, holidays, or cars was equally remarkable and he delighted in them to the full, with no deep attachment as he would also enjoy the simple joy of a road side meal with equal delight. Living in happiness and spreading delight to all around him was his natural personality.
He was man of action. He built a very successful business with hard work, brick by brick, he was a dutiful Grihasthi (family man) who delivered on all his worldly obligations, and a community leader who gave much of his time and resources to public institutions – SIFAS and Sri Aurobindo Society amongst many others. He was a very organised man, who never missed his appointments and was always on time, and meticulous to the core.

I was privileged to know him rather closely in SAS and SIFAS, and he was instrumental in bringing me into the committee at SIFAS given my interest in music. I admired him for zest and positivity. I have seen him always mighty cheerful, happy and smiling. He enjoyed whatever he did and he always gave his 100% devotion and attention to whatever he took up, which was the secret of his superlative and achievements that made him a perfectionist of sorts.

One of his great qualities was to never keep anything in his heart – he always tabled what he felt most honestly, and almost with a childlike innocence and candour.  This was truly a quality that is so very rare, and if he ever felt upset or unhappy it would all be over by his expressing it directly and squarely and there it would disappear into vapour in a few minutes. He thought through well, and often took time not to be hasty, for his decisions always were from his heart and that made him a whole-hearted person in his dealings with all. His charming nature was the outer expression of a whole-hearted person that he always was. He could make friends instantly, and he understood the true joy of giving and helping. He was large hearted, and very generous in helping people and being most kind. He could never be harsh to anyone.

His interest in Hindustani Music was so wonderful that he continued to learn till the last and was a great student all through the years, and mastered singing. He also released CDs of his bhajans and distributed them to friends with much joy. He would look for opportunities to perform and sing for you his most favourite bhajans, and compositions and enthral you. He managed to pass his love for music to his entire family and all the three generations today have some interest or the other, making the family together a self-sufficient orchestra of sorts.

Just as he loved life it its various colors, he was an avid photographer who shot over 400000 pictures in his lifetime. He took thousands of pictures of Sri Aurobindo Society monthly walks and events, and he told me he catalogues personally over 18000 pictures of the society that holds a pictorial history. Last Aug 2017 he personally presented the pictorial history of Sri Aurobindo Society, of selected pictures with much love, to trace how it grew over the years.

His attitude to life, was most positive. He was a self-made man who fought adversity with tenacity and knew that there are no short cuts to success. This made him a great mentor to many, in his own business, family and extended friends. He was a patient listener and would come up with very sensible advice to those who went to him. Over the years, he started facing some health challenges but always remained steadfast and bounced back to health, with positive thinking and good disciple. He was a disciplined swimmer and an early morning walker, for years.

In the last phase when his health started deteriorating, he took a very positive outlook. When we visited him a few weeks before his departure, he bore his characteristic smile and cheer and had tea with us. He said to me that he is blessed by God for having given him a wonderful family, a great life and he said “I have no regrets, actually I am prepared. I feel much blessed”. This ability to transcend and look upon one’s own life as a sheer ‘witness’ and rise above human failings and attachments is a proof of his spiritual maturity and all the good work and sadhana he did through is life. As he left this world, with a smile and a quiet wish as he expressed, his indelible smile and lifetime of experiences will continue to inspire, motivate, cheer and enthuse his family and friends, to lead a meaningful and whole-hearted life that he led.

His was a blessed soul, that will reach the Divine and follow its destined journey for the lives it will recommence in this world of ours.

Shashi bhai we miss you, but your cheer will bring a smile to us always ! …

- K. Venkatesh Rao

***
Dear Members of the Society, I have just heard the sad news that my old friend Shashi Lal Kasyap has passed away and indeed that his funeral may be taking place in Singapore even as I write. Please convey my sincere condolences to Urmil and members of his family. He will be greatly missed.
What a loyal and dedicated supporter of our Singapore Sri Aurobindo Society he has been for so many years! I am now in my 75th year and yet my own memories of our dear friend are undimmed by the passing of time. I will always have a special place in my heart for the members of our Sri Aurobindo study group in Singapore to which he made an outstanding contribution over many years, and indeed became the chief chronicler of our events and excursions through his wonderful collection of photographs! I still recall with great pleasure  gatherings at a beautiful house in Broadrick Road where I enjoyed his most generous hospitality on several occasions. Now that I am no longer resident in Singapore I look back on those happy days and send greetings and good wishes to all those who will attend the commemoration of the life of a remarkable man and friend to many on 24th June.  My thoughts will be with you all on that special day
- Sonia Dyne
***

We have learnt that Sri Shashi Lal Kashyap, Chairperson, Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, left his body to be in the Mother’s lap on 6 June 2018. We shall cherish the memories of his visits to Delhi for a long time. On behalf of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, I wish his family the strength to bear the separation with fortitude, and pray for peace to the departed soul.

In the service of The Mother,
Tara Jauhar
Chairperson
Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch

***

An irreparable loss to Sri Aurobindo Society Singapore.

Despite his advanced years, he never missed to attend Society’s monthly walks whenever he was in Singapore. What I admired most was his punctuality. You could see him at the starting venue @ 7.58 am sharp for the walk scheduled to start @ 8 am. 

In the year 2012, when he offered to host the October Monthly walk in Gardens By the Bay- a new venue, he asked me if we could do a recce first. I reached his home to find him readily waiting for me. On knowing that I came in public transport to his home and that I did not know driving, he was thoughtful for a split second and said that he would take his car. On our way he stopped in every traffic junction asking me to note the directions, road name etc taking care to explain to me that he would not like the walk participants to lose their way when coming for the walk- Such was his attention to the minutest details . After completing the recce he insisted to drop me in my home never mind my home was at the opposite end of Singapore. Only on reaching our home he told me the reason for the split second thoughtfulness – he had a cataract operation just a day before, was unsure if his vision would be good enough to drive a car so soon after the operation and as luck would have it there were no other driver readily available in his home then. 

I was humbled by his sincerity and his consideration for others despite his physical challenges.
-          S Ramanathan
***

He was a Towering personality in all his social and spiritual activities. He liked his morning walks with Shri. N C Patel ...an elder brother to all of us and perhaps he longed to resume his walks and chats with him and so left us in a hurry.May his soul rest in peace with Mother's Blessings.
- J K Gopalratnam
***
Dearest Shashi Uncle,
Today when I look back on your extraordinary life, the singular thought that strikes me is that you are a complete human being. And among all your qualities, the one I admire the most is your sincerity towards whatever you choose to undertake - business, family life, spirituality and social life. This sincerity, blended with a unique and remarkable simplicity at heart has made you a perfect example to all of us on how we should lead our lives.
I know you will be reading this news letter cover to cover, as always. I have been very fortunate to have gotten your love as a daughter. You were always there for Ashish and I whenever we needed you. For me, you will always be with us.
Affectionately,
Nisha
***


I am away and am shocked to hear this very sad news. The last I met him was a couple of years ago in a conference. He was a great man and an admirable personality. I remember his passion for music too amongst a number of other things. May his soul Rest In Peace and our heart felt condolences to his near and dear ones.
- Rajah Kumar
***


Here is our humble tribute to our beloved Shashi uncle through this picture which speaks million words through the apt lines from Savitri. These lines were allotted to uncle during the recent Savitri Around the World chanting! Uncle drove from home to our centre wading through a heavy thunder storm, displaying his deep aspiration and determination. We will for ever remember uncle's all-inclusive love, charm, hospitality, humility, sincerity, generosity and goodness - Divine qualities indeed. Thank you uncle for everything
- Ramadoss and Lata
***

I am in San Francisco Bay area right now and just saw this shocking email.
I immediately called the family and had a chance to speak with Shashibhai's son. I have been out of touch since leaving Singapore some years ago, but Shashibhai was a dear friend with whom I served on the Management Committee of Sifas. Both of us were passionate about classical music and dance and I enjoyed many concerts with him at his home, SIFAS and other venues.
I often talked about him with friends in the US and India as someone I admired greatly for his humility, kindness and selfless dedication to preservation and promotion of our classical art forms.
He was truly one of a kind.                                      
- Taroon C Kamdar
***
All our condoléances
We Will miss him

- Konkona Mukherjee and family
***
Dear Sirs,
We acknowledge the passing away of Mr. Kashyap with regret and pray that he may rest in the nestling arms of the Mother.

Yours faithfully,
The Members of the Nairobi Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Jaybharat Jethwa
Chairman

***
Dear All at the centre
It is with fond memories that I recollect Kashyap ji... generous to the core.. helpful..ever smiling. ..
We will all miss him... for long time to come..
He is taken to the Mother's Feet for his eternal rest.
- Ananda Reddy, Deepshikha
***
The Kashyap and Kapur families have known each other for seven decades, ever since my parents arrived in Singapore in the late 1940’s. Words cannot express the depth of the ties between the two families. I personally have known Shashi Praji (‘Praji’ means ‘Respected Brother’ in Punjabi) since 1958, when my family returned from a 4-year stay in England. In all the years since, he has been an embodiment of love, care, and concern. He introduced me to the Sri Aurobindo Society in 1984, and my wife and I were blessed to attend the late Professor M V Nadkarni’s talks up till about 1989. This is just one of the innumerable blessings my family and I have received from Shashi Praji, his life partner Mrs Urmil Kashyap, and their extended family. It was always a great joy for me to meet him, and have long discussions on an entire range of subjects, from Astronomy to Philosophy to Politics and Economics. May his soul rest in peace, and may God grant his family and relatives the strength to bear his loss. 

- Basant Kapur
***
Mr Kashyap was a sweet person greeting us with a smile and always enquiring about everyone. I admired his zeal and enthusiasm towards music and he proved that age is just a number when it came to learning. He has always encouraged and has been accepting the artistic skills of the current generation. Kashyap Uncle will be missed in all our society functions and will be remembered forever.

- Swati Kiran
***

Uncle is a very loving person who always greeted us with a sweet and kind smile whenever he met us. He never failed to enquire about our folks back home every time! We will always remember him for his constant optimism and generous affection. His cheerful and courageous spirit will always be a source of inspiration and guidance for us. We pray that uncle's soul rests in peace.
- Ramya and Ram
***
Even when he was unwell, we could always see in Shri Kashyap's messages the energy, enthusiasm and spirit to serve Sri Aurobindo Society and its members.
It is very rare to find a person who has reached very great heights in his profession still always remaining very humble, kind and affectionate to everyone. Persons like Sri Kashyap are role models for us to emulate.
May God bestow upon the family the strength to bear the loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
- Mrs and Mr. Suryanarayanan
***

Shashi Bhai will be dearly missed. A very gentle soul, he was affable, kind, courteous and humble. He was an active participant and patron of the Singapore Indian community social, cultural and spiritual activities. He will be remembered fondly by all of us.

- Anju Aditya

Shashi Bhai Rest In Peace ! You are with the divine Mother. Here on earth we shall miss your smiling presence. 
Mother said money force should be with good people who will use this force for the Divine works. This is so true in your case. Your life will continue to inspire us and show us how to lead a full life - with joy and humility. You also showed us how to face death with courage and calm. 
I know you will be watching over us at Sri Aurobindo Soceity Singapore which was so dear to you. And in my heart I shall always remember you in our Savitri sessions at the center .

- Shailaja Kamarshi
***

Shashibhai  was a remarkable man who even with his heavy business responsibilities found time to pursue other interests like music , singing , photography , travelling on leisure and spirituality . When I asked him how he managed to do all that his reply was a broad smile which he always  wore on his face. He was generous , humble and treated everyone equally irrespective of one's social status. Once I asked him to find an experienced doctor for a friend of mine who had to go for a major operation. He must have had many other engagements and yet he took the trouble to recommend a suitable doctor for the operation without delay. Like many of his admirers I will miss him.

- Jagir Singh Riar

***
A hymn of adoration tireless climbed,
A music beat of winged uniting souls,
Then all the woman yearningly replied:
"Thy embrace which rends the living knot of pain,
Thy joy , O Lord, in which all creatures breathe,      
Thy magic flowing waters of deep love,
Thy sweetness give to me for earth and men". 

-- Sri Aurobindo , Savitri

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Uncle Shashibhai . His sweetness, love, generosity , and regal nature will ever be in our hearts.  love for music, sweet , childlike innocence is truly unforgettable. We will cherish his memory in our hearts always. Our condolences to his family and Prayers for them to bear this great loss.

- Sudha and Surendra Ranganath, Adi and Maya.

No comments: