Thousands of followers bid a tearful farewell and attended the last rites of S N Goenka,the former industrialist who started and spread Vipassana meditation in India. Goenka (89),who passed away at his Amboli residence on Sunday night,was cremated at the Oshiwara electric crematorium on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife and six sons.
Born in Burma,Goenka followed the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin,under whom he trained for 14 years. In 1969,he shifted to India and started teaching meditation,and started a mediation centre at Igatpuri near Nashik in 1976.
He trained more than 800 assistant teachers and there are 172 meditation centres worldwide US,Canada,Australia,New Zealand, France,the United Kingdom,Japan,Sri Lanka,Nepal,Myanmar and Thailand including 75 centres in India. In Mumbai,40,000 people have done the course already.
In 2012,he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for social work.
Vallabh Bhansali,chairman of Enam Financial Consultants Pvt Ltd,an avid follower of Goenkas techniques said his work was unique. His ways of meditation showed one the light within himself,making the person a master of himself and all circumstances. One could get rid of panic and miseries, he said.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the basic Vipassana course is benefiting students in government schools across the state and the Maharashtra government has encouraged its employees to do the course. His death is a big loss for the state. His work of spreading Vipassana to all sections of society will not be forgotten, said Chavan.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said,His demise is a big loss to society. He had introduced modern reforms for internal development of an individual and peaceful way of living.
Shiv Senas Bharat Kumar Raut said,Vipassana ushered a practical and scientific method for attaining peace and well-being. The stress on maun (silence) was not aimed at escaping the world but connecting with oneself internally. He showed us a new way of living a healthy and meaningful life.