Circa 1958, Young Vishwanath rode his bicycle with glee, purchased at a princely sum of Rs. 159. The bicycle was nothing less than a Mercedes for the son of an ordinary farmer hailing from Rameshwar-Rui Village in Marathwada, rural Maharashtra. His makeshift classroom was in the tabela (cattle shed) that the boy along with his classmates, swept and cleaned while the cattle were taken for grazing in the jungle.
Cut to today, “The only school bell I knew was the bell around the neck of the cattle as they returned back signifying end of school,” recollects septuagenarian and veteran educationist Dr. Vishwanath Karad. He is also the Founder President & Director General, World Peace Centre (Alandi), MAEER’s MIT, Pune and MIT World Peace University, one of the most prestigious educational institutions of the country.
It is indeed an amazing moment for Dr. Karad who has, since 2005 -- over the last 13 years, painstakingly created Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prayer Hall and Library. Both will be housed in a 62,500 sq. ft. magnificent monument at the Vishwarajbaug Campus of MIT under the world’s largest dome with a diameter of 160 feet, standing tall over the Vatican Dome, which has a diameter of 139.6 feet. The height of the dome at its apex is 263 feet. Dr. Karad is humility personified, attributing his success to Saint Dnyaneshwara’s blessing. “The world is one family, वसुधैव कुटुंबकम”, which is an ancient Indian concept, he says, “my humble attempt is to create an edifice befitting the glory of Mother India.”
Set in the backdrop of late world renowned actor Raj Kapoor’s heritage farm and memorial, now housing MIT, Karad’s brainchild and one of the best educational institutions of the world, is the magnificent Dome as well as 54 larger-than-life bronze statues of some of the greatest saints, scientists and philosophers of all time, all brought to life by 93-year-old veteran Ram Sutar. Each of the bronze statues weighs nearly 1500 Kg and the installation by itself is an arduous task.
“It was a chance introduction to Swami Vivekananda and his works when I browsed through the words of Vivekananda, waiting for my Mathematics book at a shop. His words had such an impact on me. I went on to read the works of Saint Dnyaneshwara and Saint Tukaram and realized that they were amazing philosophers of our time. The 54 statues that we are installing at the dome signify the union of science, philosophy and spirituality and the essence of Indian culture, philosophy and tradition and the aspect of world peace,” adding that great saints, sages, seers and scientists of India and the world over, including those like Philosopher Saint Francis of Assisi (Italy), Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton have made a tremendous impact on his mind and help understand and realize the True Nature of the Self.
The statues will be unveiled by eminent global scientists including Padma Vibhushan Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Padma Bhushan Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, Dr. Govind Swarup, and eminent personalities of the likes of Dr. Radha Mohan Singh, Dr. Pramod Kumar, Shree Kisan Maharaj Sakhare, Shree Maruti Maharaj Kurhekar, Shree Bapu Saheb More, Shree Tulshiram Karad, Dr. Virendra Heggade, Muni Tarun Sagar, Hazrat Shaikh Biyabani, Arif Mohammad Khan, Feroz Bakht Ahmed, Hridaynath Mangeshkar among others, August 15 onwards leading to October 2.
On Gandhi Jayanti, the imposing monumental dome clad in the finest marble, the vision of Vishwanath of the blend of Science, Spirituality and Philosophical aspects in life for the welfare of mankind, will be open to the world.
Padma Vibhushan Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, FRS and a man of sophistication and intellect says, “an amazing creation from an amazing man is how I would define the structure. Many people have ideas but to execute it is not easy that too in such a short time. I have always heard the words ‘world peace’ from him and now he has created a unique world peace library and dome that will be there forever, speaking for the cause.”
Padma Bhushan Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, Chairman - Organizing Committee as well as Chancellor - Nalanda University, and a globally renowned Computer Scientist avers, “the World Parliament will witness perhaps one of the largest congregations of recent times of scientists, religious leaders and philosophers from several countries across the world. It will make a clarion call for harmony across religions and philosophies and integration with the contemporary scientific thought of one in many and many in one that is emerging out of the latest explorations in quantum reality.”
And now the saints, scientists and philosophers will stand tall from August 15 at MIT, Vishwarajbaug awaiting the timeless World Peace Monument to open its doors on October 2, marking newer beginnings for Mother India’s quest for World Peace.