Shree Vasant Paranjpe was born on 13th May 1921 in Pune, India. His mother’s name was Rakhma, his father’s name Vithal.
He was very talented since childhood. Because of his mischievous nature and talent many a times his class teacher would punish him and make him stand outside the class so he wouldn’t ask complex questions.
After he finished school, he told his mother that he was not interested in continuing his education. He had been born into a family rich in traditional ancient Vedic culture. One time when he had not come home in the evening, family friends and neighbors wanted to summon the police to find me. His mother calmly said to try the two temples situated on the outskirts of the city, that he would probably be there sitting in meditation. And so was he!
At the young age he was very much influenced by Gandhi’s Satyagraha (Insistence on Truth) to defy the British authorities. Also by Gandhi’s instructions that people should react only with LOVE and no enmity towards the oppressors, as their weapons too free India from British rule were Truth and Ahimsa (non-violence).
In Pune where he lived, people held sympathetic processions to show solidarity with the Satyagraha activists. There also, police atrocities were repeated. This had a great impact on his young mind, but oddly enough not the normal reaction of revenge against the British. Instead, he imagined that when he would grow up he would join the Truth and Ahimsa movement. He was attracted to Gandhi’s teachings and deeply impressed by the great spiritual strength acquired through practice of Truth and Non-violence.
When he was fifteen years old, he made his own decision to go to London to pursue higher education in Engineering. There were no airplanes those days, so such long-distance travel was undertaken only by princely families or top government officials. In 1936, he departed by Lloyd Triestino’s Italian ship, Conte Verde. He was the only minor passenger unaccompanied by parents.
Once in London, being underage, he was not allowed to appear for his matriculation until he completed his 16th year. Sometime later, he joined a small group in London whose aim was to secure total freedom from British rule in India. In 1939 Second World War began. Soon after, he returned to India.