By Ajay Kukreja – May 2003
Shree Gopal Jee Kukreja, a well known and much esteemed member of Afghan Hindu community embarked on his heavenly adobe in Mississauga, Ontario, on Wednesday, the 23rd April 2003.
Being a respected member of our community, a very religious man, a virtuous husband, and a devoted father, Shree Gopal Jee, in essence, was truly a self-awared person, what is phrased in Sanskrit as “Gyaani”.
Ask his friends, people who have worked with him, and anyone who was close to him what kind of a person he was, and they would not hesitate but say that he was the most humble, generous, caring, knowledgeable, intelligent, resourceful, and the most modest person they knew.
There were so many qualities in him that made him the heart of everyone’s respect and an object of everyone’s’ love. His departure from amongst us, I am sure, is greatly felt by all of us, as it if felt by me.
Shree Gopal Jee was born in November 1958 in Udaipur. Although, his youngest brother was not fortunate enough to be blessed with a normal life, Gopal Jee never budged from his duties towards him when their mother passed away at a fairly young age. With the responsibility of bringing up his brother, he married at an age of 19 years. Selflessly, Gopal Jee raised him up like a father and took care of him until the day he breathed his last, which was almost 23 years ago.
The ideals by which Shree Gopal Jee lived his life by, certain values that he abided, the kind of presence he had in him, to most extent, were passed on to him by his father Shree Shyamlal Jee Kukreja, affectionately known as ‘Shaastree Jee”, who got his wisdom from Gurukul in Haridwar. From his childhood days, it was as if all these traits (guna’s) were planted in him.
Always ready to help others, his doors welcomed people who needed guidance in all kinds of matters, should it be immigration or personal finance or real estate or any other kind of business advice. In return, he demanded nothing. This very trait gives him a persona of a “Gyaani”, as I had mentioned before.
The way I see it, he lived his life to the very principles of the Hindu scriptures, completing the four Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha, Karma, and Moksha.
Dharma means developing divine virtues and performing actions that are in harmony with the divine laws. Shree Gopal Jee offered himself selflessly to other’s causes without the slightest hesitation of what might come upon him. He was well known in the community as a co-founder of Afghan Hindu Committee, and he regularly organized and attended its meetings.
Artha means wealth which is needed to uphold dharma and ensure welfare of family and society. While in India, he was a respected businessman. He carried on that respect when he moved to New York, and further brought it with him to Canada. He ensured the best possible education for both his sons. Just days before his unexpected demise, he bought a house. And as of serving the community, he would do so at the cost of his time and money. Many of us have experienced his humble generosity.
Karma means desire. Having read Shree Bhagvat Gita, who else would better understand the meaning of Karma than Gopal Jee. The Bhagvat Gita informs us that desire is an aspect of delusion. For seven year, he went for dialysis (medical process that filters the blood in the body) three times a week. For someone who had learnt to keep his physical comforts aloof from his life, what other delusions can there be?
Dharma constitutes the legs of a Purush (Human being), Artha and Karma make the two limbs, while Moksha constitutes the head that rests in the heaven. With the legs and the limbs being healthy, the head reaches as high as heaven, and it is said that Moksha (Salvation) is attained. During his life long journey, honorable Shree Gopal Jee adhered to three vital objectives (Dharma, Artha and Karma), which have guided him towards the fourth and the final one.
For his immense support, his selfless love, and his guidance, I will always have a special place for him in my heart.
A SHARDHAANJALI to this great soul from the Kukreja Pariwaar.
By: Ajay Kukreja S/O Shree Narain Das Kukreja.
May 10th 2003.