Bhadant Galgedar Pragyanand

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1956: Initiated Dr. Ambedkar into Buddhism

Yusra.Husain, Monk helped Ambedkar embrace Buddhism, December 1, 2017: The Times of India

Buddhist monk, Bhadant Galgedar Pragyanand was youngest among the seven monks who had initiated Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar into Buddhism in 1956.

Head of Lucknow’s Buddh Vihar near Risaldar Park in Lal Kuan, monk Pragyanand had come to India at the age of 13 and was visited by Ambedkar in Lucknow twice, in 1948 and 1951. Disciples of the ‘Gururji’ claimed it was after his visits to Lucknow to seek blessings from Bhadant Boddhanant and Bhadant Pragyanand that Ambedkar was inspired to embrace Buddhism.

“He was brought in on November 26 after complaints of fever and chest pain but had multiple age-related medical conditions,” said Prof SN Sankhwar, chief medical superintendent, KGMU.

Pragyanand was born on December 18, 1928, and had nephews and nieces residing in Sri Lanka, who were in constant contact with monks in Lucknow but could not come to India on Thursday.

As followers of the old monk, including Uttar Pradesh minister Swami Prasad Maurya, poured in, disciples recalled the guruji. “Guruji would speak less but talking about Ambedkar would always give him added energy. He would often tell us about the ceremony in Nagpur on October 14, 1956,” some of them said.

The group of monks who had performed the ceremony was headed by Chandramani Mahasanghayak and included Bhikshu Paramshanti, Pannanand Mahathero, Bhadant Sadhatiss Mahathero, H Sangratn Mahasthavir and Bhikshu Sumedh.

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