The inspiration behind BEHT is Pujya Muktanandji (Bapu), who lives in an ashram near a small village, Chaparda, on the edge of Gir forest in Junagadh District of Gujarat, India. He is a man with a vision and his mission is to help the rural communities within which he lives by educating the younger generation to a high level such that they can bring much needed reform to the area. Shree Muktanandji became a saint at a very young age and he lived with his two Gurujis, Shree Gopalanandji and Shree Bhagvatinandji from whom he has obtained deep spiritual knowledge. From a very young age he had a quest for the real truth. He would not be satisfied with incomplete answers, and was lucky to have Shree Bhagvatinandji as his guru who had become self-realised after many years of meditation. As it has always been done, this profound wisdom came from within oneself and by observing nature itself. None of these saints had attended university or read books, but they have gained their knowledge through the environment. Through deep meditation, Bapu has come to his own conclusion that there are two main purposes in life. He believes: Firstly, ‘Swha ma lin rehewu’ which means to be aware of your real self all the time, to understand who you are and to learn to be truly free (Mukti).
Secondly, he believes ‘Jiv Shrusti ne faida thai teva kaariya karva ane karavava, nirmal sahaj ane shakshi bhave’, which means that our purpose in life should be to purely, naturally and selflessly undertake work to benefit all life forms and encourage others to do likewise.
Bapu is a unique personality and differs greatly from the usual men in ‘saffron robes’. He is a very ‘down to earth’ person and lives in the reality of the present moment. His mission is not to build temples or places of religious significance but to cater for the needs of the locals at the present moment. He believes and often says that when you have the whole of nature (environment) as your temple, then why do you need to build a physical man-made structure which only serves to narrow your thinking? His message is that man’s personal resources should be used side by side with nature, animals and the rest of humankind. They should not be wasted away in building such physical structures. This is a man who leads by example. What was only a dream back in 1995 has now become reality. Through sheer dedication and hard work, he has managed to create four educational centres of excellence in Gujarat which will change thousands of lives for the better.