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GUJARAT, INDIA, December 28, 2000: Birthday celebrations for the acclaimed Pandurang Athavale were held last week on the banks of the Narmada River. Marking his 80th birthday and over 46 years of social service, the gathering was attended by over one million followers from all over the world. Promoting social change and healing, Athavale's philosophy known as the Swadhyaya Parivar movement has served to uplift the less fortunate who are taught mantras and Sanskrit shlokas. With renewed self-dignity, Swadhayi fishermen, harijans, farmers, diamond polishers and salt workers are encouraged to volunteer their services for the betterment on the community. To dissolve barriers, upper class Swadhajis are taught to foster relations with people from the lower classes. Quoting Hasmukh Modi, an old Swadhayi, "Parivar is a living philosophy that has narrowed the gap between the low and the high classes by bringing about an attitudinal change."