GLORY OF SADHU – Prasang 1
Glory of the Satpurush
Once, Shastriji Maharaj was in Anand. Before him were devotees who had profound glory and commitment to the Akshar Purushottam creed. Shastriji Maharj asked Manibhai, “What is the glory of the Satpurush?” Manibhai was well acquainted with the Sampraday’s scriptures and thus answered with references from the Vachanamrut.
Shastriji Maharaj acknowledged what he said and added, “Say there is a dense jungle similar to the forests of Africa, where even the rays of the afternoon sun cannot penetrate. And this jungle is full of wild animals. If someone were to go there and loudly proclaim the name ‘Bhagatji’, then any living thing that hears this name will be redeemed. This is the glory of the Satpurush.”
The mere remembrance of the bona fide Sadhu or Satpurush can dissolve evil tendencies in one’s soul. Even through his direct or indirect communion, the soul is redeemed.
OBSERVANCE OF NIYAMS - Prasang 1
Sagram Vaghri of Limli village was a genuine devotee of Shriji Maharaj. Though he was low-born, by character he was noble and towering. The severe famine of VC 1869 (1813 CE) had spread its tentacles of suffering and death on the land of Kathiawad. Many migrated to souther Gujarat to survive and eke out a livelihood.
Sagram Vaghri and his wife, too, were heading optimistically towards the town of Surat. On the way Sagram’s eyes fell on a shiny ornament. It was an expensive silver anklet that someone had lost. Despite his poverty, Sagram had no desire to take it. But he thought of his wife who was a few furlongs behind him. Being a woman she would be enticed to take it, and it would amount to a transgression of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s words. So thinking, Sagram covered the anklet with mud.
After a while when his wife caught up with him, she asked, “What were you doing sitting down a little while back?” Sagram revealed to her about the silver anklet and added, “To prevent you from seeing it, I covered it with mud.”
“why did you cover mud upon mud? I see another’s possession as mud!” Sagram’s wife nobly responded. Sagram was surprised and fascinated by his wife’s resolve.
Even in spite of hard times, Sagram remained steadfast to Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s instruction of not talking a thing lying on the wayside. And his wife perceived another’s belonging as mud!
The strength of one’s character is reflected in hard times.
HUMILITY – Prasang 3
Scrubbed the Utensils
On 21st May 1950, Shastriji Maharaj was residing at Amblivali Pol in Amdavad. On that day, he had invited the leading devotee and senior Sadhus for an historic occasion. In their presence, Shahstriji Maharaj appointed Shastri Narayanswarupdas as the President of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. This milestone event was welcomed by one and all. Shastri Narayanswarupdas prayed before Shastriji Maharaj and the devotees that he be able to humbly serve the Sanstha till his last breath.
After the occasion, the devotees had their meals and left. Their unwashed pile of dishes lay by the water tap. Without a moment’s hesitation, the newly appointed President, Shastri Narayanswarupdas, sat down to scrub and wash the dishes.
He had truly understood the presidential appointment not as a position for bossing over others, but as an opportunity to serve humbly. Ever since, Pramukh Swami Maharaj has been serving humbly without any distinction of high or low. He is an embodiment of humility.
HUMILITY – Prasang 2
One Who Serves is Mahant
Gunatitanand Swami was once sweeping the courtyard of Junagadh mandir. On hearing the glory of the mandir and Gunatitanand Swami, the Mahant of Tarnetar mandir came with his disciples for Swami’s darshan.
He had not met Gunatitanand Swami before, so he asked him, “Where can I meet the Mahant of this mandir?”
Gunatitanand Swami answered while sweeping, “You can go and sit in the assembly hall. He will come there shortly.”
The mahant and his disciples went to the assembly hall. A little while later Gunatitanand Swami, having washed his hands and feet, came and occupied the main seat and asked, “Can I help you!” the Mahant was surprised to see Gunatitanand Swami and asked, “You are the Mahant of this mandir? But you were just sweeping the courtyard!”
Gunatitanand Swami smilingly replied, “Here, one who serves humbly is the Mahant.”
The noble spiritual masters reflect the ideals of greatness through their actions. Humble service is the hallmark of true greatness. One who dissolves his ego and serves Satsang is blessed by God.
HUMILITY – Prasang 1
A Satsangi of the Cot
Once, Shriji Maharaj was seated on a cot beneath a neem tree in the courtyard of Dada Khachar’s darbar. Maharaj questioned the assembly of devotees, “Are you satsangis (followers) of this cot or the satsangis of satsangis?”
Seeing Maharaj seated on the cot, the devotees replied, “Maharaj! We are the satsangis of the cot.”
“Then come nearer my cot,” Maharaj called everyone. Within moments the whole assembly gathered around His cot.
At that moment Parvatbhai arrived and Maharaj asked him, “Are you a satsangi of this cot or a satsangi of satsangis?”
“Maharaj I am a satsangi of satsangis,” Parvatbhai replied.
Shriji Maharaj then told him to sit afar and then went upto him and sat beside him.
The satsangis who were by the cot enquired, “Maharaj, why did you do this?”
“You can sit by the cot and associate with it. I am a satsangi of satsangis,” Shriji Maharaj replied.
The satsangis understood the purpose of Maharaj’s words. They realized that if we remain humble in Satsang, by becoming a devotee of devotees, then Maharaj will reside with us. Through humility, respect and service to His devotees, God and His holy Sadhu are pleased.
FAULT FINDING (Prasang 3)
In 1960, Yogiji Maharaj was on a satsang tour of Zambia. On 31 March he left Lusaka for Brokenhill. On the way they came across a barrier of barrels and a signboard saying, “Road closed ahead.” Rajnibhai, the driver, removed the barrels and drove ahead.
When Yogiji Maharaj enquired why he was going ahead despite the signboard, Rajnibhai replied, “Bapa! Many times the roads in Africa are functioning and still one finds such signboards.” Swamishri remained quiet. After a while they arrived at a point where the road was broken. There was no way they could turn around because the road was narrow and high above ground level. The only option left was to reverse the car all the way back. When Rajnibhai reversed his car, Yogiji Maharaj grasped the situation. He raised his hand and said, “One-way!” Roads closed. Likewise, Akshardham is also one-way. For one who sees another’s faults the roads are closed. One should never engage oneself in fault-finding. Always see the tread the path of virtue.”
Yogiji Maharaj plainly but effectively conveyed that by seeing another’s faults one regresses.
Yogiji Maharaj often said, “For 50 years I have been in satsang. Never in any devotee – however ordinary or incapable he may be – have I taken his faults. Whatever his nature, even if he is hostile to me, I have not felt ill-will for him.”
Not seeing another’s faults is a fundamental propagated by the holy Sadhu. To see and harp upon another’s faults are like taking poison. A true devotee never looks at another’s faults.
FINDING FAULTS (Prasang 2)
“Gone, gone and gone…”
Gunatitanand Swami’s enlightening discourses attracted a large multitude of devotees from Gujarat, Saroth and Kathiawad. In his divine presence sins dissolved, pressures of life eased and the soul became enriched with the glory of Shriji Maharaj.
Two devotees from Pij arrived in Junagadh to listen to Swami’s discourses. On entering the mandir, they encountered a double-thumbed Sadhu. The Sadhu was averse to Gunatitanand Swami. He tried to stall both the devotees, but one of them walked off, while the other got ensnared in this sweet hospitality. The former devotee went to the assembly hall and prostrated before Gunatitanand Swami. Swami called him near, asked him how he was and then enquired about his companion. The devotee was amazed at Swami’s omniscient powers and replied, “He has stayed behind over there and said he’ll come soon.”
At this Gunatitanand Swami responded, “He has gone, gone and gone!”
The devotee did not understand Swami’s statement but Jaga Swami enquired, “Swami can you explain your words.”
“He will no longer be able to take refuge of the Satpurush. His soul will regress from Satsang due to words of hatred and ill will instilled by that Sadhu. For him the path of redemption has closed. His soul will be consigned to the miseries of hell and the cycle of births and deaths.” And so saying, Gunatitanand Swami remained silent.
The holy Sadhu is the means to redemption. By nourishing enmity towards him one closes the path to moksha. A true aspirant avoids blasphemous talks and never even thinks of it.
FINDING FAULTS (Prasang 1)
Mayaram Bhatt was a genuine devotee of Shriji Maharaj. As an ideal householder, Maharaj wrote his name in the Shikhshapatri. This did not suit Dinanath Bhatt who was a great pundit from Amod. Though Dinanath revered Shriji Maharaj, he became critical towards Maharaj because of his jealousy for Mayaram.
The consequences of Dinanath’s blasphemy took its toll on his daughter. She became possessed by a terrible ghost. Dinanath sought all possible ways and means to exorcise the ghost, but failed.
Finally, he went to Shriji Maharaj who was in Gadhada. There, he repented and begged forgiveness for his sins. The all-compassionate Maharaj blessed him and said, “Go to Mayaram Bhatt, he shall exorcise the ghost.”
Dinanath obeyed and asked Mayaram to help him. Mayaram prayed to Maharaj, took some water and sprinkled it on Dinanath’s daughter. In an instant the ghost fled and Dinanath’s daughter began to behave normally.
By perceiving faults in a genuine devotee of God, one invites pain and misery. Even God becomes helpless to redeem a sinner who bears ill will towards His devotee.
TOLERANCE (Prasang 3)
Serving an Opponent.
Yogiji Maharaj arrived in the village of Mojidad. Early one morning he came by the pool called Narayan Dharo for bathing. Here, a Sadhu, called Narayanprasad, bitterly swore and insulted Yogiji Maharaj. Yogiji Maharaj did not reply in retailiation. Instead, he smilingly bore the brunt of his hostility.
A few days later, the same Sadhu was travelling in torrential rains from Botad to Sarangpur. It was late night when he reached Sarangpur and found the doors of the old mandir closed. So he knocked at the gate of the Akshar Purushottam Mandir. On seeing a Sadhu, the guard opened the wicket gate and let him in.
Yogiji Maharaj was awake, sitting by the steps of the main porch. He cordially welcomed Narayanprasad and attended to his needs. Yogiji Maharaj removed a thorn from the sole of his feet, served him food and then laid a mattress for him to rest. Narayanprasad was touched by Yogiji Mahraj’s service and broke down asking for forgiveness, “You are the embodiment of love because you do good even to those who have harmed you.”
Despite the once unfriendly actions of Narayanprasad, Yogiji Maharaj responded with love and a spirit to alleviate his suffering. Yogiji Maharaj was truly a confluence of tolerance and love.
TOLERANCE (Prasang 2)
Insult in Anand
Once Shriji Maharaj visited the town of Anand. The local devotees had enthusiastically made preparations for a welcome procession. Maharaj had arrived with a group of paramhansas and armed Kathi devotees. Before the procession commenced, Maharaj sought a pledge from the Kathi devotees, “Do not use your swords or weapons, even if anyone insults us, throws bricks or flings mud at us. Instead, forgive them.”
Shriji Maharaj’s foreboding words sparked off a flurry of thoughts in everyone’s mind. And Maharaj’s words came true. Many of the hostile people of Anand insulted Maharaj and his company of Sadhus and devotees. They bitterly hurled mud, bricks, stones, dung and rubbish as the procession passed through the town centre.
The Kathi devotees suppressed their anger and ferocity and tamely tolerated the affront. Though their hearts boiled and itched with a desire to retaliate, they abided by their pledge to Maharaj. Shriji Maharaj left Anand and arrived in Vartal. Here, Maharaj assembled the congregation by the banks of Gomti Lake. Everyone looked crestfallen and moodless. Maharaj then addressed the assembly, “Today we have won the citadel of Idar. Through tolerance we have enhanced our pride and reputation.” Maharaj’s words calmed their agitated minds.
God is compassionate and merciful. He tolerates everyone. Shriji Maharaj had emphasized tolerance as a great virtue. He imbibed the virtue in His life and prescribed tolerance for all His devotees!