Sunday, 29 May 2011

Swami Narayan's pilgrimage to Saurashtra

Lord Shree Swaminarayan was born on the 9th day of the bright half of the Chaitra month in Samvat 1837 in Chhapaiya, a village near Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. His father Dharmadev was a Samavedi scholar Brahmin and His mother was called Bhaktidevi. He took birth to protect the righteous and religious people. Lord Swaminarayan is the incarnation of Narayan Himself. After the passing away of His parents when He was only eleven, the ascetic minded Nilkanth Varni later called Lord Shree Swaminarayan, renounced His home and set out on a pilgrimage visiting holy sites in India.

For several years of His pilgrimage He performed the most severe penances. As part of His pilgrimage through Gujarat He happened to arrive in the village Loj, situated midway between Somnath and Porbander in Saurashtra. There He met Muktanandji, the chief disciple of the great master Ramanand Swami; and later He came to have a face-to-face meeting with Ramanand Swami in a village called Piplana.

 Having taken birth in a material body Lord Shree Swaminarayan too accepted Ramanand Swami, as His preceptor and as per set religious rules began receiving diksha at the hands of the great preceptor. The great preceptor later handed over the control and management of the entire Uddhava religious discipline to Lord Shree Swaminarayan. Many people became His disciples after properly checking and testing the meditation process by the Lord. Without giving much importance to mysterious performances and miracles, He engaged Himself in enriching the society by teaching them the purity of thought and food, in addition to conduct by removing bad habits such as addiction, blind faith, suspiciousness, immorality, corruption, luxury, inertness, theft, dacoity etc. Some scholars believed that there can be no incarnation of God in the Kaliyuga. He convinced them through proofs from the Geeta, the Bhagawad and other scriptures that Lord Swaminarayan is the Supreme incarnation and made them His disciples. Lord Swaminarayan is the Supreme Brahman and proof of this fact is found in ancient scriptures, for example
“Whenever religion suffers tormented regression I incarnate myself to uproot irreligion and re-establish good religion to protect the gentle folk and to destroy the evils in every era.” (Geeta 48-49)

"Hey Arjun, many births of yours and mine have passed but only I know them and not you." (Geeta 45).

"To protect religion I get another body, to eradicate irreligion I do manifest when the age demands." (Shrimad Bhagawat) Brahmapurana says:

"In Satyuga I manifest as Dattatreya, as Raghunandana in Treta, as Vasudeva in Dwapara and as Dharmadev's son Swami in Kaliyuga." Vishwaksena Samhita says:

 Among all parts of the universe I take birth on the Earth, I shall adore Vaikuntha adopting the name Sahajanand. All these scriptures prove Lord Swaminarayan as the Vedic acceptance of incarnated supreme reality.
 Like the previous incarnations He did not destroy demons but He removed the demonic inclinations and turned demonic persons into divine ones. He uplifted and elevated classes like Kathi, Koli, Ahir, Shudra, Bhil, Muslims, illiterate, peasants etc. Along with backward classes, great scholar-poets, officials, rulers and kings renounced worldly life and joined the Holy Fellowship and got initiated into asceticism, became stoics and spread the religion. Scholars and saints offered valuable devotional prose-verse literature by offering volumes written in Sanskrit, Hindi, Brijbhasha and Gujarati. He opposed violence including the killing of animals before deities and in Yagnas, and by offering scholarly counselling stopped violence performed in the name of religion. He advocated and popularised non-violent Yagnas. Lord Shree Swaminarayan provided welfare to many humans and animals by creating free food centres, wells, step wells and temples. He declared in the Shikshapatri-47,

 that both Narayan and Mahesh (Shiva) should be understood as one, as both are forms of Brahm as confirmed by the Vedas. Thus he brought an end to the hostility between the Shaivas and Vaishnavas. In order to bring complete chastity of character into the Holy Fellowship, He ordered that the temples, meeting assemblies and initiating rites should be separate for male and female followers. He appointed married householders from His own family line as chief of the Fellowship and ordered the saints to observe eight types of celibacy from females, so that there would remain no possibility of corruption by crossing boundaries of self-control.
 In order to prevent any blind tradition in pure devotion, the Lord instructed devotees to build large and beautiful temples. He also wrote a sacred volume called the Shikshapatri for the welfare of many souls after His departure from Earth. Having completed His mission of establishing the Bhagawat Dharma and the task of rejuvenating and revitalizing the ancient Vedic path, He left His mortal body and ascended to His divine abode Akshardham at Gadhpur (Saurashtra) on the 10th day of the bright half of the Jyestha month of Vikram Samvat 1886; from then onwards He has been offering His divine darshan in idol form in various temples in the Holy Fellowship.

The curse of Durvasa 

 When the burden of sin increases on Earth, Mother Earth becomes unhappy. As her unhappiness increases something needs to be done to ease her plight. The saints and rishis pray to the Lord to help her during these bad times. Once, one hundred and thirty nine rishis and saints including Marichi, Harit, Gautam, Bhrigu and Bhardwaj, went to Badrikashram for darshan of Lord Shree NarNarayan. They bathed in the sacred River Ganga and then bowed down to Shree NarNarayan. Lord Narayan asked them, “O Rishis, what is the news on Earth?” The Rishis replied: “Lord, the burden of sin has greatly increased on Earth. Immoral behaviour has grown immensly, hypocrisy and pretence prevail everywhere in the name of religion. Innocent people are struggling to find religious leaders to look after them”. During this discussion, Dharmadev and Bhaktimata arrived. They were informed of Earth’s plight by Lord NarNarayan as everyone was engrossed in hearing these talks.

 Meanwhile Rishi Durvasa arrived, but nobody noticed him. Durvasa had a temperamental nature, he felt insulted when no one welcomed him, he became angry and cursed them all: “You have failed to welcome me in the worry of the Earth, therefore you shall go and live on Earth as humans, and suffer at the hands of evil spirits.” Lord NarNarayan and the other saints came to their senses; they prayed to Durvasa muni, “O great saint, have mercy on us.” Durvasa replied “My curse cannot be reverted once given, but on account of my curse, the burden of sin on the Earth will decrease by your hands. Lord Narayan will be born as the son of Dharma-Bhakti, and will benefit the universe. You will be free from the curse after that.” Lord Narayan smiled gently and said, “The curse is the result of my wish. The curse of a saint is not a curse, but it is a boon in disguise. I will decrease the burden of sin on Earth; I myself will be born as the son of Dharma and Bhakti for the establishment of true religion and so you all will be born on earth.” On hearing this, everyone was pleased, and so the curse of Durvasa turned into a boon.

Ghansyam Maharaj's Janma-Mahotsav

 In a village called Chapaiya, near Ayodhya lived Dharmadev with his wife Bhakti. Dharmadev was a man of great knowledge who possessed saintly qualities. Lord Narayan, according to his promise, was born on Earth in the house of Dharmadev and Bhakti on a Monday, on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra {Chaitra Sud Navami} in Vikram Samvat 1837 (3rd April 1781). Gods and Goddesses rushed to Earth to receive darshan of Lord Narayan in the form of a man, and began to shower flowers shouting, “Victory to thee, Victory to thee,” whilst beating drums. Dharmadev’s courtyard was full of people. Dharmadev presented gold and cows to the Brahmins as gifts. The Brahmins recited Vedic mantras and everyone was joyous.

 The newly born child presented darshan of his divine form to his parents. Dharmadev and Bhaktimata saw in their child the most beautiful form of Lord Krishna (Bal Krishna). They prayed to Bal Krishna with great devotion. Bal Krishna said to Dharmadev, “You yourself are DharmPrajapati and Bhaktimata, your wife, is MurtiDevi. I have taken birth as your son to decrease the burden of sins on Earth.” Saying this, the Lord began to play in his child form.

Dharmadev decides to understand the significance of Ghanshyam

 One day Dharmadev had a thought, “This child is going to be victorious on Earth, but how will it materialise? Will he become an emperor? Will he become a king by conquering all countries? Will he become the richest man? Will he become a great merchant, trading in foreign countries? Or will he be a renowned man of knowledge in the whole world?”

 Dharmadev made a plan to find out how Ghanshyam was going to be victorious. He placed three things on a wooden seat, a knife, a mahor [a gold coin] and a scripture. The scripture was the Bhagvad Gita. Then he brought Ghanshyam near the wooden seat. Ghanshyam will become a king if he picks up the knife and he will become the richest man if he picks up a gold coin. If he picks up the scripture, he will become man of great knowledge.

Typically a child will run after a bright thing to hold it. There were two such bright and shiny items, a knife and a gold coin. However, Ghanshyam picked up the Gita. He not only picked it up but also opened it as if He was reading. Dharmadev saw the page which He opened and read the writing on it: “I am born when the burden of sin increases on Earth.” Dharmadev was now sure that his child was destined to achieve great things.

Naming the Child

 The child was three months of age, when Markandey Rishi, who was on pilgrimage, came to Dharmadev’s house.
 “O Rishi,” said Dharmadev, “Please name my child.” Rishi was pleased to hear this and replied, “This child is going to remove the plight of people, so his name will be Hari.” After a pause the Rishi continued, “All minds are attracted towards the child when they see him, so his second name will be Krishna”. “Everyone has only one name,” replied Dharmadev, “Why then will my child have two?” “Really speaking, your son has not only two or five, but He has one thousand different names. He is Purushottam and Nilkanth too. He is Ghanshyam and also HariKrishna. What He is and what He is not, I cannot say, because He is everything,” was the Rishi’s reply. Dharmadev caressed the head of the child seated in his lap. His joy was boundless. Markandeyji was not exhausting on describing the virtues of the child. Suddenly he had tears in his eyes. Dharmadev anxiously said, “O Rishi, why are there tears in your eyes?”. “Dharmadev,” said the Rishi, “this is not an ordinary child. He is Param Purush - an extraordinary man - a super being. He is born as a saviour of the universe and a deliverer of the people. He will be victorious everywhere on Earth. But I will not live to see these deeds. Hence, there are tears in my eyes.” Dharmdev consoled the Rishi “Don’t worry, God is merciful”.

The scriptures say that Markandey Rishi was born again; when he grew up he left his house and went away in search of God. He came to Gujarat; and became a Sadhu (a saint) and took holy orders when he had Shriji Maharaj’s darshan. His name is Swami Mahanubhavananda. Such is the significance of his incarnation.

Annihilation of the Wicked

 Kalidatta was very wicked. He wanted, by any means, to ruin and kill child Ghanshyam. Once, Ghanshyam was playing in a garden under a mango tree with his young friends when Kalidatta found his way to them in a deceitful disguise. He wanted to take charge of Ghanshyam. When Kalidatta tried to catch him, Ghanshyam appeared to Kalidatta as a dreadful fire which made him fall back in his attempt. He decided to use his magic and black art. There was lightening and it was raining heavily. Many trees fell down. Many creatures, both animals and birds died. It was very dark and no one could see each other's faces.

 Child Ghanshyam remained seated under the tree where He was playing. Other children were standing under other trees and were afraid. They did not know where Ghanshyam was and no one could go to inquire about the others in such a storm. Kalidatta took advantage of this opportunity, he created such an illusion that he fell with a mountainous body on the tree under which Ghanshyam was sitting. That mango tree fell on Ghanshyam. It did fall, but it was not wicked like Kalidatta. The tree fell on Ghanshyam covering Him safely like an umbrella. Now Ghanshyam had full protection against the storm and rain. Kalidatta was stunned. He rushed again to grab hold of Him, but when he saw Ghanshyam He was alive. But no sooner did his eyes meet with Ghanshyam’s, he began to run helter skelter like a possessed man. He was crushed under a tree that was falling in the cyclone and died.

 The storm and the rain stopped. Meanwhile, parents came out in search of their children. All the parents came outside with lanterns and torches. They shouted their children’s names. Dharmdev and Bhaktimata had also come out in search of Ghanshyam. Sundaribai, Ghanshyam’s aunt, who loved Ghanshyam very much, had also come out in search of Ghanshyam. Rampratapbhai, the eldest brother of Ghanshyam, had also come out in search of his younger brother Ghanshyam. Other children of the village were found, but Ghanshyam could not be seen. The children informed their parents that they had seen Ghanshyam under a mango tree, and they did not know what happened after that.

 On hearing this, Sundaribai was very much afraid. She ran to the mango tree. There she saw that child Ghanshyam was merrily playing as if nothing had happened. “Hari has been found. Hari has been found.” shouted aunt Sundaribai. Bhaktimata and the others rushed there. Aunt Sundaribai took child Ghanshyam and placed Him on Bhaktimata’s lap. The mother’s joy knew no bound. She took off a valuable necklace and gave it away to Sundaribai. Nothing is as precious as the happiness of finding our Ghanshyam.

 On one occasion, during the excitement of playing on the tree, Ghanshyam hurt Himself on His right thigh and started to bleed badly. Ashwinikumar, a divine doctor quickly arrived at the lakeside to help Ghanshyam and placed bandages on Ghanshyam’s thigh. The wound left a permanent scar on the thigh of Ghanshyam. Khampa Lake and the area of the tamarind tree are still present in Chhapaiya to this day.


The Milk of Cow Gomati

Dharmdev had a cow named Gomati. Child Ghanshyam loved her very much. She also loved Ghanshyam. Gomati used to give four seers of milk each time, daily. All the members of the household drank it. Ghanshyam drank it utmost to His satisfaction. So His sister-in-law Suwashini bhabhi placed the bowl full of milk in Ghanshyam’s dish.

Once Suwashini bhabhi thought “Ghanshyam is still very young. Why should I serve such a big quantity of milk to a child?” So she served big bowls full of milk to the others but to Ghanshyam she gave a small cup. Ghanshyam did not say anything to anyone. But in the evening Suwashini bhabhi went to milk the cow, the milk that the cow gave was only half in quantity that she used to give. Bhabhi did not understand the cause of it. It was the evening and everyone sat down for supper. The sister-in-law gave each one of them half of what she used to give in the morning. Ghanshyam did get milk but only half a cup! Ghanshyam said nothing. He finished His supper silently. The next morning again the sister-in-law began to milk the cow. This time she got only one fourth of the regular quantity. She fondled the cow very much in many different ways, but the cow didn't give more milk. She went to Bhaktimata and said, “Mother, How is it so? Why does the cow not give as much milk as she used to give?”

Bhaktimata was already watching the situation. She smiled and said, “Of course, you are partial in catering milk to members of the family, the cow can also be partial in giving milk. Why do you serve Ghanshyam less milk? Give him as much as you give to the others.” “I will do accordingly,” said the sister-in-law. That evening the cow gave the full quantity of four seers! By this Leela-episode God pointed out that every member of the household, guests, servants etc. and others invited to dine must be treated equally. No one should be treated as nearer or dearer.


 Wicked persons always harass the pious ones. Every now and then, Dharmadev was harassed by the wicked persons residing in Chhapaiya and nearby villages. When this harassment became unbearable, Dharmadev left Chhapaiya for good and settled in Ayodhya. Ghanshyam at that time was only 3 years old.

The Ring Episode

Once Suwashinibai, the wife of Rama Pratapbhai, was busy in the kitchen. She took off her ring from her finger and put it on a wooden seat. Child Ghanshyam decided to play a jest. He took the ring without the awareness of His sister-in-law. Then He went with the ring to a sweet seller in the market. He said to the sweet seller, “Take this ring and give me sweets to eat.” The sweet seller was tempted upon seeing the ring. He took it up and said, “Sit down, eat as many sweets as you please.” Ghanshyam began to eat the sweets.

The sweet seller took time in serving sweets but Ghanshyam finished eating them within no time. Soon He had eaten all the sweets in the shop so He returned home. The search for the ring was going on. “My dear brother-in-law, have you seen my ring?” asked the sister-in-law, “I left the ring on this wooden seat.” “Ask this wooden seat,” replied Ghanshyam, “why do you ask me?” His younger brother Ichharam said, “Only Ghanshyam Himself has taken the ring. I have seen Him.” Ghanshyam said, “Well, let us go to the sweet seller’s shop. He has that ring.” Everyone went to the sweet seller’s place. Ghanshyam demanded the ring from him. “You have eaten sweets and given me the ring. You have not given it in exchange for nothing. You have eaten all the sweets in the shop. See, the whole shop is empty,” said the sweetmeat seller. Ghanshyam said, “I have not eaten the sweets. Look there, your shop is full of them.” The sweetmeat seller saw that the sweets were there and intact. His surprise knew no bounds. He returned the ring and said to Dharmadev, “Your son appears to be some wonderful piece of life.” “Not a piece of life,” said Dharmadev, “He is the life of lives and God of Gods! Even I have not yet fully known Him, then how are you going to know Him?”

The Religious Thread Ceremony

 (Janoi / Yagnopavit)

 Ghanshyam was eight years of age when it was decided to give him a Yagnopavit [to have a religious thread ceremony]. Yajnopavit (Janoi) is a religious and sacred rite. It is said that the child to whom the Janoi is given is reborn. He is called Dwij in other words, twice-born. After wearing this religious thread, the child has to proceed for study to his teacher’s place. When he starts going there, he is brought back by a relative running after him.

 Young Ghanshyam ran with a book in his underarm and a staff of ‘butea frondosa’ [Palas Dand] in the hand. He decided in his mind, not to return home and to go straight to the Himalayas. His maternal uncle was totally exhausted running after Ghanshyam. Seeing His uncle’s condition, Ghanshyam suddenly halted. He thought, “If I leave home right now, my parents and others would be very unhappy. So there is no need to be in such a hurry to leave the home.” Meanwhile His uncle approached Him and brought Ghanshyam back home, carrying Him in his hands. Ghanshyam bowed down to his parents, the elders, and the brahmins. The Yajnopavit celebration was then over.

 At the age of 5, Ghanshyam started taking oral lessons from His learned father. As soon as He was given the sacred thread at the age of 8, He started studying the Vedas and within less than two years, mastered all the four Vedas with all their branches. At the age of 10, He prepared a short summary book, comprising two Skandas, the fifth and the tenth, from Shri Bhagavat, Shri Bhagwadgita, Vidurniti and Vishnusahasranam from the Mahabharat, Vasudevmahatmya from Skand Puran and Yajnavalkya Smruti with Mitakshara commentary from the Dharmashastras.

Mercy On The Blind

A fair was held at a pond named Shravan Talavadi. At this fair, bathing in the pond was considered important. So Dharmdev and others went to the fair. Young Ghanshyam also accompanied them. A mendicant (friar) Saint was sitting on the bank in a typical posture. Some blind persons were sitting with him and were beseeching him “O mendicant, give us eye-sight.” The mendicant said, “Give me money and I will give you eye-sight with a blow of air from my mouth.”

“O good man, how can we give you money? We don’t have it. We earn our livelihood by begging. Yet we get only one meal a day and starve the rest of the day. Where shall we bring money from?” replied the blind. “Go away then,” said the mendicant. Ghanshyam saw this. He felt very bad. He stopped the blind people who were going away disappointed. He said to them “O devotees, don’t be disappointed. God is merciful.”

The blind said, “When you say it, we feel God is really merciful. We are waiting to have a glimpse of Him.” Ghanshyam caressed their eyes with His tender arm and said: “Can you see anything?” The blind shouted with joy, “Yes, we can see, yes, we see it twinkling. We see the young Kanhaiya. He is standing with His legs twisted, and He is playing on the flute. O, what wonderful flute playing!” “Right, from today you will always be able to see Kanhaiya and hear his flute playing. Tell me, do you want to see anything more?” said Ghanshyam. “No,” said the blind, “everything consists in this.” Firm faith (trust) in God is a remedy of all troubles.

One day some wrestlers thought, what do these children think of wrestling as? What do they see in making their name popular by defeating the opponent? So they challenged Ghanshyam. They said, “Let us test you, come here.” The whole village had gathered to see the challenge. The king of the village also arrived there. One of the wrestlers placed an iron chain, of about 240 Kg (480 pounds) on his foot. After tying the chain he said "Now pull me". Many people tried to move him by pulling the chain. Hundreds got together and tried, but he did not move at all. Then with great pride he told Ghanshyam to try. Everyone thought to themselves, "What is this,? A wrestler and a small child". Meanwhile, Ghanshyam slowly came forward, He bent a little and pulled the chain with His left hand. Then He gave a slow push. The iron chain broke into eleven pieces and the wrestler fell four feet away, along with the iron chain.

There were two wrestlers along with this wrestler. They also had the same iron chain. They said, "Now we will place this iron chain on Ghanshyam’s foot and will make Him fall". Ghanshyam took the chain Himself and put it on His feet. Then He stood amongst them and said, “Now pull the chain and try to defeat me.” Both wrestlers clapped their thighs and said, “We will throw this child into the river along with the iron chain.” Both had held the iron chain strongly and pulled, but they could not move Ghanshyam even an inch. Both tried again and again but the iron chain broke into two pieces. One piece of the chain was left in the hands of the wrestlers. Both wrestlers fell ten feet away along with the chain. They struck a tree and fell in the dirt. All the gathered people expressed their joy by clapping their hands and shouting. The king also expressed his joy.

Bhakitmata’s Death

Dharmdev was staying with his family in Ayodhyapuri. During this stay, Bhaktimata fell ill. She said, “Take me back to Chhappaiya.” Everyone went back to Chhappiya with Bhaktimata. She said to young Ghanshyam, “I want to leave my body whilst listening to a few words from your own mouth. O! Tell me about knowledge (Gyan) and devotion (Bhakti)." Ghanshyam preached about religion, knowledge, detachment (indifference or aversion to worldly pleasures) and devotion to His mother. Bhaktimata went into trance (deep meditation in which the meditator loses his or her identity and becomes one with the Supreme Being [Samadhi]). In this trance, she had darshan of Akshardham and the Lord of Akshardham, Shri Hari. She had a thrilling joy.

All the tendencies of her mind retreated whilst she was in the trance. She looked up. She saw young Ghanshyam standing and smiling. Bhaktimata recognised His true identity. "Oh, this is Shri Hari, the Lord of Akshardham! Who is born here as my son. He is there in Akshardham as Shri Hari!” Young Ghanshyam placed His hand on her head. She closed her eyes. She again was engrossed in the eternal Being of Shri Hari. Then she passed away.

Dharmadev’s Renunciation of His Body

 (Dharmadev Passes Away)

Dharmdev, too, was not well for a long time. He had come to know it was time for his departure from Earth. He gathered all his relatives after Bhaktimata’s death and said to his eldest son, “O Ramapratap, the burden of this house now lies on you. But you are angry by nature. So I want to tell you one thing, you should never speak angrily to Ghanshyam. God will take care of the rest.” Saying this, he withdrew his mind from all worldly matters and surrendered it to God. He said, “Now my only wish is to hear God’s name.” God’s name means Bhagvat-katha- Shrimat Bhagwat. Soon Rama Hari Pandit was sent for. He started the Bhagwat recital. Dharmdev listened to the Bhagwat for seven days. He saw all these incarnations of God being absorbed in the being of Ghanshyam. Thus he became sure of Ghanshyam’s all incarnations into his one Being. The Katha (Recital) was over. Dharmdev became one with the Eternal Being of God. And in this trance, he left his body.

Shree Ghanshyam As Nilkanth Varni - Vanvicharan

(Penance & Pilgrimage)

Soon after returning from Benares, both Ghanshyam's parents passed away. Ghanshyam then decided to leave Ayodhya for the Himalayas, to begin His work of establishing Ekantik Dharma, on 29th June 1792 (Ashadh Sud 10th, Samvat 1849). He was only eleven years old. His mendicant garb consisted of only a loin cloth. He carried an icon of Bal Mukund (the Lord) and His miniature diary containing the gist of the scriptures, the result of His studies with Dharmadev. He renounced home to embark upon a 7 year spiritual pilgrimage on foot across the length and breadth of India. Ghanshyam left His house early in the morning and started to walk towards River Saryu. There, one of the followers of Kalidut saw Ghanshyam and decided to kill Him, so he pushed Ghanshyam into the river but was unsuccessful in his attempt. After coming out of the river, Ghanshyam continued His journey in the north direction towards the Himalayas.

His Members of Family Wail

It was the morning and Suwashini bhabhi was the first to wake up. She had a habit of looking at the face of the beloved brother-in-law as soon as she got up, and then would start the household work. But her beloved brother-in-law could not be seen. She was afraid. The elder brother Ramapratap also suddenly got up. He said, “It seems that Ghanshyam has gone to bathe in the river so early. He will return soon.”

Hours passed but Ghanshyam did not come home so Ghanshyam’s friends began to search for Him. Every nook and cranny of all the temples in the village were searched. A distant search on the riverbank was conducted. But alas, Ghanshyam could not be found anywhere. There was no limit to His elder brother’s sorrow. He wept and wailed “O Ghanshyam, come back. I promise never to scold you." Suwashinibai was turning mad due to sorrow. On seeing Ghanshyam’s shoes, cap, and cradle, she started to cry with deep sorrow. “Please come home and forgive us,” said Suwashinibai, “Without you how will our days pass?” Ghanshyam did not reply to His sister-in-law at that time. After many long years, with the wish of Shriji Maharaj, some saints arrived at the house of Suwashinibai. That is when they felt that God is very merciful. God never forgets His devotees.

After a while when Nilkanth came out from dhyan, Hanumanji offered Him some fruits to eat and asked Nilkanth to allow him to live with Him for seva. But Nilkanth replied He is fine and He wanted to go alone, and if He needs Him He will call Hanumanji. For now He told Hanumanji to inform Iccharambhai about Him, to tell him that He is fine and will call them later.

Nilkanth Varni in Himalayas

As Nilkanth Varni continued walking towards the black Himalayas He entered a forest, fearlessly facing various wild animals including snakes and reptiles. He walked through the deep forest with His bare but tender feet. He sometimes ate fruits fallen on the ground from trees. He used to think of Bharatji Katha and thought of going to Pulhashram for penance in the Himalayas. One day He lost His way towards Pulhashram and could not find any fruits or roots to eat on His way, so had to fast for three days continuously.

On the fourth day He fell to the ground. Slowly, He recovered, sat on the ground and soon started walking towards a river arising from the Himalayas. He bathed there and after finishing the puja He drank some water and took some rest under a banyan (Vaad) tree. The sun had set by then and everything was dark, so He mentally started praying to Hanumanji. In a very minute form Hanumanji arrived and stood under the Banyan (Vaad) tree. It was the night of Janamashtami. It was very dark and due to the thick clouds neither the stars nor the moon were visible. Hounds of foxes and nocturnal animals could be heard. The roars of tigers could also be heard at a distance. Lightning could be seen in the sky and thunder could be heard. Any other person would be scared to death in such a situation but God thinking of the form of Shree Hari (Himself) drew into Samadhi.

Penance in Pulhasram

God was pleased to see the beautiful white Himalayas where the other heavenly Gods resided. It has beautiful high cliffs, various precious metals along with other substances and is silver in colour with beautiful forests. God started walking further in the Himalayas and soon lost His way. He arrived in the middle of two cliffs and stood there. A river was flowing through a cave in-between two mountains. “Where should I go from here?” He thought. At that instance, the Himalayas coming in form bowed down to the divine Paramatma and said "If You walk against the flow of this river, You will find your way forward." Taking the word of the Himalayas, God started walking against the flow of the river and in the morning found His way. So walking for many days, God finally made it to the famous Ashram of the Son of Brahma, Sage Pulah. On reaching Pulhashram, God became very pleased. The ashram was beautiful and just by its sight, one can become very pious and blessed. By performing penance in this ashram one gains Siddhis very easily.

God is always present in this Ashram. Bharatji, the son of Rishabhdev performed his penance in this ashram. The River Gandaki flows around all the sides of this Ashram. God bathed in this river and performed the puja of Muktinath Bhagwan. God started His penance in this ashram, which cannot be reached by any common man. Standing on one foot with His arms raised towards the sky, the Lord started to recite the mahamantra of Gayatri and prayed to SuryaNarayan. God used to bathe in the Gandaki River three times a day and then perform the pooja of Muktinath. Looking at such severe penance of God, other tapasvi’s staying there were surprised. They thought to themselves "This yogi would be the incarnation of Prahladji or Dhruvji or Kartikswami or Sanatkumar or God Dattatrey themselves. Or is He Lord Narayan Himself in this form, giving us all His divine company,” they thought.

A regular person can never perform such severe penance. Seeing God standing on one foot doing His penance, Dharmadev and Bhaktimata came in their divine form and stood beside Him. The period of Chaturmas was completed by doing such severe austerities and penance.
In the dense forests Nilkanth Varni met Gopal Yogi who was adept in Nirbij yog and was proficient in Astang yoga. Gopal Yogi believed God to be only a formless divine light. Nilkanth Varni taught Gopal Yogi the Sabij Yoga, expounded him the ideal principles of image-worship, revealed His true divine form to him and left for Adivarah. From Adivarah, He went to Sirpur (Sonepur). The King Sidhvallabh was devout. He invited Nilkanth Varni and served Him lovingly. There were many worshippers of the evil spirits who envied Varni and directed some evil spirits to kill a servant of the king who was entrusted to serve Varni. But by merely chanting the words, 'Shree Krishna' the servant got up, while the evil spirit went back to kill the invoker. Nilkanth Varni saved him. He got them rid of all the evil activities, taught them how to live a virtuous life, showed them the real way of worship and left.

Butolpur Leela

Prabhu Varniraj set off to the south of the Pulhasharam after paying tributes to other muktapurushas carrying out penance and offering prayers to Muktinath. He went into a dense forest crossing many rivers, lakes and mountains. The forest was so dense that no sunlight reached the ground and was filled with wild animals. At the end of the forest was a village called Butolpur. King Mahadutt of Butolpur and his sister Mayarani were very kind to God. They were given the divine knowledge of God by Nilkanth after which God set off from there.
A year had passed since He set from muktanath when He came across a huge tree surrounded by many animals. Below that tree was sitting a divine sage wearing a short cloth and reading the Geeta. Seeing the Lord come there he stood forward and hugged Him. Lord said “O Yogiraj! You are my guru, please teach me Ashtangyoga. Nilkanth stayed there with Gopal Yogi for one year and learnt Ashtangyoga. He learnt all this in a very short time. In a very short time He also learnt the shabij and the nirbij Samadhi. Seeing this, Gopal Yogi came to know that He was Lord Paramatma Himself, because no one else can learn all this as such a pace. 

Near the ashram of Gopal Yogi were many shepherds grazing their cows. Every night a tiger used to come and eat a cow. The shepherds complained to Gopal Yogi but they could not find a solution. So Nilkanth Varni told Yogiraj to blow the Shankh. This scared away all the wild animals and they left the area for good. Soon after this miracle Yogiraj fell into a deep trance and leaving his mind and spirit to Paramatma and left his body for heavenly abode. God completed the death rituals and set off from there. After many days He came to a place called Adivarah. He stayed there for three days. Wherever God went, He was welcomed by religious and pious people.

Darshan given by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati

From Adivarah Nilkanth went to Venkataditirtha. After paying His tributes to Venkat Bhagwan, He went to Shivakashi, Vishnukashi and to Shrirangkshetra. He bathed in the River Kaveri and sat in a small field. He stayed in Shrirang for two months. There He met several Vaishnavs with whom He held religious discussions. From there He went to Rameshwar and after staying there for about two months went to a sacred pilgrimage shrine called Sundarraj. From there He came across a forest while going to Bhutpuri. He did not have water or food for four days but on the fifth day saw a well. He bathed there and got some nuts from the forest, cooked them under a fire and after offering it to Thakorji, then ate it. The next day He came across another well, took water from it and bathed a Shaligram. In the meantime, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati had come to see Him in disguise. The Shaligram consumed all the water that was used to bathe it.

Nilkanth thought that if Shaligram Narayan is this thirsty, then He would be hungry as well. He was then quite worried about this. Seeing this, Mahadevji told Parvatiji to offer them some Sathvo and so Parvatiji did. When Nilkanth asked who they were, they requested Him to eat His food first and then they shall reveal their true identity. God offered the food to Shaligram and then ate it Himself. Mahadevji then spoke to Him “O Lord! I am Sadashiva Myself and this is Sati." Having God and Goddess giving darshan personally to Him, Nilkanth was quiet pleased and started singing hymns, verses and kirtans in praise of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. From there God went to a place called Bhutpuri. After doing the darshan of Ramanujacharya they came to Kanyakumari and moved on to Padmanabh, Janardan and then to Adikeshav. Through the king, He got around two thousand demons killed and moved to the Malayachal Mountain. He paid tribute to the form of Narayan there called Shakshigopal and stayed in a mountain which was full of snakes for five days. From there He came to Pandharpur, located on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River. Embracing the idol of Vitthalnath Bhagwan there, He moved to Dandakaranya. There He circled the Panchavati. From there He went to Nasik and Tryambakeshwar and moved on to tapi and the Narmada River.

He then moved on to cross the Sabarmati River and came to Bhimnath Mahadev in the Bhal region. He stayed there for a while and after doing the darshan of Gopnath Mahadevji came to the town of Mangrol on the west coast of India. In this way, spreading the true religion, getting the evil destroyed and relieving devotees from the suffering all over the place, from the north to the east and from south to west of India, He finally came to Gujarat. Wearing a small loin cloth and deerskin, doing severe austerities and penance and totally weakened by the hardships with only bones and veins left in the body, but still very divine and bright looking, walking with bare feet. Facing wild animals and evil people all over the place but still fearless. Eating fruits and roots and many times leaves and in times of hardship just lived off air, full of compassion for everyone. He came to Loj village in Gujarat after seven years of severe penance on the 6th Shravan Vad of year 1856 V.S. He took rest on the banks of a beautiful Vaav on the outskirts of the village.

Leela at Sirpur town

After giving moksha to Gopal Yogi, Lord moving towards Bengal came to a town called Sirpur, which was ruled by a religious king called SiddhaVallabh. On the request of the king He stayed there for the period of Chaturmas. Because of the excellent nature of God, the king kept a Sadhu named Gopaldas in His service. There were also several other tapasvis staying in that town upon the request of the king. There were several renounced who were the devotees of several different deities. Several others used to practice black magic and many other rituals and mantras. They were all staying in a big garden under an open sky. Nilkanth was also invited to stay with them. One day, by the grace of God, began a heavy rain shower which lasted several days and nights. All the other sadhus and siddhas ran for shelter nearby but Nilkanth stayed in the open. The king came for their darshan and saw only Nilkanth staying there in the rain. So he came to know that He was the Lord and others were weak. The king then worshipped Him and seeing this made the other tapasvi's jealous. They tried to practice some black magic on him but nothing worked. So, filled with anger they made Gopaldas who was in the service of God unconscious.

The king then urged them to bring Gopaldas back to consciousness. Hearing this, the proud tapasvis told him to go to Nilkanth as He was the one with super powers. So the king went to Nilkanth and begged him. Soon the Lord spoke the divine Ashtakshar mantra of Lord Narayan in Gopaldas’s ears and he immediately came to consciousness. Seeing this happen, the people who had performed black magic were shocked and ran away. The whole town soon worshipped Nilkanth after this incident. He was offered various gifts and flowers but God accepted none. Once, a poor Brahmin who was extraordinarily well versed in Vedas and scriptures from Tamilnadu went to Sirpur and accepted a huge donation of household item like grains etc. from the king. Because of that he lost his brightness and became black. Unhappily he came to the shelter of Nilkanth and was given the Ashtakshar mantra by Nilkanth and was freed from his misery.

Leela at Jagnathpuri

After coming down from the Navlakha Mountain, the Lord came to a fountain of hot water called Wadwa Kund. From there He went to the meeting place of the Gangasagar River. He then visited the ashram of Kapilbhagwan - the founder of Shankhyayoga. From there He went to Jagganathpuri and blessed various religious devotees and saints. He did not personally wish to stay at Jagganathpuri but there were several reasons for Him staying there.
Jagganathpuri had become a place for thugs who disguised themselves as devotees and practiced various vices and black magic and looted many pilgrims and innocent people. Seeing the bright, pious and divine Nilkanth, various religious and straightforward devotees came forward to listen to Him and discuss religion. Seeing this, the other so called sadhus came and took Nilkanth to their homes and made Him do very strenuous tasks. But smiling Nilkanth did not get angry and said that nothing is going to affect the soul as all the worldly things are related to body. Hearing this a few sadhus thought that it was right and soon there were two divisions amongst them and a heavy fight started in-between them. In that fight almost ten thousand were killed whilst others ran away. In this way the burden of evil from the holy place of Jagganathpuri was relieved by the entry of the Lord in a short period. Many people also became devotees of God and started practising the Bhagwad dharma.


Meeting with Sevakram

When Bhagwan set off from Jagganathpuri, He had made up His mind not to stay at one place except when He had to perform religious duties and penance because He was very philanthropy and merciful on the suffering people. He had to stay more than required to relieve people and devotees from evil and pain. Once, while walking towards Tirupati Balaji in the south of India, He came across a Sadhu called Sevakram. At the time when the Lord met him, he was quiet ill and his body was completely weak. The place where Lord met him was quite far from the nearby town.

Sevakram did not even have the strength to walk. So God made for him a bed out of banana leaves under a big shady tree and nursed him for quite a long time. Sevakram had 1000 gold coins with him. From that money, God used to get grains for him and used to cook him meals. After that He used to go to villages and beg for His own meals. On some days if He could not get a meal He would have to fast.
But Sevakram never even once told Him to cook a meal for them both. After Sevakram got well, he loaded all his stuff on the shoulders of Nilkanth without a word of thanks and started walking in front of Him with a mala in one hand seeming as if he was the guru of Paramatma. But Nilkanth did not for once feel bad about his attitude and soon departed from that place.

Nilkanth Varni took His morning bath and sat on the side of the step-well for His morning rites including meditation, worshipping etc. There was an Ashram (monestery) of Ramanand Swami, the incarnation of Udhhavji, the pet disciple of Shree Krishna who was preaching in Bhuj in Kutch. There were around fifty disciples at Loj Ashram. Muktanand Swami was the main one. Sukhanand Swami who had gone to fetch water from the step-well saw Nilkanth Varni in the state of meditation. Looking at Varni's luminous personality, he was attracted. As soon as His meditation was over, Sukhanand Swami went to Him and very politely asked, "Who are You? Where do you come from? Where are you going and who are Your parents?" Nilkanth replied," “I am Brahman (God), coming from Brahmapur and going to Bramapur. For my parents, I may say, one who does not help to get free or one who is unable to make one get free from the permanent unavoidable cycle of death and birth is not Guru (the Preceptor), not a father, not a mother, not a relative, not a husband (or master) or not a God." Sukhanand Swami was very much impressed by the reply. He said, "Our Guru Ramanand Swami is adept in spiritual knowledge and has reached a very high stage, he will lead you to the Brahman. He is in Kutch at Bhuj. His main disciple Muktanand Swami has also profound spiritual knowledge. Please come to our Ashram alternatively he will come to take you. Varni reached the Ashram along with Sukhanand Swami. Nilkanth Varni had practised very stern and austere penance and His body was so frail and emaciated that His bones, ribs and the veins could be counted. His face was sublime with divine luster and His eyes were full of love and mercy for all. Muktanand Swami was so impressed that even though he was suffering from guinea-worm disease and was unable to stand, he got up, warm-welcomed Varni and embraced Him. Looking at the pious, virtuous, peaceful, devotional atmosphere of the Ashram and the politeness, Varni was very pleased.

Letter to Ramanand Swami in Bhuj written by Nilkanth Varni & Muktanand Swami

Paramatma completed Chaturmas in Lojgam but still Ramanand Swami did not turn up, so Nilkanth became anxious to go to Bhuj and said “Still Ramanand Swami has not come! I must be unlucky! Give me permission, I myself will go to Bhuj.” Muktanand Swami told Him "Varniraj! In Vaishak Vad, Swami will surely come here. You are a great renounce. It is very difficult to go to Bhuj from here as there is a large gulf of sea to be crossed in order to go there. If you are still anxious then let me write a letter to him. We will then act accordingly." Then Muktanand Swami started writing a letter to Ramanand Swami who was in Bhuj “O Swami, you are filled with all the qualities, full of supernatural powers, to whom many devotees offer their services. I Muktanand bow to you. I am writing from Loj Nagar. By your divine grace it is very peacefully here. The reason for me writing this letter to you is that at the moment, from Koshal desh, a great sage has come to our Ashram, He is very divine and renounced like Shankara. He is merciful to everyone like the monsoon rain. He is more beautiful than Kamdev and His name is Nilkanth. He is always meditating. He is still entering His youth and is very tender with beautiful speech and does not think of anything else but Paramatma. He wears deerskin as an old piece of clothing and a Tulsi mala with Him as His possession. Sometimes He eats a little bit of grain, sometimes fruits and other times only water. He likes spending all the six seasons below trees. He does not like big palaces and houses. Where a young age and where a condition of a siddha mahatma! O Gurudev, in front of the austerities and penance of this yogi, our own penance proves nothing. He knows all the scriptures and by a single question of His even great saints are puzzled. He also explains the questions asked by the assembly in details like you do. He comes to know if our mind is violated into any material items. He does not get angry by the bad words spoken by the evil. His heart is like butter and His body is even more tender than a flower. All these qualities of a saint, we have not seen in anyone else but yourself and this Varniraj. We even doubt that you might have come in this form in order to test us all. O Gurudev! He is eagerly waiting for your darshan. At the moment we have kept Him here with us. Please write to us telling us whether or not to send Him to you.”

Writing this Muktanand Swami told Nilkanth Varni, “I have written the letter. You also write one. By reading your letter Swami will come very soon.” On hearing this from Muktanand, Lord took a pen in His right hand, sat in a quiet place and started writing the letter. “O king of kings, greatest of the gurus, very merciful to devotees and people, born from Ajay and Sumati in a Brahmin family in Ayodhya, I bow at your feet. O Lord! I have renounced all my family in Koshal desh and have come to your shelter in Lojgam after visiting many pilgrimages including Pulhashram. I only desire to see Paramatma in His divine form. To see them, I fast of the period of four months. Because of intense fasting all year round, I have totally dried out. I fast on all the Ekadashi's. I have given up the pleasures of all the senses, I have only bones and skin left in my body but have stayed alive to see you in person. I shun all the people who do not love God as said in the scriptures. In Lojpur, the saints of your Sampraday mean everything to me at the moment. The rest of the people who do not believe in God are like beasts to me. Because of the importance of the devotion towards

Ramanand Swami writes a letter to Muktanand and Varni

Ramanand Swami read both the letters given to him by Mayaram Bhatt in the assembly. His eyes filled with tears. After praising the Lord to everyone present in the assembly he started writing a reply to both Muktanand and Varni. “O great saints, including Muktanand, residing in Loj gaam, doing the seva of all the pilgrims, may your brahmacharya be preserved forever. Accept the blessings of Ramanand Swami from Bhuj town. By the divine grace of the Lord, we are all well over here. We have received both the letters by the hands of Mayaram Bhatt. We also have heard of Varniraj. He is not a common person. It is because of the divine grace of Paramatma that He has come to you. You should all serve Him and also learn all the positions of Ashtangyog from Him. It will be very helpful in your journey towards God. Win the minds of your enemies. Eat less and sleep less. By the end of the Vaishak month, I will come to Piplana, so please make sure by the time I reach Piplana the balbrahmachari has not left.” He wrote this letter to Muktanand Swami. After that he started writing the letter to Nilkanth Varni. He wrote "O Nilkanth Varni! You are the chief of all the enlightened. Many suspect You are Badripati Narayan. May Your desires be fulfilled; we have received Your letter and read all the details and conclude that no common being can do penance as You have. You have the greatest qualities of a scholar and a renounce. This is all because of Your past. We will come to meet You in Piplana village at the end of the Vaishak month. At the moment it is not right for You to come to see us in Kutch. If You believe in us, then do stay where You are at the moment. Teach all the sadhus in Your presence the Ashtangyog. Varniraj. I always ask Lord Narayan to be in company of devotees like You. Being in the company of saints in Loj gaam, do not practice severe austerities, the human body is not received every time as an instrument for moksha.” In this way having written a letter to Nilkanth Varni, Ramanand Swami gave both the letters to Mayaram Bhatt. Bhatt went to Loj gaam in seven days and gave the letters to Muktanand Swami, who read them to Varniraj. As instructed in the letter the Lord started teaching the Ashtangyog to all the saints in Loj. By the grace of God, all of them received siddhis in a very short time.


Ramanand Swami meets Shri Hari

The month of Vaishakh soon passed with Ramanand Swami staying in Loj gaam. Ramanand Swami sat in a chariot and took leave from all the devotees in Bhuj and headed to Piplana to the house of Narsinh Brahmin. He sent his messenger Kuvarji to Loj gaam. The messenger told Muktanand Swami that Ramanand Swami has come to Loj gaam and has called all of them. During that night all the saints set out for Piplana from Loj gaam. Everyone started walking quickly but Nilkanth fell on the ground. So the other saints came to Him and after massaging His feet requested Him to do yoga. Once Nilkanth was in the yogic state, the saints were unable to keep up with Him and had to run behind Nilkanth. Next to Piplana town, the River Ojat was flooded but God was able to walk over the water without any difficultly, whereas the other saints required the assistance of a boat to cross the river.

On the 12th day of Jeth Vad, they reached the house of Narsinh Brahmin. Nilkanth Varni did the Sastang Pranam to Ramanand Swami as they first met. Swami then hugged Nilkanth with both arms and looked at Him continuously for two minutes. Then Muktanand Swami described everything to Ramanand Swami, Varniraj also said to Ramanand Swami that after seeing them, their mission of life has been accomplished. All the saints were greeted and offered with milk, sugar crystals, penda and bananas. On Earth, the meeting between Ramanand Swami and Varniraj became quite memorable in the history of the sampradaya.

Mahadiksha to Shri Hari

On the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Kartik Samvat in the year 1857, on Wednesday 28-10-1800 A.D., Ramanand Swami incorporated Nilkanth Varni Bhagawati Mahadiksha in his fellowship. As a disciple, He served Ramanand Swami heartily; and restlessly remained always with Shree Swami in all his duties and his every activity ready to serve him. Ramanand Swami also kept Him with himself in every activity.

On the morning of Ekadashi, the Gods were gathered and a mahapuja was conducted upon the deities. 108 offerings of Ghee were made and Shri Hari was given a white cloth, a dhoti and a double beaded Tulsi mala to wear, a tilak and chandlo was done on his forehead and a Krishna Ashtakshar mantra was given into his ears. Ramananda Swami explained precisely the meaning and the fruits of that mantra to Nilkanth. He said to Nilkanth, “Until You have the consciousness of the body, You should not give up Your religion, carry on Your duties, and do puja regularly. You should drink water and food offered to God. Also You should never pass Your time without devotion to God.”
In this way Ramanand Swami delivered his words to Nilkanth Varni and changed His name. Two names were given to Nilkanth; Sahajanand Swami and Narayan Muni, both of which have a big importance. Sahajanand means, one who has natural joy in oneself and because Nilkanth was Lord Narayan Himself, He also deserved the name of Narayan Muni as well. After the ceremony, Nilkanth did pradakshina of Ramanand Swami, did puja and Sastang dandwat Pranam. After the ceremony was over, Ramanand Swami told Nilkanth to ask for anything He wanted from him.

Nilkanth asked Ramanand Swami to give Him the boon of Paramatma, accepting his offerings, talking directly to him and responding in every manner of a human being in the same way as the Lord responded to Ramanand Swami, Ramanand Swami gave Him His blessings. That day was the day of Prabodhini Ekadashi and everyone did not sleep during that night. The next day, the Brahmins were offered sweets and food. All the saints were given dakshina, food and clothes. After this, Paramatma used to relate to Varniraj in the same way as Ramanand Swami and used to give Him darshan in the form of Narnarayan, Laxminarayan, Radha-Krishna etc. Shri Hari also used to do seva of their guru Ramanand swami in the same way as He did seva to God.

Two blessings given by Ramanand Swami to Sahajanand Swami

Ramanand Swami had built up a friendship with Shri Hari. He started doing all the social duties with the permission of Shri Hari. After roaming through different villages, in the foothill of Junagadh, they came to Jetpur at the house of Unnad bapu. Because of His excellent qualities, all the saints started thinking of Sahajanand Swami as the best amongst them. Two years passed staying with the Swami. One day Ramanand Swami said to Narayan muni in front of all saints,”O muni! Listen to what I say now. You should keep all the tyagis and the social people in the boundaries of religion. Our Sampraday is bhakti marg, so You should celebrate all the major festivals and Ekadashi's. The principle of Vishishtadwaita should be accepted as per the philosophy of Ramanujacharya in our Uddhav Sampraday. You know all the scriptures and are a scholar in religion; You are capable to take my place. I have thought of this since the day I laid my eyes upon You. I know your faith is in the Vairagya. But the work started by me will only be continued by You. No one else is capable of doing it. You should accept all the ornaments, clothes and other offerings made to You by the devotees and you can travel on a vehicle. You will not have any kind of restrictions. You shall preach to all men and women alike. You are quite capable to protect everyone in this Kaliyuga, because I know that You are SAKSHAT PARAMATMA".
Hearing these words from the guru, the Lord became quite sad and said, "Sadguru! I know that one should always listen to their guru, but my nature is completely against all these responsibilities that you have given me. Wealth and meeting or talking to women is against my nature. One should never trust his mind no matter how great he is. Whoever has trusted their mind has fallen from their path. So Gurudev! It is better to fall in a pit of fire or eat poison but wealth and company of women is not good. Because of their attachment, all evil comes to one's mind. At the moment, you are present so it is not good to put all the responsibilities on me”. Hearing the words of Narayan Muni, Ramanand Swami said, "O Shri Hari! I know what you mean. I think through whatever I do twice. I am here at the moment, but I want to leave Earth after passing the responsibility to You. You are the only one capable to be without any attachment in spite of staying between wealth and speaking to women. Surya Narayan has blessed You.” Hearing the words of Ramanand Swami, Narayan Muni folded His hands and bowed His head. Ramanand Swami put Narayan Muni on his gadi and addressed all the saints and the devotees, "O devotees! From today onwards, Narayan Muni will take my place. He is young but don’t doubt Him, follow His orders.”

All the saints and devotees then bowed to Ramanand Swami and promised to follow Sahajanand Swami. Ramanand Swami then told Shri Hari to ask for a blessing, as he was very pleased with Him. God says, “O Guru! If you feel I am capable of a blessing then give me the blessing that My mind may always be in the devotion of Paramatma. At the time of death, a person suffers a lot of pain. A devotee of God should never suffer that pain and instead, may his pain come to Me. Also because of fate, devotees may have to suffer hardships and poverty. Let all their sorrow related to food and clothing be suffered by Me and your devotees be happy at all times. Let Me reside in a place where there are devotees and saints of God. Let My arms, speech, works, heart, eyes, body and mind be in the devotion of God.” Ramanand Swami then blessed Shri Hari who was full of compassion for others.

Ramanand Swami leaves for Akshardham

      On the day of Mokshada Ekadashi, Ramanand Swami had a big celebration in Faleni village and on the 12th day, he fed many Brahmins and Saints. On the 13th day he bathed in the Bhadra River and went back towards the temple. He sat in padmasan and in a few minutes went into Samadhi and left his body for Akshardham. He was thus relieved from the curse of Durvasa and attained a divine body. It was the 13th day of Magshar Sud, V.S. 1858.

   On this day, even the most renounced saints like Muktanand, who are free from material attachments cried. God tried to calm everyone down and after that applied sandal oil to the body of Ramanand Swami, performed a puja with flowers and colourings and put the body on a wooden plank. They then took the body to the banks of Bhadra River. A pyre was made from the wood of sandal, Tulsi and pipal trees. The ceremony of agnisanskar was then performed.
After the ceremony was over, Shri Hari with other saints bathed twice in the Bhadra River. Everyone fasted on that day. The next day, Narayan Muni received letters from devotees of every village. All the devotees who learnt of Ramanand Swami's departure left their day-to-day work and came to the Faleni village. Paramatma solaced everyone and gave them a place to stay at Faleni. For 13 days, discourses on the Geeta and other holy scriptures relating to the death ceremony rituals were recited. For 12 days the Brahmins were offered food. On the 13th day all the Brahmins were fed and given alms and all the devotees were fed as well. On the 13th day, a puja of the Brahmin who read the Geeta was performed.

Lord Swaminarayan's Philosophy

The sub-continent of India is full of Rushi Munis and Saints. On planet Earth, India is the only country where you will find the most spiritual environment. Many great souls wish to take birth on this land. God himself has taken numerous births in India, in various forms for the protection and development of Dharma and destruction of bad elements.

Under the series of births of God almighty on the land of India, one great saint had taken birth on Monday 2nd April 1781, on the ninth moon day of Samvat 1837, near Ayodhya city in the village of Chhapaiya, at the house of Dharmdev and Bhaktimata who were part of the Brahmin community. This child was known as "Ghanshyam" during his childhood days and is also famously known as "Neelkanth Varni", "Hari krishna", "Sahajanand Swami", "Narayan Muni" etc. His father Dharmdev and mother Bhaktimata had left this world before Ghanshyam was eleven years old.

He then left his house and travelled through India. During this period of His life He was known by the name of Neelkanth Varni. After 7 years 1 month and 11 days of travelling, He arrived at the state of Gujarat and started the great mission for the publicity of the Vedic Dharma, Gnan, Vairagya and Bhakti. Along with thousands of saints and religious persons He went everywhere within Gujarat and explained the philosophy and importance of "Bhakti" and "Religion" in its real sense. He had established a good system for the temples, religious books, Acharyas and Saints so that there was proper guidance in the future for the subsequent generation.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Excellent Information at one spot.
    My couple of blogs on Swaminarayan Bhagavaan as below...