Three Sources of Virtue
Our Vedic scriptures, mandirs and sadhus, have for centuries played the paramount role of ennobling and redeeming our society. Even today whatever traces of virtue and spiritualism people have derived in India and the world over is because of these three indispensable fountainheads. In any absence of any three of these, our world would have long ago been plunged in a nightmarish darkness of evil and suffering.
In this final part we shall briefly take a look at just how our Vedic scriptures, mandirs and sadhus have been endeavoring to alleviate the burden of our mounting sin and suffering in society.
Our scriptures have blessed us with infinitely inspiring boons, some of which have come to be woven into the fabric of daily life. For example, the discriminatory role we have come to naturally accept in our ties with our mother, sister and wife find their origin in our scriptures. Our scriptures seek to enlighten us through inspiring messages and stories of heroes of truth and character. They have also chronicled the cruel fate of men and women who strayed and defied the injunctions of God. Ravan's lust for Sita spelled misery, ruin and death. His vast empire of wealth and power perished with him.
Like the scriptures, our glorious heaven-kissing mandirs have always pulsated as impressive beacons of inspiration. They have contributed a significant share in shaping our lives both physically and spiritually. A mandir in a town or a village invariably inspires its congregation to wash or to take bath before entering the precincts for worship. Mandirs have come to incorporate and sought to encourage the skill and imagination of its sculptors and architects. They have become mediums which preserve our traditions in art and sculpturing. It is under that large stone canopy, in front of the deity, that people effortlessly awaken their humility and flood their hearts with the poetry of divine love. Is it not true that at the altar of God man often stands on the threshold of a vision that he is merely an instrument in His divine play?
He is also made aware of the fact that to attain God's proximity His choicest devotee is his ideal. That he should attain the eternal state of 'akshar-roop' to enjoy the privilege of offering supreme devotion to God.
With these noble inspirations and many more his miseries evaporate; he becomes charged once again to battle the frustration and tensions of daily life.
Mandirs have also ideally played a pivotal role in uniting India. More than 3,500,000 mandirs in India have knitted the cultural and spiritual strands of the Indian people to produce a beautiful mantle of a united India.
Three hundred temples in Mauritius have kept the spirit of Hinduism alive and festive amongst the Hindus who have been residents there for the past 300 years.
Fishes of the earthly lake
The third and final source of virtues is sadhus and sages of our country. They have appropriately been sung of as the fishes in the lake of 'samsar.' Like the fishes that strive to keep our rivers and lakes clean and fresh, the sadhus persevere in cleaning our society of its garbage of corruption, addictions and immorality.
Very often we have seen that a government fails in exercising a law to quit drinking. In spite of heavy penalties and punishments those who transgress it are in the least deterred from abstaining. Where the law has often failed, the sadhus have triumphed with their patient and loving efforts.
We hear the world clamoring for good doctors, proficient lawyers, good policemen.... and to that let us add genuine sadhus. For this, it will be the bona fide sadhus who will cure our diseased souls, fight the case of good over evil and discipline our discordant elements. They share their goodness for the happiness and spiritual progress of mankind. Remember man does not live by bread and water alone. Fulfilling the physical and educational hunger of a child is in itself not enough. He is unlike an animal that is satisfied when provided with food and water. He is born with a mission to shape a destiny for himself that will take him beyond the frontiers of our fleeting pleasures and fragile existence. And to achieve this, dharma, the bestower of happiness, is one of the fundamental essentials. If this food is not provided he vainly searches for an illusory happiness in drugs, addictions and licentiousness. This dharma - the bread of the soul - is provided by the bona fide sadhus of our society.
Custodian of Culture
If it hadn't been for the priceless blessings of our scriptures, mandirs and sadhus our Vedic culture would have been a phenomenon of the past. Their presence as custodians and propagators has enabled us to avail of its benevolence and vast treasures. Whenever these three sources have been ignored, or have been in peril, the very backbone of our cultural framework has come dangerously close to snapping.
Two hundred years ago, the immense pressures of corruption, hypocrisy, animal sacrifices and scores of other evils sought to pulverise the edifice of Indian Culture. This catastrophe was however averted with the advent of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under the banner of dharma He vigorously crusaded against the social evils that plagued society. He was successful in wiping out the sati practice, female infanticide and animal sacrifices in yagnas. Besides this, He transformed hard-core criminals into humble, peace-loving disciples. During His mortal stay of 49 years He sang the glories of our scriptures, initiated 500 into the highest saintly order of Paramhansa and built six lofty mandirs. His teachings appealed to all levels of men, laying particular stress in identifying oneself with Brahma as a requirement for supreme devotion to Parabrahma.
Revival of vedic society
To share these rare gems of Bhagwan Swaminarayan's teachings, H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj moves amongst the mases of today.Wherever he moves he ushers in a wonderful revolution. Young and old, poor and rich find themselves enriched after having met him. Thousands living in the tribal areas are abstaining from vices and addictions and have adopted a healthier more prosperous mode of living. Besides worship and prayer they have also taken to preaching Swami's noble message to others in their areas.
Under Swamiji's effort and inspiration thousands of youths and children's centers, fragrant with character, faith and sacrifice have blossomed. His dynamic efforts have evoked a tremendous amount of goodness. He has established 410 mandirs in India and abroad. The beautiful Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London and Nairobi and the Akshardham monument in Gandhinagar have inspired millions with morality and pride for India's glorious heritage.
Seven hundred sadhus, the majority of whom have been initiated by Swamiji, have added momentum to his noble mission. They harness their knowledge and talents for ploughing and sowing the seeds of 'Satsang'. Swamiji too, tirelessly moves, reviving and rebuilding the towns, villages and individuals that have been hit by the material culture of the three flying machines of gold, silver and iron. His immense compassion and selfless love have effected miracles of man-making. Let us also become worthy vessels of his abundant grace by imbibing his message.
"Exemplify morality and promote a morally sound society."
Translated by Sadhu Vivekjivandas