After the murti-pratishtha of the
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
in Cleveland, Ohio, USA,
on 1 September 1996,
Swamishri blessed the devotees
in the satsang assembly…
If you please God, he will grace you in all ways. God gives infinite times more than what we give. He gives Akshardham. However, when we perform seva, the only wish we should have is that we can please God. Only through his blessings will we have peace within us and in our worldly activities.
You have all endeavoured enthusiastically to set up this mandir. Now that the mandir is complete, your responsibilities have increased. We now have the duty to continuously serve God. Even in family, work or business life you all have responsibilities.
When you don’t have any expensive items you are tension-free, but when you do have such things, you worry about looking after them and protecting them. So, now that you have attained God and satsang, your responsibilities have increased. If you do not look after your valuable items, you will lose them. But if you look after them, they become more valuable. So, now that you have a mandir, what do you need to do? Strengthen your satsang. All our devotees should come regularly for darshan. Do not be lax in this. If you start a shop, stock it with goods to sell and then do not go to open it, what will happen? You will lose money and become bankrupt.
Everyone from miles around the mandir can come for darshan. Understand each other’s mahima. If you serve and understand mahima, the desired fruits are attained. Maharaj inspires all to do the work of satsang, so understand everyone’s mahima. Swami says if you take avgun of others, then the satsang you have attained will be lost. If such robbers enter within us, our swabhavs come to the fore and all our satsang is lost. So, in satsang, we must speak only about each other’s mahima and care for each other. Then, others who come will take a positive message. Now that the mandir is complete, we have to look after the devotees who come here.
God looks after us, but we must look after God so that he does not leave us. If we do that which does not please God, he will go away. That is our big loss. Hence, if you preserve all this and practise satsang, you will experience peace and happiness.
In Vachanamrut Gadhada III 9, Shriji Maharaj has said that we must remain at the gateway of awareness. If we have many valuables in our home, we remain alert to safeguard them. Even when a mouse or cat makes a noise we become vigilant. When the wind causes the windows to vibrate, we become attentive and take precautions. If you are carrying thousands of dollars in your pocket, you will repeatedly check to make sure the money is secure and that nobody has taken it.
So, just as we ensure the security of these worldly possessions, we should be vigilant to safeguard God who resides in our heart.
Yogiji Maharaj used to narrate the story of Bhagvatsinh Bapu, the chieftain of Gondal. He employed Viramji Bapu as a guard outside so that entry could be controlled. Once, Viramji Bapu dozed off and a dog entered, reaching the seat of Bhagvatsinh. He was annoyed and fined the guard. Similarly, if we lose spiritual awareness, by indulging in abhav-avgun talks all our hard-earned spiritual progress is negated.
We practise satsang to attain kalyan. So, instead of such negative talks, if we talk about each other’s mahima then much good results. We do not practise satsang as a favour to others. If somebody tells us for our own good, we should not feel offended and leave satsang. If you are running a flourishing business and someone criticizes you for not doing things properly, would you just abandon it? We would try to improve. Similarly, in satsang, if someone tells us our mistakes, is it appropriate to leave this invaluable, divine satsang?
We engage in satsang to attain Akshardham, so we should adjust to any situations. Our goal is to please God and the Satpurush. They are the doorway to moksha and we should ensure that doorway does not close.
Our liberation is only possible through God and his holy Sadhu. Only in this satsang will we find happiness. If, however, one develops abhav towards them, the door closes and one becomes trapped in the worldly cycle, and does not attain moksha and happiness. If a man sitting on a tree branch cuts that branch, he will fall and get hurt. Similarly, if we cut the satsang we are in, what will happen? The satsang, which is the source of happiness, peace and bliss, is lost.
So, just as in worldly life and business we compromise, have a similar understanding in satsang, no matter what happens. Believe satsang to be one’s home and family. If abhav develops for one person, it will grow to include others and ultimately encompass God. So, constantly remain alert by talking about and listening to mahima. If you talk about good things, you will be happy and the listener will also be delighted. But if you talk negatively and only complain about things, then what is gained?
We come to the mandir for darshan and to offer devotion. If our requirements at home are not fulfilled, do we create a fuss? Treat satsang in the same way. Accept and adjust if the programme (sabha) runs late, we do not get a prime seat, food or accommodation is not to our liking, or we are not honoured. In satsang, our devotion and seva is performed to attain liberation. So, in satsang focus on God and the Satpurush and introspect to find our own faults and what we need to improve. God will oversee the others. God sees everything and everyone. One will reap the consequences of whatever one does – good or bad. God will give us the fruits of those actions.
We should constantly endeavour to remove our faults which hinder our liberation. That is why Maharaj says that we should do satsang for the liberation of our jiva and not for bodily or worldly gains, since worldly gains are only temporary.
If we come here to satsang for physical comforts, then when they are not given, we feel disappointed and stay away. But, think about the real purpose for coming to satsang?
When people first come to America, even if they are well-educated, they often have to toil away doing menial jobs; but still they persevere. If this approach is applied to satsang, then one will not be affected if circumstances require hard work.
The body will perish and be cremated to ashes, but the atma is immortal. By engaging in discourses, devotion, discussions, bhajans and seva, there will be no problems. Understand everyone’s mahima, focus on God and offer devotion. We have to remove our desires and swabhavs and develop virtues. We have to become brahmarup and serve Maharaj.
If we remain alert and focused, we can remove any flaw within us and see the mahima of others. Read Yogiji Maharaj’s biography and you will see that he had only mahima for others. No matter what difficulties he had to tolerate because of others, he only highlighted their mahima. He never spoke about their flaws and mistakes. So, understand this as the wish of the Satpurush and act accordingly so that we can become like him. The great sadhus and devotees have done this. So, repeatedly read his biography to retain this awareness.
In the biographies of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj and Shastriji Maharaj you will read about and be inspired by how, amid the honours, insults, joys, miseries, and difficulties, they all sustained and nurtured satsang.
You have come to satsang to serve. So, whether you get to sit at the front or back, realize that you are seated in the presence of God, listening to discourses about God. Believe this as your good fortune. Sitting in front or back is of no relevance. Swami says that one who practises satsang with this understanding is great. In the Vachanamrut, Maharaj says that one who dedicates his wealth, property, family and life to God is regarded as great. Those with true understanding are great – whether they sit at the front or back. Parvatbhai sat at the back – did that reduce his greatness? He used to do only that which pleased Maharaj, but in sabhas he would sit where told.
Once, he visited Gadhada. He daily sat in the assembly; he would sleep by the River Ghela, bathe there and do his puja. After the morning sabha, he would buy some grams from the market to eat. And again in the evening he would eat grams, have Maharaj’s darshan and then go to sleep. After seven days, Maharaj asked him about his lodging and meal arrangements. After much persuasion he revealed the details. He said everything was really good since he was able to have darshan and listen to his discourses.
Maharaj asked Mulji Brahmachari if he had made any arrangements for Parvatbhai’s lodgings and meals. He replied that since Parvatbhai was a guest at Dada Khachar’s darbar the latter must have made the arrangements. Meanwhile, Dada Khachar, Laduba and Jivuba thought that Maharaj had made the arrangements. Then Maharaj instructed them to arrange, but Parvatbhai had no ill feelings for anyone. He had the understanding that he had come for his own liberation. So, what could be greater than having Maharaj’s darshan? It was more important than lodgings or food. With this understanding, everyone will experience the peace and joy of satsang.
Now that you have a mandir here, these are the messages you must imbibe and recall daily. Learn to understand each other’s mahima. And to sustain this, one must remove one’s flaws and base natures. By this, God and his Sadhu are pleased.