Dearest Pramukh Swami,
It is truly awe-inspiring to see what Sarangpur is today.
Otherwise a sleepy village of 3,000, it is now a throbbing hub of divinity. What really makes you such a magnet, drawing a multitude of excited devotees to you?
Lush green trees, singing peacocks, a throng of excited devotees, young and old, about 200 blissful sadhus, blessed air and to top it all you.
Your spiritual charisma brings devotees beyond numbers to have a barest glimpse of you. It seems you have opened the doors of your great soul inviting us into your inner sanctuary to share your experience of God. Your mere presence transports us into an atmosphere of spiritual rapture. We feel we are breathing the ozone of a mountain summit.
When the devotees reach Sarangpur for your darshan, neither tomorrow nor yesterday matters. For, every now turns into eternity as it is full of divinity in your presence.
Holding God endlessly, you have been giving us endlessly which is why worries fade away like ugly clouds in your presence. Your love in all wondrous fervour draws devotees like ducks take to water.
Now, we know what it means to be a God-realized sadhu. Although you are a nonagenarian and do not travel, devotees are found teeming before you. That’s something gerontologists cannot fathom.
How much can an individual achieve in a lifetime? Even without words, travel, and any form of communication? We wonder.
Pray, tell us, dear Swamishri, why do the devotees plan a trip to Sarangpur rather than a hill station?
Why do they feel blessed even with a mere glimpse of yours for a few minutes?
What brings them to Sarangpur knowing that they can’t have the privacy of sitting with you anymore?
A mere thought of your being there in Sarangpur perks up the devotees all over, at home and abroad.
So, although you no longer visit places, Yogiji Maharaj’s trademark weekly Sunday sabhas are held all over with the same zeal as ever. And shibirs for children and youths are organized with new ideas. And the festive gatherings are awaited eagerly.
What is it that doesn’t make us miss you?
Things go on like before in all BAPS centres, whether it is an obscure village or a bustling metropolis like Mumbai or New York.
There is a phenomenal increase in the number of satsangis as well. There are newer faces joining in.
And what to talk of mandirs? Those havens of peace you continued raising.
In the span of two years since you came to Sarangpur, 116 hari mandirs and 8 shikharbaddha mandirs have come up, beautifying the skyline and purifying countless souls.
It seems your glory spreads like the sound of a conch shell in the sky.
What is really astounding is that twenty somethings are intent upon having diksha from you, leaving greener pastures behind, to lead a life of austerity and strict discipline, the way Yogiji Maharaj would have liked it. And they are from abroad also.
At present, about 100 sadhaks are training for diksha. Some of them are very brilliant with professional qualifications. Some are the only sons of their parents.
They know fully well that you have fully accepted the toll of old age and you are not going to speak to them, raise your hands to bless them and probably utter the Guru mantra into their ears. But your mere presence and touch makes all the difference.
Even your silence speaks. When Ralph Waldo Emerson, an essayist and once a president of the philosophy club went to see Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish philosopher and historian, to seek his guidance on a philosophical riddle, Thomas Carlyle sat there, in meaningful silence. Even that was rewarding. Emerson came back feeling blessed. And the riddle solved.
While youths of their age are craving for gratification of passions and success in life, these sadhaks have decided to go forth with severe bodily discipline and all else with it that would bring on a moment of sublime insight. To crack the secret of the universe and deliverance into bliss. Isn’t that heroic?
No more vicharans (tours), no more sittings with devotees, no more speeches, no more phone calls, no more letters. Yet things in the Satsang go on as ever. Viveksagar Swami rightly calls it Divine Rays Treatment (DRT).
Devotees and sadhus get those divine vibes in your presence. That distinctive emotional aura experienced instinctively. So they feel like coming back again to Sarangpur.
Everything else melts away like a mirage. Only ecstasy remains. Devotees cherish those glorious moments of your darshan. For there is no pettiness of unled self. Moment by moment, they explore spiritual planes.
All this comes about since you respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master.
And how can we forget those two imposing maha-mandirs called Swaminarayan Akshardham you raised with strenuous efforts. One in green Gandhinagar and the other in bustling New Delhi. In actual terms, a new chapter unfolded in New Delhi with the inauguration of Akshardham in 2005.
Standing at the entrance, and looking at Akshardham on the New Delhi skyline, one gets the feeling that God painted his wonderful vision. And why not?
It’s the glory of God.
What drives you to such accomplishments? Sterling qualities we know of. But there is more to it. Sometimes you shared that secret with us. Once, a stern security official at the airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, asked you, “Do you have any valuables?”
You at once replied, “Yes. I have God with me.”
The security official was really stumped by your answer.
You worked tirelessly down the years to spread God’s word and raised these two Akshardhams with your creative ability. Yet, when we showered praises on you for those remarkable feats, you gave all credit to God and your gurus.
All glory to God and the Gurus; that has remained your raison d'être all along. Now, that’s called sheer modesty!
Who would do that? All modesty.
You worked in perfect responsiveness to their wills. And, it seems God and your Gurus were working through you.
And today we find that the New Delhi Akshardham stands there as if speaking with a timeless voice of a great mystic that is characteristic of, who else? You.
Your strong spiritual leadership in the changing times inspired even the late Dr. Abdul Kalam and people of other religious faiths to admire you.
These days the word tolerance is in the news. But the disarming tolerance you showed at the time of the terrorist attack in Akshardham in 2002 was indeed edifying.
Your quiet appeal for peace moved all political and religious leaders.
Indeed, you set a robust example of tolerance.
You prayed even for the terrorists!! Not an iota of ill-will.
What a humble gesture!
Looking back, we find that you worked even for the poor and uncouth tribals and illuminated the dark districts of Gujarat populated by the tribals.
You rushed to them just three months after Yogiji Maharaj left for Akshardham, as the head of BAPS.
You cared for their education, health and moral compass. Thus, all along you have been loving to God as well as to the humans and their needs.
You sorted out the tales of woe that householders brought, spending hours with them. To make their lives and our earth more heavenly.
Huge doses of humanity came from you in times of natural calamities.
Your sadhus have been guided by your motto which has humans at the centre, “Remember, you don’t live in a world all on your own. Your fellow beings are also there.”
Incisive, alert, authoritative guide and shrewd sense of values have an ageless quality about you.
We are like infants in arms before you but you helped us share poetic beauty of inner spiritual experience.
You are so rich in things of the spirit, that business tycoons and scholars alike feel beggared in your presence.
Honoured times without numbers for your accomplishments, you simply worked by virtue of authority vested in you by Bhgwan Swaminarayan.
Shall we call it your divinity scape?
Posterity will indeed wonder that such a sadhu in mortal flesh dwelt on the earth!
Meanwhile, the sadguru sadhus have already planned your birthday celebrations for the next five years. Birthdays come and go. But yours makes a world of difference.
Dr Seuss said it just for you, “Today you are you! That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you!!”
Every year on your birthday, a great many people feel excited to count their blessings.
Because you are everybody’s Guru.