The life of Yogiji Maharaj reveals his transparent and profound divinity.
He was the highest wisdom and ultimate experience in the most tangile and
perceptible form. His personal sacrifices,
unflagging spirit to serve, fathomless love for God and his radiant,
inexhaustible joy - all define him as more than human. To take but a leaf from
his eventul life of sacrifice, Yogiji Maharaj was charged with a positive attitude.
Even in the most unfavourable and conflicting of situations,
he remained positive, undisturbed and happy.
Once Yogiji Maharaj was in Atladara. The murti of Thakorji was placed in a silver-plated hindolo (a small cot). The hindolo had figures that played the cymbals or drums when the cot was swung to and fro. When Yogiji Maharaj gently pushed the hindolo to and fro the figures did not move and play the musical instruments. On seeing this, Yogiji Maharaj, in a spirit of glory, said, "They (the figures) are respecting Maharaj."
The mere fact that the figures did not move, due to some technical fault and probably negligence, did not disturb or exasperate Yogiji Maharaj. In fact, he saw it as a sign of respect and reverence for the Lord!
In July 1956, Yogiji Maharaj was travelling from Surat to Bombay by train. After Palghar, the train could not proceed further. Thousands of passengers from six trains were stranded because of the sudden downpour of the monsoon rains. There was no way the trains could reverse. And there were no arrangements for food and water at Palghar station either. Everyone was simply upset and mad with rare. Yogiji Maharaj however, enthusiastically began chanting the bhajan, "Sambhal beni Hari rijyani ritadi..." The clapping of his hands and the radiant, divine expression on his face dissolved the heat of the situation. Then Mota Swami narrated some incidents of Shastriji Maharaj.
During this time, Zinabhai (Donjawala) and Sheth Bhogibhai, who lived in Palghar, came for Swami's darshan. They were so impressed that they requested Yogiji Maharaj to have lunch and stay at their place. Swami and the sadhus stayed for two days. Both
Zinabhai and Sheth Bhogibhai asked Yogiji Maharaj to initiate them into the Satsang-fold.
While returning back to the station, some school children were amused on seeing the saffron-clad sadhus. They began teasing and passed comments. Hakabhai Khachar scolded the boys.
"What happened Hakabhai?" Swami asked.
"Oh, these monkeys (referring to the boys) were laughing at you."
"At least they were not crying," Yogiji Maharaj added.
"They should not cry. If they were amused on seeing a sadhu then we have been of service to them."
"They Never Bite!"
Yogiji Maharaj was in Vaghodiya village near Vadodara. After finishing his morning routine of bathing Yogiji Maharaj entered his room. He saw that Dhirendrabhai Vinchhi, a youth travelling with him, was picking something from his bed and putting it in a cup. Swami went near him and, genially placing his hand on Dhirendrabhai's shoulder, said, "Today I slept very well."
"But how could you have slept soundly! While doing your bed I found many bugs," Dhirendrabhai exclaimed with surprise. And then he showed the 20-25 bugs he had put in the cup and added, "I found these many now and I wonder how many more may have bitten you in the night!"
"Guru, don't say that," Swami replied.
"But Swami these bugs bite!"
"Now there you go again! These bugs are Satsangis (devotees). They never bite!" said Yogiji Maharaj.
"But Swami, how can they be Satsangis?" Dhirendrabhai argued.
"Now, if you say it again then you will have to fast for the day."
And so Yogiji Maharaj cut short the conversation and defused any opportunity of fault-finding in a trifle thing like a bed bug.
"One Way. Roads Closed!"
On 31-3-1960, Yogiji Maharaj and a few sadhus were travelling in Zambia. One evening, Yogiji Maharaj left from Lusaka for Broken Hill. Rajnibhai was driving the car. After a while they came across a diversion sign. The original road was blocked with barrels. Rajnibhai stopped the car, got down, removed the barrels and drove the car ahead.
"Guru, why did you get down?" Yogiji Maharaj enquired.
"Bapa, sometimes these workers leave the barrels and block the road even after having repaired it. So I got down to remove them."
"I don't think so! They must have kept them because the road is really closed. Take our car along the diversion road," Yogiji Maharaj instructed.
"Bapa, don't worry, nothing will happen. We will simply go along this main road," Rajnibhai spoke with confidence.
Yogiji Maharaj did not insist again.
After travelling a mile the road ahead was broken. There was no way anyone could go ahead. Since the road was very narrow and above ground level, there was no way to turn the car or take it down the road. There was only one alternative and that was to go back in reverse gear.
Swamishri then asked, "Now what has happened?"
A crestfallen Rajnibhai spoke, "Bapa, there is no way we can drive the car ahead and neither can we turn it around."
Yogiji Maharaj joyfully raised his hand and single finger and said, "One way! Roads closed! Likewise the road to Akshardham is one way. One should not look or find faults in others; always accept the virtuous side of others. One who finds faults, then his road is closed. Take the road of appreciating the good qualities in others."
Yogiji Maharaj was in the village of Maliya Haatinaa.
To have darshan of the mango grove where Bhagatji Maharaj had watered the 300 mango trees, Swamishri, Mota Swami and Harmanbhai got into a horse-drawn carriage. While they were going along, the wheel of the carriage suddenly broke. The carriage careened and reeled over. Everyone inside bumped and fell over each other. Bruised and hurt, the three managed to come out of the carriage. Yogiji Maharaj, dusting the sand and dirt off his clothes, humorously stated, "A miracle has happened, isn't that so Harmanbhai?"
Mota Swami was censuring the driver but on hearing Yogiji Maharaj he broke out in laughter and commented, "Oh what miracle?"
Yogiji Maharaj replied, "We were saved!" On these words everyone broke out laughing.
Defusing the most painful and irritating of circumstances was a hallmark of Yogiji Maharaj. He was always positive about whatever happened and coming out alive from the accident, even though he was hurt, was a matter of joy for him.
Two Years in One Standard...
Someone told Yogiji Maharaj about a devotee who had fallen back from Satsang. The reason was that he felt the Satsang was no longer the same as it was when Shastriji Maharaj was alive.
To this Yogiji Maharaj replied, "We are not doing anything wrong. We are preaching the truth that God is present in a holy sadhu. If someone does not believe this then it is his wish!"
A devotee then added, "Bapa, Tribhovan Gopal (a disciple of Shastriji Maharaj) had also fallen back from Satsang."
Yogiji Maharaj checked him immediately, "Guru, you should not say that. He did not fall back (or fail) but he spent two years in one standard. Then he passed and qualified. And he believed that Shastriji Maharaj was Shastriji Maharaj! He became staunch again. We too should not lapse and fall back..."
Swami's sheer positive attitude, seeing only the good in others, simply amazed and inspired the devotees.
On 23-6-1957, Yogiji Maharaj was at Keriya. He was residing at the old mandir and was preparing lunch. Two sadhus from the old school arrived and demanded that everyone should leave the mandir because they wished to stay there. The devotees were enraged. "You can stay upstairs and these sadhus will stay here below," the devotees roared. Yogiji Maharaj calmed the devotees and stopped them from saying anything further.
After lunch, Yogiji Maharaj, Sant Swami, Sanatan Swami and Vinu Bhagat left by bullock cart for Sarangpur. When the cart reached Ningala, Yogiji Maharaj got down to take a break. He saw the same two sadhus, who had insulted him in Keriya, standing by the station. Yogiji Maharaj greeted them with 'Jai Swaminarayan' but the two sadhus twisted their face in contempt and turned away. In spite of this Swami told Vinu Bhagat, "Go and say Jai Swaminarayan to them and bow at their feet." Though Vinu Bhagat did not wish to go, he went at the instruction of Yogiji Maharaj. The sadhus paid no attention at all.
Yogiji Maharaj then proceeded towards Sarangpur. The road was rough, the wind was strong and turbulent and there was a drizzle of rain here and there. The bullock cart was open to the sky and despite the discomfort Yogiji Maharaj did not utter a single word of complaint. They reached Sarangpur at 2.30 a.m. The next morning it was Ekadashi (fast) and Yogiji Maharaj got up as usual, attended the mangala arti and performed his puja. Then he added, "Because they (the sadhus) told us to leave we got the chance of having the darshan of mangala arti in Sarangpur; otherwise how could it have been possible? Because we tolerated them we got this great benefit!"
The climax of Yogiji Maharaj's divinity was that he saw the good side of even those who opposed him.