1980. Johannesburg, South Africa. Swamishri had retired for a little rest following lunch at Rameshbhai's house. When Swamishri awoke, a local newspaper reporter was waiting to interview him. For the 20-minute or so interview, I served as interpreter between Swamishri and the reporter.
That afternoon, Swamishri was in somewhat of a rush, because he still had a few padhramanis to finish before going to meet the brother of the leader of the Radha Swami sect. I pressed the reporter, "OK now. Swami is tied up in other engagements, so could you make this your last question please."
He asked his final question, "Since you stay away from ladies, don't they feel neglected or discriminated against in any way?"
Before I could translate the question into Gujarati for Swamishri, Swamishri began his answer, "Tell him to come to India and see for himself!..."
What was even more surprising was that before I could even begin to translate Swamishri's Gujarati reply into English for the reporter, the reporter started jotting something down in his pad. I was baffled. But also weary. I felt that if this reporter misinterprets this delicate issue, it would not be appropriate. So I asked him, after he had finished, "What did you write down?"
He read out his notes: "Swamiji is telling me to come to India and see firsthand for myself that there are hundreds of thousands of women who worship Bhagwan Swaminarayan, and none of them feel discriminated against!"
I was shocked. It was a word-for-word translation of Swamishri's reply. This incident helped me realize that Swamishri is above languages; they cannot constrain him. Maybe that's why everyone can connect with him, understand him so easily.
It was purely his grace that he had me tag along as interpreter on that tour. In actual fact, he has no need for any of us - it's us that need him.