Sadguru Nishkulanand Swami was a distinguished paramhansa of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was born in the village of Shekhpat in Gujarat and was considered illiterate throughout the early part of his life. However, by Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s grace he developed unparalleled skill to compose verse and was widely acclaimed as a poetic genius. He wrote the Bhaktachintamani, one of his many works, in Gujarati, chiefly employing the famous chopai stanza form. This shastra comprises 164 chapters and besides depicting the life and times of Shriji Maharaj, the poet has vividly described the celebration of the Holi and Annakut festivals. He has described in detail the places visited by Shriji Maharaj and has given a list of eminent devotees along with the names of their respective towns and villages.
The second chapter of the Bhaktachintamani pays homage to the ideal Sadhu, the manifest Gunatit Guru, whom Bhagwan Swaminarayan has repeatedly praised throughout the Vachanamrut. Hence, through this chapter we can better understand the divine glory of our guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This chapter is also one of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s favourite chapters of the Bhaktachintamani, since it serves as a benchmark for disciples in identifying a true guru who will lead one to God.
GURU: OCEAN OF VIRTUES
Nishkulanand Swami pays homage to the virtuous Gunatit Sadhu:
“Sadgunanã sindhu gambhir,
sthirmati atishay dheer;
Mãn abhimãn nahi lesh,
eva Santne nãmu hu sheesh.”
“I bow down to the Sadhu who is an ocean of virtues, equipoised and without the slightest trace of arrogance.”
SADGUNANÃ SINDHU GAMBHIR
Nishkulanand Swami describes the Sadhu as an ocean of virtues. The more one tries to understand each virtue of the Sadhu, the more enchanting and vast each one becomes.
In 2004, Prabhashankar Pandya, a devotee from Shastriji Maharaj’s time recounted an incident that he had witnessed, “Shastriji Maharaj was in Atladra. Arjunbhai Mistry was discussing the design of the front gate of the Sarangpur mandir. Motibhai was standing right next to him. Shastriji Maharaj pointed at Motibhai and asked Arjunbhai if he knew him. Before he could answer, he introduced him as the father of Narayanswarup Swami. Shastriji Maharaj said, ‘He has given me his virtuous son. I am forever indebted to him.’ ”
The Shrimad Bhagavat Puran lists these virtues in a conversation between Pruthvi (Mother Earth) and Dharma. The shastras also state that a sadhu whose life exemplifies these virtues is an ideal Sadhu and is worthy of reverence on par with God.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj possesses not only these divine virtues, but also a host of qualities which appeal to people of different inclinations.
Businessmen are awed by his management, leaders by his leadership, diplomats by his tact, doctors by his compassion, social activists by his integrity, spiritual leaders by his wisdom and mental stability, photographers by his beauty, reporters by his maturity, teachers by his lessons, motivational speakers by his enthusiasm, philosophers by his depth, kings by his lordship, army officials by his discipline, architects by his ornate detailing, children by his innocence, parents by his parenting, aristocrats by his decorum and paupers by his accessibility. But, most of all, everyone who knows Pramukh Swami Maharaj is swept over by his humility and faith in God.
Among this vast ocean of virtues, Nishkulanand Swami has described two pearls that he wished to highlight in the stanza above. Let us see each one in turn.