On 23 December 1999, the youths of Surat performed
a drama entitled ‘Bap-Dadano Satsang’ in which the necessity and
benefits of reading and sitting for the Satsang Exams was
effectively conveyed. Thereafter, Swamishri blessed the assembly.
"The drama was very nicely performed. Everything we need to know about in Satsang was covered. Sometimes, we feel that we are established in and familiar with Satsang and know everything. True, but the exams are kept so that we study our [Satsang] books. All our traditions have been described by Maharaj, and if we know something about our niyams, dharma, parampara and history then we can answer any question. However, just giving the exams is not enough, reading must be repeated so that we remember, otherwise we will forget. Then, after listening [or reading], we should contemplate on the talks. Repeated and constant study leads to sakshatkar. What is sakshatkar? If you are awakened from sleep and questioned and you instantly give the answer, that is sakshatkar (realization).
All have sakshatkar of their names, families and communities since such matters are constantly heard. From birth, parents reinforce your name, family, relatives, worldly possessions, etc. Even in your sleep and dreams you see all these things.
Similarly, details of Shriji Maharaj, his parampara, texts, Vachanamrut and so on should be well understood, just like we know the worldly things.
Firm faith in Shriji Maharaj should be developed, so that nothing can trouble us. Once we firmly believe that a tree is a mango tree, even if others try to convince us that it is a neem tree, our belief does not change. There should be a similar conviction towards Satsang, niyams, dharma and shastras.
You all have jobs and work, but read a little every day. Take out half-an-hour to read and re-read. Read one Vachanamrut a day. You’ll finish it in 262 days. Even if you read one Shikshapatri shlok [daily] you will become familiar with it. Read just one, but sincerely and thoughtfully – think, what is the message in this? Just like you do for worldly things. If you have 100 items in your shop, you learn everything about them. Similarly, in Satsang we should know properly about these things, so that we never have any doubts about whether Shriji Maharaj is God or not or Gunatitanand Swami is Akshar or not. If someone asks us and we do not know, then it is not good. But, Shriji Maharaj has said, ‘I have come from Akshardham, with my Akshardham, divine parshads and my powers. Understand this and talk about it to others.’ This is Shriji Maharaj’s command in Vachanamrut Gadhada I 71. What does he mean by saying that he has brought his Dham with him? That Akshardham has come in human form. Only if we have understood all this can we tell others. Also, what are his principles? What questions did he ask during his travels throughout India? In every ashram, he asked the mahants and mahatmas, what is the nature of jiva, ishwar, maya, Brahman and Parabrahman? These are the five eternal realities he asked about. Other acharyas, sampradayas taught about [one, two or] three eternal realties, while Maharaj talked about five. It is necessary for us to know all this.
Shriji Maharaj talked about Brahman and Parabrahman from the very beginning. Brahman is Gunatitanand Swami and Parabrahman is Shriji Maharaj himself.
In Vachanamrut Gadhada I 21, Shriji Maharaj describes the two forms of Akshar. These talks by Shriji Maharaj in the Vachanamrut about Akshar should be properly understood and consolidated. In Dabhan, Shriji Maharaj revealed who this Akshar is when he initiated Gunatitanand Swami during the yagna. He said, ‘This Mulji Sharma is Akshar.’ And all this is described in the Harililakalpataru shastra which is published by the Vartal diocese with the approval of the Acharya. Also, under the murtis of Gunatitanand Swami consecrated in the Junagadh region he is described as ‘Mul Aksharmurti Gunatitanand Swami’.
Even the great Gopalanand Swami spoke about Gunatitanand Swami as Mul Akshar. He revealed Gunatitanand Swami as Akshar to his staunch disciple, Malji Soni. In the Kirtan Kaustubh Mala, Acharya Viharilalji Maharaj states that Mul Aksharmurti Gunatitanand Swami had given him the vartman and initiated him into Satsang. Viharilalji Maharaj was the Acharya, so his statements are authentic and trustworthy.
If we understand all this, then we will not waver when we are questioned by others. We have heard all these talks, but now go into detail and read for the exams. All should read the book on upasana in which all questions are answered and everything is described.
Read the Vachanamrut once, twice,… daily and repeatedly. If you read two pages every day then slowly you will attain sakshatkar. You will develop the firm conviction that Gunatitanand Swami is Mul Akshar, Shriji Maharaj is Purna Purushottam Bhagwan, the supreme avatari of all avatars, and that the Satpurush is the gateway to moksha. There is only one God, Shriji Maharaj. Nobody can become like him. Shriji Maharaj has stated in the Vachanamrut that everyone’s greatness is due to him. Maharaj clearly says that Gunatitanand Swami is not God. In fact, we do not say he is God and have consecrated his murti as Shriji Maharaj’s servant, as Brahman, as Akshar. Maharaj wants to make us all gunatit like Gunatitanand Swami, and that is why he brought him here. To be like Akshar means to remove all worldly desires. Maharaj has stated all this, and Shastriji Maharaj analysed it all. He saw the power of Bhagatji Maharaj, that he was Gunatit, and understood his glory. Shastriji Maharaj accepted him as his guru; even though he himself was a sadhu and a learned scholar, while Bhagatji Maharaj was only a tailor. Shastriji Maharaj saw that the qualities of the Satpurush described in the Vachanamrut are present in Bhagatji Maharaj. And through Bhagatji Maharaj, he developed the conviction that Gunatitanand Swami is Akshar.
Vignananand Swami also confirmed this to Shastriji Maharaj. Further, the texts of Viharilalji Maharaj and Raghuvirji Maharaj described this. The sadgurus of Junagadh, such as, Balmukund Swami and others revealed that Gunatitanand Swami is Akshar. Shastriji Maharaj heard this fact from Malji Soni of Bhoyka. Other shastras, such as, the Gita, talk about Akshar. In the 8th chapter of the Gita, Akshar is described and in the 15th chapter, Purushottam is described.
So, who is Akshar and Purushottam is described in the shastras. Maharaj has clearly shown that Akshar, or Brahman, is Gunatitanand Swami. We have to become like him [in virtues] and offer bhakti to God. There are not two Gods. What do we have to become? Servants, devotees and offer worship to God. In Lakshmi-Narayan, Lakshmi is the devotee. In Radha-Krishna, Radha is the devotee; there are not two Gods, one is a servant. In Shiva-Parvati, Parvati is the devotee and servant. In Nar-Narayan, Nar is the devotee. This is the tradition of dual worship [Bhagwan along with bhakta]. Similarly, Shriji Maharaj manifest on earth with his main, ideal devotee, Gunatitanand Swami. These are the murtis Shastriji Maharaj consecrated in the mandirs. Without proper knowledge, this is not understood.
Ramchandrabhai Thakar of Nadiad regularly visited the old school of Vartal mandir. Every week he would take a tin full of magas or laddus to be offered daily to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj in Vartal. Once, at the old mandir in Nadiad, he heard a description of Akshar in the Vachanamrut being read and thought that these bandiyas (followers of Shastriji Maharaj) have changed the words. He went home and checked in his old copy of the Vachanamrut authorized by the acharya. The words were exactly the same. He thought that even though everyone says the bandiyas are wrong, they are not. And he joined Shastriji Maharaj, served him for life and properly understood the Akshar-Purushottam philosophy.
If Ramchandrakaka had not checked he would not have known the truth. Shastriji Maharaj used the same Vachanamrut as that authorized by Acharya Raghuvirji Maharaj. Not a single letter has been changed or added.
The book on upasana contains all the details about what we need to understand about our philosophy. Also, we should know about the other shastras of our Sampradaya so there are no doubts. This is what Maharaj’s avatar was for. And the principles which Shastriji Maharaj gave, that Shriji Maharaj is supreme God and Gunatitanand Swami is Mul Akshar, are not imaginary. People say he wanted to become God. But that is not true. Shastriji Maharaj had left Vartal and was independent. If he wanted to consecrate his own murti he could have done so, but he consecrated the murtis of Akshar and Purushottam, and not of himself. The devotees would have been happy to consecrate his murti, but his objective was to explain the true, pure upasana of Akshar and Purushottam. Shastriji Maharaj himself used to chant the ‘Swaminarayan’ mantra. Even Yogiji Maharaj chanted ‘Swaminarayan, Swaminarayan’ and offered great, loving devotion to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. If he believed himself to be God, then why did he offer devotion to others? [This shows that he believed himself to be a servant of God.]
For us, anything that sidelines Maharaj is a lapse in upasana. Similarly, not understanding Gunatitanand Swami as Mul Akshar is also a deficiency in upasana. Shastriji Maharaj stressed this so that nobody would have any doubts. Yet, the prejudiced still allege that Shastriji Maharaj wanted to be treated like God. But, Shastriji Maharaj never entered into arguments with anyone. He continued to explain the true belief and now the murtis (of Akshar and Purushottam) have been consecrated across the oceans in America, Australia, London, Europe and other places. The truth has been established. People throughout the world have accepted this principle as the truth and offer worship accordingly. We can confidently proclaim this principle, but we need to know the details. So fill in the form to give the exams. Even 80-year-olds can give the exams. You might say how can 80-year-olds go back to studying, but we study a lot of other things, sit around to gossip and read many other stuff. So, it is not that there is no time. This is our principle and we have to talk about it. Don’t we talk about our business wherever we go? Accordingly, we must read about it. Spare some time in the morning or evening to read. The purpose of giving the exams is that we understand our principles and develop conviction in them. So, adjust your time and sit with preparation for the exams. Fill in the form and give the exams, but do not cheat. Write what you know, but never do wrong. It does not matter whether you pass or fail. We have come to gain the true knowledge, so write what you know and by doing this you will learn it and it will be consolidated. It does not matter if you do not get high marks, but do it to please God. So, fill the form, read and prepare as best you can and write what you know. Swami will be pleased by this, so all should try. May Maharaj grant all with such strength."