Gopalanand Swami rushed to him and tried to dissuade him from leaving. It had taken Gopalanand Swami long enough to convince him to even visit Vadodara. He disliked big cities because they offered too many temptations.
By no means would he stay now, and persuasion was out of the question. Gopalanand Swami was left with no choice but to take the container full of dudhpak (sweet milk with rice) and pour it all away! Then a simple meal was cooked for him.
With a sigh of relief on his face, he agreed to stay. He was Nishkulanand Swami (1766-1848 CE), the personification of true vairagya or detachment.
What triggered such a reaction? Could it possibly be fear? After all, Mul Aksharmurti Gunatitanand Swami has advised devotees to avoid the panchvishays or materialistic objects of temptation, but to become valiant as lions when confronted by them (Swamini Vato 2.113).
Nishkulanand Swami lived by Gunatitanand Swami’s guidance. He would first try to avoid contact with panchvishays as if fearful of them, but if faced with them in unavoidable circumstances, would resort to combat against them.
Shriji Maharaj once casually mentioned in an assembly that he wished to appoint Nishkulanand Swami as the mahant, or head, of Gadhadha mandir. Nishkulanand Swami received this message by word of mouth and became frustrated. He thought to himself that if he stayed any longer in Gadhada, he would be forced into this seat of authority.
Authority in general provides easier access to the panchvishays. Maybe Nishkulanand Swami, distrustful of his mind, had the premonition that he may become susceptible to these temptations. He panicked and escaped to Gadhali, a neighbouring village.
Someone conveyed the news to Maharaj, who ordered Nishkulanand Swami to immediately return to Gadhadha. Maharaj then questioned Nishkulanand Swami about his sudden disappearance.
Nishkulanand Swami frankly stated, “If a 1000 maund (20,000 kg) beam were to fall on a tiny mouse, would it survive! It would be crushed to death! I simply wouldn’t be able to bear the responsibilities of this post.”
Maharaj reassured Nishkulanand Swami that no such action would be taken. He again expressed a sigh of relief on his face. Why this sudden mental ease?
Only when Nishkulanand Swami distanced himself from the panchvishays did he feel relaxed. He requested Maharaj for permission to go to Dholera, an isolated village near the shores of the Gulf of Khambhat. Dholera did not pose any appealing panchvishays. Even today it is still relatively desolate, so one can imagine what it was like 200 years ago! This is exactly what Nishkulanand Swami preferred. Moreover, Adbhutanand Swami, the mahant of Dholera at the time, also had a natural inclination for vairagya. It made perfect sense that both got along very well because “such a devotee [with intense vairagya] only keeps the company of devotees who are renunciants [ascetic in nature]” (Vachanamrut, Gadhada I 47).