It was imperative for the Satsang fellowship to have its own publication to propagate the principals enunciated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the worship of Akshar-Purushottam. For that, it was also necessary to have their own printing press. Jethalal had conceived such constructive ideas decades before in the early stages of BAPS. With the successful beginning of Swaminarayan Prakash, Jethalal openly appealed to the Satsang family: “This is the tenth issue of the publication. This means that this monthly publication will be soon completing the first year with the good wishes and blessings of the entire Satsang community. Only one who has experienced such an undertaking, can understand how serious it is to start a new monthly publication from scratch and run it successfully, since it involves considerable expense and requires the unceasing contribution of knowledgeable ideas. Nevertheless, we are happy to report that we have received wholehearted encouragement from our satsangis, supporting beyond our imagination the work of regularly publishing this monthly. The primary reason for this is that the policy of this monthly has been only to propagate pure knowledge and to stay away from all kinds of quarrels, malice and controversies. To make the work of this endeavour well organized and to put it on a sound footing, it is imperative to have our own printing press. To address this, I humbly request all satsangis, where it is possible, to become lifetime subscribers of this monthly by paying 51 rupees in advance. If we get a hundred such ‘lifetime subscribers’, we can procure a good working press for this monthly. It would be acknowledged as a very noble service by our satsangis who become lifetime subscribers.
“Moreover, it is our sincere ambition to make available literature of such high standards at a very reasonable cost. Lending your hand in this noble endeavour will help in propagating the pure, supreme upasana of Shriji-Swami. And this is also the duty of true devotees” (Swaminarayan Prakash, June-July 1939, p. 222).
Today, these wishes of Jethalal have come to fruition with the blessings of Shastriji Maharaj. Swaminarayan Aksharpith is the BAPS publishing house with its own modern printing press.
Discovers the Birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami
Jethalal rendered many other services using his creative and investigative skills. A noteworthy example: he researched and personally went to Bhadra village, the birthplace of Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami and discovered the sacred home where he was born. For this, he went to the locale of Brahmins in this village in 1935 CE and researched old historical records and located with the help of provable and incontrovertible facts the exact place and the home where Gunatitanand Swami was born as Mulji Sharma.
Jethalal was a prominent personality in society. Even though he was a staunch disciple of Shastriji Maharaj, he was also selected as a member of the Narnarayan Dev Mandir committee at Kalupur in Ahmedabad.
Mathematical and Musical Mind
Jethalal was fully dedicated to the Akshar-Purushottam philosophy. He used to say: “I am a mathematician. I have a habit to see and measure things in the light of mathematical reasoning. There is no value attached to zeroes. No matter how many zeroes are grouped together, they have no value. In the same vein, to understand and accept that Shriji Maharaj is the supreme God is like the figure ‘one’ (‘one’ in front of zeroes lends them real value). Some people believe that Shriji Maharaj is a great personality. Some believe him to be a prominent devotee of God. Some believe him to be an incarnation of Ram or Krishna. But believe and accept his real form as the cause of all the other avatars and the supreme ruler of all the countless universes.
“Gunatitanand Swami, the avatar of Aksharbrahman, convinced devotees that Shriji Maharaj is the one and only supreme God. Also, Bhagwan Ramchandra and Hanumanji are worshipped together and Bhagwan Krishna and Radha are worshipped together. Likewise, to worship Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami together with Bhagwan Swaminarayan is the ‘one’ of brahmavidya.
“Shastriji Maharaj, the current incarnation of Gunatitanand Swami, one who gave the true introduction of Shriji Maharaj as Purna Purushottam Bhagwan, has done a great service by fearlessly propagating the worship of Akshar-Purshottam and by establishing mandirs with their murtis in the central shrine to nourish this worship” (Swaminarayan Prakash, April 1939, p. 164).
Professor Jethalal Swaminarayan used to write very good kirtans (devotional songs) and he would unabashedly sing them in public. Whether at Premabhai Hall in Ahmedabad or Laxmibaug in Mumbai; whether in a large assembly of devotees or a gathering of dignitaries, Jethalal would sing and dance beating the drum in his hands to the tune of his favourite kirtan: “Bol manavã Swãminãrãyan, kahun chhu dhol pitine…” (“Chant Swaminarayan O mind, Say I while beating my drum…”). Continuing, he would emphatically sing , “Yagnapurushmã pragat birãje, kahu chhu pitine dhol…” (“He is currently manifesting in Yagnapurush, Say I beating my drum…”). With this, his heart would overflow with divine bliss.
Revealing Shastriji Maharaj to All
Jethalal constantly talked to and encouraged leaders and prominent personalities of society to experience the divine satsang of Shastriji Maharaj and realize the true spiritual essence of life.
As a result well known Congress leader Shri Shankarlal Banker, prominent writer Shri Kishorelal Mashruwala, Secretary of the Labour Union Shri Gulzarilal Nanda, industrialists Sheth Ambalal Sarabhai, Sheth Mangaldas Girdhardas and his son, Madanmohanbhai, and Babubhai the son of Sheth Chimanlal Girdhardas, Polish-born humanitarian Maurice Frydman (a.k.a. Swami Bharatanand), Labour Commissioner Shri Ayengar, Principal Shri Hiralal Kaji, Professor Dawar, Professor S.M. Shah, Shri V.T. Dehjiya (I.C.S.), Shri Vasantrai Pandya, Shri Asarpota (engineer) and other prominent personalities all came in contact with Shastriji Maharaj through the efforts of Professor Jethalal.
Shri Khengarbhai Chauhan notes: “Professor Jethalal had taken it upon himself to bring intellectuals from India and abroad, spiritual aspirants and anyone with miseries to Swamishri to receive his blessings, show them samadhi, take them to the mandir for darshan, and offer sincere prayers for their well-being. He would bring all kinds of aggrieved persons to Swamishri to receive Shastriji Maharaj’s blessings and relieve them of their miseries. Many times Shastriji Maharaj would express with divine humour, “Professor, it seems that Shriji Maharaj is currently acting according to your wishes!” (Swaminarayan Prakash, July 1941, p. 232).
Shastriji Maharaj Inspires Rains
Jethalal would become very disturbed if someone showed even an iota of suspicion in the divinity of Shastriji Maharaj. “Who is Shastriji Maharaj, the one I am so fortunate to have realized? Do you know of his divinity? Hear it now, if you have not heard it yet and witness it if you have not witnessed it.” He would present his own experiences in his thunderous voice. Jethalal writes, while presenting such experiences: “Param Yogi (Most Accomplished) Brahmanishtha (one who is in union with divine) Sadguru (pious teacher) Swamishri Shastriji Maharaj Yagnapurushdas is a mahapurush (great person) and there is no reason whatsoever for doubt in this assertion. Once, there was a terrible famine looming in the region of Kathiawad, Gujarat. Cows, buffaloes and other animals were distressed due to the acute shortage of fodder and water. There was not a drop of rain during the monsoon season. All the devotees, before going to Sarangpur on the day of Shravan sud 2, had come to Ellis Bridge station (Ahmedabad) to bid farewell to Shastriji Maharaj. Shastriji Maharaj was seated under a tree resting on his potlu. At that time, in response to questions from devotees about the famine, he said that there would be plenty of rain after Shravan sud 5. True to his words and blessings, there was plenty of rain for fifteen days and the affliction of these helpless animals was relieved. This is the hallmark of a vachan siddh person” (Swaminarayan Prakash, October 1939, p. 7).
The translator, Dhruvkumar S. Patel, is the grandson-in-law of Prof. Jethalal Swaminarayan.