In 1981, before the opening of the Bhagwan Swaminarayan Bicentennial Celebrations, protests against the college reservation system started in Ahmedabad. The protests were getting more and more aggressive each day. The situation had become explosive and there was intense unrest in the city of Ahmedabad. In this volatile situation the question of how the festival would take place was troubling everyone. Preparations had already begun. However, there were signs that if there was trouble while the festival was going on a very serious situation would be created. Everyone went running to Swamishri. Everyone was of the mind that the festival should be cancelled. The situation was presented before Swamishri. Feeling great despair and helplessness everyone was looking to him for a solution. In such times, Swamishri never immediately shares an answer. He first asks everyone and gets everyone’s opinion. When everyone said with one voice that there seemed to be no choice but to cancel the celebrations, Swamishri, extremely calmly and coolly informed us that the festival would be celebrated exactly as had been planned. Maharaj would make everything better and would blow away the environment of unrest. And truly, to everyone’s surprise, by the time the festival started the situation had come under control. The festival was completed successfully without any obstacles. At times like this, his firm faith in Shri Hari confirms in our heart that Swamishri has a unique spiritual bond with Maharaj.
Prior to Gunatitanand Swami’s Bicentennial Celebrations in 1985, there was a water shortage, and students’ unrest and agitation. Many social leaders were of the opinion that the festival should not take place. However, Swamishri was firm that the festival should happen; and he said that Maharaj and Swami would help. Right before the festival started there was heavy rain and the drought situation eased. Everyone was relieved.
In the same way in 1987 during the dire famine, Swamishri enjoined sadhus and youths to serve helpless animals. “This is the service of Thakorji,” he said. With this message and inspiration he started cattle camps with the concept of self-supervision . He made sure the cattle were well taken care of so that they could be useful in farming once the drought passed.
Of the thousands of youths who have remained awed by Swamishri’s power of management and organization, Canada’s Nareshbhai Patel asked Swamishri the secret behind this strength. Swamishri answered, “From the beginning I had an eye towards the activities in mandirs and I had a natural inclination in talking to and taking care of devotees. During festivals, I would make arrangements for the devotees’s accommodation, to feed them and take care of them. Shastriji Maharaj really liked that. In Yogiji Maharaj’s time, that happened more. When festivals were organized, I always had a tendency of finding how to solve the problems that cropped up. I would definitely never fall back from a task. Having taken up something to do I would only free myself from it after it was completed. Due to Shastriji Maharaj’s grace and Yogiji Maharaj’s blessings things turned out well.”
Maybe someone can achieve such great tasks or have great tasks achieved. However, to carry out such work while caring for hundreds of thousands of people’s sentiments, while keeping so many happy, without so much as saying the word “I” is another, greater achievement altogether. To have so many people follow you through only love, to find common ground amongst so many, to take up such difficult work with mutual respect and then to complete it – that is something unique. Swamishri is that unique helmsman.
After visiting all the parts of the 1985 Swaminarayan Nagar in Ahmedabad, India’s President Zail Singh met Swamishri in the meeting room and could not help but praise what he saw as outstanding management.
“Our sadhus and youths have come together and done all this!” Swamishri poured the compliments onto his disciples. In response Giani Zail Singh, a true student of spirituality and a person who could recognize a gem of a sadhu, instantly replied, “Whoever may have done it, their energy, the current, was surely yours otherwise this is impossible.”
In this way, even those who have only a fleeting moment with Swamishri can recognize such a deep significance.
Having once witnessed all of this, closing one’s eyes and witnessing and experiencing him as a divine being, an entity of God, so many oceans of virtues can be seen inside him. And forever finding his reward in the joy of attaining God’s pleasure, Swamishri seems forever at peace and content.
No worldly storms shake him. Love and hate, praise and insult – no such troubles touch him. Bearing hardships with equanimity, his mind and entire person sparkle with divinity. That is why, the aspirant following him, with true faith in his divinity, continually can see forward on the path of “Yogaha karmasu kaushalam”.