Swamishri has always been generous in appreciating children and youths. This is one aspect of his abundant love for youths.
Once, someone asked Swamishri, “Do you ever despair when we we fail to live up to your wishes and benchmarks of good behaviour?” Swamishri replied, “How can a soul match with God’s standards. A soul is after all a soul – enwrapped by worldly desires. The essential thing is that it has come onto the path of God. Shriji Maharaj, too, had a broad mind. The fact that a person has come into the association of God is a great thing. He will thus gradually understand and attain liberation.”
Swamishri’s words exude compassion and magnanimity. Despite a person’s failings he does not harbour an iota of aversion for him. Swamishri has never made a hue and cry about a rose plant having thorns. He only sees the rose bud that blossoms forth amidst the thorns. Likewise, he focuses on the growth of youths regardless of their faults.
When parents cry, “Youths have become spoiled”; teachers vehemently declare, “Youths have become delinquent”; spiritual masters opine, “The youths have turned into atheists”; Swamishri perceives the goodness of God in them.
Once, Swamishri spoke to an assembly of youths, “You are all the children of God.” With such an exalted vision how could Swamishri harp upon their faults? In fact, all his life he has focused on their virtues, encouraged them and offered his love.
When the youths are appreciated and honoured for their good works and actions they feel positively inspired, which subsequently brings out their true potential. Thus, recognitions motivate the youths towards good behaviour. Swamishri perceives the youths in this manner.
In 1990, an International Youth Convention was held in Vidyanagar. More than 21,000 male and female students had participated in several competitions: recitations of the Vachanamrut, Swamini Vato and kirtans; elocution; singing and others. On the final day of the five-day convention, Swamishri blessed all in the morning session. He said, “The convention has turned out to be unparalleled. I congratulate you all for staying here for five days. You have tolerated the heat, exercised patience and made this event a success. You have all put in remarkable efforts. The mukhpath you have done is greater than having attained ashtanga yoga. Maharaj and Swami will forever be with you in your life. To offer countless prostrations to you would not be enough. It is not possible for today’s youths to put in such [intense] effort and do such works. It is no small matter that some of you have memorized the entire Vachanamrut. I am humbled by this and bow to you. My appreciations to you all.” Swamishri spoke with vigour and passion while he was standing before the assembly. When he finished, it seemed that he was not satisfied with paying tributes to the youths. So, he called the volunteers responsible for the assembly arrangements and instructed them, “I would like to meet all the youths one by one.” When the announcement was made that Swamishri would like to bless all the youths personally, a rapturous applause rent the air. Despite the scorching summer heat and dust Swamishri blessed every youth by placing his hand on their head from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. By the time Swamishri had blessed the last youth his eyebrows were laced with dust and his clothes had become wet due to sweat. Someone uttered, “Look at the terrible heat!” Swamishri interjected, “Instead of saying that look at the efforts of the youths!”
In 2009, during the annual students celebration at the chhatralaya in Vidyanagar, a drama was performed on how Shreyans Dholakiya, a former hostel student, remained staunch in following the satsang niyams. Shreyans was not present on that day, but he came to the chhatralaya the next morning. When Swamishri was informed about it, he called Shreyans onto the stage after performing his morning puja, and honoured him with a garland of flowers. Swamishri praised him, “Congratulations! You live the values that your father has taught you. You have tolerated many things. I bless you for a happier life.” Then Swamishri took out his own mala from his neck and placed it on Shreyans’ neck to express his appreciation and rajipo.
Once the students of Vidyanagar chhatralaya had observed austerities, namely, dhara-parna and chandrayan. They all wished to conclude their austerities before Swamishri and receive his blessings. So, they all went to Bochasan, and stood in a line to meet Swamishri. Someone informed Swamishri that once the boys have received his blessings, they would go out and receive prasad of mesub from Tyagvallabh Swami. But Swamishri told the volunteer to bring the prasad to him because he wanted to give it to them personally. In this way Swamishri personally gave mesub to each one of the youths for parna. Though the youths had not desired to receive prasad from Swamishri’s hands, Swamishri, however, celebrated their austerities in a memorable and appreciative way. The youths departed with elation and an everlasting memory.
Very often youths succumb to depression because of the pressures and tensions of life. During such times, Swamishri has always encouraged and appreciated them and thus rejuvenated their enthusiasm and efforts.
Once, a student sighed before Swamishri, “Will I pass in my exams or not? After graduating, will I get a job or not?” Swamishri read his mindset and said, “Look, you are going to pass. Believe it, and work hard. Otherwise, you will simply end up achieving nothing. What benefit is there in worrying unnecessarily? So, work hard. By doing nothing, will you accomplish anything?” Swamishri’s crisp words infused inner strength and confidence in the youth.
Once a youth in Vidyanagar brought his friend before Swamishri and described his mental state, “Swami, he is in the 12th standard. He is depressed.” Swamishri looked at him and called him near and patted him on his shoulders. Then Swamishri advised, “You have entered the 12th standard. Never ever think about failing. Live in the present and don’t think too much about the future. By studying and worshipping God now your future will be good. So, entertain such thoughts daily and be strong.”
The period of youth has been compared to the breaking of dawn – when the sun is crimson and beautiful. However, no one would like the sun to set instantly without ascending to its illustrious noon-state. Likewise, how could Swamishri allow a youth who is in his prime to simply crumple without achieving or contributing anything. Swamishri appreciates and instils encouragement and hope in crestfallen youths to make them vibrant and productive.
A youth was plagued with negative thoughts, “I am of no use to anyone. I am not worthy of living in this world.” Because of such thoughts he became depressed. He also perceived others to be worthless. Swamishri encouraged him, saying, “God and his Sadhu have compassion for you. So, you will progress. Give up your flimsy beliefs and rely on God’s divine strength. He will give you the fruits of your karmas. Why do you think negatively? No one is bad in this world. When others can do work, why can’t you? You do not know your own strength. A person can achieve whatever he wills; but it obviously takes some time. So, you must not allow weak thoughts to enter your mind. You have the potential to look after everyone [in your family]. You have the capacity to inspire thousands to worship God. So, be happy. You have not spoiled anyone’s life. Neither have you been born to cry and be miserable. Live with camaraderie with all your family members. Whenever you err, there is no need to wallow in misery! Rectify your mistakes. Don’t dump weak and wrong thoughts in your mind; give them up and forget them.”
Swamishri’s discourse to the youth can be called the ‘Pramukh Gita’. His discourses have revived countless youths from depression and despair.