Once, Pramukh Swami Maharaj asked a satsangi youth, who was a police officer, “Do you go to the mandir for darshan?” The youth replied, “Not much.”
“Do you regularly do your morning puja?”
“Swami, the truth is I don’t.”
“Then of what use was the satsang your father and grandfather passed on to you?” Swamishri struck an emotional chord in the youth’s heart and continued, “No matter what happens, you should do five malas every morning in your puja. Then, pray that you can do your duties in the best possible way and be happy and live a peaceful life. Because you were lax in doing puja, see what has happened. Your inner self has become dry and remorseless. Of what use is your brisk visit here and the momentary respect you offer [to me] whenever I come here! Take a pledge from today that you will do puja regularly, come to the mandir for darshan and attend the Sunday satsang sabha.”
Swamishri’s words rejuvenated the youth’s satsang.
CORRECTING A WRONG UNDERSTANDING
A satsangi youth from America had come for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s darshan. Swamishri came to know that he had stopped doing puja for some time and now wished to start again.
Swamishri asked the youth, “Why did you give up doing puja?”
“Because I did not get good results in my studies.”
Swamishri smiled and replied, “The first thing to get axed at such times is daily puja!” Then he added, “There are some people who look for reasons to give up doing puja. Whenever one’s physical health is affected, one gives up doing puja. When one’s exam results do not turn out well, one gives up doing puja. Whenever things do not work out the way one wants, one stops doing puja. However, one never thinks that by cutting off doing puja one gets cut off. There are many other things in life that one should disconnect oneself from. The reasons for your miserable performance could be the habit of roaming around with others, not having read the textbooks properly, wasting time in watching television and not paying attention during class time. If you want to get good results do puja daily. Take your puja with you whenever you travel away from home. Do tilak-chandlo daily. There is no need to feel shy because they are our spiritual symbols.”
Swamishri’s loving and incisive words inspired the youth to restart his puja.
DISSOLVED A YOUTH’S SHYNESS
In 2006, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in London. A satsangi from Belgium came with his son for Swamishri’s darshan. The father pointed to his son’s forehead and said, “Swami, he does puja, but does not do the tilak-chandlo.”
Swamishri asked him, “Is there any problem?”
“I feel shy,” the youth confessed.
“Look at your dad. See how bold his tilak-chandlo is. He does not feel shy, then why should you? If you do anything wrong you will feel embarrassed, but there is nothing wrong in doing the tilak-chandlo. By doing it you are not causing harm or damage to anyone. You may feel shy for a few days, but then you’ll get used to it. Hence, start doing it from tomorrow.” Swamishri blessed him and gave him a sanctified rose.
REINFORCING THE NIYAMS OF A YOUTH
Sandeep, a satsangi student residing at the BAPS Chhatralaya in Vidyanagar, did his puja daily, but he was hesitant in doing the tilak-chandlo.
He confided about this with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Swamishri smiled gently and stated, “Why should you be hesitant? If someone has told you not to do so then you should try to explain to him.”
“No, that is not the case. But I feel I should do it after I strictly follow my niyam-dharma,” argued Sandeep.
“Once you start doing the tilak-chandlo, your life will improve gradually. It is like when you start studying for an MBA, you progress gradually. So, start doing the tilak-chandlo and your inner strength will increase. Let others say whatever they want.”
Sandeep then explained the problems he faces, “Whenever I have to go on a study tour from college the cook adds onions and garlic powder in the meals. Then, I’m left with no alternative other than to eat the food. So, I feel it would not be proper to apply the tilak-chandlo.”
Swamishri replied, “Instead of thinking in this manner why don’t you contemplate that onions and garlic are not worth eating! And whenever such things are added then fast for the day. You must be resolute. Whether the food contains onions or not do not eat outside food. You can survive on milk [and fruits] for one whole month.”
“But, I get tempted to eat when the food is placed before me,” Sandeep spoke frankly.
Swamishri inspired him, “You must exercise self-control over your mind. You can live without onions and garlic. If your mind is strong, God will help you, and things will work out well wherever you go.”
Swamishri’s passionate discourse fortified Sandeep, and he promised that he would do the tilak-chandlo and give up eating onions and garlic.
A LIFETIME PLEDGE
In 2006, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in Bochasan. He came to know that some youths from London had come to attend a marriage ceremony. All of them had done tilak-chandlo. Swamishri asked, “Do you all do tilak-chandlo daily?” All, except one, replied affirmatively. The youth confessed, “When I’m in London I don’t do the tilak-chandlo.”
Swamishri explained, “You have all come to attend a marriage ceremony. When you’ll go there a chandlo will be applied by the mother-in-law. Likewise, you have come here to Bhagwan’s marriage. Therefore, I am applying a chandlo on your forehead. Henceforth, you should do it daily.” Then Swamishri pressed the thumb of his right hand on the youth’s forehead, as if he was doing the chandlo. The youth felt blessed and pledged to do it daily.