Thakorji is the All-Doer
In 1985, on his return to India after the successful Cultural Festival of India in London, Swamishri was felicitated in Ahmedabad. The compering saint announced, “Swamishri, who has hoisted the flag of Indian culture in the West will now bless the assembly.” Then, Swamishri began, “We are unable to break even a roasted papad [i.e., to do anything]. All this is achieved only due to the wish of Shriji Maharaj.”
In 1985, while being honoured in the Suvarna Tula in London, Swamishri’s attention and feelings were totally focused on Maharaj. This was evident when he said, “First of all, I bow to Parabrahman Sarvavatari Purushottam Narayan Bhagwan Swaminarayan, because he gave me this human body, and thereafter, I bow to my gurus Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj, who accepted and blessed me. With their grace and blessings, I am standing before you. Without their grace, I would not have been at this place. They gave me the chance to serve. There are so many standing before God with folded hands, but he gave me the opportunity to do this service. It is my great fortune! Nothing can be done without the grace and wish of God. God is the all-doer. Without God’s wish, even a dry leaf cannot move.”
Always a Servant
In 1982, a grand procession took place in London on the occasion of the foundation-
stone laying ceremony of the hari mandir in Neasden. Swamishri was seated on an elephant. After a while, it started to rain and a strong cold wind was blowing. Swamishri immediately held an umbrella to cover Thakorji. He did not mind getting drenched.
During his daily puja, Swamishri so lovingly offered thal that it felt as if Harikrishna Maharaj was himself accepting the offering.
Sometimes, due to the travel schedule, if Thakorji’s rest time was delayed, Swamishri would instruct that Thakorji be woken up a little later next morning.
Same for God as for the Body
In 1981, while touring in the Bharuch district, the dusty roads caused everyone much discomfort, fatigue and inconvenience. So, whenever they reached their lodgings, the accompanying sadhus would freshen up by washing their hands and feet. Swamishri would say, “Just as we feel the effects of the dusty roads, Thakorji would also have been affected and be tired. Hence, please bathe him in the afternoon and evening before offering him the thal.”
There was only one place to refresh for everyone on their return from the pilgrimage to Kedarnath: in Gaurikund, where there is a natural hot water spring. Swamishri also came to the kund for a bath after returning from the pilgrimage. Swamishri said, “First, let us bathe Harikrishna Maharaj, as he must also be tired.”
The water in the kund was very hot. So, Swamishri specially asked for cold water. He mixed the hot and cold water before bathing Thakorji. Then, for ten to fifteen minutes, Swamishri lovingly and devoutly massaged the murti of Thakorji while bathing him and chanting mantras from the Purushsukta. It was a wonderful experience of Swamishri’s oneness with and devotion for Thakorji.
Without such devotion, the thought that a metal murti would get tired would not arise. As Shriji Maharaj has said in Vachanamrut Sarangpur 3, “If a person lovingly performs puja of God, with elation and an emotion-filled voice, then regardless of whether he performs puja physically or performs mansi puja, both are superior.”
God is present in the Murti
In 1988, on the occasion of Yogi Jayanti, the women devotees of London had prepared a cake for Thakorji. When Thakorji was offered fruits in the afternoon, the youths placed the uncut cake and offered it to Thakorji. Then they brought it to Swamishri requesting him to cut it. Swamishri cut the cake and said, “Offer the cake to Thakorji.” Upendra Patel said, “It has already been offered.” Swamishri asked, “How can Thakorji eat a whole cake? Now it is cut, offer it again.” Then, after the cake had been offered again, Swamishri had a small piece.
Once, Swamishri came to have darshan of Thakorji during the shayan arti. On seeing four murtis of Lalji Maharaj in a single bed, Swamishri suggested to the pujari saint, “You have placed all to sleep in one bed. But, since there is not much space how can they stretch or turn to their sides?” So, alternative arrangements were made.
In 1986, at Gajera village, Swamishri arrived to do puja in the assembly hall. The temperature was 7ºC and a cold wind was also blowing. A heater was kept facing Swamishri to keep him warm. However, when he sat down to perform his puja, Swamishri had the direction of the heater turned towards Harikrishna Maharaj to keep him warm.
On countless such occasions, Swamishri’s devotion and conviction that God is manifest in the murti was seen by all.