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God First

After the evening assembly at Kelod village in the Bharuch district, Swamishri sat down for dinner. While eating, Swamishri asked an attendant, “Did you offer the bhakhri in the thal?” The attendant said, “No. The bhakhris brought by another devotee from his house were offered.” Swamishri said to the attendant, “Look, two or three bhakhris out of the ones being made for me should be prepared first and offered to Thakorji. Do not give me anything unless it has been offered to Thakorji. To eat without offering to Thakorji is like eating dust.”
In 1987, the construction for the township in preparation for the Kalash Jayanti Mahotsav in Mumbai were to be started. Swamishri arrived to inaugurate the kitchen.
Dharmabhushan Swami brought shiro to offer to Thakorji during the inauguration rituals. Swamishri took the plate from him, removed his sandals, even though the ground was muddy, and offered the shiro to Thakorji. After offering it, when he touched the shiro to give it to the saints he realized that it was too hot. Swamishri said, “Oh! This is very hot. I thought it must have been cooled when it was brought for offering!” Then, he himself spread a part of the shiro on one side and cooled it and again offered it to Thakorji saying, “Maharaj, please forgive me. At first, hot shiro was offered. It must have caused you discomfort.” Thus, he humbly begged pardon. Then, after lovingly offering the cooled shiro to Thakorji, he joyfully distributed it to all.
In 1974, Swamishri flew to Nairobi and had to return on the same plane from Nairobi to Mumbai. On the way to Nairobi, thal had been offered to Thakorji in the afternoon. The evening thal was to be offered in Nairobi. However, due to the unexpected return, the evening thal could not be offered to Thakorji. The return flight arrived late at night in Mumbai. On reaching the mandir at about 2.45 a.m., Swamishri emotionally begged for forgiveness before Thakorji and offered about twenty prostrations. Then, he had some fresh food prepared and offered thal to Thakorji.
Shriji Maharaj has said in the Vachanamrut Gadhada I 68 that, “I forever reside in the eight types of murtis.” Swamishri’s devout life was such that it reflected his true faith in the words of Maharaj.
That is why on returning from bathing Thakorji at the seashore in Vile Parle in Mumbai, Swamishri asked an attendant saint, “We bathed Thakorji in the salty sea water. Have we bathed him in fresh water after returning?” Such devotion is possible only when one believes that God is actually manifest in the murti.

Subtle Service

On Swamishri’s return to India after the Suvarna Tula Mahotsav in London, one parshad had prepared a small set of scales and placed a small murti of Swamishri on one side and flowers on the other. In this way, he offered ‘Pushpa Tula’ and brought the set up to show to Swamishri. But Swamishri said, “This is not proper. Bring a murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.” So, the parshad brought a standing murti of Maharaj, but Swamishri said, “This is not appropriate. Bring a seated murti.” After a seated murti was brought, Swamishri swapped it with his murti and honoured Maharaj by weighing him against the flowers. How could Maharaj be not bound by such dedicated devotion by Swamishri, who remembered him at every moment? Shriji Maharaj has said in Vachanamrut Gadhada I 61 that God “becomes bound by anyone who offers profound bhakti to him. As a result, the mind of a devotee who has such loving bhakti becomes so bound to God that God is unable to free himself from him”.

He is our most Cherished

Once, Swamishri was asked, “What thoughts do you have for all 24 hours?”
Swamishri replied, “About God only.”
On another occasion, somebody asked Swamishri, “What is your personal opinion about Harikrishna Maharaj?”
Swamishri replied, “He is our most cherished. What more needs to be said?”
The real opinion about someone beloved is beyond words. His place lies in the heart, not on the lips. Swamishri possessed Maharaj in every atom of his physical form.
Without him, how could the existence of Swamishri even be imagined?

The secret of Life

After the evening assembly in Nadiad, Swamishri asked, “Has the arti been performed?” One saint, with the intention of not troubling Swamishri, replied, “Bapa, you need not come, we will perform the arti.” This reply annoyed Swamishri, “You are trying to stop me from attending the arti, but you should never stop me from having darshan.
You prohibit me from doing such things. But I have come to offer devotion and worship. If that cannot be done, how do I survive?”
Thakorji was Swamishri’s life.
The worship of Thakorji nourished Swamishri.
His attachment towards Thakorji sustained Swamishri.
Can the existence of fish be imagined without water?
If life without air can be imagined, then one could imagine the life of Swamishri without Thakorji. In fact, Thakorji was integral to Swamishri’s existence.

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