Personal Care and Guidance
Correspondence was also an important part of the bond between Swamishri and his devotees and sadhus. Outwardly, it appeared that Swamishri was writing letters, but actually he was responding to their hearts. Devotees wrote to Swamishri expressing their problems, and Swamishri gave them solutions.
Similarly, Swamishri also gave guidance, peace and comfort to devotees by telephone. Whether in India or abroad, he was often engrossed in dialogue with devotees on the telephone, whether travelling, in the bathroom, taking food, lying in bed, walking and at all times of the day. Even at times when he was ill, his phone conversations continued. Thus he gave the joy of a personal meeting by phone.
Swamishri’s capacity to remember people and matters was phenomenal, even though he did not keep any notes or a diary. He would spot and identify devotees in the midst of crowds and would remember to convey messages to them by letter or telephone or through a third party. He never postponed any of his work.
Swamishri considered devotees as his family. If someone was ill or in hospital, he would visit or telephone him to give blessings. Such care brought great relief to the devotees, as if the illness had already been cured!
The elderly Chimanbhai Patel was a devoted disciple of Shastriji Maharaj in Bhavnagar. He was unable to come to the mandir as he was seriously ill. Swamishri was eager to visit him at his home. Somebody said, “The car will not reach there as the road is in a bad condition.” Swamishri replied, “I will walk to reach his home.” Swamishri went and also climbed the stairs of his home to bless him.
In 1983, Swamishri had a heart attack in Sundalpura. As he was being taken to a hospital in Vadodara, his car suddenly stopped near the village of Od. Everybody was concerned about Swamishri’s health. Swamishri said, “I asked the driver to stop the car. Today, we have fixed a Shikshapatri parayan at Dahyabhai Gajjar’s house in Anand and I will not be able to attend. He will have invited relatives and made preparations. So, arrange for Acharya Swami and two sadhus to go straight to Anand for the parayan.” In spite of his critical health, Swamishri thought about and took care of a devotee’s programme.
Solving Devotees' Problems
He patiently spent time to resolve disputes between father and son and between friends that arose due to misunderstanding in the homes or over distribution of property or business problems. At times, the differences were so acute that the parties were not on talking terms. When separation was the only alternative, Swamishri’s mediation cooled tempers and led to amicable solutions.
Often, such mediation continued till late in the night, and when he had to mediate in the afternoon he sacrificed his rest. Still Swamishri did not tire. He considered the problems of the devotees his own and tried to solve them.
Swamishri gave them proper guidance and worked out a compromise. As Swamishri was totally selfless, untouched by worldly desires devotees accepted his practical and fair mediation with love.
“Just as rivers do not drink their own water, saints live for others.” These lines of the famous poet Dula Kaag are perfectly true in the case of Swamishri. Saints are therefore like rivers that flow for the benefit of others.
In the Joy of Others...
Swamishri genuinely respected the dignity of devotees. Harshadbhai Dave, a senior devotee, by mistake proceeded to bathe in Swamishri’s bathroom at Atladra mandir but he was stopped by somebody. At that time, Swamishri was passing by and said to that person, “Recognize and respect the devotees! Let him bathe there.” On another occasion, Tribhakaka, a stalwart devotee, fell ill in Bochasan. So, Swamishri came to see him and started fanning him.
On the occasion of the Yogi Jayanti celebration in Gondal it was very hot and an assembly had been arranged in the compound. One air cooler had been arranged for Swamishri. At that time, Dr Somani arrived and sat in the assembly. Swamishri changed the direction of his air cooler towards him without his knowledge. Swamishri was always happy in the joy and comfort of others.
Swamishri’s river of love made many devotees not only bloom with love, but submerged them in it.
His Love and Appreciation
When an affectionate devotee met him or someone had obeyed his words, this river of saintliness overflowed with appreciation. Then, he would place his hands on the devotee’s head to bless him or he embraced him. The devotee would be filled with joy.
How much Swamishri remembered the devotees?
Swamishri visited Radhu for a parayan with the kotharis of various mandirs and other sadhus. Swamishri personally introduced to them the entire extended family of Mota Swami (Ashabhai) and his brother Ishwarbhai Daji, who had sacrificed everything for satsang.
Swamishri remembered the names of many generations of the family members.
Swamishri was like a holy river that cleansed the inner being of anyone who came in contact with him.
Why were the sadhus and devotees ready to sacrifice everything for Swamishri? What had Swamishri done for them?
Swamishri had sacrificed so much for others, that people were attracted to him in the same way as glow-worms are attracted to a lamp.
Once, in the village of Karcheliya in South Gujarat, water was seen oozing from a photo of Swamishri. Swamishri visited that house at noon on that day. The devotee said, “Swami! Water oozes from your murti here.”
Due to the heat and his physical exertions during the padhramanis, Swamishri was perspiring. His upper garment was wet with sweat. Swamishri looked at the devotee, swiped his right forefinger across his forehead and said, “That water is of no use. This is the true water.”
All his life Pramukh Swami Maharaj strived enormously for the elevation, happiness and progress of others.