In December 1987, devotees of the Naroda suburb in Ahmedabad were celebrating Swamishri’s 67th symbolic birthday. Bhaktivallabh Swami and I went there. After the assembly, one stranger requested to allow him to address the assembly for five minutes. When we agreed, he addressed the meeting, “I am Mr. More, a disciple of Pujya Chidanand Swami of Rushikesh. Many years before, I had the darshan of Pujya Pramukh Swami from a great distance. I had then wished to see him from close quarters, but it did not happen. One day, I received news that Pujya Chidanand Swami was going to attend Swamishri’s birthday celebration in Mehsana. However, due to ill health, he sent Adhyatmanand Swami. I was fortunate to accompany him to Mehsana. Adhyatmanand Swami met and had Swamishri’s darshan. Thereafter, I went for Swamishri’s darshan. Something extraordinary happened at that time. Pujya Pramukh Swami touched my head and said, ‘Has your wish to have darshan from near been fulfilled?’ Swamishri declared my wish that I had made many years ago. I was greatly pleased; that joy was even greater than getting lakhs of rupees.”
Such power is not usually seen in human beings. Even if someone with the power of austerities, yoga or mantra could reveal the thoughts in one’s mind, but he may not be liberated from worldly desires or may not possess virtues. But, Swamishri had a limitless repository of virtues, and his humility, which is the foundation of all virtues, pervaded through his every pore.
In 1981, during the Bicentenary Celebrations of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a convention of the Bharat Sadhu Samaj was held in Swamishri’s presence in Ahmedabad. All the sadhus and sannyasis present were invited to the Akshar-Purushottam Mandir (in Shahibaug) for a felicitation programme. Swamishri was seated in the mandir prayer hall. Swamishri started felicitating each sadhu or sannyasi by offering a shawl and respectfully bowing down and touching their feet. Mohanbhai Patel (of Colorama Studios, London) was giving each sannyasi an envelope containing a monetary donation. Suddenly, one of the sannyasis felt that the chief of the Sadhu Samaj was discriminating against him, so he tore the envelope and started ranting before Swamishri. The atmosphere turned tense, but Swamishri remained undisturbed and said with folded hands, “It is my mistake. Please forgive me.” That sadhu replied, “No! No! It is not your mistake. I am pointing out at that person’s mistake.” Even after this clarification, Swamishri still went on saying, “Kindly forgive me for my mistake.” Then, the sadhu calmed down. All witnessed Swamishri’s unique humility. He took on himself the mistake of someone else!
It is very difficult to remain humble in such a situation. Even if somebody were to behave humbly then pride for one’s humility would arise and come in the way. Swamishri’s humility was pure. He never harboured pride for his humility, because it was selfless and he wanted to please God only. In this way, one who is completely selfless possesses all the virtues, and one who has all the virtues experiences constant peace.
Once Swamishri was sitting on a cot in his room in Sarangpur mandir. Some sadhus and parshads were seated near him. There was a discussion about how to maintain peace and calmness even amidst a flurry of activities. I asked Swamishri, “How do you feel?” Swamishri replied, “By the grace of Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj I experience constant peace.”
There are distinctions among various kinds of peace. The peace one experiences in the solitude of a jungle is different from the peace that Swamishri possessed. Swamishri always stayed in the midst of society. He would meet people who were illiterate, ignorant forest dwellers as well as learned city people from countries across the world, including world-renowned artists, millionaires, industrialists and political leaders, and solve their problems. Apart from that, he was the spiritual and administrative head of the worldwide BAPS. The organization has hundreds of mandirs in India and abroad, and the chief responsibility of shouldering its activities was on him. He was also the guru of 450 (in 1990) well-educated sadhus and hundreds of thousands of householder devotees. He conducted many activities to sustain their wellbeing and to nurture their spiritual and material betterment. Even amidst all of this, Swamishri’s calmness remained unbroken. Finding such a person among millions would indeed be a rare phenomenon. Even if such a person were found, would he be able to give peace to others? If he could, he would not merely be a human being but a manifestation of God.
In 1972, Han Kop, a citizen of Holland who was on world tour, reached the city of Mombasa in Kenya. Seeing a photo of Yogi Bapa, he was attracted and expressed his desire to meet him. C.T. Patel, president of Mombasa Satsang Mandal, informed him that Yogi Bapa had passed away and Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, a saint of the same spiritual calibre, was now in his place. He (Han Kop) would have to go to India if he wanted to meet him. Han Kop’s spiritual inclinations were further kindled. He cancelled his world tour programme and came to India. At that time, Swamishri was in Gondal. Han Kop drove to Gondal in a Land Rover. He had vowed not to take any food until he had Swamishri’s darshan. On seeing Swamishri, he had a divine experience. He says, “The very moment I had darshan of Pramukh Swami, my hunger, thirst and fatigue disappeared and I experienced unprecedented peace.”
Thousands experienced such peace on Swamishri’s darshan, and he had blessed many sadhus and devotees with constant peace as a fruit of their spiritual sadhanas. Such an experience of divinity in someone can only be possible when the latter is devoid of any worldly desires and when he can also liberate others of their desires. Such a person is God or the Gunatit Sadhu, who is God-realized. God or such a Sadhu is always divine, and that is why a spiritual aspirant experiences divine joy in the activities of such a Sadhu: eating, drinking, sleeping, sitting, walking and letter writing or even in a minor activity like taking medicine.
When God and the Gunatit Sadhu manifest in this world, a human being cannot recognize them out of his human senses and mind alone. That is why God and his Sadhu shower their grace and reveal their divinity. Sometimes they reveal their divine personality through their own words. Now, let’s have some insights of Swamishri’s divine personality in his own holy words.