Sant Swami was initiated as a sadhu by Shastriji Maharaj. He was the mahant of Sarangpur mandir, and was replete with spiritual knowledge and austerities. As a senior sadhu he was respected by all. Swamishri’s respect and love for him even after becoming the guru was always special.
Whenever Swamishri met Sant Swami, Swamishri would prostrate to him and at the same time Sant Swami would also prostrate to Swamishri. Such delightful occasions became firmly etched in the minds of those who witnessed them. For Sant Swami’s good health, Swamishri happily provided things to him which were in fact meant for himself. In 1985, when Sant Swami was not well, Swamishri called him to Mumbai for treatment. Swamishri would go to see him every day in his room at the Dadar mandir.
Once, Swamishri mistakenly reached his own room on the uppermost floor, but on realizing it he immediately returned to the lower floor to meet Sant Swami.
The swamis initiated by Shastriji Maharaj or Yogiji Maharaj had never experienced the absence of their gurus in the affectionate presence and care of Swamishri. They perceived and experienced Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj in Swamishri. Sant Swami often shared, “Both Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj are manifest in Swamishri.” Balmukund Swami once spontaneously exclaimed, “The same affectionate care of Yogi Bapa is experienced in Swami Bapa.”
Mahant Swami revealed, “After Yogi Bapa departed to Akshardham, I felt that everything was over – all over! But then one failed to notice how Pramukh Swami gradually took the Satsang forward. I became engaged in him. My bond with Yogiji Maharaj was that of guru-shishya; however, today, though Pramukh Swami doesn’t behave as a guru with me his love for me is exactly the same as that of Yogi Bapa’s.”
No differences in rank ever stemmed between the swamis initiated by Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj or Pramukh Swami Maharaj. All were united in the presence of Swamishri because their guru was one and common to all.
In Vidyanagar, the youths expressed before Swamishri that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“What do you feel about this?” Suresh, a youth, asked Swamishri.
“For me, having such swamis is itself the ‘Nobel’. What is worth more than that? Having all of these swamis and disciples is equivalent to getting the Nobel!”
The Nobel Prize is considered to be one of the highest awards in the world and it’s prestige is more valuable than its prize money. However, Swamishri believed that he had already been rewarded with the Nobel Prize – the swamis!
For Swamishri the swamis were everything, and for the swamis Swamishri was everything.
Swamishri arrived for darshan at the Nadiad mandir. He was about to bend down to offer prostrations to the murtis of Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj. Since the floor was cold due to winter, Sarvamangal Swami spread his own woollen shawl on the ground for Swamishri to prostrate on. Swamishri remained standing and said, “You’ve spread your woollen shawl but you are exposed to the cold. How can a sant be kept uncovered? Take my upper cloth.” Saying this, Swamishri unfolded half of his upper cloth and covered Sarvamangal Swami.
Such was the warmth of Swamishri’s love.
In Sarangpur, the swamis asked Swamishri, “What are your expectations from us?”
Swamishri replied, “I don’t expect you to personally serve me, but I wish that you all remain united and do satsang.”
In addition, Swamishri’s heart always echoed, “All these swamis have dedicated their lives at the resolve of Yogi Bapa, thus how can I please them!”
After Swamishri had a heart attack in 1983, Swamishri’s health became weak and fragile. While examining him in Sarangpur, Dr Bharatbhai said, “You should not do prostrations. Tell the swamis or devotees to do them on your behalf.” Swamishri immediately said in an emotional voice, “When I was sick, the swamis and devotees did a lot of service for me; even though I wish, I won’t be able to repay that debt.”
Swamishri never ever felt that he was doing a favour to his swamis by nurturing them spiritually and making arrangements for their lodging, boarding and studies. On the contrary, he felt he was not doing enough serve and praise the services rendered by his swamis.
In 1981, a special assembly to honour and appreciate the volunteers who had served in the Bicen-tenary Celebrations of Bhagwan Swaminarayan was held at the Premabhai Hall in Ahmedabad. The assembly climaxed with Swamishri’s blessings, “What can I give to you swamis and youth volunteers who have served in this festival? It would be insufficient even if I offered tens of millions of prostra-tions to you all. All that has happened was due to the able support of the swamis and volunteers. This festival was a success because of the profound ideas of Mahant Swami, Doctor Swami, Ishwar Swami. I simply moved around in a car and was adorning chairs [in the assembly].”
Once, in a sant shibir in Gondal, Swamishri thanked all the swamis and said, “Since you all love me you give me all the credit. In fact, that credit is yours. I am merely an instrument. A lion thrives in the forest and a forest thrives due to a lion. The beauty of a peacock and its feathers are interdependent. Similarly, if you all were not together with me, nothing could have been accomplished.”
In 1987, a severe famine struck Saurashtra. BAPS undertook many relief works, such as distrib-uting grains, clothes and buttermilk, organizing cattle camps and other services. Among them all, the management of cattle camps by BAPS was considered to be the best in Gujarat. Sarvamangal Swami praised Swamishri, “Bapa, your heart indeed is as large and generous as an ocean. If anyone dares to manage what you are doing, he will fail miserably.” Swamishri responded, “This has been possible not because of me, but due to the generous efforts of all you swamis.”