Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj and his succeeding gurus have sanctified Ambli Vali Pol with their frequent visits. Houses on both sides of the pol (a cluster of houses) have been sanctified by the holy feet of Shastriji Maharaj. Shastriji Maharaj used to stay at the hari mandir here and promoted satsang with his discourses. BAPS witnessed some memorable historic moments here thanks to Shastriji Maharaj.
It was here that Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj appointed the young Narayanswarupdasji as the president of BAPS on the auspicious day of 21 May 1950 (Jeth sud 4, V.S. 2006).
By appointing him, he said, he was ensuring the best administration for BAPS for the next fifty years.
1929 (Samvat 1985)
In this year, Babubhai Somnath Patel of Ahmedabad entered into satsang through the association of Shastriji Maharaj. He was one of the pioneers of BAPS satsang in Ahmedabad and offered his heartfelt services. During their visits to Ahmedabad from 1931, Shastriji Maharaj, Nirgundas Swami and Yogiji Maharaj started staying at Babubhai’s house in Ambli Vali Pol. Prior to that, for a year-and-a-half, they used to stay at the nearby Rangila Pol in Bhavanbhai Solanki’s house.
1931 (Samvat 1987)
This was the year that Shastriji Maharaj started living at Babubhai S. Patel’s home in Ambli Vali Pol. The second house in the left row belonged to Shri Babubhai Kothari.
Thanks to Babubhai, the youths of Ambli Vali Pol, namely, Haribhai Dalsukhbhai, Mansukhbhai Mistry, Kashalchandbhai and Guru Magan Bhagat, used to accompany Shastriji Maharaj for collecting alms in the pol. They would also freely give alms whenever Shastriji Maharaj visited their homes.
Shastriji Maharaj used to stay on the first floor of Babubhai’s house. Babubhai’s house was rather cramped and small, and the staircase was steep and narrow. Since it was difficult to climb the stairs, Nirgundas Swami once suggested to Shastriji Maharaj, “Bhaishankar Solicitor’s house in the Haveli Pol is large and spacious. So, let’s go to stay there.” But Shastriji Maharaj at once uttered, “Where else do we find a devotee like Babubhai? I would not care even if I have to stay on the banks of River Sabarmati with him?”
1931–32 (Samvat 1988)
Sometime this year, Babubhai began accommodating Shastriji Maharaj and other sadhus in another house in Ambli Vali Pol. That house was later purchased by the BAPS.
After laying the foundation-stone for the Akshar Mandir in Gondal on Posh sud 10, Shastriji Maharaj came to Ahmedabad and collected funds for Akshar Mandir. Some of the devotees donated three months’ pay. Shastriji Maharaj placed the burden of funding the construction of Akshar Mandir on the shoulders of the devotees of Ahmedabad: Sheth Nandulal, Mansukhbhai Mistry, Prof. Jethalal, Vinayakrao Trivedi, Khengarjibhai Chauhan, Babubhai Kothari, Premchand Bhagat, Chaturbhai, Mohanlalbhai and Gidhabhai Sheth, who gave their all.
1936 (Samvat 1992)
Once, Shastriji Maharaj entrusted Ahmedabad-based Prof. Jethalal Swaminarayan to write the Akshar-Purushottam Charitra. He also wrote the Sanskrit verses ‘Anantkotindu raviprakāshe...’, that are daily sung after the evening arti in all BAPS mandirs.
1939 (Samvat 1996): Parshad Diksha to Shantilal
Shastriji Maharaj gave the parshadi diksha to 18-year-old Shantilal Patel (Pramukh Swami Maharaj) on 22 November 1939 (Kartik sud 11 or Prabodhini Ekadashi, Samvat 1996), and named him Shanti Bhagat.
Prior to the diksha, Shastriji Maharaj had written a letter addressed to Shantilal. He gave the letter to Ravjibhai of Bhayli to deliver it and bring Shantilal to Ahmedabad. On Aso vad Ekadashi, Samvat 1995, Shantilal was about to leave Chansad to Padra to buy cricket gear for the village boys. But when he received Shastriji Maharaj’s letter, he immediately opted out and left Chansad on Ravjibhai’s cycle to go to Bhayli. From there, he went to Bochasan with Ghanshyam Swami. Thereafter, he left Bochasan with Nirgundas Swami and travelled to Bhadran and Nadiad. Here, he got a fever and didn’t get well. So, he went to Ahmedabad and stayed at Babubhai’s home.
On that very day, Shastriji Maharaj arrived from Sarangpur at Babubhai’s home in Ambli Vali Pol. Shantilal was sleeping in a corner of a room. Shastriji Maharaj was pleased to see his young devotee. He ran his hand on Shantilal’s chest and blessed that the temperature would subside. Soon thereafter, he got well.
The next day was Prabodhini Ekadashi. Shastriji Maharaj said to Shantilal, “Get ready to take parshad diksha.” Shantilal asked, “When?” Shastriji Maharaj replied, “Right now.” Shantilal showed his readiness at once, and after getting his head shaved, Shastriji Maharaj initiated him as a parshad and named him Shanti Bhagat. That day, Shastriji Maharaj assigned him to learn by heart a lesson in Sanskrit. A few hours later, Shanti Bhagat recited it before Shastriji Maharaj. Swamishri was pleased and blessed him, “You will be a learned Shastri.” Then, addressing the devotees present there Shastriji Maharaj said, “Later on, he will ably manage the Sanstha as a sadhu.”
1940 (Samvat 1997)
This was the year when the samadhi chapter, initiated by Shastriji Maharaj in Ahmedabad, culminated and became the talk of the town. To verify this samadhi, a Polish citizen, Maurice Friedman (later known as Swami Bharatanand), who was a resident of Gandhiji’s Vardha Ashram in Pune, came to Shankarlal’s house in Ahmedabad. He described the samadhi he saw in a magazine called Hindu, printed on 20 October 1940.
1941 (Samvat 1998)
On 29 October 1941, Gulzarilal Nandaji brought Manu Subedar (a renowned economist) to Ambli Vali Pol for Shastriji Maharaj’s darshan. He was pleased with Shastriji Maharaj’s discourse. Then, Shastriji Maharaj took Nandaji with him to search for a mandir site in Ahmedabad.