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Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s campaign for de-addiction was unremitting and epic.
An addiction-free life is the foundation of a happy and progressive society. 
Swamishri tirelessly endeavoured to free people from addictions and instil peace in society.
The following article explores the various aspects and ways in which Pramukh Swami Maharaj redeemed many people from the shackles of addictions.
After his strenuous satsang tour abroad in 1977, Swamishri became ill in Mumbai. Several days later, Swamishri had still not recovered from his fever and could barely stand while wearing his dhoti. Furthermore, whenever he spoke he became breathless and his voice quaked. Still, in this debilitated state he stood talking with his back against a wall and his hand resting on a small wooden cupboard to de-addict a man. Moved by Swamishri’s compassion and warmth the man quit his habit of drinking alcohol.
Sometimes, while going to the washroom, if Swamishri met someone with an addiction his janoi would remain wound around his ears and he would start explaining to the person to give it up. Only after de-addicting him would Swamishri feel satisfied and attend the washroom.
Sometimes, when Swamishri was about to sit in a car to depart, with one leg inside the car, and if someone said, “Bapa! Please bless him so that he quits drinking alcohol.” Immediately, Swamishri would disregard his scheduled time to depart, become oblivious to his standing position and start talking to the person to quit alcohol. Sometimes, Swamishri even postponed his meals while convincing people to quit addictions.
Whenever someone appeals to an addict to give up his addiction, he usually refuses or tries to buy time to quit it. But Swamishri’s practical arguments and logic defuses all his reasons and resistance. Once, a person named Vasantbhai, addicted to alcohol for ten years, came to Swamishri. He was unable to quit drinking in spite of trying several times. Swamishri motivated him to give it up. Finally, he happily vowed to quit. But, after a few days, he questioned Swamishri, “Swami, my condition is not good because I’m losing my body weight. This worries me, so what should I do?”
Swamishri motivated him, “Look, there is nothing to worry about a little loss in weight. Even people weighing 40 kg live, whereas you are very healthy. By God’s grace you are now free from the vice [of addiction], so don’t think of starting again. If any such [weak] thoughts arise, pray to God.” Swamishri’s words and blessings charged Vasantbhai to such an extent that he started de-addicting others.
A doctor, who smoked, came to Swamishri. When Swamishri explained to him to stop smoking, he replied, “I won’t be able to quit instantly, but give me two months to give it up.”
On such occasions, Swamishri would often be lenient, but in this case he argued, “You are a doctor. If someone had to be operated upon urgently, what would happen to him if you told him to come some other day? So, understand that your body has deteriorated because of your addiction. You must quit cigarettes now and any delay will be detrimental.” Then, to the astonishment of all, the doctor instantly gave up smoking.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj used convincing ways to liberate people from various types of addictions. Mr Sharma was a film addict from Haryana. He came to know of Swamishri’s glory from others. One day he came for Swamishri’s darshan. Mr Sharma confessed about his weakness and addiction to films.
Swamishri explained, “This world itself is a cinema! See how beautiful God has created everything! Why give up seeing the real world for something that is fake? Films often distort your mind and nature, whereas seeing good and real things will bring you joy.”
Mr Sharma realized the truth of Swamishri’s simple yet spiritual words. He gave up his addiction to films.
Once, a man from Kathiawad came to Surat in search of work in a diamond workshop. Soon, due to bad company, he became addicted to pan masala (tobacco) and spent 300 rupees every month on it. Swamishri met him and warned that this habit would ruin his life. Swamishri averred, “Do you know that in Kathiawad, a poor family could survive on the amount you waste on addictions! Give up this sin now. Take a pledge not to eat pan masala ever again.”
It was as if a family elder was giving sage advice to his grandson. The man quit his addiction and his family became pleased and happy.
A real estate agent in Bangalore came in contact with Swamishri. He had been betting on horses and had lost a substantial sum. Swamishri lovingly explained to him to give it up, “You have helped us in acquiring land for a mandir, so in a sense it is a service on your part. Furthermore, you have been with us for the past three days. I wish that you quit your bad habit. Earn your living by practising dharma and righteousness. God will bless you with peace.”
Swamishri’s words touched his inner core and he refrained from gambling. His mother experienced as if God himself was manifest in Swamishri, because she had nursed a deep desire that her son be redeemed from gambling. Swamishri’s effort and blessings opened a gateway to happiness for the whole family!

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