From the Gujarati discourse by Atmatrupt Swami on 29 September 2021 during the week-long online 88th Birthday Celebrations of HH Mahant Swami Maharaj.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s style and depth of spiritual discourses are truly unique and extraordinary. By delving into them one becomes enriched and enlightened. Some examples of his unique insights and interpretations on various spiritual aspects are as follows.
In Vachanamrut Gadhada II 13, Bhagwan Swaminarayan has emphasized the importance of understanding the shastras through the Satpurush. He has stated very clearly that the glory of God cannot be truly understood by oneself from the shastras. Only when the Satpurush manifests on this earth, and one hears his explanations of the shastras, can one fully comprehend about God. This is because one’s intellect alone is not capable of truly understanding the divine words of God.
Similarly, for knowledge on the aspects of one’s atma, Bhagwan Swaminarayan states in Vachanamrut Gadhada I 16 that when the Sant says, “You are distinct from the mind, body, indriyas (senses) and pran (vital air); you are satya (truth); the knower of the body, indriyas and pran, which are all asatya (false),” the seeker accepts this to be the truth because he has faith in the Sant. Similarly, the knowledge that the world is perishable, worldly pleasures cannot provide permanent happiness, God alone is the provider of permanent happiness, etc., can be understood and imbibed only through the Satpurush’s teachings and grace. This has been explained by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in detail in Vachanamruts Loya 10, 17 and Gadhada I 70. Therefore, all important spiritual knowledge can be truly understood through the Satpurush’s discourses.
Why is the effect so different when the knowledge is disseminated by a Sant, when most of the time the Sant appears to be very ordinary or moderate? One of the reasons is that the Sant’s teachings are practised by him, and are reflected in his behaviour or actions. The Sant lives his life in the same manner as his preaching. There is no difference between his words and deeds. Furthermore, in the Sant’s speech there is neither any trace of ego nor any intention of creating a distorted impression in the minds of the listeners. There is no falsehood or deception. The Sant’s speech is pure and reflects what is in his heart. Thus, this knowledge from him touches one’s heart.
Once, when Mahant Swami Maharaj was describing Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s quality of speech, he said that generally when people speak they use different emotions and tones. Sometimes, the speaker’s speech reflects his ego, jealousy, anger or selfishness. Sometimes, the speaker’s speech reflects kindness, mercifulness, detachment, etc. which may or may not be his true self. Then, Mahant Swami Maharaj added that Pramukh Swami’s speech reflected pure truth. It is through such a Sant that God speaks and transmits his compassion and love upon humanity. Bhagwan Swaminarayan in Vachanamrut Gadhada I 27 has said the same thing, that God speaks through the Sant and therefore the effect on the listeners is totally different.
If we observe Mahant Swami Maharaj, he speaks very little. Most of the time he communicates through actions. He always speaks very softly and never in a loud tone, irrespective of whether it is a discourse or a conversation. Professional speakers are trained to modulate their tone while speaking to add emotions to it. However, this has never been the case with Mahant Swami Maharaj. His speech is always plain and natural, yet the effect on the listeners is very profound and soul-stirring.
Simplicity of Speech
The first speciality of Mahant Swami Maharaj’s speech is simplicity. He uses easy and uncomplicated words that are used in day-to-day parlance and can be very easily understood by all. There is a lot of depth in his simple speech on spiritual concepts. This is possible only when there is absolute clarity in his mind. Also, Mahant Swami Maharaj’s words are based on his vast experience, enabling him to use simple and precise language, leaving no room for any confusion or ambiguity.
During Mahant Swami Maharaj’s vicharan to the USA in 2002, many listeners experienced the profound effect of his speech.
During Mahant Swami Maharaj’s stay in New York, Shri Bharatbhai Bhatt, a devotee, had invited some successful industrialists and professionals to a special meeting at his home in Manhattan. Mahant Swami Maharaj spoke in English. Mr Andrews, a local businessman, who had a deep interest in Hinduism, was among those present. He had studied the Bhagavad Gita and about yoga. After the discourse, Mr Andrews met Mahant Swami Maharaj and said that the religious texts he has been studying state the same facts narrated by Mahant Swami Maharaj. However, no one had presented them to him in such a simple and lucid manner as Mahant Swami Maharaj .
Similarly, when Mahant Swami Maharaj was in Pittsburgh, a public assembly was organized in a Hindu Jain Mandir. After the assembly, a member of the Jain community said that although he had heard discourses of several learned persons in the past, he had not heard such a lucid and simple explanation about the atma (soul) as Swamishri had given. He added that he clearly understood the concept and was inspired to usher a positive change in his life. It is only when words touch one’s heart that one is motivated to effect a self-transformation.
The following examples from Mahant Swami Maharaj’s speeches demonstrate his ability to enable devotees to easily understand difficult concepts.
Purpose of Human Life
Mahant Swami Maharaj explains that suppose you are a businessman and you are on a business trip to London for a week. During your stay in London, will you take your meals or not? Of course. But did you specifically go to London to take meals? The answer is no. Then, during your stay there for a week, will you sleep or not? Of course, you will. But did you go to London to sleep? No. Similarly, as a human we must fulfil our worldly duties and interests of earning a livelihood, family responsibilities, social commitments, recreation, etc. However, these aren’t the main reasons for our human birth. The main purpose of attaining moksha for one’s soul should never be forgotten. This is how Mahant Swami Maharaj succinctly explains this concept.
Body and Soul
Explaining the concept of body and soul, Mahant Swami Maharaj gives the following analogy. Suppose that someone enacts the role of King Alexander the Great in a drama. To make the character realistic, the actor displays all the characteristics of King Alexander. However, he himself is fully aware that he is just playing a role of Alexander and that he is not the king. Similarly, Swamishri says that in reality we are atma. However, as human beings we have to discharge our duties as a father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter. Like the actor staging the drama knows he isn’t Alexander the Great, we must also be very clear that we are atma and different from the body and merely playing a role only. We must try to remember this in all stages of our life.