in the Fellowship
The popularity and importance of Gunatitanand Swami in the Satsang was increasing. Certain sadhus and Acharya Bhagwatprasad Maharaj decided to reprimand Swami and so asked him to see them at Una. When Swami received the message from Acharya Maharaj, he said,
Bhu ko bhãr haru santan hit, karu chhãyã kar doi,
Jo mere Santko rati ek duve, tehi jad dãru me khoi,
Nãrad mere Sant se adhik na koi…
(I bear the burden of the earth for the benefit of the Sadhu. I protect him. If somebody harms my Sadhu even a bit, I shall uproot him. Oh Narad, there is none greater than my Sadhu…)
Pragji Bhakta requested Swami to explain the meaning of the couplet. Swami said, “The sadhus from Vartal have resolved to reprimand me. And as you are spreading my glory, they have decided to excommunicate you from the Satsang. But they will not succeed at all in this region. Moreover, I can’t tolerate you being insulted in my presence.” Pragji Bhakta requested Swami, “Let any trouble come to me. But you should not feel despondent with this world.”
On his way to Una, Gunatitanand Swami stopped at Maliya. There he learnt that as Krishnaprasad Maharaj had passed away at Dholera, so Acharya Maharaj and the sadhus had returned to Vartal. Thus the plan of reprimanding Swami at Una did not materialise.
Before leaving for Vartal to participate in the Chaitra Punam festival of V.S. 1922 (1866 CE), Swami remarked, “This time Pragji will face trouble, but I have made his armour so carefully that nothing will harm him.” This time when he went to the festival at Vartal, Swami left Pragji Bhakta at Junagadh. He went to Vartal via Gadhada, accompanied by many sadhus and devotees.
On the auspicious day of the Ram Navmi festival, certain sadhus and people, referring to Swami, sarcastically said, “He has become God and is being worshipped.” But Swami remained quiet and unruffled. Then Swami said, “Shriji Maharaj is the only God,” and talked about the supremacy of Maharaj as Purushottam. Meanwhile Balramdas Shastri rushed to call Acharya Maharaj to the assembly. As soon as Acharya Maharaj arrived everyone became quiet. The beating of drums in the mandir drew them all to participate in the arti.
On his way back from the mandir, a gardener garlanded Swami with a garland of roses. With that garland Swami honoured Sadhu Hariswarupdasji who was the attendant of Shukmuni and had insulted Swami in the assembly. With a smile Swami said,
Haldi jardi nav taje, khatras taje na ãm,
Gunijan gunku nav taje, avgun na taje gulãm.
(Even turmeric does not leave its colour, nor mango its flavour, nor a base man his demerits, how can a great man leave his goodness!)
Hariswarupdas was completely disarmed by the tolerance and saintliness of Swami. All those, including senior sadgurus, regretted what they had done and offered an apology. But, at the same time they decided, “Pragji speaks very highly of Swami’s greatness, so he must be excommunicated.” They conveyed their decision to Swami. Swami went into deep thought and spoke, “I will tell Pragji, so he will not glorify me.” But Pavitranand Swami had resolved to excommunicate Pragji Bhakta. So, with the consent of Acharya Maharaj, letters to that effect were sent to the mandirs of all towns and villages.
While returning to Junagadh, Swami arrived at Mahelav, a village in Kaira district. Here, Swami blessed Dungar Bhagat (Shastriji Maharaj), the fifteen-month-old son of Dhoribhai, “He will become a sadhu and spread the glory of Shriji Maharaj’s supreme form. And through spiritual discourses he will promote and expand the Sampraday.” Then he visited Sarangpur and Gadhpur before returning to Junagadh.