Reception at Junagadh
Since his excommunication from the Satsang Bhagatji Maharaj had not visited Junagadh. He could not go to Junagadh due to opposition and the absence of Acharya Maharaj’s orders. But Yagnapurushdasji decided to accord a grand reception to Bhagatji at the very place where he had been insulted. In V.S. 1953 (1897 CE) on the occasion of the Janmashtami festival at Junagadh he persuaded Acharya Maharaj to invite Bhagatji to Junagadh.
Bhagatji Maharaj arrived at Junagadh. He was received along with Acharya Maharaj at Junagadh railway station with all the traditional pomp. Like Acharya Maharaj, Bhagatji Maharaj and his followers were driven in a decorated cart. Special arrangements were made at the mandir to make their stay comfortable. Yagnapurushdasji was assisted by Kothari Jibhai in making these arrangements for Bhagatji.
The news of Bhagatji’s arrival in Junagadh spread all over the city. All the Nagar devotees came to the mandir for Bhagatji’s darshan. Here, he met old sadhus, Balmukunddasji and Jaga Bhagat, who had lived with Gunatitanand Swami. He asked his devotees to sponsor meals in the mandir. Then he served the sadhus and devotees most affectionately.
During the festival days, Bhagatji used to visit the assembly hall. He used to call on Acharya Maharaj, eminent sadgurus and Jaga Swami. Wherever he went, he engaged himself in delivering discourses. All the old sadhus and devotees knew very well that Bhagatji was Gunatitanand Swami’s favourite disciple. They also knew that he had won Swami’s favour, so they paid their respects by prostrating to him. A Nagar devotee named Dr. Umiyashankar once asked his guru Balmukunddasji, “How is it that Pragji Bhakta, a tailor, sits on a cot and the sadhus prostrate to him?”
Balmukunddas Swami smiled and said, “You don’t know Pragji Bhakta. He has pleased Gunatitanand Swami so much that even if we offer him a throne made of gold and perform arti with lamps made from gold, it would fall short of his status and eminence.”
On this occasion, the beloved Nagar devotees of Gunatitanand Swami – Chakubhai, Sadashankarbhai and others were overwhelmed with joy at the sight of Bhagatji. They recalled the old memories of their days together and said, “Pragbha, Pragbha, you swallowed all the nectar offered by Swami and didn’t leave a drop of it for others.” Bhagatji, too was glad to meet them all.
Bhagatji narrated how he had sought the company of Swami and how he had served him by carrying out his commands. He blessed the devotees by explaining how to become brahmarup and join with God.
Bhagatji advised, “One should always remain vigilant and find out which virtues one possesses. Then one will be sure to win the favour of the God-realised Sadhu. Such a Sadhu in turn will make one great like him. What is the use of our communion with the Satpurush, if we cannot avail of the ‘Sach-chid-anand’ bliss which he enjoys? One should, therefore, offer sincere devotion and seek God’s bliss. There are three types of joy:
Vishãyanandi jakta hai, bhajanãnandi Haridãs,
Paramãnandi jivanmukta hai, jyãki bhayi vãsnã nãsh.
(The world derives pleasure from sense gratification; a devotee derives it from devotional songs, the jivanmukta whose desires have been extinguished enjoys the bliss of God.)
“By joining ourselves with such a God-realised Sadhu one can experience the joy that he experiences.
“Bhakti means to form a habit of seeing the great qualities of the great Sadhu. Bhakti is life – it is like the jiva. What’s the use of a body which has only indriyas and antahkaran and no jiva? Similarly vairagya, gnan, dharma are meaningless if there is no bhakti. Bhakti is the jiva, vairagya are the legs, dharma is the heart and gnan is the eyes. One who chants bhajans and does not allow adharma to take hold becomes brahmarup.
“Animals are more sincere than men. If someone gives a piece of bread to a dog, it will follow him everywhere. If it is driven away, it would certainly go away but would guard one’s house. Therefore, we should cultivate at least a dog’s attitude. The slightest insult upsets us. Understand for sure that your bread lies in Satsang.
“It is very difficult to overcome our granthis. Complete detachment dispels the sneh-granthi; realisation of God removes sanshay-granthi; knowledge destroys aham-granthi; steadfastness in the self takes away mamatva-granthi. Complete dedication to dharma burns out maithun-granthi or hriday-granthi.”
During this festival Jaga Swami and Bhagatji Maharaj used to call on each other and discuss spiritual matters. Jaga Swami used to praise Bhagatji before the devotees. He once observed, “It is our great fortune to have Bhagatji Maharaj among us. He is the guru of the gunatit garden planted by Gunatitanand Swami.”
Bhagatji supported Jaga Swami’s observations. He used to say, “By attaining all the worldly objects of sense gratification one experiences physical happiness in this world, but ultimately one will be condemned to hell. Only by the company of the Sadhu is the antahkaran purified.”
He then narrated an anecdote:
“There was a Vaishnav devotee who always bathed and remained pure in his diet and travellings. He was steadfast and derived pleasure from devotion to God. Once he was out on business. He could not concentrate during his daily prayers. He asked his landlord as to why it was so. The landlord explained, ‘The well from which you have brought water is impure.’ So, he went to fetch water from another well. Then he was able to concentrate. Therefore, it is necessary for a devotee to observe purity in matters of food, etc. to steady the antahkaran. Then only will the antahkaran become pure and will you be able to remember God.
“The jiva looks after the body. At night one goes for a stroll. Thus, in many ways one endeavours in bringing pleasures to the body. But so long as one hasn’t surrendered his mind to the guru he has not done anything. Therefore, the indriyas and antahkaran should be controlled. They shouldn’t be allowed to drift towards the objects of sense gratification. The jiva has become addicted to the pleasure of the five senses. But the pleasure so derived is as short-lived as a grass fire which dies out instantly.”
Then he asked Yagnapurushdasji to recite verses in praise of the guru and said, “One who removes darkness from the heart is a guru. One who is pure within and without is a guru. One, on seeing whom the mind is not deviated and who makes us steadfast is a guru. One who removes all the doshas from his disciples and purifies them is a guru. If one goes out in search of such a guru with the heart of a seeker one shall certainly find him. Therefore, one should recognize the Satpurush who has attained the brahmic state.
“Once a calf became separated from his mother and went to a cowshed in which there were bulls only. Whenever the calf tried to get milk, it received kicks from the bulls. Its mouth became swollen without getting even a drop of milk. Then, it could not suck milk even from its own mother. Thus if one leaves the Satpurush and turns to a lesser being, then one will receive kicks only.
“One should be like a dove. It falls headlong at the command of his master who catches it in the air. If we can cast all our cares to the Satpurush and carry out his commands there is nothing to worry about. He will look after us.”
Thus by participating in the festival at Junagadh, Bhagatji fulfilled all the desires of Yagnapurushdasji. He had given all the sadhus and devotees the bliss of his company and then took leave of Acharya Maharaj and left for Gondal. Jaga Swami could not control his tears at the time of parting. The two beloved disciples of Gunatitanand Swami embraced for the last time and parted.