Akshardham, Your Gift
Kurji Dave of Piplana was present in this assembly in Gadhada. Maharaj addressed him, and said, “When Ramanand Swami arrived at Piplana from Bhuj, you had come to Loj to convey his message to Muktanand Swami.
“At that time, as a reward for the good news you had brought, Muktanand Swami had given you a fine cloth used for tying on his head. Then I had told you, ‘Right now I don’t have anything to give you, so what shall I give you? I will give you my Akshardham as a gift. Do you remember this?’ ”
Kurji Dave replied, “Yes, Maharaj.” He was pleased and felt that Maharaj would give him something.
Maharaj then smiled and said, “This Gunatitanand Swami is my Akshardham. I give him to you as a gift. I have not been able to grant my happiness to the devotees of Sorath and therefore, I give this Sadhu to you. He is my Akshardham and he is my everything. So your mission will be accomplished if you serve him properly and remain in his company.”
Thereafter, Maharaj looked at Swami and blessed him, “Whoever comes to Junagadh and renders his services according to your wishes, I will relieve him of his failings of hundreds and thousands of births in this very birth.”
In this way Maharaj appointed Swami as the mahant of Junagadh on 11 April 1827 (Chaitra Punam Samvat 1883), expressing his infinite happiness and blessings on him.
The work of Junagadh mandir was on the verge of completion. The Nagars had raised many obstacles but by the grace of Maharaj the mandir was successfully completed.
On 1 May 1828 (Vaishakh vad 2, Samvat 1884) the murtis of Shri Radha-Raman Dev were ceremoniously consecrated. Thereafter, Maharaj instructed all the devotees, “I will relieve the lapses of ten million births of whoever comes here to remain in the spiritual company of Swami for one month every year.” Then he advised Gopalanand Swami, “You should come and stay here for one month of every year. If you are not able to come here during one year, then stay for two months the following year.”
According to this order, Gopalanand Swami, Atmanand Swami (senior) and Nityanand Swami came to Junagadh every year to stay in the company of Swami.
On this occasion the Nawab of Junagadh came to Maharaj for darshan and requested him, “When the documents for the mandir land were being prepared you had agreed that you would stay here, so please stay here forever.”
Then Maharaj asked him, “Should I stay myself or should I keep someone like me?”
The Nawab folded his hands and replied, “Only God is like God Himself.”
Then Maharaj looked at Swami and told the Nawab, “This Sadhu is like me. He is capable of doing what I can do. I will keep him here as the mahant.”
The Nawab was pleased and said, “Then it is alright.”
On the occasion of the Janmashtmi festival on 1 September 1828 (Samvat 1885), Swami came to Gadhada. Maharaj was in the Akshar Ordi. Swami went there and prostrated before Maharaj. Shuk Muni was sitting near Maharaj, writing a letter. When Swami came in, he got up to get something. So Maharaj asked him the reason for getting up. He replied, “I am looking for a seat for the mahant of Junagadh.”
On hearing this, Maharaj smiled and said, “His greatness does not lie either in the mahantship or in a seat; he is great since eternity.” Shuk Muni was overwhelmed to hear about the greatness of Swami from the very lips of Maharaj.