Transformed into Gold
Munja Suru, a member of the bard community of Lilakha, near Gondal, had become sinful and violent. He never hesitated in killing anyone, and he indulged in eating meat and drinking wine. As such he was a member of the office of Darbar Mansinh of Mengani. It seemed that a spiritual inclination must have been hidden behind his inhuman activities, because when Swami came to his village and called him, he came for Swami’s darshan. But, he could not look directly into Swami’s eyes since he felt ashamed. Then Swami preached to him, “Munja Suru! Are you aware of the fact that opium sends a man to hell for one kalp, bhang for three hundred kalps, and wine and meat for a thousand. Even Brahma would become impure if he were to consume intoxicants.” In this way Swami talked about prohibition of meat and wine.
“Swami, it is the duty of we Kshatriyas to go out for hunting, to eat meat, and drink wine. All this advice of yours may be for Brahmins and Vanias, but we just hang these holy books on the shelves,” replied Munja Suru as he looked up arrogantly.
Then as soon as Swami’s gaze fell on him, he experienced samadhi. In samadhi, the servants of Yam took him to Yampuri (hell), and he saw for himself the terrible tortures and sufferings given to sinners. He shuddered at the sight. So Swami woke him up. Munja Suru repented and fell at Swami’s feet and earnestly declared, “Swami, the misery of Yampuri is real. Have mercy on me so that I don’t have to go there.”
Swami replied with a smile, “If you accept the vartman and refuge of Shriji Maharaj, then your pain and misery will be pardoned.” So he accepted the vartman and wore a kanthi. Thus, Munja Suru, who was a mountain of sin, became a devotee.
The transformation of Munja Suru pleased the shepherds because he used to carry away their goats and sheep everyday. Once, Swami made a night halt in the forest and was talking by the fireside. On learning of this, a shepherd came there and asked, “Are you the guru of Munja Suru?”
Swami replied positively with a smile. The shepherd fell at his feet and began to speak in a single breath, “You have obliged us a lot. Whenever Munja Suru entered our pens he used to carry away many of our goats and sheep. But ever since you have made him into a devotee his nuisance has stopped. You are a real sadhu. From today onwards you are my guru, too.”
Swami initiated the shepherd into Satsang. He could not pronounce ‘Swaminarayan’ so he turned the beads of the mala by chanting ‘Gunanand’.
There is a village called Mansa in Babariyawad. Two step-brothers named Valera Varu and Sidi Varu lived here. Sidi had usurped half of Valera’s land and consequently Valera got very little harvest from his remaining land. He was fed up with this situation and turned to plundering as a means of livelihood.
Once, when Swami was passing through the forest of Gir, he came across some dacoits and gunmen. The sadhus and devotees were frightened, but Swami gave them courage. The dacoits took them to their den. Valera Varu was sitting there. Seeing the divinity on Swamishri’s face, his gentle speech and compassionate eyes, Valera’s heart melted. He fell at Swami’s feet. Swami asked him to be patient and not to indulge in violence. He gave him blessings that he would get his land back within seven days. But Valera could not even count to seven. So Swami tied seven knots in a string and gave it to him, telling him to untie one knot everyday at sunrise. Then, to honour the wishes of Valera, the sadhus prepared dudhpak. Swami offered it to Thakorji, blessed Valera and moved on. Then exactly on the seventh day Sidi Varu was inspired and he came for a compromise and returned the usurped land to Valera.
As a result of Swami’s blessings, Valera struck upon an abundant reservoir of water on his land and subsequently reaped good harvests. Since he had firm refuge in Swami he used to come to Junagadh and give a clean share in donation. All the people of his community followed the religious practices of Tulsi-Shyam and donated a measure of grains there. They asked Valera to follow the rules of their community, but Valera made it clear, “I have surrendered to Swaminarayan and I am not afraid even if you excommunicate me from the community.” In this way, Valera practiced satsang boldly and steadfastly.
As per the orders of Maharaj, Gopalanand Swami preached about the supreme glory of Shriji Maharaj in Satsang. Some people resented this. So Gopalanand Swami became sad and determined to return to Akshardham. When Shivlal Sheth of Botad heard the news he became unhappy and asked, “Swami, now who will guide us?”
To this Gopalanand Swami replied, “What sort of guidance do you need? If you wish to learn the ways of mundane affairs, then Punja Sheth of Gadhada knows them very well, and if you wish to learn the worldly as well as spiritual ways then you should go to Gunatitanand Swami at Junagadh. There is no sadhu who can match Swami. He is Mul Akshardham; so you, Pragji and Jaga Bhakta should all go to Junagadh.”
Similarly, when devotees from Vadodara, Premanand Raiji and Bapu Raiji, requested Gopalanand Swami to come to Vadodara, he replied, “At this time one should focus one’s mind either on Shriji Maharaj or towards the Jogi of Junagadh, Mul Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami.”
As a result of this, many disciples of Gopalanand Swami went to Junagadh.