and Real Life Presentation
On the main Birthday celebration assembly, parallels on the spectacular
moral and spiritual transformations of people by Lord Swaminarayan and
Pramukh Swami Maharaj were effectively presented. The saga of transformations
by Lord Swaminarayan (Then) were enacted
on stage while the transformations inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj (Now)
were narrated and the corresponding persons were called on stage for Swamishri's
Abhaysinh Darbar was a staunch disciple of Lord Swaminarayan.
Invited to a party hosted by the Jamsaheb, the King of Jamnagar, Abhaysinh
was offered liquor. But he refused.
The Jamsaheb took it as an insult and roared that he could not refuse
his offer. But Abhaysinh remained steadfast. The Jamsaheb was impressed
and acknowledged his resolve.
He joined the army at the age of ninteen. At 24 he became a commando
in the Special Task Force and was posted in the harsh Siachen Glacier
border. There, at 21,000 ft. in temperatures of -40C he did not
forsake his routine of chanting the rosary. And even amidst the
Kargil war he did not lapse in doing his rosary at -18C. The meager
ration of three 'puris' and at times only a mouthful of water a
day, did not deter him from waiving his daily routine of worship
and chanting the Swaminarayan mantra.
Gambhirsinh Rathod's faith and audacity is a blessing from Lord
Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
of Vadodara was a man steeped in all vices and crimes. A new flicker
of hope appeared when he married a lady who was a Swaminarayan devotee.
She told him to go and have the darshan of Pramukh Swami Maharaj
and receive his blessings for a better life. But Arvindbhai was
adamant in his immoral ways and told her that no one, not even God,
could change him. But his wife patiently prayed and performed 11
rosaries each day for a change in his life. And the day dawned in
1992 when Arvindbhai went to see the Bicentenary Celebration of
Yogiji Maharaj at Gandhinagar. There, he met Pramukh Swami Maharaj
and from thenceforth he renounced all his addictions and vices.
Many tried to entice him but he remained unflagging in his resolve.
Ever since his transformation he has redeemed 500 people from the
shackles of liquor drinking.
(Seagull) of Vadodara reflected his mettle as a Satsangi by not
giving up his puja in difficult circumstances.
From Sinner to Devotee
About 200 years ago the dramatic transformation of Joban Pagi,
a hard-core criminal and outlaw, by Lord Swaminarayan was a blessing
on Gujarat. Through the divine grace of the Lord, Joban Pagi gave
up his evil ways and became a law-abiding, God fearing devotee.
Today, through the effort and grace of Pramukh Swami Maharaj many
morally errant people have been transformed and reinstated to a life
free of addictions, violence and licentiousness.
- Ramsang Bapu.
For forty years, the late Ramsang Bapu of village Odarka (Bhavnagar
district) wreaked havoc and terror in the entire district. Steeped
in binging, gorging meat, stealing, extorting money and even involved
in murdering 20 people, Ramsang Bapu seemed beyond moral reclamation.
Even the police dared not challenge him. But in 1978 a new horizon
dawned on his dark world of criminalism. At the visit of Pramukh Swami
Maharaj in Odarka, Ramsang Bapu gave up everything. He said, "No
other power in this world could have changed me other than Pramukh
Swami Maharaj, because he is a God communion sadhu." Thereafter
Ramsang Bapu became a changed man. He became a staunch disciple and
lived a pious life till he breathed his last.
Raichand of village
Kosamkuva described his unsavoury past: "I am a tribal of the
Korcha class. Formerly, our principal activity was to prepare and
indulge in liquor drinking and robbing people. When a child turns
five, he is given bidis, snuff and liquor. And when we meet to celebrate
there is always friction, skirmishes and slaughtering of animals
for food. But all this suddenly changed when I met Pramukh Swami
Maharaj. Because of Swami I gave up my vices and addictions and
became a devotee. I had never dreamt that my village would be transformed.
Today, we have 80 families who are devotees. We all do daily puja
and have given up our wrong habits. Today, not even one of us breaks
a brush stick without the proprietor's permission. We are grateful
to Pramukh Swami Maharaj."
The Korcha community has attained dignity and respect. Raichand
was instrumental in reforming the community.
Even villages have embraced
an en masse change for the better. The people of village Nava
Samera in Sabarkantha district (Gujarat) were inclined towards
addiction and stealing. They were also steeped in ignorance and
abject poverty. The situation, however took a new turn the day Parvatsinh
visited the village school. His discourses and efforts fired them
to snap off their slavish bonds of addiction and moral poverty.
Today the entire village is liberated from addictions and have adopted
a pious lifestyle. The local folks are now building a mandir, an
oasis in their once spiritually barren village.
Freedom from Superstition and Black Magic
Once Khimo Suthar, a profound devotee of Lord Swaminarayan,
was sailing from Bhavnagar to Surat. A tantrik (one who engages in
superstitious practices and black magic) bavo, opposed to the moral
and spiritual mission of Lord Swaminarayan, applied all his mantras
to destroy Khimo Suthar, but failed. This stirred his curiosity about
Lord Swaminarayan, and on seeing Him in Gadhada, the tantrik was impressed
and felt peace at heart. He surrendered at the Lord's feet and became
His disciple, later taking the saffron initiation into the holy order
of paramhansas. From an adversary he was transformed into Shunyatitanand
worked as a city surveyor in Surat. He happened to get associated
with a tantrik. Under his tutelage he started learning the black
arts. The daily training place was a cremation ground. The time,
1.30 am - 4.00 am. After six months he accomplished the art of killing
through mantras, hypnotism, making someone unconscious, stealing,
talking to and controlling a ghost, etc. One day he tried out his
powers by throwing some powered grains on a tree. The next morning
the tree had withered and turned dry. A few days later, a businessman
wanted his opponent dead. The tantrik guru assigned Ranjitsinh for
the task. Ranjitsinh made a flour doll, pinned the victim's name
on it and applied his mantras to destroy him. But nothing happened.
The tantrik guru, through his powers, found the victim was spiritually
affiliated to a very powerful guru. So he informed Ranjitsinh as
to why he had failed in killing the victim. This made Ranjitsinh
curious and when he met Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the guru of the person
he was trying to kill, he gave up his unrighteous way, and became
- Pramukh Swami Maharaj has inspired
many such transformations, namely, Udabhai Solanki (Manjipura
village near Dakor), Sodhabhai (of Talaja), Vithalbhai Rathva
(Pavi Jetpur) and Govindbhai Patel (Amdavad).
An Illustrious Movement
The high moral standards
inspired by Lord Swaminarayan in the lives of countless became a hallmark
of Swaminarayan devotees. Ever since, the Fellowship has been known
as an illustrious movement. There are many sagas that reflect the
moral and spiritual excellence of Swaminarayan devotees.
Govind Bhagat, an untouchable by caste, worked as a gardener
in the palace grounds of the Nawab of Junagadh. Once, while tending
the gardens he found a gold anklet belonging to the queen. Though
he was a very poor man, he returned it back to the queen. The queen
was impressed and inquired of his high moral stature. Govind Bhagat
revealed that he was a follower of Lord Swaminarayan who preached
a high level of morality.
- The scruples of Pratapbhai Rathod, a cashier at the Bank of India,
Mumbai, were mirrored through his honesty at work. One morning,
an employee of a big business company had brought Rs.110,000 to
deposit in his bank. He gave it to Pratapbhai, took the receipt
and left. Out of sheer instinct Pratapbhai counted the eleven bundles
of Rs.10,000 and to his astonishment he found a surplus of Rs.40,000.
Immediately he filled an excess slip of Rs.40,000 and deposited
it in the vault box. On realising the error, the owner of the business
company returned to the bank. The bank authority informed him about
the excess Rs. 40,000. The owner then enquired about who the cashier
was. When Pratapbhai appeared before him, with a tilak chandlo on
his forehead, the owner enquired whether he was the disciple of
Pramukh Swami Maharaj? Pratapbhai was honored by the Bank of India
for his honesty.
a bank employee, found an open bank locker with its key in its place.
The locker had Rs.100,000 worth of jewellery. Akshay Barot locked
it and enquired about its proprietor and returned the key.
a fisherman by caste, of Kolak village, district Valsad, was going
through rough times. He barely eked a living by working on a sales
counter in a cloth merchant's shop. One day he found a packet containing
Rs.10,000. Jagdishbhai, without the slightest thought of coveting
it, returned the amount to his shop owner.
a college student, returned back Rs.27,000 dropped by a couple travelling
on a scooter.
The holy Fellowship of Satsang
is a treasure of inspirations. Great stars have always remained immortal
beacons for all of humanity. In the time of Lord Swaminarayan Devji
Bhakta was one such illustrious star. When his 16 year old son
died, he and his wife did not mourn his death but took it as the wish
of God. "God has made him more happier," he told those who
came to console him. And to acknowledge this grace of Lord Swaminarayan
he sent his wife to Gadhada to offer a feast to Shriji Maharaj.
"He belonged to
God and God took him away." These words of Gopalbhai Patel
of Sangli reflected his unflinching faith in Lord Swaminarayan and
Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Despite the death of his tender 16 year
old son, due to a heart valve problem, Gopalbhai did not see it
as a loss. He honored the occasion by distributing sugar crystals
to the people in Sangli. He also went to Akshar Mandir, Gondal,
and offered thaal to Thakorji. Prevailing in the Lord's wish is
a stamp of an ideal devotee.
When Kiritsinh Rana
of Bhavnagar lost an only son of 27 years old, he preached to those
who came to console him, "It is the wish of Maharaj. He is
a lot more happier now..."
Since 1995 the story
of Ghanshyambhai Tandel, a local 25 year old youth of Kosamba
town, is a saga of pain and faith. Afflicted with cancer, his spiritual
tenacity is commendable and exemplary. Even after undergoing ten
operations, losing his right arm and shoulder, and experiencing
excruciating pain, Ghanshyam Tandel has not lapsed in his duty as
a Bal Nirdeshak (senior volunteer for children's activities). He
happily accepts his share of pain and says, "I would not have
been able to accept all this without Satsang and the blessings of
Pramukh Swami Maharaj."
The living Devji Bhagats of today are shining examples of par-excellent
faith in the face of adversity and tragedy.
The Glory of Death
The Hindus believe that
God comes to take the atma of an individual to His divine abode during
the time of death. In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya thousands of incidents
have been chronicled where Lord Swaminarayan has come to receive the
The story of Jekaranbhai, in the time of Lord Swaminarayan,
eloquently testifies to this well known fact. Jekaranbhai of village
Rajpur had been informed of his death by Lord Swaminarayan twelve
months in advance, and that He would come to take his atma to His
abode. And true to His word Lord Swaminarayan came to receive Jekaranbhai
12 months later.
The divine promise of Lord Swaminarayan, of receiving the atma
of his devotees and transporting them to Akshardham, is also a living
The neighbour of Harshadbhai
Patel, Amdavad, saw Pramukh Swami Maharaj and forty sadhus in
the early hours of Janmashtmi day 1998. When she enquired later
from Harshadbhai, the latter revealed that she had been blessed
to have seen Pramukh Swami Maharaj because it was the time when
her mother passed away. Lord Swaminarayan in the form of Pramukh
Swami Maharaj had come to receive the soul of Harshadbhai's mother.
On 11 March 1999, Ronak,
a child of Pundha village, was breathing his last on his mother's
lap. Suddenly, Ronak said, "Swami Bapa has come to take me."
And so saying he passed away.