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Pramukh Swami Maharaj's USA & Canada Visit 2007
Chicago, IL: June 8 to 13, 2007


8 June 2007
Today’s Memory:
Swamishri was doing an unforeseen puja at the conjunction of daytime (liveliness) of the mind and nighttime (tiredness) of the body! We were traveling in the sky. Reflections of the lights in Montreal city were reaching our eyes. The plane was soaring at a height of 40,000 feet. The lands below were specially sanctified today because Swamishri was absorbed in the puja of Harikrishna Maharaj.

This was the most astounding and indescribable memory of today. Swamishri sat on the couch in the middle of the living room. His gaatariyu (upper cloth) was tied with a knot. He just had a bath so there was no chandlo on his forehead. The tiny yellow reading lights of the plane were on. Swamishri looked amazing in that soft light. Harikrishna Maharaj looked splendid in white attire. A table lamp shone on the side. In this radiant moment, call it a day or a silent night Swamishri began his puja. With a slightly swaying head he meditated. After meditation, he did darshan of Harikrishna Maharaj with unblinking eyes. Pujari Nirbhay Swami adorned a chandan chandlo on Swamishri’s forehead, arms and the chest. Today even his forehead was adorned with a chandan chandlo. Just as the rays of the moon slowly increased and fully glowed, similarly by the warmth of Swamishri’s body the moist chandlo slowly dried up and fully glowed, like a full moon in the sky-like forehead! Swamishri put a round pillow on both legs, placed both hands on top of it and with his right hand in the gaumukhi he did mala for 20 minutes; and prayed for the welfare of all. With both hands folded he offered thal to Thakorji. After reading the Shikshapatri, Dharmamrut and Janmangal Namavali, Swamishri joined in chanting the dhun. With folded hands and soothing eyes he told ‘Jai Swaminarayan’ to all sadhus and devotees who were sitting around him. What an incredible memory!

9 June 2007

Today’s Inspiration:
Swamishri was having lunch and a memorable story of Shastriji Maharaj was narrated by someone. The work of the grand doorway in Sarangpur was going on. Shastriji Maharaj himself was standing there and overseeing it. Harikrishna Swami said, “Swami, please come for lunch.” Shastriji Maharaj said, “I will come after these stones have been hoisted up in place.” When insisted persistently Shastriji Maharaj got annoyed and replied, “You are ravenous, so you go. I will come later.” Only four-five stones were left to finish the specific arch. Shastriji Maharaj said, “If I am here then it will only take an hour to complete it. Otherwise, if I leave then it will take many hours.” It was Shastriji Maharaj’s nature that he gave priority to work and service.
On hearing this story, Swamishri smiled significantly at the sevaks and said, “He gave priority to work and not to eating.” Swamishri always believes work to be devotion and service. Hence naturally he ignores the needs of the body, and gives priority to seva. For him, each and every work related to God is a devotional contribution.

Today’s Influence:
A devotee from a nearby center came for darshan. As he came to Swamishri he became very emotional and said gratefully, “Since last forty years I could not quit chewing tobacco. I myself made a lot of effort but I couldn’t quit it. But, one time, on remembering you I decided firmly to give it up. And just by remembering you I got rid of my addiction.”

Today’s Story:
The official program of Chicago was scheduled for June 10th, but Swamishri had arrived two days early. Here, everything was planned so that Swamishri could get maximum rest to reduce his jetlag. Swamishri performed his puja also in the nearby room. There was no sabha in the evening. Everything was planned in such a way that Swamishri could do his work at his convenience.
Today after his daily routine, when Swamishri came for darshan of Thakorji, the sun bathed the Chicago mandir. Mixed with the cool breeze, the rays of the sun seemed golden. On seeing the grand landscape surrounding the mandir Swamishri happily responded “Wow! The mandir looks splendid!”
Today, the sadhus handling the Atlanta mandir project, Pujya Shantmurti Swami, Pujya Munitilak Swami, and the trustees Dr. K.C. Patel, Shri Jashbhai, Shri Mahendrabhai, and other enthusiastic youths had come go give a formal invitation to Swamishri for the consecration of Atlanta mandir. Swamishri was also very happy. Everyone came to Swamishri with the auspicious kalash and coconut and Swamishri right away asked for Harikrishna Maharaj. Swamishri kept on extending his talk till Harikrishna Maharaj was brought. To do every act by putting Harikrishna Maharaj first is the reason of Swamishri’s success. Devotees of the Southwest region invited Swamishri to come soon. Swamishri accepted their invitation and said, “You all have love and devotion, so the work done is fine. You got donors for money and even the workers fully persevered. Your invitation was already there. When we were in India and got your invitation, from that time we had a goal to do the murti-pratistha in Atlanta and Toronto, and to come here for the Centenary Year Celebrations. So we have already accepted your invitation. The work will be accomplished superbly. Victorious bells will ring and there will be jai jaikaar in all directions! Blessings to you all so that the kalash gets placed on the pinnacle and all the remaining work gets completed!”
10 June 2007
Today’s Inspiration:
Swamishri was reading letters. Rathin Raval, a youth sitting before Swamishri, said, “At the age of 86 a person is old so all types of holds slacken. An old man cannot hold a thing the way a youth can.” Swamishri replied, “It’s true, in old age it is like that.”
Rathin added, “ But, the way you have held on to divine powers, you should slacken it a little.”
Swamishri bust out laughing, and said, “We have not kept any type of hold! We just keep a hold of God and hold onto Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj!”
Swamishri gave an incredible message. He was as if saying that, if we hold onto GOD ONLY then all holds strengthen.

Today’s Story:
Today, 10th June, was a day of Swagat – Reception Day. When Swamishri came for darshan of Thakorji youths were standing to welcome Swamishri at various spots dressed up as people of different regions. Everyone greeted Swamishri in the language and style of those specific regions. After doing darshan of Thakorji, Swamishri advanced to the shrine of Yogiji Maharaj. There the youths, dressed as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, were ready to greet Swamishri. Kanubhai Barot said, “Outside millions of devas are waiting and asking your permission for darshan.”
“Then why don’t you go and tell them.”
“But what should I say?”
“Everyone has permission and all are welcome!” Swamishri also responded in their way and style. And Kanubhai publicly announced as if welcoming all and gave permission to enter inside.

Today was the Swagat Sabha. On this first day almost 8,000 people had gathered to welcome Swamishri in the mandir. Devotees from Chicago and nearby regions had assembled with great fervor and joy. Pujya Anandswarup Swami and Pujya Viveksagar Swami addressed the assembly. When Swamishri arrived, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami garlanded Swamishri. Then other leading devotees offered garlands to Swamishri. Then the youths performed a swagat dance. Written in various languages of India the welcome dance-song was effectively performed.

Today’s Blessings:
On the first day in the Swagat Sabha Swamishri praised everyone and said, “Jai of Chicago Mandal also! Everyone has greeted us with love, so thank you all. It is joyful that people from all regions of North-South, East and West have gathered for the welcome assembly. We should surely follow the regulations of the country where we are living, but we should not forget our religion and culture.”

Today’s Memory:
This morning Swamishri was returning to his residence after his puja. The bhajan: “Aaj maare gher, thaay leelaa laher…” was echoing in the hall. Devotees were clapping their hands to the beats of the bhajan. While walking, Swamishri was gracing the devotees people with his eyes. Suddenly, Swamishri raised his hands and clapped along with the devotees! For 2-3 steps he advanced as if dancing! With this divine darshan everyone felt immensely blessed!!

  12 June 2007

Today’s Command:
Dhirubhai Patel was giving a report on activities of the local Yuvati mandal. In the Satsang Exams, the yuvatis achieve higher scores, while the yuvaks, even though highly educated and accomplished, slack behind. Their participation in Satsang exams is also less. He sweetly conveyed this point. Swamishri commanded, “If the yuvatis are able to find time, then why can’t the yuvaks? Everyone must give Satsang exams! We should also insist on learning Gujarati so they know the language. How much zeal one has to become a doctor or an engineer! Similarly, one should have such zeal to give Satsang exams. This is also a major degree. We gain knowledge and learn Gujarati also. Next year all should appear for Satsang exams! ”

Today’s Influence:
While Swamishri was meeting everyone, a well-known local physician Dr. Shailendra Shah came. He said to Swamishri, “Many years back we had a clinic in Karjan. I had a chance of your first darshan at that time. By your first darshan only my habit of smoking cigarettes was gone! You did not even have to tell me! Today, I heard your sermon and all my doubts were cleared!”

13 June 2007

Today’s Inspiration:
While Swamishri was having breakfast, some humorous presentations were being done. Kanubhai Barot and Shreyasbhai Pandya started a staged quarrel in the language of planet Mars. After the quarrel was over Kanubhai informed Swamishri, “ Bapa, our main dispute was that Shreyasbhai was saying that Swamishri is mine and I was saying that you are mine. So tell us, to whom do you belong?”
Right away Swamishri said, “I am of those who really offer devotion to God and not of those who quarrel and create commotion.”

Today’s Memory:
After finishing puja, Swamishri stood up to go to his quarters. The audio speakers were echoing the bhajan, “Swami amaare ang tam rang dholi do…” All the devotees started clapping profoundly with excitement. Swamishri also joined in the excitement. Even while walking he raised his hands, and as if dancing he made gestures! He did this till he reached the end of the stage. After he got down he started walking towards the exit door. Then Swamishri heard the words of the next verse in the bhajan, “Nachaavasho em ame naachashu…” and Swamishri turned towards all the devotees and with his hands raised and swirling in the air, he joyfully gestured that ‘he will make everyone dance’. Then he walked ahead gesturing happily at the beats of the kirtan. Swamishri’s face was filled with radiance of pleasure. With lots of laughter Swamishri’s face turned rosy! This was a marvelous memory of today.

Today’s Story:
Today the mandal celebrated Bhagatji Maharaj jayanti. In the morning puja the sadhus sang bhajans of Bhagatji Maharaj. The evening sabha was for Kishore-Kishoris and Yuvak-Yuvatis. Swamishri arrived at the permanent sabha hall (haveli) to be with them. To know Swamishri’s “Ruchi” (real wish) the yuvaks played a quiz on that theme. Swamishri conveyed his choices by selecting different color cards. Yuvaks narrated Swamishri’s prasangs and sang relevant bhajans. Swamishri showered lots of happiness on all. At the end Swamishri blessed all by saying, “In life, mahima (glory) is the most important thing. So talk of mahima only. Do not criticise or talk negatively. We have started walking on the right path, so we should do whatever is necessary to reach Akshardham; if we forget that then we will get hurt by thorns and stones. That is why if we have mahima that Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj are divine; and we want to do just according to their ruchi (wish), then only will we progress in satsang and experience peace.”

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