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Shastriji Maharaj
Shastriji Maharaj


The Schooling:

Will you stey with me?
Recital of the Mahabharat

He was sent to the village school to study under Gangaram Mehtaji in Samvat year 1930. His memory was very sharp and his intelligence was high which enabled him to memorise all the lessons immediately. The teacher too became very fond of him and began to give more and more attention to him. Dungar Bhakta, of course, had determined to stand first in his studies, and if he became a sadhu he would attain the first rank in that order as well. Thus, he learnt a lot in short time.
Besides learning in school, he began to learn all the scriptures of the satsang (fellowship) and also Bhagvat from the saints visiting the Mahelav temple. Even at the tender age of nine, whenever there was no sadhu available in the temple, it was he who gave discourses to the devout gathering. Everyone listened to him spell-bound. All the residents of Mahelav showered affection on him because of such virtues.
Ravjibhai of Mahelav had no children. He would watch with fascination Dungar Bhakta going to school everyday and yearned to have such a son in his family befitting his wealth. Once he asked Dungar Bhakta, "Will you come to my house and stay with me, Dungar? I shall admit you in the English school of Petlad for higher studies and make you a big officer of the British Government."
Dungar Bhakta laughed at this suggestion and replied : "I do not want to undertake that type of education which would qualify me to take up mere service and render me dependent on others. I shall, instead, become a sadhu and a learned pundit, and teach Brahmavidya (spiritual science) to others."
Dungar Bhakta had also a unique artistic sense. People in Ravjibhai's house were worried as to where to hang the glass chandelier. Dungar Bhakta on learning this at once suggested : "If you hang it on the first floor, it will look good." And, sure enough, the splendour of the house was enhanced by such an arrangement. Similarly his suggestion that the portico of the Vaishnav temple would look much better if round pillars were installed there also received prompt commendation. He also advised the carpenter to prepare for the Mahelav temple the same kind of throne for Thakorji as was placed in the assembly hall in the temple at Vadtal. Thus everyone admired his keen observation and aesthetic sense.
Even at that young age he could memorise scriptural tales on hearing but once from a kathakar (teller of scriptural tales) visiting the village. Once a manabhatt (bard) from Vaso came to the village to recite the story of Mahabharat accompanied by the beating of the mana (metal pot). Dungar Bhakta soon memorised the story. Half-way through the recitation, the Brahmin fell ill and died shortly thereafter. The recital remained incomplete. The village people, seeing Dungar Bhakta's devotion, pressed him to complete the recital. Dungar Bhakta, therefore, took his seat at the village square and beating the metal pot in the traditional style of the Manabhatt recited the story beautifully. The village people were much thrilled.
Dungar Bhakta now became known as the "Bhagat." Everyone began to love him all the more. When saints came to the temple he was offered the front seat in the congregation before discourses would begin. After listening to their talks, he would recite them from memory in the absence of the saints in the temple. Thus, he did not allow their absence to be felt.

Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith