Salutations to Thee, Shastriji Maharaj!":
the fourth day of the bright half of Vaishakh of Samvat year 2007,
Swamishri's condition become critical. Anxiety was writ large
on the faces of all. At 9 a.m. Swamishri said : " Take me
to the Rangmandap (basement)." Accordingly, he was taken
to the Rangmandap. Everyone was looking at him with bated breath
and praying to Maharaj with the intonation of "Swaminarayan"
on their lips. Exactly at 10-50 a.m. the whole Rangmandap was
illuminated with divine light, and Swamishri, with the words "Swami!
Maharaj !" on his lips, breathed his last and took his seat
in Akshardham. The whole satsang was plunged into grief at the
shocking news. Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami performed the
crematorial rites of Swamishri by laying his mortal body on a
pyre of sandalwood in a field sanctified by Shriji Maharaj.
Yogiji Maharaj took over the responsibility to console and guide
the satsangis who were plunged in sorrow. The date fixed for the
idol-installation of the Gadhada temple was due after just six
days. Everyone was in two minds whether or not to celebrate this
occasion on the appointed day because of Swamishri's demise. But
Yogiji Maharaj explained : "Has Swamishri at all left us?
He is pragat (ever present). Swamishri wanted the idol-installation
to take place on the tenth day so he will be pleased only if the
ceremony is performed on that day." All were encouraged by
these words. Remembering Swamishri words, "Jogi will perform
the arti," All saw Swamishri in Yogiji Maharaj and engaged
themselves in the work of the installation ceremony.
In this way Swamishri, who was in constant communion with Shriji
Maharaj and recipient of His grace having arrived in the Satsang,
performed the uphill task of propagating the doctrine of true
upasana (worship), gave a new life to the satsang, created history
and revived the ideal of sainthood. He also gifted to us great
saints like Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami.
Long live Swami Shastriji Maharaj!