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Shastriji Maharaj
Shastriji Maharaj



Leaving home to walk the path of renunciation
Dungar Bhakta, cleaning the big untensils
Diksha ceremony of Dungar Bhakta

Dungar Bhakta was now impatient to meet Vignananand Swami. He went to Boriavi station with Vithaldas Sheth and from there he reached Baroda. As Acharya Maharaj was to arrive at Baroda, he thought that Vignananand Swami, too, might be there. His conjecture was true. He did see Swamiji there and his joy knew no bounds. Kothari Gordhanbhai asked him to stay with him. He said that he wanted to avail of his services. Seeing the immense capability of little Dungar Bhakta, he too was tempted to keep him as his assistant. But Dungar Bhakta courteously declined and said : "I have been permitted to remain in the service of Vignananand Swami. I shall, therefore, stay with him alone." The next day when Viharilalji Maharaj saw him he asked him : "Why have you come again?" Dungar Bhakta was slightly afraid that Maharaj might not allow him to stay on. He went to Vignananand Swami and told him about the matter. The Swami said : "Don't worry. You have come with your father's permission. So the Maharaj will allow you to stay." Dungar Bhakta felt relieved and happy, and engaged himself in service. Everyone saw Dungar Bhakta performing all sorts of service. All laughed when they saw little Dungar Bhakta engaged earnestly in cleaning the big utensils, used at the festival for cooking, by sitting inside those utensils. Everyone was amazed to see his devotion to service. After the festival, at the behest of Acharya Maharaj, Dungar Bhakta went to Kanam region with Brahmachari Devanandji to collect donations. Here also he was seen engaged in all kinds of services like sweeping the temple compound, filling water-pots and helping in the kitchen. Besides, he would recite devotional songs and narrate religious stories in the assembly till late night. He would wake up early in the morning and continue his work uninterruptedly. Such hard work did result in fatigue, but Dungar Bhakta ignored it. Once after bathing in the cold water of the Dhadhar river in the early morning, he fell unconscious. After he regained consciousness the Brahmachari advised him : "You should not work so hard. You should not take your bath so early in such cold weather, but should take it a little later." Thus after rendering services to and winning the love of all, Dungar Bhakta returned to Surat after three months. In Surat, Vignananand Swami entrusted him with the work of the temple stores. He did this work with great care and kept the accounts accurately. He also listened to the religious discourses. Seeing such talents in him, the devotees of Surat and Vignananand Swami himself were much pleased. Vignananand Swami, in fact, felt relieved after entrusting Dungar Bhakta with all the work. After performing all his duties efficiently, Dungar Bhakta used to go regularly to Swamishri for further studies. He learnt by heart all the Sanskrit lessons given to him by Swamishri. Within four months he completed the 'Sarasvat' (Sanskrit grammar). Seeing his dedication to service, his love for the devotees and his attachment to the temple, all began to regard him as the kothari of the temple. Vignananand Swami, too, bestowed his love on him.

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

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