Sunasar is a village
in the Patan district of north Gujarat, about 30 km from Mahesana
town (75 km from Amdavad). It has a population of 5,000 people, all
of whom are of the Darbar community. For generations the village was
infamous for its lawless activities. Every person in the village lived
by stealing and looting. Many times they would go in hordes to ransack
villages, stealing the annual harvest of cumin (jiru) and cattle.
Subsequently, the village churned up notorious people like the late
Talaji Darbar, a dreaded criminal in the entire region.
The mere mention of Sunasar village sent shivers throughout the entire
district. Everything about its people was repulsive and primitive.
They killed animals for meat and wantonly consumed home-made liquor.
In fact Sunasar was once the liquor-capital of the district, supplying
liquor to the neighboring towns and villages. Even today when you
mention the name of Sunasar, the people of the region contort their
faces in fear, disgust and disrespect.
In 1939, a renowned social reformer of Gujarat, the late Shri Ravishankar
Maharaj, arrived in Sunasar. He camped there for seven years, endeavouring
to reform the wayward ways of the locals. One day someone stole his
chappals and from thenceforth Ravishankar Maharaj pledged never to
wear any footwear. But despite all his efforts the locals remained
stubborn and unrelenting in their lawless activities.
In 2001, through the inspiration and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj,
BAPS sadhus from Mahesana mandir visited Sunasar for the first time.
Despite warnings from many people that they would be robbed and expelled,
the sadhus went to wean people from addictions and preach the message
of morality. That same evening BAPS youths performed ‘Kafan’,
a drama illustrating the disastrous effects of drinking. The local
Darbars were touched. Babusangh Darbar, one of the leaders of the
village, pledged there and then to give up drinking and stealing.
Gradually, through regular visits of the sadhus the village Darbars
gave up stealing, addictions and superstitions. A weekly satsang assembly
was started. Today, more than 500 men and women regularly attend the
weekly satsang assembly in Sunasar. A separate, weekly children's
assembly is also held, attended regularly by over 150 children. The
Darbars now honestly earn their living by toiling in their farms or
working as labourers.
On 3 March 2005, 500 Darbars came for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s
darshan and blessings at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mahesana.
While they were waiting for Swamishri to arrive, they were eager with
excitement and joy at the opportunity of receiving his blessings for
the first time. Swamishri initiated them into Satsang and blessed
them, “We are all happy that today you have all come here for
the darshan of God and to listen to spiritual discourses. Through
the introduction of satsang in your village you have derived inspiration.
The visits of the sadhus have inspired good feelings in all of you.
May you increase those feelings of peace and brotherhood in your village.
By doing bhajan of God and associating with sadhus you have become
free of addictions and vices, and also save money for your children
and family. If you use your resources and energies in the wrong way
then it is damaging to others, but if used constructively then they
will benefit thousands.
“By having refuge in God and understanding His glory you tread
the path of righteousness instead of unrighteousness. Subsequently,
you can do good deeds, bring progress to your village and the entire
region. May you become more and more committed to this path that you
“Today, you have pledged that your life becomes better. You
have come to take refuge at the feet of God and with feelings that
He will redeem you. May there be peace in your lives…”
Finally, Swamishri blessed the devotees and children by showering
flower petals. Thereafter, a few senior devotees garlanded Swamishri
in the evening assembly and a devotee of Sunasar donated 1 vigha of
land for the construction of a mandir. Swamishri also sanctified a
murti of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj and Guru Parampara for the new
mandir and weekly satsang assembly.