The ongoing biography of Lord Shree Swaminarayan from the January 2005 edition of Shree Ghanshyam Vijay.
Departure from Gadhpur
The supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan presided in the village of Kundal for many days and then returned to Gadhpur in time to hold the Shree Hari Jayanti celebrations. Thousands of devotees flocked to Gadhpur in order to be in the presence of Shree Hari on this auspicious day and be granted His divine darshan. One of these devotees was Alaiyakhachar from Zinzavadar. He humbly requested Shree Hari to come to his village. The merciful Lord agreed to his plea.
The very next day, Shree Hari and Alaiyakhachar departed from Gadhpur, together with sants, parshads and several devotees. They arrived at the village of Ugamedi and sat by the fresh water spring on the west side of the village. Everyone drank the sweet, refreshing, cool water of the spring and then resumed their travels. They passed through the village of Ningara and then arrived at Keriya. Narayanji Patel was a pious devotee who lived in Keriya. Due to his true devotion, Shree Hari went to Narayanji Patel’s farm and rested in the shade of a tree. After a short while, Bhagu Patel and Kana Solanki arrived for darshan. The two devotees placed a coconut at Shree Hari’s lotus feet and prostrated in reverence. The coconut was cut into small pieces and distributed to everyone as prasad. Shree Hari threw the remaining coconut pieces into the field and vowed to grant salvation to all the creatures that ate the prasad.The Pretence of a Sage in Zinzavadar
Shree Hari left Keriya and headed for Zinzavadar. When they reached the outskirts of the village, they came across a fraudulent sage. He was pretending to be a highly accomplished, mystical ascetic. He had long matted hair and sat in the lotus posture on the ground with his eyes closed. Furthermore, he was completely naked with no-one to accompany him, no clothing or any other possessions. Shree Hari and the sants, parshads and devotees passed by the sage and continued their travels to the village. However, Alaiyakhachar could not resist testing the sincerity of the sage. He asked one of his friends to remain with him. The two devotees went to the sage. Addressing his friend, Alaiyakhachar said, “We are truly fortunate today because this great sage has arrived at our village. I have become very pleased to see him. Consequently, I have taken an oath to donate five rupees to him.” Saying these words, he removed five rupees from his pocket and rattled the money in his fist. The sage immediately became attentive when he heard the rattle of the money. The friend said, “Alaiya! If you have taken an oath, what are you still thinking about? Give the money to the sage and fulfil your vow.” Alaiya replied, “I am concerned that this sage is alone. He has no cloth to tie the money in. He has no utensils to put the money in. If I just leave the money in front of him, someone may come and take it. Then my vow would not have been accomplished. We are so unlucky! We have come across such a great sage, but still, we will not be able to offer anything to him.” Alaiya’s friend started ridiculing the sage and said, “Why are you becoming so despondent? If your sentiments are sincere, the sage will open his mouth and you can place the money in there.” Alaiya was in hysterics and cried, “Yes! Yes! You are right! If this sage opens his mouth, I can perform circumambulations (pradakshina) around him and then fulfil my vow.” The sage became eager to receive his five rupees and slowly opened his mouth. Alaiya’s friend shouted, “Your sentiments were true and the sage has accepted your prayer. Now you can place the rupees in his mouth and fulfil your vow.” Alaiyo replied, “I must perform circumambulations around him and then I can give him the money.” Saying this, he went behind the sage, as if he was performing the circumambulations, and picked up a fistful of sand. When he came round to the front of the sage, Alaiya said, “I am now about to place the rupees in the sage’s mouth.” The sage thought that he was about to receive a large donation and opened his mouth wider. The friend said, “Alaiyo! Why are you still hesitating? Quickly fulfil your vow!” Alaiya went close to the sage and emptied the fistful of sand in his mouth. The sage immediately stood up and started to spit out the sand. In a rage, he cursed, “Have you come here to insult great, accomplished people such as me? You will experience great pain and be destroyed as a consequence of abusing me.” Alaiya reacted by throwing a punch at the sage. He then said, “I have come across many frauds like you. Phoney sages like you cannot cause me any harm.” The sage started fuming but was unable to say anything in response.
After revealing the sage’s falsity, Alaiyakhachar and his friend went to the village. They went to the Lord, who was presiding at Alaiyakhachar’s royal court at the time, for darshan. As if He was completely unaware of what had happened, Shree Hari asked, “Why did you get left behind for so long?” Alaiyakhachar replied, “There was a sage sitting at the edge of our village. Seeing him, I made an oath. I got left behind because I was fulfilling my vow to him.” Alaiya then described what happened. All the sants and devotees became hysterical and laughed uncontrollably. Shree Hari said, “There are many frauds like this in the world. They deceive innocent people. They wear no clothes and eat only fruits and leaves. However, they are still lured by the river of intense desire. The force of this river is so great, even great personages have become enticed by its allure. Its charm has been a hindrance to those who have abandoned their family and become ascetics, and to those who seemed as if they had an unbreakable bond with the Lord. Saubhari was a great sage who seemed to be as great as Naradji, but even he became tempted by sensualities. The pleasures of all five senses can be attained from wealth. For that reason, an intense yearning for more and more wealth exists in these sages, mystics and scholars. Even if people have become old, are unable to see or eat anything, they still cannot abandon their passion to amass more money. Someone may have earned as much money as the spiritual treasurer Kuber, but still they will wish for more. The world is tied with a fine thread to both women and wealth. A verse in the scriptures commends those who free themselves from this bondage;
Kanak kaantaa sootren veshtitam sakalam jagataha
Teshu taasu virakto yo dwibhujo Parmeshwaraha
In the world, those who do not become tied by a thread to women and wealth
Are called the Parmeshwar (Lord) with two arms (in a human form)
For that reason, I have commanded My sants to abandon all attachment to both wealth and women. They have no pride, arrogance or affection to any object. They have even conquered their sense of taste and preference. You may roam through the entire universe, but still, you will not find sants as great as these. The previous incarnation Shree Krishna relentlessly advised Uddhavji to abandon worldly affairs and become an ascetic. Still, he was not able to live in that manner. Whereas today, disciples who were sitting under their wedding canopy and whose wedding ceremony was just about to commence, have read a letter a letter from Me and immediately abandoned worldly life and become sants.”
Hearing Shree Hari’s divine words, the devotees realised their great fortune for being granted the presence of the supreme Lord and such eminent sants. Everyone became pleased to be able to live amongst such true ascetics.
Just then, Mulji Brahmachari arrived and requested Shree Hari to come and dine. Shree Hari went to take His meal. The sants and devotees also went to eat. After the meal, Shree Hari rested for a short while.