Extract from the divine scripture, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. This month's article is an extract on Shreeji-sankalp-murti Abji Bapashree's childhood.

As a young child Bapashree would play chase and catch (pakad dav) with his friends. The friends would run to catch Bapashree. However, Bapashree would assume as many forms as there were friends, and run in different directions. Each friend would think that Bapashree was in front of them and they would easily be able to catch him. However, just as they get close and stretch to grab him, Bapashree would vanish. Eventually, the friends would look around and see Bapashree laughing, and standing at the centre of the group having assumed a single form.

Bapashree used to go to Lake Krishna to bathe with friends. They would dive from a rock into the water and compete to see who could remain under the water for the longest time. With the exclamation, ‘Glory to Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj’, they would dive into Lake Krishna . The friends would emerge from the water after one, two or three minutes. However, Bapashree would not come up at all. The friends would become worried and dive into the water to look for him. They would search the entire lake but would not be able to find Bapashree. Eventually, when the friends start to cry, Bapashree would come out from the water. The friends would become delighted to see Bapashree again and would ask, “You were not in the lake. Where had you gone?” Bapashree would reply, “I went to Akshardham for the darshan of Lord Shree Swaminarayan.” Through such experiences, the friends came to understand the glory of Bapashree and realised that although he looked like them, he was actually a divine, independent Murti.

Whenever teams were formed for playing games, the friends would quarrel amongst themselves to have Bapashree in their team, because invariably, the team in which Bapashree was playing for always won. Bapashree pleased everyone by alternating between all the teams.

Jeevanpran Bapashree assumed as many forms as he had friends and simultaneously pleased them all

Even in his childhood, Jeevanpran Bapashree had memorised 1100 kirtans, each of four cantos. He would melodiously sing these kirtans one by one in the temples and even when he fetched water from the well in the field. He would recite them when walking and whilst performing all other activities and thereby, he attracted everyone’s attention to him. He would always be present at the religious discourses, where he would explain the supreme upasana of Lord Shree Swaminarayan.

Extracted from the scripture, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, by Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj. Chapter 26 – Shreeji-sankalp-murti Abji Bapashree