Ongoing biography of Lord Shree Swaminarayan from the May edition of Shree Ghanshyam Vijay
Tigers are not enticed into Your lair
Khaiya Khatri of Mandvi was a staunch advocate and renowned preacher of the Vedant philosophy. However, he became attracted to the teachings and divine charm of the merciful Lord Shree Swaminarayan and became a devotee. As a result, Khaiya Khatri’s 60 disciples also surrendered to the divine shelter of the Lord. They all requested the Lord to visit their homes and accept their food. In order to fulfil their spiritual desires, the Lord remained in Mandvi for a further period of 2 months.
Public assemblies were held in Mandvi every day during which Shree Hari narrated His sublime spiritual knowledge to all. In addition to Khaiya’s disciples, many others from the village also attended the discourses. On one occasion, Vanza Khatri came to the congregation. Shree Hari was describing what happens when demons come to afflict all those who do not worship God. Hearing this, Vanza Khatri exclaimed, “You are just trying to lure people to You. Those who are timid like goats become scared by Your words. Tigers like me are not enticed into Your lair. You think that we will become Your disciples. However, we are courageous like tigers. Only goats become entrapped and dance according to their master’s wishes. This Khaiya and his sixty disciples have become like goats before You and have worn Your kanthi. However, I am not someone who can be duped in the same way.”
Khaiya thought that he should say something but Shree Hari signalled to him to remain silent. The next day, Shree Hari and Khaiya went to Vanza’s home accompanied by several devotees. Vanza was sitting inside his house at the time but immediately came out when Shree Hari called him.
Transformation of his mind and inclination
As soon as Shree Hari’s divine gaze fell upon Vanza, his mind and inclination became transformed. Shree Hari gently smiled and said, “My devotee! Will you do as I say?” Vanza replied, “How can I not abide by every one of Your commands? Tell me what You want me to do.”
Shree Hari requested the Sants to bring a set of their saffron robes and then said to Vanza, “Put these on.” Without hesitation, Vanza took off his clothes and changed into the saffron attire. He then returned to the Lord and asked, “Tell me what You now want me to do.” Shree Hari laughed and said, “Go into your home and bring out all the mattresses, quilts, blankets and other such articles that you have and pile them all at the centre of this courtyard.” Vanza immediately went inside, returned with all the articles and stacked them into a large heap.
Just as a wooden puppet dances as its strings are pulled, Vanza obeyed the Lord’s commands immediately. Shree Hari had completely revolutionised his mind and inclination. Again, Shree Hari commanded him, “Now set fire to all your belongings.” Just as Vanza prepared to burn the articles, Khaiya Khatri called out to the Lord as he could not remain silent any longer. Khaiya made a humble request to Shree Hari, “My Lord! You have transformed his mind and inclination and therefore he is doing exactly as You ask. However, if You make him burn all these articles, it will seem wrong in the eyes of the general public. So Lord, show mercy on him. Those who question You are fools. Vanza too was wrong to doubt You, but he has no idea about Your immense glory. Therefore, it would be better if You do not make him do this.”
Accepting Khaiya’s prayer, Shree Hari looked at Vanza. Immediately, he was restored to his former arrogant manner of thinking. Again, Shree Hari asked him, “Will you do as I say?” Vanza replied, “We are like tigers. We will never be enticed into Your lair.” All the Sants and devotees started to laugh when they heard these words. Shree Hari just smiled and said to Vanza, “Just look at the clothes you are wearing.” Vanza looked down and saw the saffron robes that he was wearing. Again Shree Hari said, “Look at the heap of articles you have made before Me.” Vanza looked at the pile. They were indeed all his. Vanza was stunned into silence. He humbly prayed to Shree Hari, “I too felt that my inclination had changed. It is true that all our live are controlled by You. We are all at Your mercy. This Khaiya was as resolute in his understanding as the great Meru Mountain is stable. However, he was moved by You and with him, I too have been swayed.”
Khaiya then said, “Now remove these saffron clothes and take back all your belongings. It has been confirmed that Lord Shree Swaminarayan is supreme and all our lives and souls are controlled by Him. He is able to do whatever He pleases. Therefore, no-one should ever doubt Him. Everyone should remain adherent to His commands.” Vanza too resolved that he will never have faith for anyone other than Lord Swaminarayan. He gathered all his articles and took them back home.
Birds fell into a trance
After enlightening Vanza to His supremacy, Shree Hari went to Khaiya’s factory. Many village people had gathered for His darshan. So Khaiya prayed to Shree Hari, “If you show a miracle, all these souls will become attracted to You.” Shree Hari replied, “If one becomes affiliated to the religion only as a result of witnessing a miracle, their adherence to it will not last. One’s faith only remains resolute if they become affiliated with the religion through understanding its true glory and magnificence. People become pleased when they witness miracles. However, when the Lord shows human characteristics, it is possible that their faith can become unsteady if they have not fully understood His truly divine nature. Still, as you are insisting, I will accept your plea. Look ahead.”
Everybody looked ahead. Fifty to sixty birds that were eating millet immediately entered a trance and fell onto the ground. Shree Hari commanded, “Gather up all the birds and bring them here.” One person filled the birds into a basket and brought them to where everyone was standing. They stroked the birds and examined their condition. All the birds were perfectly still. Shree Hari then ordered the devotee to take back the basket of birds and then He awoke them from the trance. All the birds flew away. Everyone stood in awe as they witnessed this miraculous event.
On another occasion, again in accordance with Khaiya’s request, Shree Hari made some pigeons fall into a deep trance. In this manner, Shree Hari stayed in Mandvi for 2 months and revealed His overwhelming magnificence and prowess to everyone. He allowed the Sants to remain with Him for many days and showered them with His divine bliss. Then Shree Hari commanded Shree Muktanand Swami, “Now take the Sants and go to Ahmedabad. You should stay in the forest of tamarind trees and beg for alms.” Shree Muktanand Swami was a truly eminent Sant, who was worthy of great respect. Still, as soon as received the Lord’s command, he stood up, humbly prostrated in reverence at Shree Hari’s lotus feet and prepared to depart for Ahmedabad. Shree Hari said to him, “When you go to beg for alms, there will be some who hurl abuse at you. Some will throw inedible items into your begging bowls. Still, you must never have any ill thoughts for any of these people. You must only think about their welfare. If an insect crawls over your body, you must not shake it off. Accepting all of Shree Hari’s commands to be as wonderfully beneficial as nectar, Shree Muktanand Swami and his group of Sants travelled to Ahmedabad. Shree Hari and the other Sants went to Bhuj.