The ongoing biography of Lord Shree Swaminarayan from the April 2005 edition of Shree Ghanshyam Vijay.
Astrologer Mona Joshi’s Scroll
After convincing Punjasa and Vanasha, the staunch Vaishnav advocates of Sundrariyana of His supremacy, the Almighty Lord Shree Swaminarayan visited Loya, Nagadka and then reached the village of Botad. King Daha Khachar, Bhaga Doshi and many other devotees lovingly welcomed the Lord to their village. A grand meal was held in Daha Khachar’s village hall. When everyone had finished eating, Shree Hari sat on a splendidly decorated throne. Just then, the astrologer Mona Joshi came for Shree Hari’s darshan. Shree Hari asked, “Joshi! Have you eaten?” The astrologer was a comical character. He started rubbing his belly and replied, “Yes Maharaj! I have eaten everything that You served me.” Shree Hari said, “In that case, you must still be hungry. Was there enough food for you?” The astrologer replied, “Maharaj! Your personal servant Mulji Brahmachari knows exactly what You are thinking. Consequently, he gave me 10 or 12 sweet prasad ladus. What else do I need?” Shree Hari and the entire assembly chuckled at the astrologer’s jest.
Mona Joshi kept a scroll in his turban, which contained details about horoscopes and astrology. Shree Hari saw the scroll and said, “My dear astrologer! You forecast everyone else’s future, so why don’t you also look at Mine today!” Mona realised that he had been given the perfect opportunity to please the Lord. He took the scroll from his turban and unrolled it. The top of the scroll fell into Shree Hari’s lap and startled Him. The astrologer asked, “Maharaj! Why are You so surprised? All the stars and constellations normally follow others. Instead, today I placed them in all Your lap. You must now tell them all to remain obedient and never be unfavourable towards Your devotees. They should bring prosperity to them all and remain their friends.” Again, the astrologer’s words caused Shree Hari and the assembly to laugh. The astrologer had passed Shree Hari’s test to determine if he had more trust in the Lord or in astrology. Although Mona Joshi was an astrologer, he lived according to the words of the Lord. His life was not dictated by astrology. Shree Hari questioned the astrologer again, “Joshi! The stars and planets are not causing Me any hindrance are they?” The astrologer replied, “The constellations Rahu and Ketu are very excited. However, they are unable to get their way before You.” The Lord jested with the astrologer in this manner for quite some time.
Just then, Hamir Khachar arrived and requested Shree Hari to accompany him to his royal court. Shree Hari mercifully obliged and travelled to Hamir Khachar’s residence, together with sants and devotees. The king lovingly welcomed Shree Hari and performed adoration to Him using many different articles of worship. Hamir Khachar placed a large platter filled with money at the Lord’s divine feet. The Lord immediately picked up the plate of money and gave it all away to Mona Joshi. Even though the Lord had just given away his donation, Hamir Khachar did not question why. Such a thought did not even enter his mind. He had donated the money to Shree Hari without any obligations. What the Lord did with it subsequently, was not his concern. Mona Joshi said, “Oh Lord! The unfavourable Rahu constellation constantly followed me, so I never earned sufficient money. However, since You blessed me with Your merciful gaze, my fortune has completely changed.”
Shree Hari remained in Botad for two days and in that period, He visited the homes of all the devotees. From there, Shree Hari travelled to Nagalpur, where the king, Vasta Khachar devotedly served Shree Hari with great riches. Vasta Khachar had a true understanding of Shree Hari’s supremacy. He realised that he was truly fortunate because the Almighty Lord had mercifully come to his village to grant His divine darshan. Vasta Khachar knew that the Lord’s darshan couldn’t be attained by everyone. Even the great deities and incarnations, including those in the Akshar category of the cosmic hierarchy do not have the fortune of Shree Hari’s darshan. With this understanding, Vasta Khachar devotedly served Shree Hari and the sants.
Sagarsha Sheth also lived in Nagalpur. Bhaga Doshi, who had previously become affiliated to the Satsang, was from the same clan as Sagarsha Sheth. Bhaga Doshi had described the greatness of the Lord to him and as a result, Sagarsha Sheth too became a disciple of the Lord. Viro Rajgar was another devotee from the village. These and many other devotees requested the merciful Shree Hari to visit their homes. Shree Hari replied, “On this occasion, I am in a hurry to reach the next village. However, next time I visit this village, I will definitely visit all your homes.” This pleased the devotees, because the Lord had promised them that He would visit their village again shortly. They humbly prayed, “Oh Lord! Do as You wish, but do not make us wait for too long. Come back quickly and grace our village again with Your divine darshan.”
Shree Hari gave His word that He would come again soon and left Nagalpur. He arrived at the village of Jotingada. On the outskirts of the village there is a small temple dedicated to the deity Hanuman. Very dense trees grow all around the temple. Shree Hari sat there and drank a little of the water from the well adjacent to the temple. He also placed some consecrated water back into the well. The Lord’s sole intention was to grant salvation to all the souls who came into His contact. For that reason, Shree Hari used to travel from village to village. Shree Hari left Jotingada and went to Gorakda, where He bathed in Lake Keri. He then returned to Gadhpur.