The ongoing biography of Lord Shree Swaminarayan from the November edition of Shree Ghanshyam Vijay.
The Sovereign Lord in Rajkot
The almighty Lord Shree Swaminarayan celebrated the Vasant festival in Gadhpur with great enthusiasm. Due to this special occasion, the sants were given the opportunity to reside with the Lord, if only for a short while. Immediately after the festivities had concluded, the Lord commanded all the sants to resume their travels for the spread of the Faith. The various groups of sants accepted the Lord’s command and started touring from village to village.
Whilst the festival was being celebrated, Shree Hari received a heartfelt invitation from King Surajiraj of Rajkot. His sister had become engrossed in the Satsang through Lakhuba, the sister of Murubha from the village Bandhiya, who was able to experience spiritual trances.
Shree Hari accepted the King’s invitation and departed from Gadhpur with a large group of sants and devotees. They visited the villages of Khambara, Kotda and Surdhar, and eventually reached Rajkot. King Surajiraj greeted Shree Hari with a magnificent welcoming ceremony. The king’s of the surrounding regions such as Padasan, Khambha, Lodhika, Mengni and Vagndad had come to Rajkot for the Lord’s darshan. A huge crowd of people had also gathered. A large marquee, with all the required facilities was erected at the edge of the city to accommodate these guests and the entire region was beautifully decorated. A magnificent swing was tied from the branch of a berry tree at the centre of the marquee. Shree Hari presided upon the swing and granted everyone the opportunity of gently swaying Him. The next day, Shree Hari led a grand procession to King Surajiraj’s royal court where the sants sang kirtans in praise of the Lord. The kings who were present were amazed to hear such wonderful singing and proclaimed, “We have listened to many singers and musicians, but none of those great artists are able to sing as well as these sants. Oh merciful Lord! The only thing that we ask from You is that You grant us salvation. Our lives are entwined with worldly issues and therefore, we are not able to remain in the midst of sants for long periods of time. However, we ask that You accept our insignificant offering of a meal and grant us salvation.” With these words, they devotedly offered food to Shree Hari and performed adoration to Him using various articles of worship.
Shree Hari remained in Rajkot from three days and gave King Surajiraj an exclusive opportunity of serving Him. Shree Hari then returned to Gadhpur and celebrated the Fuldolotsav festival.
The Meal of Aubergines in Sarangpur
Jeevakhachar, the King of Sarangpur had come to Gadhpur to celebrate the Fuldolotsav festival. During the festival, he humbly invited the Lord to visit Sarangpur. Shree Hari accepted Jeevakhachar’s wish and told him to commence preparations for His visit. As soon as the festival concluded, Shree Hari left Gadhpur with a group of sants and devotees and headed towards Sarangpur. When they reached the village Dhinkvari, Shree Hari asked to rest for a while. They looked for somewhere suitable and eventually found a field where it was quiet and the Lord could rest properly. Somlakhachar placed a mattress on the ground for the Lord. Just then, the farmer who owned that field arrived and bowed down to the Lord. Shree Hari asked him, “What is the crop that has grown the best on your farm?” The farmer replied, “Oh Maharaj! The aubergines in my farm have grown extremely well. My crop of aubergines is the best in the entire region.” Shree Hari immediately decided to feed the sants a meal of aubergines and said to the farmer, “Pick 20 kg of your best aubergines and bring them to Me.” The farmer obeyed the Lord’s command. Shree Hari tied all the aubergines in a large cloth and then asked, “How much will all these cost?” The farmer replied, “I will charge one rupee and will carry the aubergines to wherever You want.” Shree Hari agreed to the price. The farmer continued, “First give me the rupee, then I will carry the aubergines.” Unfortunately, none of the devotees who were present had any money with them. The farmer got angry and yelled, “Why did You ask me to harvest such a large crop of aubergines if You did not have any money to pay for them? Now I will not let anyone leave until I receive recompense for my crop!” The sants started to worry when they heard the farmer’s anger-filled threats. Shree Hari gently smiled and said, “My dear sants! Do not worry! Sufficient money is on the road, walking towards us.” Everyone was puzzled to hear these words and thought, ‘What does the Lord mean when He says that the money is walking towards us? How can money walk?”
A short while later, two devotees from the village of Botad, Murchand and Keshavji arrived. They just happened to be passing by the field and saw the Lord there. The two devotees could not contain their delight for being granted this unexpected darshan of the Lord. They dismounted from their mares and prostrated in reverence. They then placed five rupees at the Lord’s divine lotus feet. Everyone now understood Shree Hari’s baffling words. The money that was on the road walking towards them, referred to these two devotees who were going to offer a gift of money to the Lord.
The farmer took his rupee and carried the crop of aubergines to Sarangpur. Jeevakhachar came to the outskirts of Sarangpur and ceremonially welcomed the Lord to his village. He had made arrangements for suitable living quarters for all the sants and devotees. When the farmer reached the village and untied the bundle of aubergines, Jeevakhachar asked him, “What is the cost of these aubergines?” The farmer replied, “They cost one rupee, but the Lord has already paid for them.” Jeevakhachar took a rupee from his pocket, gave it to the farmer and told him to return the other rupee to Shree Hari.
A lavish feast was held the following day for all the sants and devotees. Many delicious dishes were prepared. However, Shree Hari had instilled such a taste into the aubergine curry that no-one ate any of the other foods. Instead, they all repeatedly asked for more and more of the aubergine curry. Everyone was of the impression that they had never before tasted anything so delicious. They realised that it was the Lord’s own resolute wish to make this dish of aubergines and therefore, the taste that they were enjoying must also be divine. For two days, Shree Hari remained in Sarangpur and showered His unsurpassed bliss over everyone.