The ongoing biography of Lord Shree Swaminarayan from the June 2005 edition of Shree Ghanshyam Vijay.
The Unsurpassed Devotion of Raibai
In Samvat 1865, the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan celebrated the Ashadhi Rath Yatra festival, Devshayi Ekadashi and Janmashtami in Gadhpur. Accepting the humble wishes of His disciples, Shree Hari visited the village of Pipriya and then travelled to Sarangpur where He stayed at Jeeva Khachar’s royal court. There was a well in the courtyard, but it did not contain sufficient water to fulfil the requirements of the household. On one occasion, Shree Hari said that He wanted to bathe and jumped into the well. He removed a stone from bottom of the well, which resulted in a great surge of water flowing into it. In this manner, Shree Hari alleviated everyone’s worries and ensured there was plenty of water for all in the village. After pleasing Jeeva Khachar through His divine episodes, Shree Hari travelled to the village of Kundal and stayed at the royal court of Moka Patgar. His wife, Raibai had an extraordinary affection for the Lord. She had prepared sweet ladus for the Lord and His sants. Each ladu was approximately 1 kg in weight and was made with an abundance of fresh, fragrant ghee. Shree Hari went into the larder and saw all the ladus. He said, “My sants will not eat these ladus. I have commanded them to eat only what they receive when they beg for alms. Even then, they must tie all that they receive in a cloth, immerse the bundle of food into running water until all the taste has been removed and then form the remainder into balls. That is all they are allowed to eat. Therefore, these ladus are of no use to them.” Raibai said, “Maharaj! If the sants do not eat them, not even the smallest child in the household will eat them.” Shree Hari clarified, “Raibai! I will eat the ladus. So what objections do you have for your household to eat them?” Raibai explained, “Maharaj! I still have objections. These sants have to suffer physical hardships. They endure the insults of irreverent and evil people. They disregard all these problems and preach Your teachings. They ensure that we remain on the correct path, and they explain Your greatness to us. It is due to their preaching that we have followed the path of devotion. If these sants do not eat the ladus, we cannot eat them either. It is up to You to decide what we should do.” Due to Raibai’s unsurpassed devotion and love, Shree Hari allowed the sants to eat the ladus. He sat all the sants in rows and served them Himself. Raibai became extremely pleased to see Shree Hari feed the sants so well.Shree Hari gives Darshan in a Healthy Form
In His divine abode Akshardham, Shree Hari deliberated about manifesting upon the Earth with His divine Muktas. Accordingly, some Muktas appeared on the Earth as males, whilst others appeared as females. When Shree Hari embarked on His forest expedition, He practised severe austerities. Consequently, His body had become extremely emaciated. Some Muktas decided to appear on the Earth at the time when Shree Hari came out of His forest expedition and was reigning as the sovereign Lord. Their aim was to invite the Lord to their royal court and feed Him lavish dishes to make His body healthy again. Raibai was a Mukta who had come onto the Earth for that purpose. Eight years had passed since Shree Hari first came to the Satsang. Still, His body was not as healthy as it could be. In the beginning, His body was so wasted that His skin did not even perspire. Ramanand Swami used to tie medicated bandages over His body to make Him healthy. Consequently, Shree Hari’s body was not as weak as it previously was, but still, He needed to gain more weight.
When Shree Hari reached Kundal, Raibai prayed, “Oh Maharaj! You are the life and soul of the entire Satsang, but You look extremely weak. We cannot bear to see You like this. Even though You are this thin, You travel from village to village, touring through the regions. You endure much suffering and hardship. Our hearts are pained to see You in this manner. Have mercy and accept the many sweet meals that I have prepared for You. There is plenty of fresh milk, butter and curd. I wish to feed all this food to You.” Due to Raibai’s true devotion, Shree Hari accepted her wish. Raibai lovingly offered sweetened milk, butter cakes, any many other rich foods to the Lord each day.
One day, Shree Hari accepted the wishes of His disciples and went to the river on the outskirts of Kundal to bathe. The water at one point of the river was extremely deep. Consequently, everyone was able to dive into the river and play in the water. Shree Hari made it an occasion that would never be forgotten for the rest of their lives. Shree Hari then returned to Moka Patgar’s royal court.Alaiya Khachar’s Conceit about his Wrestling Skills
One day, Shree Hari was presiding amongst an assembly at the royal court. Alaiya Khachar said, “I have read in the ancient scriptures that Krishnachandra used to show his divinity by wrestling with and defeating strong wrestlers.” Shree Hari responded, “There are no proficient wrestlers of that calibre here, otherwise I could also show you My divine prowess.” Alaiya Khachar said, “Maharaj! I am just like a wrestler. I will hold onto Your wrists and You have to escape from my clutches. I will show everyone my immense wrestling ability.” Through the tone of his words, Shree Hari sensed Alaiya Khachar’s arrogance and conceit. Shree Hari agreed, “Very well! You may hold My wrists.” Raibai saw Alaiya Khachar grabbing Shree Hari’s wrists and came rushing out of the house. She scolded Alaiya Khachar, “Have you no sense. Do you not realise how fragile Shree Hari has become by practicing severe austerities? How can you wrestle with someone so weak?” Alaiya explained, “When Krishnachandra was a child, he used to fight with wrestlers.” Raibai was still not happy. Shree Hari comforted her and said, “Mother! Why are you worrying so much? Just see what happens.” Shree Hari extended His arm. Alaiya Khachar jested, “Maharaj! If I hold such a frail wrist, Your arm will fall off.” Shree Hari said, “Alaiya! Do not worry in the slightest. Hold My wrists tightly with all the might that exists in you.” Alaiya Khachar held Maharaj’s wrists. Shree Hari flinched a little and immediately escaped from his clutches. This surprised Alaiya Khachar, but then he thought that his hands may have been damp and consequently, Maharaj’s tender hands may have slipped through his palms. In order to get a better grip, Alaiya Khachar dried his palms by rubbing sand into them. Again, he gripped Shree Hari’s wrists. He held on with great force, just like a lion grabs and holds on to its prey. Shree Hari twitched only a little. However, that was enough to throw Alaiya Khachar onto the floor. Everyone started to laugh and ridicule Alaiya Khachar. Although he was embarrassed, he still had arrogance about his own strength. For a third time, he grabbed Shree Hari’s wrists. This time Shree Hari flexed His muscles, causing Alaiya Khachar to spin round three times before being thrown onto the floor.
Alaiya Khachar now understood. He immediately fell at Shree Hari’s lotus feet and prayed, “Oh Maharaj! You are the controller of the entire universe. You are the supreme Lord Himself. The creation, sustenance and destruction of infinite cosmoses lie in Your hands. A soul like me is insignificant in comparison to You. By Your immense mercy, You have come onto this Earth and are performing many different enchanting, divine episodes in order to give us the opportunity to become close to You. That is Your divine grace.” Hearing his prayer, Shree Hari became pleased with Alaiya Khachar.
Raibai too became pleased to witness Shree Hari’s great powers and said, “Your body is feeble and You look as thin as a twig, but You contain so much power that even the strongest of bodybuilders would not be able to defeat You.” Shree Hari remained in Kundal for quite some time and provided everyone with many unforgettable memories.