The story of Hira .

Lord Swaminarayan had a wish to give salvation (Kalyan) to many Souls. Therefore, while in Jetalpur, He decided to organise a grand yagna (sacrificial rite performed with fire) and promised that whoever takes part in the yagna, in any way or form, will get
salvation.

Maharaj was distributing the grains for grinding to the ladies of Jetalpur. A prostitute named Hira heard of Lord Swaminarayan’s promise of salvation and thought, “I have lived a life of pure sin, a life of greed and lust. I now want to make the Lord happy and be relieved of these sins.”

With this thought, she made her way to see Maharaj. She came to the sabha  (congregation) and stood at the rear of the doorway. She could see Maharaj seated at the front of the sabha. When the devotees saw Hira, they began to taunt and shout at her, telling her to go away. They did not want such a sinful person in the congregation. When the Lord saw Hira standing at the back of the congregation, their eyes met; and Maharaj asked her to come forward. She began to walk towards Maharaj.

Maharaj asked, “What can I do for you?” She replied, “Maharaj, I am a low life and want to be relieved of my sins to attain salvation.” Maharaj replied, “If that’s the case, then take this bag of grain, grind it and bring the flour back to us by tomorrow.” The devotees in the congregation suggested that Hira will have someone else grind the grain for her. Maharaj told Hira, “You have to grind it yourself.” Hira promised to do so and was overjoyed that Maharaj had given her the grain to grind. To her, this was a rare opportunity to achieve salvation. She picked the heavy bag of grains herself and carried it home.

Hira sat to grind the grain at home. It was night time and she started thinking about the generosity of the Lord has given her the grain to grind. She recalled Maharaj’s form as she had seen it in the sabha; the triple fold fan on His Turban (paagh), the garland of flowers around His neck, Shree Hari seated at the front of the congregation, rays emerging from His body illuminating the congregation, etc. Her thoughts were fully immersed in Lord Swaminarayan.

The sun rose and the birds began to sing. She forgot about going to sleep and resting her body and didn’t realise she had been grinding grain for the whole night. She filled the flour and took it to the congregation where Maharaj was seated. When she came, people began to laugh. They thought she couldn’t have ground the flour; she had never worked all her life, could she have done it today?

Maharaj called Hira forward and asked her who had ground the flour. She replied, “Maharaj, I have ground it with my own hands, all night, just for You.” Maharaj asked, “How can I be sure you did this? What proof do you have?” Hira opened the palms of her hands in front of Maharaj to show Him the boils and blisters on her hands. Maharaj was so happy with Hira that He shed a tear of joy. Her sincerity and devout efforts won her the grace of Lord Swaminarayan and hence relieved her of her sins. Maharaj declared, “Hirabai shall get salvation today; not just ordinary salvation but the same as the grand salvation that Muktanand Swami shall get.”

Hirabai then invited Maharaj to bless her further by coming to dine at her house and accept her dishes. Lord Swaminarayan gratefully accepted her invitation and went to the mansion of Hirabai, as she had now been purified as a result of serving devotees and Maharaj. Having personally seen this incident and seeing yet another soul being saved, Muktanand Swami admired the mercy of the Lord and expressed it in a kirtan.

Muktanand Swami has sung this kirtan on behalf of Hirabai, putting himself in her shoes:

 

સજની કોડે આનંદ ઘેર શ્રીજી પધાર્યા; આવી મારા તનડા કેરા તાપ નિવાર્યા…સજની કોડે…. ટેક

હરખે શું ઊઠી હું તો સન્મુખ ચાલી, તેડી બેસાર્યા મેં તો બાંહ્યલડી ઝાલી, અક્ષરના વાલીડાને થાવાને વાલી…સજની કોડે….૧

સન્મુખ બેસી હું તો નિરખવા લાગી, લોકડીયાની મેં તો લજ્જા રે ત્યાગી. મુખડું નીરખીને મારી ભૂખલડી ભાંગી…સજની કોડે….૨

 

Hirabai says to her friends, “My dear friends, Shreeji Maharaj has graced my home today. He has fulfilled my wishes with boundless mercy. He came and washed away all my sorrows and sins of this body.” It is evident that though Hirabai was doing a despicable act, she must have had a long-time yearning to meet the Almighty and save her soul. The small flicker of guilt burning within her sparked at the right moment and made her give up her sinful work instantly. She says, “I was so excited by seeing Maharaj coming to my house that I got up quickly and rushed towards Him. I literally took Him by the arm and sat Him down, showering all my affection onto my dear Maharaj. I stared at Him in awe and was absorbed by the bliss of His divine vision.” (1-2)

હરિને જમાડ્યા મેં તો હાથે સાહેલી, કુળની મરજાદા પણ મેં કોરે લઈ મેલી, શ્રીજીને જોઈ હું તો થઈ છું રે ઘેલી…સજની કોડે…..૩

 

“I fed Hari with my own hands. I forgot about all rules or limitations set by society and grasped this extremely rare opportunity. Maharaj was eating the food but I realised He was actually feasting on my devotion to Him. I looked at Him and was infatuated, not being able to think of anything or anyone else.” (3)

પાનની બીડી મેં તો પ્રેમેથી આલી. હસીને હોંશીલે વાલે, મુખડામા જાલી પ્રિતે આવીને મારા મુખડામાં આલી…સજની કોડે…૪

“My dears friends, what more can I tell you. I made a paan with the utmost affection. He smiled and held it near His mouth, cut it into half with His teeth, and chewed one half while giving me the other half back as prasad (sanctified offering). We exchanged more paans for a while.” (4)

મનગમતી મોજુ વાલે મુજને રે આપી વચને  કરીને વાલે  સ્થિર કરી સ્થાપી કોટિ જનમના દુઃખડા નાખ્યા છે કાપી…સજની કોડે…૫

Hirabai had full confidence in the abilities of Maharaj, hence had called Him to meet her in person and in private where she could let out the contents of her heart and say all her sorrows. To her, Sahajanand Swami was no longer an outsider, as He now resided in her heart. (5)

ઊંચી અગાશી મારી નૌતમ મેડી, ઊંચે આવાસે મુજને એકાંતે તેડી, હૈડાની રાડ્યો મેં તો હરિ આગળ રેલી…સજની કોડે…૬

She says, “In my infatuation, I started to cry and tears of joy came up in my eyes. Maharaj showed that He cares for me by wiping off my tears with His own hands. When I embrace Him my eyes feel relaxed, cool and at peace. He has literally sanctified this lowlife by His kind touch and divine sight.” (6)

પ્રેમના આસુ મારે નયણે ઝરે છે હાથ લૂએ ને  કર છાયા  કરે છે કઠે વળગું ને મારા નયણા ઠરે છે…સજની કોડે…૭

She continues, “He has fulfilled all my wishes and has given His word that He will take me as one of His own. By this, He has destroyed all my sins of this life and the births that my soul had taken before.” (7)

વણ તેડ્યા વહેલા મારે મંદિર આવો, મન કોડે મોહન મીઠી વેણું રે વજાવો, હેતે કરીને મુજને હસીને બોલાવો…સજની કોડે…૮

Hirabai is so overjoyed by the bliss she has enjoyed and the prasad she has had that she offers an all-time invitation to Maharaj to come to her house again to bless her at the earliest, and thereafter repeatedly at any time that He pleases. (8)

રંગના રંગીલા મુજને રંગ લાગ્યો તારો, કેડ્યે ફરે છે જીવનપ્રાણ અમારો, મુક્તાનંદ કહે છે મારો જન્મ સુધાર્યો…સજની કોડે…૯

She says, “He is the colour of all colours, and has coloured my body and soul. Our souls are now very close to each other and I am confident I will attain salvation. Once I have got the elation of the company of the Almighty himself, need I have any other  hopes?” On behalf of Hirabai, Muktanand Swami says that this life has been uplifted. (9)

Swami has captured and illustrated the affection and devotion of a devotee for the Almighty with such characteristic aura that he has made it challenging for us. We should also alleviate ourselves from sinful lives and lead pure and spotless lives that would aspire the Lord to come and stay in our hearts and finally take us to His abode.

 

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