33.1 In the Samvat year 1876, on the evening of Posh vad 5 [5th January, 1820], Shreeji Mahãrãj was sitting facing east on a decorated bedstead on the veranda outside the room next to the mandir of Shree Vãsudev-Nãrãyan in Dãdã Khãchar’s darbãr in Gadhadã. He was wearing a white khes and had covered Himself with a white chãdar. He had also tied a reto, with deep orange ends, around His head. A sabhã of munis, as well as haribhaktas from various places, had gathered before Him.
33.2 Muktãnand Swãmi then asked, “The shãstras have described countless spiritual activities that please Bhagvãn. Amongst them all, which one is so powerful that it alone earns as much bliss of Bhagvãn, as is earned by performing all spiritual activities combined? Please reveal it to us.”
The spiritual scriptures prescribe various spiritual activities, out of which there is one spiritual activity, which earns all the bliss that is earned by all the other activities combined. This is very important, as it makes our job of salvation easier.
33.3 Shreeji Mahãrãj replied, “Please listen as I tell you the one spiritual activity by which Bhagvãn can be pleased.” He then continued, “Accepting the firm refuge of Bhagvãn is the single, greatest activity amongst all spiritual activities for pleasing Bhagvãn. However, that refuge must be extremely firm and without any flaws.
Accepting a refuge, that is the answer. But there are conditions; the refuge must be extremely firm without any flaws. Such a refuge is difficult to find and yet it can be attained in following ways which Lord Swaminarayan describes further.
33.4 “There are three types of refuge. One way of having the refuge of Bhagvãn is with blind faith. If a person has intense blind faith, then even if someone such as Brahmã were to attempt to deflect him from his refuge, he would not be deflected.
The first sounds a bit strange, blind faith. How can we blindly trust anyone? Having blind faith is a defect, because it does not have rational and critical thought processes behind it.
But, such a blind faith in God is a quality, a desirable quality, as the entity that we are installing our faith in is God, and God never fails us, rest all end up disappointing us. Blindly trusting anyone else except for God is like giving a free license to hurt, disrespect and disappoint us. But, having the same blind faith in God will elevate us to a whole new spiritual level.
33.5 “The second type is firm refuge of Bhagvãn that is created out of love. Whoever has intense love for Bhagvãn, cannot even forcibly be attracted to any object other than Bhagvãn. This is known as firm refuge produced out of intense love.
Second is Love. Love is amazing, because when we love someone, everything else becomes insignificant as compared to that person or thing. Similarly, when one develops intense love for God, then one does not see a single fault in God and automatically, everything else becomes insignificant, the world, their body, their bodily relations etc.
Gopis and Premanand Swami are examples of such devotees.
33.6 “The third type is refuge with understanding. A person who has great intelligence understands the sagun–nirgun and anvay–vyatirek aspects of Bhagvãn. He understands entities that have been created by Bhagvãn’s Mãyã, as well as the ways Bhagvãn takes avatãrs on earth. He also understands how, at the time of creation of the universe, Bhagvãn behaves as Akshar, how Bhagvãn behaves as Prakruti–Purush, how Bhagvãn behaves as Virãt–Purush, how Bhagvãn behaves as Brahmã and other prajãpatis. He also understands how Bhagvãn works through those like Nãrad and the Sanakãdik, for the purpose of granting kalyãn to the jeevs. He understands all these methods.
Thirdly, it is Gnaan or knowledge. When one understands God the way He is, is called knowledge. How does he work? His maya etc. This is the status of Great devotees like Udhav or Nityanand Swami or Gopalanand or Gunatitianand Swami.
33.7 “Moreover, he realises that Purushottam Bhagvãn is greater than everything and is absolutely unaffected. He who has such an understanding is said to have a firm refuge of Bhagvãn using his intelligence. If someone tries to discourage him, or even if he tries to discourage himself, such refuge never fades away. Also, regardless of whether Bhagvãn – assuming a human svarup – displays His divine power or acts powerless, such a person’s intellect would not hold any doubts.”
One who realizes God is greater than everything else, is unaffected by everything. Nothing bothers him as he knows that there is nothing in this world which cannot be overcome by God, and I(the devotee) am in the refuge of God, so I(the devotee) should be worried about nothing. Such a refuge never fades away even if he himself tries to doubt God. Even if God behaves powerlessly.
33.8 Then, Shreeji Mahãrãj said, “If you allow me, I wish to ask a question.”
33.9 Muktãnand Swãmi replied, “Mahãrãj, please do ask.”
33.10 Shreeji Mahãrãj then asked, “Of the three characteristics I have just described to you, which is your strength? Although a combination of all three is found in all bhaktas of Bhagvãn, the characteristic that is strongest is said to be the strength they possess. So, of the three – blind faith, love, and understanding – which is your strength?”
33.11 Muktãnand Swãmi and Brahmãnand Swãmi both replied, “Our characteristic is of understanding.”
Muktanand Swami and Brahamanand Swami were great saints of Swaminarayan Sampraday. Once they were held captives by some irreligious people who decided to cut their nose and ears off! They did not panic all they said to each other was, “People get their nose and ears cut-off for mere children and wives, we have the opportunity to do so for God.”
Although they were saved by God, but they never prayed to God to save them out of panic, which is called faith which arises out of understanding.
33.12 Then, the other sãdhus also stated their own strengths.
||End of Vachanãmrut Gadhadã I || 33 || 33 ||