Gadhadã I – 47 Characteristics Of Dharma-Nishtha

47.1 In the Samvat year 1876, on the morning of Mahã sud 12 [26th January, 1820], Swãmi Shree Sahajãnandji Mahãrãj was sitting on a decorated bedstead on the platform under the neem tree in front of the mandir of Shree Vãsudev-Nãrãyan in Dãdã Khãchar’s darbãr in Gadhadã. He was dressed entirely in white clothes. A sabhã of munis, as well as haribhaktas from various places, had gathered before Him.

47.2 Then, after snapping the fingers of His right hand, Shreeji Mahãrãj said, “Everyone please listen with attention, as I have something to tell you. What I have to say is simple, but you will only be able to grasp its meaning if you listen carefully. Otherwise, you will not.”

47.3 All the haribhaktas said, “Please do tell us, Mahãrãj.”

47.4 Shreeji Mahãrãj then said, “Of Bhagvãn’s bhaktas, some have strength in dharmanishthã, some have strength in ãtmãnishthã, some have strength in vairãgyanishthã, and some have strength in bhaktinishthã. Although a person may have one strength, they also possess all the other types, but to a lesser extent.

Devotees of Lord have different attributes which are dominant, rest all exists but to a lesser extent. The various such qualities are dharma (being committed to disciplines), atma-nishtha(firm belief that one is a soul), vairãgya(detachment), and bhakti, that is love and devotion to God.

Now Lord Swaminarayan describes the characteristics of each of the devotee. There are different types of devotees of God, and we need to identify them for our own benefit so that we can associate with like-minded devotees for better commingling of us and our faster progress.

47.5 “A bhakta, whose main strength is following bhãgvatdharma, lovingly engages himself in performing the basic sevã of Bhagvãn and His bhaktas. He also abides by the rules, like ahinsã and brahmchãrya, which are related to the dharma of his varna and ãshram. The bhakta also enjoys building mandirs for Bhagvãn, and working in His gardens. He enjoys offering different varieties of food to Bhagvãn, and also enjoys hand-plastering and sweeping the mandirs of Bhagvãn and the residential halls of sãdhus. In addition, he offers bhakti to Bhagvãn by listening to kathãs and singing kirtans without any form of pretence. Moreover, such a bhakta who is strong in following dharma intensely enjoys listening to and reading shastras describing bhãgvat-dharma.”

The devotee performs all the above mentioned activities without pretence, which is something we need to make note of. They engage in service to the Lord and temples, and they enjoy listening to scriptures which describe such dharma.






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