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Yogi Jayanti

Excerpts from book :'Images of Eternal Joy'

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Born in Dhari, Saurashtra on Vaishakh vad 12, Samvat 1948 (3rd June 1892), Yogiji Maharaj became the fourth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Endowed with saintly virtues from birth, he became a sadhu in the Junagadh mandir at the age of sixteen, in 1908. In addition to the strict observance of the sadhu vows of Panch Vartaman, he served other sadhus and performed severe austerities.

Soon he joined Shastriji Maharaj in Bochasan to extol the glory of Akshar Purushottam philosophy. While constructing the Sarangpur mandir, Shastriji Maharaj appointed him to visit the surrounding villages everyday to beg alms. Only then could food be cooked for sadhus and workers. Amidst this penury, harsh insults and often physical beatings from dissenters, he maintained his sadhuta - saintliness. Incredibly, in addition to these tribulations he regularly observed eight to ten waterless fasts a month. Sometimes he'd forego food for the sole reason that by the time he cooked and served everyone, since he always ate at the end, there would be none left. As for sleep, he never retired before 12.30 a.m., only to awaken a few hours later at 3.30 a.m.! Only on rare occasions would he have time for an afternoon nap.

Besides the physical self-abnegation, Yogiji Maharaj's love for God was awe-inspiring. Shastriji Maharaj often remarked to devotees that, "Today, if you wish to witness the supreme bhakti that Vallabhacharya had towards God, you only have to look at Yogiji Maharaj." Of the countless instances which revealed his bhakti, one is noteworthy. Once while walking from village to village in scorching heat with Nirgun Swami, they arrived at a well at around 4.30 p.m. After offering water to Thakorji - Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj offered over eleven dandvats, beseeching for forgiveness. Curious, Nirgun Swami inquired about his reason. Yogiji Maharaj replied, "Because we could not offer water at four o'clock" (the usual time).

"But it was not our fault that we could not find water," argued Nirgun Swami.

"Nonetheless, Thakorji suffered such thirst because of my laxity."

Shastriji Maharaj also often remarked to devotees that in case Ved Vyas missed citing any virtue of a true sadhu in the Bhagvatam, then one could observe these in Yogiji Maharaj!
True bhakti for God simultaneously entails serving His devotees too with equal exuberance. Of the thousands of incidents in his life, which illustrate this virtue, only one is cited here. Once during a festival, when devotees filed to receive his blessings before availing prasad, a frail devotee bowed at his feet. Noticing his yellow pigmented eyes, Swami instantly enquired whether he was suffering from jaundice. The astonished devotee replied that indeed he was. Swami then requested him to await until all the devotees filed past. Then summoning a sadhu, he instructed him to cook food conducive in jaundice!

In 1951, prior to returning to Akshardham, Shastriji Maharaj bequeathed the successorship to Yogiji Maharaj. Though the severe penances had tremendously weakened him, he continued visiting devotees in town and country with zest, in whatever transport then available. Besides walking, this included anything from ox-carts, tractors, state transport buses, trains - in which he religiously travelled third class. Car travelling only arrived in the last decade in his life.

He was the first Gunatit hierarch to step beyond Bharat's shores. Visiting devotees in the Dark Continent - in east and southern African countries in 1955, he revived Hindu Dharma among Hindus. On this occasion he consecrated the first mandir in Mombasa, Kenya.

In 1959, he revisited E.Africa, consecrating 3 mandirs in Uganda: Kampala, Jinja and Tororo. By this time he was so weakened, he often had to use a wheelchair.

During the late fifties he inspired urban youths to accompany him in the villages during their summer vacation. He possessed an innate and phenomenal ability to strike rapport with youths who were mere teenagers. Despite the stark contrast, him being an old sadhu in his early sixties, while the students, raised in the comfort of town and city life, the latter revered him. Hectic touring in the torrid heat, observing waterless fasts, sleeping on the bare floor, washing utensils, clothes, and sweeping floors and cleaning toilets, and in the winter vacations - bathing in freezing water from wells or in rivers, were rigors they gladly bore. Though extremely soft-hearted, Yogiji Maharaj imposed these tough disciplines to mould them. Therein he weaned away body-consciousness from these fortunate youths, who therefore progressed rapidly on the path of attaining atmanishtha. Juxtaposed with the physical toughening, he judiciously showered on them selfless, divine love. Engulfed in this divinity, not one of these youths felt like leaving him when vacation ended. Estrangement from this mystical, sagely personality emotionally was painful. At the time of parting, not one eye remained dry. He would then solace them, promising to invite them in their next vacation. This in itself reflected his divinity, for initially he coaxed the youths; now, on parting, they clamored to join him at the earliest.

Little wonder then, that in 1961, when he consecrated the Kalashs - golden urns on Gadhada mandir's pinnacles, 51 of these youths offered themselves at Bhagwan Swaminarayan's lotus-feet, to be initiated as sadhus! This was a record second to Shriji Maharaj, who initiated 500 in one night, in the early 19th century. The majority of the youths were graduates from home and abroad, with degrees in engineering, textile engineering, medicine, agriculture, etc.

In 1970 at the grand age of 78, despite his chronic illnesses and now fully debilitated to a wheel-chair, he zealously embarked on a satsang tour of E.Africa and London. He consecrated a mandir in Nairobi, and the first Swaminarayan mandir in Europe, a converted church in Islington, north London. On his return, many youths accompanied him, one even from London, to become sadhus. Astonishing as it may seem, the majority had only met him for the first time in their lives during this tour.

On January 23,1971, (Posh vad Ekadashi, Samvat 2027), he returned to Akshardham, bequeathing the satsang to HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He was cremated in the Akshar Mandir complex in Gondal, where an exquisite marble shrine has been erected. Adjacent to this, a museum exhibits his holy relics and rare photographs of his life and work. His countless miracles, parables and life events have been compiled in nearly 20 books, listed below.

Favourite Maxims:

  1. "O Bhagwan, do good of all."
  2. "The only worthy endeavor [in life] is to worship God."
  3. "Imbibe fraternity, solidarity and unity in the Satsang."
  4. "Eradicate stubbornness, ego and jealousy from within."

Favourite Kirtans:

  1. Haji bhalaa sadhu tanki upadhi taje soi sadhu...
  2. Manasono avatar mongho nahi male fari... (4 pads)
  3. Hari guna gaata...(4 pads)
  4. Mohanne gamavane ichho maanani ... (4 pads)
  5. Mana maan kahyutu maaru te kam bagaadyu taaru...
  6. Dhir dhoorandhara shoor sacha kharaa...(10 pads)

Inspirer of:

  1. Yuvak Mandal, Bal Mandal Activities
  2. Publication of Life & Philosophy of Shree Swaminarayan by H.T. Dave (c) 1967
  3. Publication of Harililakalpataru - Sanskrit text extolling Shriji Maharaj's lila, by Achintyanand Brahmachari
  4. Sunday Satsang Sabha
  5. Maha Puja and Pradakshinas of the miraculous shrine, Akshar Deri, Gondal
  6. Singing Sanskrit Stotras after the Shrungar Arti in Shikharbaddh Mandirs - a legacy from Gunatitanand Swami's period in Junagadh
  7. Wrote a booklet, Akshar Tirth, extolling Akshar Deri's glory
  8. Wrote an inspiring letter to a devotee and offered a landmark prayer in the mandir in Mahelav, the birth place of his guru Shastriji Maharaj, which has been rendered as the Yogi Gita.


  1. Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj - 6 vols. - Shastri Sadhu Ishwarcharandas
  2. Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj (short Biography) - Mohanbhai Patel.
  3. Yogiji Maharaj (Satsang Exam Booklet) - Shastri Sadhu Ishwarcharandas.
  4. Yogiji Maharaj - Ek Parichay - Sadhu Aksharvatsaldas
  5. Yogiji Maharaj -Pictorial for children - Ramanlal Soni

Teachings & Episodes:

  1. Yogiji Maharajni Bodh Kathao - Sadhu Viveksagardas
  2. Yogiji Maharajni Satsang Kathao - Sadhu Viveksagardas
  3. Yogi Charitam - Sadhu Ishwarcharandas
  4. Naad Brahman - compiled teachings
  5. Samarti (Panch Tirthi in Sorath with Yogiji Maharaj) - Sadhu Viveksagardas
  6. Tarunai na Marmi - Yogiji Maharaj (Youths & Yogiji Maharaj) - Sadhu Vivekpriyadas
  7. Yogi Darshan (Photo Album)
  8. Images Eternal of Joy (Coffee Table Book) - Sadhu Brahmaviharidas
  9. Amrut Parva (75th Anniversary Dedication Volume)
  10. Maanav Manna Maalmi - Gunvant Dani
  11. Digantma Danka - Sadhu Viveksagardas, Sadhu Ishwarcharandas
  12. Jogido deto deto - Gunvant Dani
  13. Tirthamrut -Tirthajyoti - H.T.Dave
  14. Premsudharas - compilation
  15. Yogi Vani - compilation
  16. Commentaries on Bhaktinidhi and Purushottam Prakash by Yogiji Maharaj - compiled by Sadhu Viveksagardas

Of the over 50 kirtans composed on him by renowned contemporary poets, the most popularly sung are listed below which reflect his divinity and saintliness:

  1. Aankhthi Yogi bapane mey joya...
  2. Dhanya jene maliyo Yogiji no sang...
  3. Yogi aankhadi tamari aa, Yamunana neer chhe...
  4. Vanima vansali vagi, Yogi tari vanima vansali vagi
  5. Vandan varamvar, Yogijine vandan varamvar...
  6. Jugojuga jivajo pyara, Yogi mari aankhana tara...
  7. Jogidana jadu mara hrudaye rame...
  8. Jogidane jowa gayaa re, te jonara jadpana...
  9. Deto deto ne deto, Jogido deto deto ne deto...
  10. Yogi awo te rang mune shid lagaadyo...
  11. Yogi Bapa amari tame raksha karo...
  12. Yogiji tamara darshanthi, sukhchen amone khub male...
  13. Koti vandan kariye Yogiji, man mandirma vasnara...
  14. Gondalwala Yogi tamari murtima man mohi rahyu...
  15. Ek katha kahu tame sambhaljo satsangi samsari
    Dhari mukame pragatyata thai Yogiji sukhakari...
  16. Bijo aawine kok bole, bawajima bijo aawine kok bole...
  17. Mare ek Yogi namanu nanu, sachave maru saghadu ttanu...

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