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The Inspirer and Present Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

He has a heart wherein the whole world can live

Laugh and Make Play:

"...I quickly began to inhale and exhale. With great skill he managed to keep balance, all the while laughing almost uncontrollably. 'It feels like an escalator,' he said... Amdavad Yuvak Mandal had organised a quiz named, 'Ame anek, man ek.' We may be many, but are of one mind.
The first question was asked, "You are wearing a Rado wrist watch. When you come to touch Swamishri's feet he sees the watch and says the watch would look fine on Thakorji's wrist. What would you do?"
One after the other the contestants answered. A sadhu chipped in, "What they should answer is that 'along with the watch I'd also give my hand.'" This meant that the youth was fully giving himself in the Lord's service as a sadhu, renouncing the world and family. There was laughter on all sides.
Swamishri said, "These people have already given their hands elsewhere!" He was refering to their wives and marriage. The entire sabha burst into applause and laughter. Yes, he was so right. Yet he made so light of their material attachments! In Bombay one evening after the sabha, Swamishri was taking the small lift to his fifth floor rooms. The sadhus had run up the stairwell. Most had climbed to the fifth floor and were waiting for Swamishri. Krishnapriya Swami, Chaitanyaswarup Swami and some others were waiting by the elevator exit on the third floor. As the elevator came up they began to loudly mimic the sound of a puffing train, "Chug, chug, chug, chug." Others began to copy the cries of vendors and station boys selling their fruits and snacks. After Swamishri passed them they rushed up to the fifth floor and stood in a line as wagons, holding each other's shoulder cloths, one standing behind the other.
Stepping out of the elevator Swamishri instantly read the game. He became the locomotive and stood at the head of the line. The sadhu behind him held Swamishri's shoulder cloth.
He ordered Krishnapriya Swami, "You be the guard's wagon which is last. Guards are fat like you!"
He then 'chugged', the wagons following behind, walking to his room. When they reached the bathroom he stopped. "That's it, the station's here. All wagons separate," he called. He was a grandfather playing with his grandchildren.
Swamishri visited the bathroom. When he came back the sadhus were still giggling. A warm glow of well being and closeness pervaded the atmosphere. With a gesture of his hand Swamishri said, "Happy and jesting in this way we'll all surely get to Akshardham."
It was a promise. A game had been played but a message had to be learnt. To reach God's divine abode and reside there eternally in His presence one had to follow the Satpurush, one had to hold on to him and follow wherever he led. He was the locomotive who could pull the soul from the cess pool of sense pleasures that it has been wallowing in for innumerable births.
Swamishri was in Amdavad, taking his early evening walking exercise in the meeting lounge that led to his bedroom. The two longer walls were lined by sadhus singing Chosath Padi, the sixty four verses in Gujarati composed by Niskulanand Swami, describing the attributes of a bonafide sadhu and a pseudo sadhu. Swamishri paced the hall long ways, his stride never once breaking. After the Chosath Padi, one or two kirtans were sung. The time allotted for walking had just about finished but Swamishri kept walking. Brahmaprakash Swami called, "Bapa, it's time to finish." Swamishri waved in the negative. Narayancharan Swami, Swamishri's personal attendant, also called that time was up, only to be ignored.
Brahmaprakash Swami thought to play a little trick. As Swamishri walked away from the wall with the entrance and exit doors, he stood up and sat exactly in the middle of the lounge directly in Swamishri's path.
Swamishri turned beneath the mahogany coloured air conditioner grills. He saw Brahmaprakash Swami and smiled, but continued walking at his usual lively pace.
Brahmaprakash Swami: I had decided not to move. If he stepped to my left I would dive at his feet and if he stepped to my right I would dive there as well and with both hands embrace his feet. To my surprise Swamishri came straight towards me at the same speed. He wasn't slowing down in the least. He walked right up to me and stopped, his feet touching my crossed legs. Now what? Seconds passed. The other sadhus were laughing. I looked up and could only see Swamishri's soft stomach shaking and hear him laughing as well. He placed one hand on my head. I thought he was blessing me. He put his other hand on my head. Overjoyed that he was blessing me I bowed to accept and felt a sudden weight on my head. In a split second the pressure was gone.
The entire lounge erupted into laughter and clapping. Swamishri had leap-frogged over Brahmaprakash Swami's head, who looked up to find that Swamishri had disappeared. Swamishri walked up to the opposite wall, and returned to say, "Now the time is up."
* * *
Krishnapriya Swami: We were in Pavai Vadi, Swamishri was touring the land and asking questions. It was an inspection of a sorts. Wanting to amuse Swamishri, Chaitanya Swami and myself lay down carelessly in the cow-sheds copying the posture adopted by wandering mendicant sadhus sleeping on railway platforms. When Swamishri entered the shed we pretended not to notice and remained on the ground, eyes closed. He walked up to us and with his toe prodded my large stomach.
I said, "Swaminarayan hava bhar de" (Swaminarayan is filling air) I slowly inflated my stomach. It ballooned to quite a size! Swamishri put his foot on it. Viveksagar Swami said, "Even if you stand on him nothing will happen to him."
Holding Viveksagar Swami's shoulder for support Swamishri stood on my stomach. I quickly began to inhale and exhale. With great skill he managed to keep balance, all the while laughing almost uncontrollably. "It feels like an escalator," he said, "we stand still and the steps move!"
I will never forget that time of sheer joy. It was unbeatable. Who else but Swamishri would become so childlike with his spiritual children and take the time to play.

Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan

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