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The Inspirer and Present Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

He has a heart wherein the whole world can live

Put My Mind at Peace:

My body cannot be depended upon now. At the most it will live for 2-4 years. It will not stay for much longer, so stay with me and achieve your life's purpose.
In 1950 Shastriji Maharaj made it known to leading sadhus and devotees that he had decided to appoint Naranda, in his place as Pramukh (President) of the Sanstha. The reaction was mixed. Some agreed, others were aghast. Naranda as a sadhu was excellent, but could he shoulder the tremendous responsibilities. Did he have the organisational flair? Doubts were voiced. These seniors were concerned for the fellowship. Their misgivings arose not out of jealousy but out of a deep love for the Sanstha that Shastriji Maharaj had created from nothing. For almost 40 years these people had suffered untold hardships. They had struggled against all odds to establish temples and spread the Akshar Purushottam upasana. The fruit of their labour was now ripening. Would Naranda throw everything to the wind? Maganbhai once even said, "Swami, you are entrusting the Sanstha to this junior sadhu, but let's hope there never comes a time of remorse..."
Replied Shastriji Maharaj, "Maganbhai, we have done many things, but never have I once felt remorse. And I am convinced that in this decision everything is as well as it should be. I will not be sorry. You look to his body, I look to his soul..."
On another occasion Shastriji Maharaj told Chaganbhai N. Patel, "By appointing Shastri Narayanswarupdas as the Pramukh of this Sanstha I am ensuring everyone's happiness for the next 50 years! Shastriji Maharaj's confidence and faith in Narayanswarupdas soon won everybody over.
When Narayanswarupdas was barely 25 years old Shastriji Maharaj had written him a long letter. The letter reveals the deep regard and love Shastriji Maharaj had for his young disciple.
Date : 2-9-47
May you be well. To jewel among sadhus, worshipper of Akshar Purushottam, residing at holy Bochasan, blessings and Jai Swaminarayan from Shastri Yagnapurushdas writing from Anand.
We have received your letter. You will have received my card. We have read your (questions) concerning Sarangpur (temple). It is best that the work on the gateway be halted after completing one floor.
It was Bhagatji Maharaj's and Jaga Bhagat's askance that the greatness of and faith in Swamishri (Mul Akshar Gunatitanand Swami) be spread. Because of their command and grace, I have done this. And because of their wish all desired projects till now have met with success. Thus, be ready to support this work with as much effort as possible.
(It's as) if whilst sleeping a crystal of sakar has been placed in (your) mouth. It has now to be swallowed and enjoyed. My body cannot be depended upon now. At the most it will live for 2-4 years. It will not stay for much longer, so stay with me and achieve your life's purpose.
Because of pious merit from previous births as a youngster you have achieved the most fame in our following. My mind naturally rests on you. You are intelligent and so know this. If a person wants to come up to a good position from an ordinary one then till middle age he has to travel at home and abroad, help many people with great hardships and then he is just about noticed by the world. And if he is born into the house of a great man then immediately people will call 'Sheth, Sheth', and without effort he will be a leader in society. In the same way in a young age you have attained the realisation of a great sadguru. You are meritorious and fortunate.
My affection for you is spontaneous and overflowing. (I wish) you to excel in every respect. In this you benefit, the entire Satsang benefits, and this will put my mind at peace...So now you have to please me and the entire Satsang. Everything is attainable, there is no endeavour as supreme as 'pleasing', for the supreme is attained by 'pleasing' Swami - Maharaj and the beloved sadhus and devotees who have knowledge of Gunatit. Without any effort you have received the chance to 'please'. Believe this and guard this opportunity. Great sadhus and sadgurus such as Niskulanand were totally untouched and great and renunciate. Yet to please Maharaj and Satsang, they accepted the seva to serve the temples and spread Satsang. This same seva you have received. Do not forget this priceless time for seva and accept it with respect and love...
Narayanswarupdas was at first unwilling to shoulder responsibility as President of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha. He was both junior and inexperienced in comparison to other sadhus and devotees. He saw them as better equipped to maintain and expand the work begun by their spiritual master. Shastriji Maharaj, however, had other thoughts. He had chosen Narayanswarupdas and was convinced only he could steer the Fellowship as needed. He was determined that Narayanswarupdas be Pramukh.
Ten years earlier Shastriji Maharaj had asked Harijivandas Swami to talk to Shantilal and ask him to accept initiation as a sadhu. Now, once again Shastriji Maharaj turned to him and asked him to convince Naranda to accept responsibility as President. Some devotees were also asked to talk to him.
Narayanswarupdas saw that it truly was the innermost desire of Shastriji Maharaj. His only option was to humbly accept the seva. And this he did.
The ceremony was ordinary. It took place in the small ground floor room at Ambali Pol, used for years as a Satsang temple. Some of the 20-30 devotees who were present later wrote a report of the entire meeting.
Samvat year 2006, Jeth Sud 4, Sunday 21-5-50, in the evening at 5 o'clock, a meeting of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha Managing Committee was held at the Akshar Purushottam Temple in Ambali Pol, Shahpur. Amongst members present were Sadguru Yogiji Maharaj Jnanjivandasji, Pujya Sadguru Akshar Purushottamdasji. Sadguru Kothari Shastri Narayanswarupdasji and others. The proceedings began with a 'jai' called for Akshar Purushottam Maharaj. Secretary Rasiklalbhai read out the minutes and directions of the last meeting. Then Pragat Brahmaswarup respected Sadguru Guruhari Shastriji Maharaj himself spoke, "From today I appoint in my place as Pramukh - in my position - Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas." Saying this he had with him a chadar which he draped around (Narayanswarupdas). Addressing him he said, "This Yogi Maharaj is vachansiddha and very illustrious. Under his guardianship you have to illuminate Satsang." Then Sadguru Pujya Yogiji Maharaj placed both hands on Pujya Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas' head and blessed him. Everyone chorused 'Jai' to Akshar Purushottam Maharaj and happily accepted him. Swamishri said, "Just as you have obeyed me, from now onwards live within the commands of Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas." Then everyone happily assented, "We will all obey him." 'Jai' was chorused. Secretary Rasiklalbhai read out the appointment papers. In this Pujya Swamishri had written of Pujya Shastri Narayanswarupdas. "Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas, who is the Pramukh of this my appointed Management Committee and is a member of that committee, and who at present as the Kothari of Sarangpur Akshar Purushottam temple has shown a brilliant future and spiritual growth and who has also won the abundant love of the Satsang Fellowship, collecting the opinions and considerations of all satsangis and also examining him with my own discriminating strengths, I have appointed him in my place as the Pramukh of the Managing Committee." Everyone was pleased and accepted him amidst 'jais' to Swamishri.
On this occasion respected Ishwarbhai Prabhudas performed puja of Pujya Swamishri and the newly appointed Pramukh, Shri Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas. He offered him a chadar, garland, and gift. He also spoke. Sweetmeats were given to all present on his behalf. Then Muktaraj Ashabhai expressed best wishes for the new President and also performed puja. Then Sheth Shri Champaklalbhai and all other members and devotees performed puja. Kothari Harijivandas expressed his happiness and said, "On behalf of the entire sadhu group I congratulate the new President and announce our complete co-operation." After this Sadguru Shastri Narayanswarupdas gave a speech.
Then Shethshri Champaklalbhai asked Swamishri, "For a minimum of ten years remain healthy and grant us the bliss of Satsang." Shethshri Champaklalbhai was speaking on behalf of the entire Satsang fellowship, it was happily accepted.
(Shastriji Maharaj) asked Shri Yogi Swami, as a true sadhu and senior, to advise, guide and preach the President, which was also accepted (by Yogiji Maharaj).
Throughout the proceedings Narayanswarupdas Swami remained silent. The small room was crowded. He had been asked to sit on a cot along with Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. He was unaccustomed to such status and was embarrassed. The very idea of being President confused him. But Shastriji Maharaj had commanded, and as a disciple striving to become ideal he had had to accept. It was the guru's right to be able to command a disciple into whichever service he thought fit. It could be tending the fields or cooking for the Lord, scrubbing the toilets or serving as President!
It was but natural that he be asked to say a few words. Narayanswarupdas, whilst an able singer of the Bhaktachintamani was not known for his oratory. On occasion he would speak, but only if pressed to. Today he was no more fluent or lucid. The words tumbled out, one after another, forming short and long sentences. What he said he felt, what he felt was adequately experienced.
The devotees, some of whom had been with Shastriji Maharaj since the beginning so many distant years ago looked keenly toward their new administrative head. They saw a thin, pale looking reticent young sadhu of barely 28.
"My life-breath Guruhari respected sadguru Swamishri Shastriji Maharaj, Param Pujya Yogiji Maharaj, sadgurus, respected sadhus, parshads and all satsangis.
"Pujya Guruhari Shastriji Maharaj has profoundly graced me, I am indebted to him and his giving me responsibility as the President of the Managing Committee out of his great compassion for me. For the past 45 years Guruhari has built temples worth lakhs of rupees in Bochasan, Sarangpur, Gondal, Atladara, installed images of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj in the central shrine, established (the) upasana in this Bharatkhand, opened the road to ultimate salvation for countless aspirants, acquired temple property, made sure that all is well till the end of time; for this, all of us disciples are greatly indebted to him. From now onwards the responsibility for the Sanstha's temples is mine, as well as the committee members', all the sadhus, and all those in positions of responsibility. Now it remains for us to serve with mind, body and devotion to fully expand the Sanstha; and the teachings of Guruhari are to be spread throughout the world.
"On this auspicious day I pray from my heart to Guruhari, that whatever strength, knowledge, inspiration I have has been given by you. Up until now my life as a renunciate has been passed in compassionate your's service. Now you have commanded me to serve in this tremendous seva for which grant me fully the capability and strength; and may also all your disciples be happy in mind, body and wealth, let them be unassailed by any unhappiness or hardship in this world and worshipping Shriji Maharaj at the last, reside in Akshardham, I ask blessings for this. Also, if even unknowingly someone utters the name of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj grant him Akshardham through your miraculous greatness.
"Today before you, Gurushri, and before this assembly I take an oath that I will fully carry out my duties to this Sanstha of yours, without caring for this body, I will remain sincere, and be fulfilled. You have cultivated this garden - knowledge of Akshar Purushottam - everyday I will persevere and care that it flowers in every way, I will serve, and wish for the blessings of the entire fellowship, grant me this. I ask that in all my duties for the good of Satsang, Pujya Yogi Maharaj, sadgurus, senior sadhus, parshads and all disciples I appeal to with pure heart that all of you give me your full co-operation, so I may be strengthened to perform this tremendous service.
"I thank from the bottom of my heart all the committee members, sadhus and satsangis who have shown their sentiments and favour toward me on this occasion. In all those activities benefiting Satsang I wish for your co-operation and strength to perform this service.
"Lastly, I pray that Pujya Guruhari remain healthy and grant us unbroken peace and happiness and enjoy a long life."
The assembly was in good spirits. At its conclusion a meal was served to all. Narayanswarupdas wandered out into the front yard. Under the low tap protruding from the yard wall were dirty plates, pots and pans.
The President sat down to wash them.
The sanctum of the Gadhada temple was almost ready. Shastriji Maharaj decided on Vaishakh Sud 10th as auspicious to install the images of Dham, Dhami and Mukta. He toured the site, inspecting the work with an expert eye, giving guidance where necessary and then went back to Sarangpur where he wanted to rest. For several weeks his health had been deteriorating. Everybody worried for him.
One evening, Yogiji Maharaj, Pramukh Swami and other sadhus and devotees had gathered around Shastriji Maharaj's cot. He looked straight at Pramukh Swami, his tender feelings clearly visible. "Narayanswami, in Amdavad in a sabha I placed you in my place. But this Yogiji Maharaj is eternally senior in Satsang: everybody should accept him and live within his commands. Never do anything which might sadden him. This sadhu has never done anything against my wishes. He has lived carefully within my liking. There is no one like him. Serving him is to serve me. Count him as in my place as guru. I will be pleased if you serve him in mind, action and words."
Mid morning a few days later, on Vaishakh Sud 3, of his own free will he passed away.

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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