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Service without a whisper
Service without a whisper

It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan mandir in Amdavad was silent, with nobody around. Babubhai Kothari, the chief administrator, routinely closed his office to retire for an afternoon nap. Oddly, he heard a low clanging and clanking sound emerging from the room by the water tank. It seemed someone was washing dishes. But who could it be in this heat of the afternoon ? Curiosity made Babubhai inspect. The door was locked from the inside, yet from a small slit in the wood he peered in. For a moment he was shocked in amazement. Amidst a heap of dirty dishes, his Guru, Yogiji Maharaj was bending over and scouring with great delight. He was rejoicing for getting this opportunity to serve. Babubhai's affection could not bear it. How could he watch Yogiji Maharaj, the Spiritual master of hundreds of thousands, wash the dishes of his own disciples? He shouted "swamiji! Please leave the dishes. You should not do such menial things. It is our duty..." "No, do not say that ! After a long time I've had this opportunity of service. Please allow me to perform it. Others are tired and have retired to take rest, and I was fortunate enough to find this 'seva'. Please do not say..." The master continued to plead and wash at the same time. The disciple stood there, helpless and heartbroken, watching his Guru engrossed in humble service. He gave grand importance to the lowest of 'seva'. Even in his last years, at the age of 78, bedridden during a spell of severe illness, Yogiji once pleaded to his attendants, "Oh let me go to serve and wash dishes. I wish to wash utensils." seva=service.

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith