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The Bicentennial Anniversary of
Bhagwan Swaminarayan's Advent in Loj, Gujarat.

( A.S.1856-2056, C.E. 1799-1999 )


Severe Austerities
Being the Lord incarnate, Neelkanth neither needed to perform austerities and penances like normal aspirants, nor resort to self-abnegation. However, He set an Shrine in Muktinathexample for those who would later follow Him, to depict the importance of: austerities and service, pilgrimage, scriptural study under the auspices of a true Guru and other endeavors. In His first episode of austerity, in Muktinath, a sacred shrine in the Himalayas, He meditated on one leg for two and a half months without food. His longest period of abstaining food occurred during His visit to Manasarovar in sub-zero temperatures. After His last meal in Diwali, in mid-October 1792 in the Badrinath shrine, He trudged bare-footed over snow-laden mountains and barren, rocky and Shrine in Badrinath desolate landscape of Tibet. He returned to Badrinath six months later, in mid-April 1793 when the shrine's pujari offered Him the second meal! A simultaneous feat on His four-day stay, was that He probably had to smash the frozen surface to have His ritual daily bath in the lake! He suffered no ill-effects that plague mountaineers, such as : snow-blindness, frost-bite, hypothermia, pneumonia or other disorders. He even remained oblivous of His devastated body, unbelievably emaciated to skin and bone, with only water (plasma) instead of red blood (Haricharitramrut Sagar 2/25). More astonishing is that He travelled alone as an eleven-year old, to an inhospitable place He had never visited, nor asked somebody about its route and direction. Wondrous ManasarovarLater in Nepal, He embarked on a different form of austerity. He sought out Gopal Yogi, an adept in Ashtang Yoga, a phenomenal yoga discipline. In only 9 months Neelkanth mastered this eight-fold yoga. Its fruit is Samadhi, in which one has fully conquered his consciousness, known as 'chitta-vrutti nirodha'. However, as fruit of Gopal Yogi's personal endeavors, Neelkanth granted him the highest realization, God-realization, thus redeeming him. Totally fulfilled, Gopal Yogi then left his material body. During His stay here, Neelkanth also studied the scriptures under Gopal Yogi's guruship.


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