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Gems from Swamini Vato



When unhappy, look towards those who are in greater misery rather than those happier than you. This is a key to happiness on earth.

Three kinds of people are happy: Those who act in total obedience to the behest of a great sadhu; those with knowledge divine who are not ruled by the capricious mind; and those who crave for nothing at all..

Why can't we experience the happiness of God? It's because we are confined by the pleasures of the senses.

Everyone's happiness rests on some basis or the other, but be sure to base your happiness on the soul and God; shun all other bases.

In our present existence what is the bliss of Akshardham, the divine abode of God? The rise of good intents and the experience of perennial happiness within. And what are the tortures of hell? The rise of evil intents and the existence of a sustained anguish within.

The calf relishes the milk of the cow; the bug, blood. Likewise, the pleasures of the palate and the happiness from vain glory are like 'blood' and devotion rendered to God after identifying one's spirit with Brahman is like 'milk'.

Happiness lies in: remembering God, the company of His saints, purity of thought and in accepting that all the pleasures of this world are replete with pains. No one truly great has ever declared happiness to be in the sense-objects. And the eternally happy state is in realising oneself as atman. It is unique in itself; no evil forces of lust and the like can exist therein.

Suppose billions of packets of ash are locked away safely in a strongbox. Shall we get from it anything worthwhile in the time of need? No! Everything upto Prakriti Purush is mere packets of ash. No happiness or peace is possible anywhere else than in God's divine form and His sadhu.


Basically, human suffering stems from want of food and clothing; the rest sprouts from ignorance.

Mental distress can only be coped with and cured by spiritual knowledge.

How can we avoid distress? In the absence of attachment, partisanship, and ignorance, distress does not come; it is bound to come if there is even one of these three evils.

The proud, the gullible and the worldly are frequently visited by misery. But, he who is humble and expects nothing is never disappointed.

Don't feel miserable but be satisfied with what God has given you. Given a lot of riches we won't be able to worship God. That is why He has blessed us with an adequate amount.

How fortunate are we to have the company of God and His choicest sadhu. Rejoiced! Let not misery cloud your heart. And bear with what destiny holds for you.

A person would suffer any hardships karma entails. For example, he suffers the whole night when stung by a scorpion. But unfortunately he finds it too demanding to bear with sufferings for his salvation.

Whatever looks like happiness in worldly affairs is shadowed by misery. It is like the happiness of a worm in the sugarcane, little suspecting that it will be crushed when the sugarcane passes through the crushing machine.

With the total surrender to God and His sadhu, even an avalanche of calamities will be averted. Whereas, man's own desperate endeavours will be of no avail.

When your world goes dark reach out for God, like a child in fright clings to its mother.

The greater the dishonesty with God, the more the distress within.

God cares. God protects. He is our father. Just as children don't have to ask their parents for care, we too do not have to ask God, for He provides, unasked. So why be dishonest to our loving Father. The greater the dishonesty with God, the more the distress within.


Wilful practice of worship and devotional songs will not yield peace at heart. Peace comes from doing God's and His sadhu's will.

Peace lies in singing the glories of God and His sadhu in human form. Vyasji practised austere penances, composed many scriptures and still remained a stranger to peace. Then, at Sage Narad's suggestion, he composed the famous Shrimad Bhagwatam. There he sang of the excellencies of God and His sadhus, and that brought him the highest peace.

We have the comforting company of God and His sadhu but we haven't recognised them fully. This causes a binding attachment to the pleasures of the senses and wilfulness leading to disobedience and ignorance. This triad does not allow us to experience peace.

There are two ways in which we can ensure peace within so that fires of turmoil do not rage in the heart: first, we should worship God; second, we should believe Him to be the all-doer. With this faith, we must accept whatever comes, happiness or misery, for God is never inimical to His own servant; whatever He does will promote nothing but happiness.

An antidote for the troubled mind is to know the inescapable, relentless and destructive rush of Time; to ponder on the misery attending the twin events of birth and death; to dwell on the glory and greatness of God; to realise that, excepting God, none can help us and that the soul is separate from the three bodies - sthula, sukshma and karana.

What should be done when chaos within assails one? Chant the name of God, "Swaminarayan, Swaminarayan." This will drive away the chaos.

The Value of Human Life

Billions of rupees are no match for this God-intoxicated sadhu, billions of rupees cannot buy such discourses and billions of rupees cannot create this human body. We have been born billions of times but never before have we been blessed with this priceless opportunity.

There was a woodcutter. He would bring bundles of wood and sell them in the village for a living. Once he chanced upon a precious kind of sandalwood from the Hemagopal forest and all ignorant, he used it as fuel for cooking. The fragrance of the sandalwood reached some wealthy businessman. He wondered who could be so rich to burn such a high quality sandalwood. On inquiry, people directed him to the woodcutter. He went and procured the half-burnt sandalwood which he offered to the murti of Lord Vishnu. After dying he went to the abode of Lord Vishnu.

The moral of this parable is that the Hemagopal forest symbolises Bharatkhand (India) and the high-quality sandalwood is symbolic of our human existence. We ignorantly squander it in the pursuit of worldly repute, pleasures of the body and the family. But, for real happiness, in a spirit of do-or-die, we must focus our endeavours on the sacred rather than the secular.

Even if we have grand places to live in, various delicacies to eat, and heaps of praises, they are not the fruits of this human life. But the real objectives are the company of the righteous and the rooting out of the evil traits in our nature.

Pertaining to Soul
Countless rupees cannot buy an eye, an ear and other sense organs. God has granted them free, but man remains most ungrateful by not worshipping Him.

The soul as such is immensely powerful. When he has the goat's body, he behaves meekly. But the same soul clad in the lion's body displays immense strength.

The soul gets enthralled in either of two things: God or maya. But he can never remain without something to hold him in.

The whirl of worldly pleasures has dizzied man. When he hears spiritual discourses he becomes detached for a while. But he gets re-entangled in worldliness with the rapidity of 'water moss' that reunites after being separated momentarily with a strike of a stick. Such is the natural inclination of man.

This soul, out of ignorance, subserves the body and slaves for it all the time. Rather than seeking the redemption of the soul, a person worships God for his daily bread and the protection of his body. But the spiritually wise labour only for the salvation of the soul.

If there were an unbroken spell of happiness in the body and worldly affairs, is this soul, ever likely to grow a disregard for them for his salvation? It is good therefore, that our lives are beset with difficulties.

Like the river that carries all its smaller tributaries to the ocean, the spiritually great carries to the kingdom of God even the weakest of souls who unite with Him with love.

Without being disciplined by the commands of God or His sadhu, this jiva is bound to wallow in the bodily pleasures.

The soul is moulded by the words he hears. Therefore, our soul will gain strength if we make a practise of listening to the words of the steadfast devotee of God; but strength cannot be gained in the company of one who is spiritually impotent.

This soul has been acting wilfully since time eternal. But now in this existence we must do only the will of God. Never practise trickery in obeying His precepts. Partake of the worldly pleasures, but within the bounds of scriptural injunctions.

To grind a substance the pestle is always brought down on the mortar. However, in the mouth the position of pestle and mortar is reversed. While chewing the food it is the lower teeth, the pestle, that strike against the upper teeth, the mortar. It is only the lower jaw that moves. This fact we cannot appreciate without thoughtful inquiry. Similarly, without pondering we cannot realise that the body and soul are distinct.

The atman is resplendent. Consider that the atman is apart from the three kinds of bodies and that you are Akshar and the Manifest God ever dwells within you. Keep meditating: "I am atman, I am Akshar." Doing this ceaselessly you attain the state of Akshar.

Goal of Human Life

The soul is immortal. The highest goodness of the soul lies in cultivating the virtues of a sadhu and shedding the evils inherent in your nature. Only when you have accomplished the goal of human life.

The supreme goal of human life is to internalise all the qualities of Akshar and devote yourself to Purushottam. To achieve the former, the body is an impediment; to achieve the latter, wrong company* is an impediment. One should overcome these prime obstacles.

* One who leads the devotee astray from the worship of Purushottam - Lord Swaminarayan.

Eternal Freedom

Deliverance of the soul must be accomplished even at the cost of millions of mundane achievements; for what use are they if salvation is not gained?

Only through God and His sadhu can ultimate redemption be attained. All other endeavours reward us with dharma, artha and kaama.

Detachment can make you detest the sensual pleasures but cannot help you towards God; knowledge of atman can severe love for everything here, but cannot help you towards God. And morality at the most can grant you the happiness of the demi-gods, but will not help you realise God. The only givers of salvation are God and His sadhu. Hence, think not ill of them in any case.

Dharma serves to keep you in the Satsang fold; that is, your thoughts and deeds will remain unsullied. By means of detachment, you will see the transitoriness of things and will not be bound by worldliness. Knowledge of atman will insulate you against the pleasures and pains of the body. Salvation, however, can be attained only through Upasana.

If there is no total reliance on God, He will not take you in His eternal care, even if you have achieved extreme mortifications through penances. On the other hand, even though you may not have undergone penances but if you have an unflinching faith in God, He will doubtless take you into His fold.

Ultimate salvation is residing in Akshardham, from where there is no return. This is the highest form of redemption. Deliverance can be attained only through absolute faith in the manifest form of God or the God-intoxicated sadhu. This sadhu is as good a saviour as God. And the reason why the scriptures speak of salvation by religious discourses, holy narrations and singing the praises even of God and His devotee, who are not before you, is merely to encourage the soul.

A follower once asked, "How can we remember God when death is close at hand?" Swamishri* replied, "If you have a strong inclination to remember God and death befalls, God and His sadhu will help you, protect you, and you will be anchored to God. So it is important that you cultivate this sort of inclination."

*Gunatitanand Swami was fondly called Swamishri.

Many in the world practise alms-giving and other such things, but only the piece of Draupadi's sari, Vidur's vegetables and Sudama's rice have been immortalised in the scriptures. God is certainly the emancipator of the wretched, the sanctifier of the fallen and the refuge of the utterly helpless; provided you have total faith in Him. You can't have tenacity without reliance. What is that reliance? It is like the protruding root in a well a drowning man chances to catch hold of, whereupon he feels confident that he is saved. Similarly, you are assured of salvation by a firm reliance on manifest God and His sadhu, without whom salvation is not possible.

Shriji Maharaj has talked profusely on the salvation of the soul of which the vital elements are, first, unflinching dedication to Maharaj*; second, obedience to the commands of Maharaj; third, love for the bona fide sadhu; and fourth, good will towards the devotees of God. These four constitute the very lifeline of the soul's redemption; we must in no case let go of it.

How great should our longing for the highest spiritual good be? In the grave famine of 1813 hordes of starving people entreated pitifully at Bhimanath.* They would not go away even when pushed or humiliated. Similarly, for salvation we should be prepared to bear such humiliation.

In his journey towards the highest spiritual good, this jiva is waylaid by the sense-pleasures, ego and siding with someone other than God and His choicest sadhu. They lead to the damnation of the soul, hence we must cast them out.

* Another name for Lord Swaminarayan.

* A Shiva mandir near Dhandhuka, where a ladle of hotchpotch was dispensed in charity to all who came.


Satsang is to internalise the virtues of the great sadhu, and one has won over God who has won over the great sadhu.

God is not so won over by other means as by satsang, which means love and reverence for God and His sadhu. This type of satsang is a very difficult achievement.

God Himself has said, "I am not so won over by penance, sacrifices, yoga, vows, alms-giving and the like means as by satsang. And what is satsang? It is to be humble with, and to live by the commands of the great sadhu, who has dharma, divine knowledge, detachment and devotion to God accompanied by profound knowledge of His glory and greatness.

All scriptures advocate communion with the good and the holy. There, too, your spiritual gain corresponds to the greatness of the man you commune with. From the communion with the man possessing morality with knowledge of the atman, detachment and devotion wrapped with God's true greatness, you will gain comprehensive knowledge. You will not accomplish this from a man with only one of the above four traits, for you will acquire from him only what he possesses; morality or knowledge of the atman or detachment or devotion. But the company of the holy great, complete with all redemptive virtues, is indeed very rare to find.

Anchor your heart to the sadhu who is united with God, who obeys God's commands and who has patterned his life according to His will. Consequently, you will attain morality, knowledge of the atman, detachment, devotion and faith accompanied by the true sense of God's greatness.

Company plays a pivotal role in the life of an aspirant. In the company of the evil, even an aspirant will slide back on the path of salvation. Whereas in the company of the holy, even a sinner will climb rapidly on the spiritual path.

You will not find a man who can write a bill of exchange for one hundred thousand rupees in a village but you can find him in a town. For a bill of exchange for ten million rupees, you will have to look for a wealthy man in a metropolis. Likewise, communion with a truly great sadhu is not possible at many places.

A spiritual aspirant is like the eye; the company of a God-intoxicated sadhu like the sun. You can see only in the presence of the sun. Likewise, you can see spiritually only in the company of the God-intoxicated sadhu.

Even in the company of a perfect sadhu you cannot experience his blissful state unless you intimately associate with him. It is like not being able to relish food that you have been given, but are not eating; like clothes and ornaments you have been given, but are not wearing.

Be in constant communion with the pure sadhu; any time some truly great truth may be uttered.

Keep the mind under tight restraint, and never be misled by it. We should accept the will of God and His pristine sadhu, laying aside our own understanding. Being extremely gracious they will afford all manner of protection.

Regarding the manner of communion Swamishri said that you should strike a rapport with a sadhu who is the perfect devotee. That sadhu is in constant communion with God so that he has the excellencies of God and so the excellencies of the sadhu will in turn flow into the person who is in communion with him. But without the union of heart with this perfect sadhu you will not attain his excellent qualities, and this accomplishment, whether you choose to do in this birth or even after a thousand births, for salvation, there is no escape from it at all.

One destined to become an excellent devotee after a hundred births can become so in this very birth through good company, whereas another with the potential of becoming an excellent devotee in this birth will have to take a hundred births if he falls into bad company. This is analogous to the fact that ten maunds of stone tied to three maunds of wood would sink the wood and vice versa, ten maunds of wood enable three maunds of stone tied to it to float. Thus it is association that makes all the difference.

You give to your beloved whatever is dearest to you. The father who values his married life the most urges his son to marry. While the sadhu who holds nothing dearer than God, enlightens his disciple with God.

Just as you cannot satisfy hunger without eating, and cannot drive away cold without fire, and cannot end the dark night without the sun, you cannot dispel ignorance of the soul without the association of the spiritually great. There is no other way than communion with the perfect sadhu. What you cannot achieve by introspection in millions of births, can be achieved through communion in a matter of a month. Such is the potency of this communion.

With satsang you acquire the power of discrimination so that you can distinguish between the true and the untrue. Then comes vimok, by which all worldly desires disappear. That will educate you in living harmoniously within the Satsang fold. Finally you will come to look upon yourself as Brahman, which is above and beyond everything else. Then only will spiritual marriage take place between God and you. And He will protect you in every way.

When one looks towards the jiva,* one finds that desire for deliverance, there is none. And he who aspires to deliverance will not, of course, feel happy or content except with God or His sadhu. This is analogous to the case of an oyster in the sea. As legend has it, it has no use of sea water; only when the rain of the Swati constellation falls, does it leap and catch the drops directly. The drop thus caught will transform into a priceless pearl. The rain drop that is caught half-heartedly becomes half that worth. And the drop caught only sluggishly results in a brittle, worthless bead. Likewise, the aspirant to deliverance who communes in all faith with the God-intoxicated sadhu through thought, word and deed becomes one with Brahman.

*The soul in its state of ignorance.

On being asked how that communion can be achieved, Swamishri replied, "Subject your body to the commands of the Satpurush, sing aloud his innumerable excellencies and do not doubt his ways of salvation. This is the mode of communion through deeds, words and thoughts, respectively."

You have come into this divine association because of some very potent factor resulting from your previous births. Those that do not come have a lot to lose. The fruits of this association may take hours, days, months or a year to come. But come it will. And when it comes, it will be a tremendous gain. Some might feel that 'how come nothing results from what we are doing?' But these are only the initial efforts like the mixing of milk with buttermilk to give curd. But if you wish to extract ghee you need to further churn and then heat the resultant butter.

During my childhood, in 1790 A.D. the weather turned terribly frosty. The drinking water in the earthen pot would freeze solid. They used to say that in such cold, people saved their lives by burning even their precious silk garments to keep warm. Similarly, it is worthwhile to set alight your gold houses, if need be, to listen to these discourses.

Speaking on the greatness of communion with the pristine saint he said, "It is good that you get your meals. But even if you didn't, you had better beg cooked food. Failing that, feed on uncooked grains, or failing even that simply fast. But miss not the communion with this sadhu. And what a great loser is he who misses this communion even when he has someone to serve and feed him!"

Even the penances and austerities of countless births will not afford spiritual education as that gained from these discourses - provided there is introspection. Thus there is no alternative to having to take recourse to God or His sadhu. For no understanding can dawn without associating with the sadhu.

There is magic in these discourses and he will go mad who listens to them. That is, to him this world will become unreal. Who then would call him sane who denies the world?

What is this discourse on God like? It is like a night watchman on vigil. It keeps us warned against our inner enemies in the form of baser instincts.

One cannot help getting attached to worldly affairs; however, if the company of a genuine sadhu is maintained, one breaks free, otherwise bondage remains.

It takes a man several days of heavy labour to build a fort, but only seconds for a tantric to demolish it with a magical stone-throw. Which of the two will tire out first? The builder, of course! Similarly, after having been totally engrossed in worldly activities, a second spent hearing the talks of a sadhu helps you see the vanity of it all.

He who craves for material pleasures and lacks the association of a sadhu will dote upon his family and hometown even if he renounces them and retreats to the forests. Whereas, he who has served a sadhu, severs himself from the desires of sense-enjoyments. He performs worldly activities, keeping his innerself unattached.

There is little time for meditation when one accompanies and serves an enlightened sadhu. And devoting hours in meditation leaves no room for serving a sadhu. Then, what should be done? Cherish the company of a sadhu, for, his influence will sublimate material desires. Without it the craving for desires will never subside.

Glory and Greatness of God

God is like the figure 1, and our human efforts a string of zeros which by themselves amount to nothing without the preceding 1. Mortal efforts remain worthless and can never bear fruits without the grace of God.

God and His sadhu, although they appear human, are divine and redemptive.

Unlike the distinction that is made in us between the body and the soul, there is no such distinction in God. He is divine, absolutely and eternally, though He may show human traits.

We weigh our love for God, but amply outweighing our love is God's love for us.

If in normal life, a favour done unto another is never forgotten, then would God ever possibly overlook even the smallest sacrifice undergone for him? God forgets not, for His mercy is boundless and from Him springs all other mercies.

Towards sin, God is utterly compassionate. And when any fallen soul rises and prays, "I have wronged," God forthwith forgives.

'He who captivates the innerself of others is hailed to be God.' A devotee questioned, "What is meant by 'captivates'?" Swamishri replied, "He rivets the soul to His divine self, understands its shortcomings, tirelessly discourses, guides and nurtures it until it shines perfectly."

Like the eyelid protects the eye, the hands the body, and the parents their child, God is ever on guard to protect His disciple.

A devotee asked, "When dark clouds of trials and tribulations overshadow us, God does not readily come to mind and frustration follows. What should we do"?

The answer is to think of God as the all-doer. In adversities hardly anyone remembers God but at the same time they are kept from getting too engrossed in the world. God sends such sweeping waves of difficulties to ensure that His devotee remains uninterested in the world. Thus sincerely believe God as not only the all-doer, but also the all-good; whatever He does is always for the well-being of His devotee.

The 'Sudarshan Chakra' is as bright as the brilliance of 10,000 suns. But before the darkness of maya it seems but a flickering lamp flame. A mere trace of this darkness shrouds the soul, plunging it into dreamless sleep, a state of indifference and ignorance. And one reason for Lord Swaminarayan's advent is to dispel this grace ignorance.

If from a pile of a million coins, one is lost, it worries us not. Similarly before the vastness of God's glory, all material interests pale into insignificance.

Bona Fide Sadhu

Every spiritual ambition is fulfilled through the grace of a bona fide sadhu. Give him the lead of your life, but let not mere knowledge of atman supersede him.

The purity of the soul is directly proportional to the love and liking one beholds for the saint and his ways. The greater the love, the purer the soul and the more the malice the more sin-stained the soul.

In Satsang,* cement a conviction that my salvation rests entirely in the hands of this genuine sadhu. Strengthened thus, even in the face of fierce storms of pain and sorrow, stand dedicated to the sadhu, never even once forsaking him.

The sadhu is likened to God. Like God, he knows all and everything. Therefore, cast aside the illusion of seeing him as a human and pray sincerely that he may reveal his divinity.

* In this context it refers to the Holy Fellowship established by Lord Swaminarayan.

In the love of a true sadhu our soul is satisfied, whereas in the love of others only the senses are gratified; this openly invites a spiritual disaster. Hence none else, excepting the true sadhu, knows the art of true loving.

If and only if one finds a genuine spiritual master and implicitly obeys him are the spiritual deficiencies which require a million births to overcome, eradicated in this very birth and one becomes 'brahmarup'.

To see him is to cleanse your eyes of sin. To hear him is to clear your ears sin-free. To remember him is to make your mind sin-free. Such is the wondrous glory of this sadhu.

Even the unthinkable sins, for which the scriptures prescribe difficult atonements, are all washed away by the mere glimpse and company of the God-intoxicated sadhu.

We have secured the three priceless and unobtainable treasures - satsang, ekantikpanu and God. And now, either mortify yourself to skin and bones or renounce your home for the forests, but bear in mind that for spiritual growth, infinitely more rewarding than any of these is hanging on the words of this sadhu's sermons. For, this is the testimony of Lord Purushottam and the divine discourses of his most-loved disciple - Gunatit.* Through these teachings one is empowered to envision Akshardham. And because the soul fails to comprehend this unparalleled greatness, he remains spiritually weak and disabled.

* Swamiji himself.

However desperately a calf may skip and search for milk from other parts of a cow, it will not get even a drop. It is only at the udders that the delight of milk is relished. Similarly, the whole Satsang is the body of our Lord, but in the enlightened sadhu is seated the Lord in His fullest glory. Therefore, when we embrace such a sadhu with body, mind and soul, the bliss of God is transfused into us, because he symbolises the udders of Satsang.

Even the observance of a million commandments will not yield redemption unless the soul has taken the refuge of the manifest form of God before him. And at the behest of manifest God, if even one commandment is observed, redemption is gained. Such is the boundless grace of God. It is priceless and he who has consolidated the knowledge that Lord Swaminarayan is the Supreme Godhead has nothing higher to achieve.

Seeing the rippling reflection of the moon dancing in the water, the fish is overjoyed, mistaking it for another fish like itself. But little does it know of the glorious refulgence, the enormity, the beauty and the powerful forcefields of the moon And although a ship sails many people across the seas and transports millions of rupees worth of cargo, an unthinking sea-creature may misjudge and underestimate it to be just another creature like itself. Similarly, many of us are unaware of the unmatched glory and powers of God and His sadhu. Pitiably, like the poor fish, the foolishly stubborn souls misunderstand Them to be human, like themselves. But They are divine and can sail countless souls to the eternal safety of Akshardham, affording them the exalted status of brahmarup. And to remain blind to Their divinity is gross ignorance.

Spiritual Endeavour

All that is written, if not read, is as good as unwritten. All that read, if not contemplated, is as good as unread. All that contemplated, if not lived, then of what use is it all? Therefore, when immersed in a pool of sattvic thoughts, free from the tyranny of rajasic and tamasic forces, sit quietly, equipoise your mind, read and digest each word with introspection and then, search within to see if it is being practised. Shape your life in this fashion.

Silent remembrance of God is of higher spiritual value than singing His glory. Higher still, is immersing oneself in deep meditation of His form. But the highest of all worships is to realise God as seated within one's soul.

Leaving all other work aside to come and sit freely in a spiritual discourse is not time-killing. Instead, a million tasks are being accomplished. You are actively destroying the ominous shadows of hell, tortures of womb-life and the sufferings of this vicious cycle of births and deaths.

Spiritual endeavours, if steered by the whims and fancies of one's mind, can never overthrow the dictatorship of the mind. It is uprooted, only when we march in step with the word of God and His sadhu and never trespass His holy law and order.

Anything is achievable, if once commenced. Yet many people think that meditation and chanting come naturally to some, springing spontaneously. But how can spiritual skills be learnt without trying?

Meditating upon God and chanting His holy name are virtues acquired only after several attempts of regular effort. So try and try again. And after each failure try again. Those who proceed to learn may sometimes fail, but those who never try will never learn.

God shall see to everything for our spiritual success. But two things rest upon us which we ourselves must attend to. To devotionally chant His name and abide by His holy laws, both of which are surely attainable with efforts.

Three kinds of people exist in this holyfold;

The ever-growing, who translate spiritual knowledge into their lives and humbly serve.

The ever-declining, who inflate their ego, and

the stagnant, who neither progress nor regress.

He who performs all his actions with his innerself safely detached and singing the glory of God, reaps great spiritual profits. But he who ends up entangled and attached to his actions, suffers great loss.

He who performs all his actions while maintaining a constant communion with God is said to be detached. Whereas he who simply sits to deliberately avoid all action to remain detached, but lacks the communion with God is still said to be attached. So if one remembers God in every action whether small or big; eating, seeing or even sleeping, one breaks free from the bondage of actions.

It is my principle to prevent people from losing themselves in a maze of activities. Even after involving them in various tasks I protect them from getting attached. I always say, they, the worldly affairs, are vain. But now that you already shoulder the responsibilities you have to carry them out. However, don't be fooled into thinking that they are the end-all and be-all of life with nothing higher to attain.

Rare and few are those who keep their minds ever-linked with God. Whereas, one may find many who can administrate the whole network of a temple.

But even if your mind deviates from God, maintain an unbroken flow of spiritual discourses. Educate the mind in attentive listening, and cherish the company of the holy. However, if this is not possible involve yourself in devotional activities.

Select any of the pathways that best suits you. But forget not that the ultimate objective is to keep the mind focussed onto God. This demands an all-out effort.

Once Maharaj was greatly pleased at the devotion of a humble saint. He majestically spoke, "The brutal force of the inner enemies of lust, anger and the like is unconquerable by the soul. But fear not ! My sadhu and I are your allies. With Our help, victory is guaranteed. Simply have courage, and march on."

Now that you have met God, all you need to do is to remain spiritually alert, wisely choose holy friends and do away with pride, jealousy and stubbornness.

Glory! Glory! And glory be to him who lives within the commands of God and fully understands the greatness of God and His sadhu. For, on him God is pleased, profusely pleased.

Give topmost priority to the perfection of three virtues, because others like renunciation and self-denial are subsidiary and vary with individuals. The three indispensable virtues that readily receive the blessings of a sadhu are :

•Unshakeable faith and knowledge of God's greatness.

• Living by His word.

• Friendship with the devotees of God.

He who holds a steadfast conviction of God's greatness has done and achieved all. He has nothing more to accomplish.

Through severe spiritual endeavours one may master tolerance and attain desirelessness. But therein lies not the slimmest hope of the highest achievement - god-realisation. But when profound knowledge of God's supremacy has been attained, even if your heart flames with desires, be not disturbed! The flames are powerless to scorch you.

The four extremely difficult aspects to perfect in the spiritual path are:-

• Profound knowledge of God's upasana.

• Understanding the greatness of a bona fide sadhu.

• Realising the soul and body as separate.

• To sublimate the craving for even the most enticing pleasures of the world.

And the source for the perfection of these is the bona fide sadhu.

In this Holy fellowship, it is said that the soul becomes brahmarup. Then why all the delay? It is because the soul is not coupled by love with the bona fide sadhu. If love flourishes, then trust in him may be missing. If trust exists, he may still be unable to confess to the sadhu. However, if he breaks through this barrier and freely confesses, he will doubtless become brahmarup. This is an immutable truth.

The spiritual seeker inherits the virtues of his master only when he sees the master as totally divine and as the all-knower, and confesses to him holding nothing back. Otherwise, he will remain vacant of virtues.

If, with the same dynamism with which we rush to change others, we work on changing ourselves; and apply the same vigour with which we survey the faults of others to ridding our own, then, we would be nothing short of perfect.

Highlight the virtues of the devotees. Speak well of them, for though the effort it involves is minimal, it elevates the soul to the state of Brahman. But strictly avoid the dark slippery alleys of fault-finding. 'He's this' and 'he's that', why need we publicise that? Those who are weaker and slower in understanding, shall learn with time. So why worry and waste yourself in harping upon the failings of others?

In praise or persecution believe yourself to be Akshar*. There is none higher than Akshar, so neither honour nor insult can reach you.

Akshar is the choicest devotee of God. He is also the abode of God. So long as one has not cultivated the qualities of Akshar, one is not eligible to serve God.

* Synonym of Brahman.

Conquest of the Mind

Some are playthings of the mind whereas some master their mind. Reflect daily upon this phenomenon.

Just as the cow readily gives milk to her calf, so also, with equal affection, the guru dispels ignorance of the disciple who entrusts to him, his mind and self.

When the soul is love-bound to a great sadhu, he is cleansed of all faults and enriched with saintly virtues.

The man who treads the spiritual path experiences inner turmoil, while the worldly man relaxes in utter calm. Why this disheartening contradiction? An example will clarify. So long as a snake in the house gets enough mice to eat, it will not hiss with fury. But once all the mice have disappeared, the snake is maddened by hunger and rushes to bite almost anyone or anything. Likewise, the worldly man experiences transient calm because he has no battle to wage. He gratifies his snake-like senses with no opposition whatsoever. Whereas, the spiritual seeker who is determined to conquer his senses and mind has a constant conflict to face. But ultimately it is he who wins the rewards of eternal peace.


Are faults simply faults? Or do they have a faint shine or virtue? Burdened by sins and faults, a man automatically behaves as meek and humble. He feels an intense need for the comfort offered by Satsang.* He prays to God often and with greater heart. And so long as his soul remains troubled by sins and failings, he strives to attain higher knowledge. Hence, sometimes, faults may have a silver lining.

The seed of vasana can only be destroyed when one pleases the bona fide sadhu by surrendering one's mind and winning his divine grace. This is the only way, there is no other.

Vasana is eradicated only when one implicitly obeys a great sadhu, acquires his divine attributes and adores his every action. The efforts of ancient rishis were more than herculean, yet their vasana remained deep-rooted.

* In this context the Holy Fellowship.

Vanity of Sense-Pleasures

Food, water, clothing and sleep; these are the only prerequisites for a person for decent survival. He need depend on nothing more. And an extra things a person accumulates is mere material over-indulgence.

Just as one can never catch hold of one's shadow, so also in the chase for sense gratification one never experiences fulfilment. It is only when spiritual knowledge dawns, that inner peace prevails.

What little joy that lies in material pleasures is also wedded with misery. One must be always aware of this fact.

For the devotees of God, the pleasures of this material world are no less torturesome than Hell.

He who is entangled by earthly enticements is the bound, and he who is free and untouched by them is the redeemed. We should earnestly strive to be the redeemed.

Doesn't a person delight in sweet, sour and salty foods? Obviously he does. But it is essential to control his palate, for it positively hinders spiritual progress. But surprisingly, he lacks the urge to do it, for he has prized only his body of flesh and blood. Oh! how foolishly he forgets that his body will certainly perish.

Anyone in his right senses would flatly refuse to taste even a drop of poison. He would also reject worldly pleasures, were he to realise that they are lethal on the spiritual pathway.

An attractive woman, excessive wealth and a fabulous home are a bondage even to the devotee of God, because they possess the characteristic of enticement. The devotee might get wrongly attached to them. Therefore, these things will not harm you, only if you get them in moderation.

A worldly man lives on worldly pleasures. His eyes thrive on seeing beautiful things, his tongue on tasty foods, his nose on fragrant scents, his ears on melodious sounds and his skin on soft touches. But on joining the Satsang, his senses are deprived of worldly pleasures. Hence his initial experience is as painful as that of a person whose livelihood has been snatched away.

Once upon a time a spiritual aspirant approached a guru with money and said, "Do as you please with this money." The guru remarked, "It would be ruinous to you, me or anyone who would keep it." Having said that, he made him throw it into the river Ganga.

There lies no peace in the heart of a man who hankers after wealth and women. King Nanda of old had amassed the wealth of the whole world, but it caused him intense misery, and so he renounced it all.

Once we were seated on the outskirts of village Dhoraji. There we saw an ox running again and again towards heaps of manure, poking its head into them and tossing large amounts on its body. But, even the human beings behave not differently. They, too, cannot do without indulging in sensual pleasures.

Withdrawal from Sense-pleasures

Like the mythological swan that alone can separate milk and water, only a true sadhu can help the soul free itself from the love of worldly pleasures. Of its own accord the soul gets doubly attached.

No one can jump into a well when there are thousands of people holding him hack. Likewise, he is also saved from unscrupulous indulgence in worldly pleasures, if he has heard profusely from the saint and scriptures about their futility.

Unless one continually reflects upon the utter vanity of worldly pleasures and meets a true sadhu, the desire to enjoy does not die. Even nirvikalpa samadhi proves too feeble; only gnan samadhi can uproot the desire.

The time immemorial habit of revelling in worldly pleasures is almost impossible to defeat. However, there is one way shown by all the scriptures to overcome it : devote your soul to God with an awareness that you are one with Brahman.

Mundane thoughts arise because one is filled with love for mundane things. And, whatever is seen lovingly becomes a part of the thought process, appears in dream and impedes spiritual progress. But he who has never seen, for example say, Calcutta city, never sees it in his dreams. It is possible to efface mundane thoughts when one sees, eats, smells, hears and touches within moral limits and confides humbly in a true sadhu.

Even in leisure, engage your mind in the service of God. Exercise restrain in enjoying worldly pleasures lest you transgress moral rules. Neither overeat nor oversleep, for they excite your senses and weaken your soul.

Be blind, be deaf and be lame towards sensual pleasures. Never be infatuated by them.

Like a goat before a lion, constantly fear the contact of worldly pleasures. But if you happen to contact them be brave and resist being tempted.

Learn to sing God's glory in the deep recesses of your heart. It will diminish your love for worldly pleasures.

Some may sacrifice greed, taste, ego and love for relatives but the seed of lust remains within the heart. It pervades all living beings and is very deep-rooted. The only way to uproot it is through the grace of a God-intoxicated sadhu.

Oh, beloved saints! Who has not been enticed by the charms of a woman? A youth is more susceptible, therefore, young age plunges one into unhappiness. Cross over this 'awkward age' by penance, vows, yoga and by the help of a sadhu and commend your soul to God.

Shriji Maharaj dislikes loose talks about the vow of celibacy because one reason for His incarnation was to help people to be resolute in its observance.

He who is not thorough in observing the vow of celibacy shall never reside in nor enter Akshardham, for Shriji Maharaj shall be immensely hurt by his failing.

Once upon a time there was a King whose hundreds of thousands of soldiers were at war. The cowards in his army positioned themselves at the rear, imagining that the King would not recognise those that did not fight. There were others who fought bravely, pushed back the enemies and won. Then the King told his Prime Minister that he wished to meet the soldiers who were responsible for their victory. For this, the Prime Minister arranged a function in which the soldiers were to be awarded prizes. At this function, the Prime Minister told the King, "While receiving the prizes, the brave soldiers shall have a confident gait, with heads erect, and will look straight into your eyes. However, the cowards will walk hesitantly with their heads stooped and will be ashamed to face you." In the same way, you will not be able to face God, if you fail to fight bravely with your senses and not withdraw them from worldly pleasures. And even in God's abode you will not be able to look into His eyes. Therefore, for God's sake, see that you do not put yourself in such an embarrassing situation.

To observe celibacy keep watch over your eyes, ears, nose and mind, lest they should corrupt you. Shut your eyes in a sensual atmosphere, for they are the chief source of carnal thoughts. Control your sleep and diet, for they too breed such thoughts. Weed out these thoughts slowly and steadily, chant God's name and do not trust your mind.

Whenever you are attacked by lewd thoughts, do not succumb to them but busy yourself in some other activity. Consequently, you will not be swept away by them.

The more a person observes God's commands the more he is freed from immoral thoughts. But to uproot them altogether the grace of a true sadhu is indispensable. Such grace is earned through his service and trust.

Spiritual Understanding

The practice of moral codes and cultivation of spiritual understanding are vital ingredients of a spiritual life. But those who lay emphasis on spiritual understanding, progress.

Trust that you belong to God and not to maya.

Never believe that you are mean and sinful, for it will weaken your soul and invite mental depression. You are not sinful but fulfilled, because you have met God.

Even when someone charges to kill you, accept it as an act prompted by your Lord, for without His wish no one can stir even a blade of grass.

Stay like a guest even in your own home.

Social dealings and obligations are not forbidden. However, if they impinge upon your mind, be cautious and root out their influences. Joy and sorrow in these dealings are caused by maya. Attend them only physically but anchor your soul to God with a conviction that 'God is mine and I belong to God'. If you have this understanding then do not worry if you happen to do less chanting and devotional singing.

The affairs of body and soul are totally different. If you fail to grasp this truth, you will experience spiritual poverty in spite of your priceless possession - the contact of a true sadhu. And also remember that a married life at God's behest does not impede spiritual progress.

When Gunatitanand Swami said, "Believe that your soul is Akshar, for you have met God," a devotee raised a doubt, "How can we claim this, for we are still corrupt with worldly pleasures." The Swami replied, "Those pleasures are related to your body but not to your soul. Therefore, believe that you are Akshar, but never harbour a thought that your soul is wretched."

Your true self is Akshar. But if you find it hard to believe this, at least never identify yourself with your gross body. But Shriji Maharaj's ideal is to accept yourself as Akshar, separate from the three bodies, gross, subtle and causal that enwrap your soul.

All the blemishes and imperfections of the soul can be removed if you believe that you are Akshar. You aspire to go to Akshardham* but when you realise that you are Akshar the 'going' becomes meaningless.

* Gunatitanand Swami wants to drive home the point that the boundless happiness of the Highest Heaven, Akshardham, can be experienced not only after death but even when a person is alive.

A devotee often delivers sermons, sings devotional songs and converses about God but seldom thinks that he is separate from his body. That is why, affirm day in and day out that 'I am not this body but I live within it and I am atman; I am Brahman; I am Akshar. Moreover, God, the cause of all incarnations, the ultimate cause of all causes and the supreme divine personality, resides within me. This God is no other than the one whom I have met in human form.' Such an understanding includes both Samkhya and Yoga within its fold.

You aspire to see God and His choicest sadhu in Akshardham after you die, but you fail to realise that you have already met them here in flesh and blood. You own the infinite riches of God's glory and happiness but you are unaware of it because of maya. This unawareness makes you unhappy.

But believe that there is nothing more to see after you die because the God in Akshardham is Shriji Maharaj and even there I am His choicest sadhu.

Shriji Maharaj often said, "He is wise, who is delighted when reproached, and he is a fool who is delighted when flattered."

There are three types of devotees: He who conceals his virtues is of the highest order. He who neither conceals nor displays is mediocre. And he who displays belongs to the lowest order.

Vigilance and punishment are the two ways to weed out negligence from one's nature.


You may earn a thousand rupees or a lakh rupees or even a crore rupees but can you ever eat more than a stomachful? Reflect on this fact, for it will check your inordinate desires.

Samkhya* can be mastered by being constantly aware of the facts that man ages and man dies, not knowing when or how. Moreover, one day the whole universe will also perish. But a better and surer way to acquiring these thoughts and also perfecting Yoga** is the company of a God-intoxicated sadhu.

Happiness is incomplete without Samkhya-thoughts. Make it a rule to daily reflect upon them, for they care for half of your spiritual progress. They provide a redeeming vision on the spiritual path. And regular affirmation will make them part and parcel of yourself.

Samkhya - thought is to see this world and its pleasures to be false; your soul to be true, stainless and different from your body.

Although all social undertakings rest upon money and this material body, both are vanities. Listening continually to words emphasising their futility will make you realise, to a large extent, that they really are vanities. Then they will not cause you any spiritual setbacks.

When a Targalo dresses and acts the part of a woman, it is the fool who mistakes him for a woman but not the wise. In the same way, the spiritually wise perceive the vanity of the world.

Your body is dust, your family is dust, your money, food and house are dust. But still you remain infatuated by them, easily forgetting that time will soon destroy them. Destined to dust, this body is simply flesh and bones; be it a man's, a woman's or a child's. It is not eternal. Hence, consecrate your life to God. All else is vain.

* Thoughts that make us realise the impermanence of everything except God, His abode and His liberated devotees.

** Union with God.

Spiritual Knowledge

A kingdom can be given in a day, but not the knowledge to rule. Even if a king's child were forced to eat any amount of food it cannot become an adult overnight. Similarly, spiritual knowledge cannot be given in a day. It grows gradually in the company of a true sadhu.

If spiritual knowledge, once understood, remains unaltered by the influence of various scriptures or contradictory talks or persons holding different views, rest assured that you are grounded in knowledge.

A scanty rainfall makes the river waters muddy, for the old and new waters mix. But torrential rains, wash away the mud and replenish the river with clear waters. Likewise, the formative states of a spiritual life, when the worldly and spiritual knowledge mix, does not yield perfect joy because of imperfect knowledge. It is only the downpour of perfect knowledge that yields perfect joy.

You shall be redeemed after death, for you have the refuge of God and His choicest sadhu in human form. However, a refuge without spiritual understanding does not guarantee mental peace while you live.

You can get happiness only through spiritual knowledge. And desiring happiness from worldly objects and salvation of the soul by personal efforts, prompted by your mind, is like chasing a shadow.

Do you think the soul can ever mature?* He can! But only when he is enlightened with spiritual knowledge.

* Reduction in the cravings for worldly pleasures.

Handle all your worldly pursuits superficially, remaining mentally detached from them. And whenever they try to possess your mind, drive them out by the force of spiritual knowledge.

Autosuggest daily, "I am not the body but I am Brahman, I am blissful, and I am a devotee of God." In the course of time you will be as much convinced of these identities as you are now certain of your name, caste and village.

Earth is a temporary residence and Heaven a permanent one. Yet we strive to build an empire on earth and care nothing for heaven. This is sheer ignorance.

Man is innately attracted to a beautiful woman and repulsed from the ugly. But the bondage of the pretty is stronger than that of the ugly. The fetters of tasty foods, costly clothes, and luxurious things are tougher than those of their ordinary counterparts. And, although people prefer a taller and a swifter horse, it is more dangerous than a shorter and a slower one, for if you were to fall from the latter, you would be hurt less. Moreover, it would require less fodder and protection than the better breed.

But you will not be able to understand this so long as you have love for material things and lack spiritual knowledge. Therefore, contemplate on the fact that all material things arise from dust and shall eventually merge into dust. Without it, these things will always fascinate and tempt you.

This body is not yours and to identify yourself with it is ignorance. You can never be freed from this ignorance save by the grace of God and His sadhu.

In spite of associating with a God-intoxicated sadhu you incur an immeasurable loss if you fail to realise his glory.

Shriji Maharaj has incarnated Himself to destroy root-ignorance. But what is this ignorance? The fact that you worship God without an awareness that you are distinct from the three bodies - gross, subtle and causal - that enwrap you, constitutes this root-ignorance. This cannot be understood by your own endeavours, even if you were to struggle for millions of births, without the guidance of a God-intoxicated sadhu.


All moral excellences can be internalised by regular practice and good company. But nishtha* of God and His sadhu results only from purva-samskaars and the grace of a true saint. And the intensity of your association with such a saint reflects the amount of your purva-samskaars and grace.

Fulfilled is he who has a profound knowledge of God and His sadhu. He experiences the bliss of Akshardham even on earth. And worry not if you happen to tell fewer beads, but in your heart endear only God and His choicest sadhu, for it is upasana and not your deeds that make you spiritually great.

Even the slightest flaw in swarup-nishtha will hamper your spiritual fulfilment. Therefore, believe that Shriji Maharaj is God, the cause of all incarnations, the cause of all causes and the controller of all. This highest truth will lead you to Akshardham.

* Unshakeable knowledge of the glory and greatness of God and His sadhu.

In the worst of famines, he will not starve to death who has millions of tons of foodgrains and money. He will neither fear a robber when he has thousands of body-guards protecting him. Likewise, death cannot frighten, actions cannot bind and maya cannot delude him, who has the nischay of God and His sadhu.

Once a devotee asked Gunatitanand Swami, "Should one believe to be fulfilled on the strength of the nischay of God and His pure sadhu or only after one becomes free from mundane desires." The Swami replied, "He who has nischay is certainly in the process of freeing himself from mundane desires. Trust, therefore, that you are fulfilled. And develop a liking to observe God's commands."

A person of sattvic nature may fail to cultivate nishchay of God, whereas a man of tamasic nature may have the nischay of God. Nischay does not depend upon the modes of nature. Therefore, raise yourself above the three modes: sattva, rajas and tamas.

*Here it means desires other than for God.

Divine Commands

Although physically far away, he is beside me who obeys the laws of God. And although near me, he is far away, who disobeys the laws of God. A person may be learned, he may love me or he may hold high office, but he cannot survive in this Holy Fellowship, if he disobeys God's laws.

Although high in the sky, a kite is always in the hands of the person holding its string. Likewise, Shriji Maharaj is always in communion with the person obeying His commands.

The more you observe God's precepts, the more you are redeemed from mundane desires. It is indeed difficult to stop thinking mentally but physically it is possible to observe these precepts; any lapses therein mirror the influence of bad company.

Shriji Maharaj descended on this earth and gave five redeeming vows: celibacy, non-avarice, non-taste, non-attachment and of humility.* There is none who can defy these vows and attain salvation.

Like the village-fortress, which too have a fortress in the form of five vows, protecting our soul in which rules of conduct are the guard-posts. And the protecting strength of these vows decreases with the laxity in the observance of conduct rules.

* The precepts of Lord Swaminarayan are compiled in the three booklets: Shikshapatri, Dharmamrut and Nishkaamshuddhi.


Spiritual wisdom is attained in silent meditation, but man fails to divorce himself from physical activities. That is why we engage people in devotional activities otherwise they will become lethargic.

One should actively associate with and serve a bona fide sadhu. Dedication of one's mind, body and speech to his wishes is the highest form of devotion.

Serve with all efforts possible. But refrain from disservice. And what is disservice but feasting your eyes on the faults of your brothers!

How can one consolidate one's faith? "When a genuine saint speaks it is not man's but the voice of God that one hears. If one beholds Him with such reverence and offers service and devotion to Him in all humility then faith is consolidated and one strikes a rapport with God."


Human birth is meant for God realisation. However, death may steal this opportunity any moment. This act of 'realisation' is an accomplishment to be fulfilled in a short life-span, like stringing a pearl in a flash of lightening.

Endeavour to earn your bread and rejoice in God's worship. Of what use will money be when death has humbled you to dust?

One should earn a living and spend the remaining time delighting in the Lord's devotion. The more the money, the higher the extravagance and the greater the attachment.

In Kaliyug the physical body is too frail for austerities. That is why they have not been prescribed. Instead, singing God's glory is hailed as the golden means of purging oneself of sins.

When the mind is stormed with rajoguna and tamoguna one should resort to singing aloud but when the mind is tranquil, silent prayers within will promote meditation on the Divine. Lose yourself within and sing anthems to God.

Meditation with one's eyes closed from morning till noon is difficult, one would rather sit and gossip about the world.

Saying the rosary with one's eyes wandering keeps the mind vagrant whereas shutting them promotes concentration on God. One can chant all day long but fail miserably to chant even five rosaries in tune with God.

To accomplish this one needs patience and religious perseverance. If this is not possible adoration and service of a God-intoxicated sadhu will generate a spontaneous attachment to God.

One may accomplish many things but to saddle the roving mind and senses is extremely difficult. One's eyes are drawn by a passing donkey, dog or a cat and many other things, but to what gain? Yet the senses cannot resist the impulse.

Profited is he who remembers God in all his labours.

Many a soul have become fond and preoccupied with their domestic animals. They respond by following their master.

If however the soul cares to look to God and become wedded to Him then how can the Almighty fail to reciprocate his love? He would follow him like a shadow; caring, because God loves His children.

In spite of being blessed with bread and the health to digest it, if one fails to remember God, then he has sinned against Him.

The Portuguese religiously drill their men, making them alert and ready. Similarly, if one regularly hears and delivers spiritual discourses with a keen interest and an inquiring spirit then his soul becomes enriched. Otherwise, spiritual strength is not forthcoming.

And he who is lethargic in matters spiritual cannot hope for enlightenment.

For quiet worship and reward of God's blessings one should introspect repeatedly, "What have I come to do and what am I doing?" The body and its senses are grossly indulgent, hence in order to discipline them one should practise devotion to God. This will also earn the blessings of Shriji Maharaj.

Whilst offering physical devotion one should focus oneself on one's atman. Atmanishtha is indispensable. Contemplate on the truth that, "I am Akshar and Purushottam resides within." This kind of subtle devotion paves the pathway to ultimate salvation.

There are four categories of devotees: the low, the desirous, the seeker and the exalted. The low worship God for the sake of earthly objects; the desirous rejects the pleasures of this world for something supra-mundane; the seeker yearns to be one with Brahman; while the exalted wishes for God and God only.

Devotion and meditation are complementary for spiritual progress. Mere devotional activities increase the lower nature of man and mere meditation, the ego.

He who offers devotion or meditates even during the night but feels that 'everyone else merely eats and sleeps whereas I'm the only devoted soul', destroys all his earned merits.

Postpone your meditation when sermons are being delivered because they are the source of spiritual understanding and only through understanding is meditation sustained.

True meditation is of a higher worth than the observance of moral codes, but spiritual knowledge excels meditation. Yet higher still is to live in accordance with the wishes of a bona fide sadhu, because this encompasses the former three.

One who aspires to please the Lord cannot go about satisfying the wishes of all; he can only fulfill God's expectations.

Against Fault Finding

Woe be to a man who regularly brings hundreds of thousands of rupees but talks bitterly about Satsang. However, one who eats in bed, languishing, but sings the glory of God's children then unto that man I render my services.

Worry not, for in this Holy Fellowship lust, anger and the like that are associated with the flesh will ultimately perish. And the slightest grace of a true sadhu can eradicate them instantaneously. But beware ! Bear no ill-will towards the holy sadhu, for it will prove fatal to your salvation, like the tuberculosis which offers no choice but death.

Sometimes, even in virtues there lies a fault; a fault that slanders those who are weaker in renunciation than oneself and denigrates those who sleep while one toils through the night.

Be ever vigilant of these subtle failings.


While telling the beads of a rosary with profound concentration one attains a state of blissful meditation. Otherwise, the mind wanders in worldly pleasures.

God is the all-knower. And one should be singularly devoted to Him.

Devotion towards the manifest form of God - the sadhu before you - leads one unto the Supreme.

A spiritual aspirant is aware that 'I am a devotee of God; I must always keep the association of a genuine sadhu, but the coveted state of constant communion with God is the ultimate achievement.'

Humble Submission

Once a devotee asked Lord Swaminarayan the meaning of refuge. The Lord replied, "Just as a worldly man places his wife and children above all else; the avaricious values money above all else; likewise, he who sees the utter insignificance of all else but God is said to have true refuge. God blesses him with the company of a true sadhu, enlightens him and ultimately keeps him close, in His care forever.

God is matchless, the One and Only. He has given us teeth, will he not give us something to eat? So that we worship God, to each one of us He has given the right amount of wealth, no more no less. Had He granted us fabulous wealth we would have been drawn into the whirlpool of material indulgences and thrown at the doorsteps of hell.

Total surrender to God is the supreme and most glorious of all deeds. Thereafter, no more remains to be done. For God is the Saviour of the fallen, Father of the forsaken, Guardian of the faithful and Patron of the poor.

I shall have a man's clothes washed, his meals served and his requirements attended to if he delights in remembering the Lord.

Until a soul takes refuge of God, no matter how hard he endeavours or evolves into a demi-god, he will not be redeemed from kala, karma, maya, and the agonies of hell and rebirth. Refuge in God is the only panacea.

Renounce all but cherish the Almighty One. Lord Swaminarayan often said that the Pandavas had renounced everyone except Lord Krishna.

We are mere spiritual infants with not even an iota of detachment. Hence we should resolve to believe: "God is mine and I am His."

You have only one percent love for me and the rest for the world. However, it is God's infinite glory that He redeems all who surrender unto His sadhu.

Even the slightest grace of a perfect sadhu destroys the vicious elements of lust, ego and jealousy. However, without his grace, no matter how hard one struggles, the instincts reign supreme. Hence it is essential to take refuge of a God-intoxicated sadhu.

Lord Kapildev in the Shrimad Bhagvatam says:

"A householder who listens to and discourses on spiritual matters is freed from the three-fold misery* and strengthens his ties with God. He has no need to perform penances."

A householder shoulders many responsibilities and has many setbacks to bear with. That is why he is held in high esteem. And if he has the refuge of a God-communion sadhu he will enjoy the sanctity of all pilgrim places at his door-step.

*Mental, that inflicted by demi-gods and external elements.


The pre-requisites before accepting a guru involves:

Examining whether he exemplifies what he preaches.

Knowing the spiritual powers of his guru.

Scrutinising the spiritual enlightenment of his disciples.

If a guru fails to deliver his disciples from the torments of rebirth, then he cannot be called a true guru.

One whose guru is Akshar, will lead him to Akshardham and bless him with the proximity of the Supreme Lord.


One who loves God and His beloved sadhu will be loved by all. One who despises them will be despised by all.

A loving attachment with a bona fide sadhu merits even one troubled by a storm of desire with inner happiness. However one deficient of such attachment, though he be free from beastly desires, experiences an arid feeling within.

In-born attachment for our possessions manifests spontaneously when another comes to claim them; likewise the strength of our love for Satsang becomes evident when someone attempts to divorce us from Satsang.


Severing oneself from the inner demons of lust, anger, ego and envy will earn the benediction of the Almighty and His choicest sadhu.

Serene is the soul that remembers the Lord in all his activities. He draws the blessings of a God-communion sadhu that bestows upon him eternal joy. On the contrary if one's core is seething with desires, then how can it please the sadhu?

To be a vessel of God's guaranteed blessings we should :

(1) Never violate His Holy laws.

(2) Seek not happiness in other things but God incarnate.

(3) Always keep the company of a bona fide sadhu.

The grace of Lord Swaminarayan and this God-intoxicated sadhu is attained when:

(1) One is wedded to God's laws.

(2) One has a profound knowledge of atman and Paramatman.

(3) One has an intense repugnance for mundane pleasures.

(4) And when one has a deep devotion fragrant with the glory of God.

But one swollen with pride fails to gain the grace of God.

Swaminarayan Mantra

There is no mantra so exalting as the Swaminarayan mantra. It renders harmless the fatal poison of a cobra extinguishes the fire of temporal desires, enables the soul to realise Brahman and releases it from the bondage of kala, karma and maya. This mantra is supremely powerful, thus one should always chant it.

I'll redeem anyone who repeats knowingly or unknowingly the Swaminarayan mantra even five or ten times. And we want to enrich the entire universe with the messages of this holy community.

Things Important

Our conversation should be purposeful. What rhyme and reason have we in talking unnecessarily about the king and his ministers?

A conversation barren of God's glory is as worthless as dust.

Worldly affairs are like poisoned sweet balls, savoury at first but suffocating afterwards.

The senses, the mind and an undue attachment to one's mother, father, wife, relatives and money are formidable barriers that obstruct the soul's march to God.

The angry man is diseased with pride while the silent hosts both pride and lust.

Lord Swaminarayan often said that the devotees are neither happy this way nor the other. If we bless them with money, they no longer spare time for our darshan and if we keep them poor they complain, 'How can we worship God when all day long we worry about our bread.' This is why we apply four means to make them happy:

Saam: giving spiritual discourses.

Daam: revealing God.

Bheda: preaching the utility of material existence.

Danda: unveiling the horrors of hell.

It is always possible to win over a man no matter how awkward he be by being humble, permitting him to have his way and by consulting him. If we make ourselves available to him, then he is sure to be won over.

When we are disunited, a family of evil instincts infiltrates our hearts. Where there is unity evil cannot penetrate. If you maintain the unity that you already have, no matter how vicious your evil instincts be, they can never conquer you.

Lord Swaminarayan preferred the 'intelligent' because they have an eye of discrimination. They know what to do and what not to do, what to fear and what not to fear. They are always aware of actions that bind and actions that redeem.

There is no greater reward:

For the eye than the darshan of a God-intoxicated sadhu.

For the skin than to touch him.

For the nose than to breathe the fragrance of flowers offered to him.

And for the tongue than to talk humbly to him.

And again and again, ask in your every activity, "I want to devote myself to God and what am I doing."

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