Dinkar Uncle

Savaali, which is a part of today's Vadodara district, was the hometown of Govindbhai Patel's wife. Lord Swaminarayan came to the village and blessed Govindbhai and his wife. The couple had a daughter, named Harkhaba, and two sons, Madhavbhai and Gangadasbhai (who were named by Lord Swaminarayan). Harkhaba's son, Becharbhai, married Diwaliben, who gave birth to Dinkarbhai Patel (Dinkar Uncle) on October 1, 1944 or Aso suda 15 (Sharad Poornima), 2000 VS. Dinkar Uncle has an older and younger brother (Hariharbhai and Rajnibhai), an older sister (Mahalaxmiben), and two younger sisters (Urmilaben and the late Niranjanben).

When Dinkar Uncle was 4 years old, the three brothers contracted smallpox but through the blessings of a great devotee of Sai Baba (who came in contact with the family due to their neighbor, Ravjibhai Patel) and the selfless service of Diwaliben, they recovered quickly. Dinkar Uncle was exceptionally bright throughout his studies, but his inclination remained toward spiritual endeavors. Mahalaxmiben recalls that from a very young age, he unselfishly looked after his brothers and spent his time reading scriptures such as the Ramayan. As a child, he would visit the nearby Swaminarayan temple in Uttarsanda and recite the Vachanamrut in the company of Gnyanjivandasji Swami, a saint at the Vadtal temple who had the power to make whatever he said come true. While at college in Vidyanagar, Dinkar Uncle was also introduced to Krupalvanand Swami through two of his friends, Bhagavatbhai Trivedi and Sureshbhai Parikh.

After passing Sardar Vallabhbhai Science College, and receiving his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Vishvakarma University, Dinkar Uncle considered continuing his education in America. During this time, Uttarsanda was frequently visited by many powerful saints and one such saint, Shri Gnyanaranya of the Adi Shankracharya line, blessed Dinkar Uncle to score highest in his final exams and gain entrance to Georgia Insitute of Technology. After taking the TOEFL exam in Mumbai, Dinkar Uncle was the third person from the town of Uttarsanda to go to America.

Dinkar Uncle came to America on September 16, 1966 to pursue a Master's in Heat Transfer (Major: Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning-Refrigeration Engineering). He completed this degree in just four quarters and landed an engineering position in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Dinkar Uncle was on his way to an interview in Chicago, but decided to stay in Indiana at the insistence of a friend, Rameshbhai Patel.)

Dinkar Uncle had come to America on a student visa, and was allowed to stay in America for optional practical training for 1 1/2 years. At the time, unless one was married, applying for permanent residency meant being drafted for the Vietnam War. Thus in 1969, Dinkar Uncle went back to India and married Sudhaben Patel of Naar. Due to visa problems, Dinkar Uncle had some difficulty in procuring authorization to return to America. Some time earlier, Dinkar Uncle had anonymously sent his first paycheck from America to Gnanjivandasji Swami, who had now permanently settled in Virsad. When Dinkar Uncle visited, Gnyanjivandas Swami asked what he had studied. Dinkar Uncle replied that he had completed his Master's in Engineering from America. Swami smiled and asked if he could repair the temple clock. Pleased with Dinkar Uncle's sincerity, Swami blessed Dinkar Uncle to return to the US despite the immigration issues.

Back in India, Sudhaben wished to join Dinkar Uncle in America. She approached her guru, Kakaji, who said that she would get what she desired by doing 18,000 rosaries. Sudhaben was determined to accomplish this and completed the rosaries in less than half a month (approximately 15 hours of chanting a day!). Kakaji was pleased with her sincerity and she traveled to America via Canada. While in England, she even met Yogi Bapa.

In September 1971, after working in Indianapolis for four years, Dinkar Uncle moved to Elkhart, Indiana to accept the position of a Project Engineer for an architectural firm. While Dinkar Uncle lived in Elkhart, in 1973, Kakaji visited America. This was his first trip to America and he had come to a devotee's home (Hasmukhbhai Patel) in Chicago, Illinois during the 4th of July weekend. Sudhaben was ecstatic that Kakaji was present to give blessings to their newborn son, Roopit and the family went to Chicago to meet Kakaji.

During their first meeting on Saturday, July 7, 1973, Dinkar Uncle recalls that from first sight, he had experienced an unparalleled attraction and devotion towards Kakaji. That same year, Kakaji visited Dinkar Uncle in Elkhart hearing that Dinkar Uncle had undergone an appendix operation. Kakaji showered his blessings on Dinkar Uncle for equally respecting Jashbhai Saheb and Harshadbhai Bhatt (who accompanied Kakaji on his first visit to America). The following year, Dinkar Uncle visited Kakaji in India for the first time.

In 1976 Dinkar Uncle moved to Waukegan, Illinois and on September 16, he took a position with Abbott Laboratories. The following year, Kakaji visited Chicago along with Mahendra Shah (Bapu) and Rajubhai Thakkar. From their first meeting, Dinkar Uncle created a special friendship with Bapu. On August 23, 1977, Dinkar Uncle moved into a house in Waukegan. In 1978, Dinkar Uncle's parents visited America. In 1979, Kakaji visited America for the third time, this time accompanied by Rameshbhai Soni. Later that year, Dinkar Uncle visited India on a business trip to Indonesia. In March 1980, Sudhaben passed away due to Hodgkin’s disease (a lymphomas cancer). Due to Sudhaben's sickness, Kusumben (Sudhaben's older sister and also a devotee of Kakaji) had come to America 4 years earlier to help take care of Roopit and his younger sister, Amy. From the beginning, Dinkar Uncle had always been interested in celibate disciplines and inspired by Adbhutanand Swami Ni Vato (from the time of Lord Swaminarayn), Dinkar Uncle took the vow to not touch women. If he accidentally came in contact with any woman, he would observe a fast. Although this proved to be very challenging due to travels for work, he persevered and Kakaji greatly praised his saintliness. Also in 1980, Dinkar Uncle traveled to India where along with Kakaji and devotees, he visited Swaminarayan pilgrimage places (Gadhada, Gondal, Sarangpur, etc.), and celebrated Hariprasad Swamiji's 50th birthday in Kandaaree.

In 1981 (when Kakaji visited along with Bapu and Rajubhai Bhatt), on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Swaminarayan Bhagwan, Kakaji enshrined the moorti of Swaminarayan Bhagwan (June 21) and converted Dinkar Uncle's home into a mandira. At that time, he gave the blessings that every prayer performed with a pure heart at this mandira will be answered and whoever comes in contact with Dinkar Uncle will find peace. Kakaji returned in 1983 (with Bapu) and established Yogi Divine Society, Chicago-USA with Dinkar Uncle as its President. In 1984, Dinkar Uncle visited India to take part in Kakaji's saakshaatkaardina celebrations in Mumbai, Sokhada, and Delhi. Later that year, Kakaji visited America for the sixth time (this time accompanied by Bapu and Rajubhai Bhatt), and was pleased that Dinkar Uncle had established a dedicated group of devotees in America.

In 1985, Kakaji helped set up Hariprasad Swamiji's first trip to America with Bapu. Kakaji (who came in August that year) instilled the glory of Hariprasad Swamiji, Jashbhai Saheb, and gunaateeta saints to devotees abroad.

During Kakaji's seventh and final visit in 1985, on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Gunatitanand Swami, Kakaji enshrined the moorti of Gunatitanand Swami in the Waukegan mandira (October 20).

Before Kakaji passed away in 1986, Dinkar Uncle returned to India for Gunatitanand Swami's Bicentennial Celebration. After returning to America, he, along with Saheb, Bapu, and Ben conducted the first Gunatit Gnyan Shibir in St. Louis in the summer of 1986.

Since then, Dinkar Uncle has been explaining the glory of Swaminarayan Bhagwan, Gunatitanand Swami, and gunaateeta saints. His spiritual discourses blend timeless lessons from Hindu scriptures and practical experiences from the modern world. He regularly reads and explains the Shikshapatri, Vachanamrut, Swami Ni Vato, and other Swaminarayan scriptures and spends all of his time in the humble service of devotees. In June 1989, Bapu started Friday Meetings for youth in Niles, Illinois (at the home of Kirtibhai Shah). Led by Dinkar Uncle and Bapu, each meeting is an open forum for youth to spiritually progress. From January 2001, the Friday Meetings were moved to the Des Plaines mandira.

From March 2003 (after Kakaji's Stamp inauguration in Delhi), at the suggestion of Mukundjivan Swamiji (Guruji), all the saadhakas (those aspiring to live a life wholly dedicated to God) of the Gunatit Samaj began wearing the uniform of a blue shirt and beige pants (signifying the sky and the earth) as originally selected by Kakaji and Papaji for the Anoopam Mission saadhakas. Dinkar Uncle also accepted the saadhaka attire.

   



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