INTENT OF THE COMMAND
February 14, 2003
Friday Meeting

A question was asked about a devotee following God or His saint's vachana/aagnyaa (command) judiciously. Three examples from Gunatitanand Swami's time illustrate that at a higher level, the devotee may act according to the intent of the command rather than according to its literal meaning.

In the first incident, (given in Swami Ni Vato 5/85) Swaminarayan Bhagwan's horse had become very ill. At that time, Swaminarayan Bhagwan proposed that all of the paramhansaas dip their feet in a pot of water and that this holy water be administered to the horse. All of the saints followed Swaminarayan Bhagwan's order except Nityanand Swami and Gunatitanand Swami. One by one, each saint placed their feet into the water and then stepped forward. When they had all sanctified the water, Swaminarayan Bhagwan picked up the bowl and Himself took a sip of the water. While Swaminarayan Bhagwan praised the water's holiness, all those assembled felt bad. Nityanand Swami had not followed the command because he figured that the command must have a different meaning. Gunatitanand Swami knew what Swaminarayan Bhagwan's intent was, and thus did not follow the request either.

Two more occasions (given in Swami Ni Vato 10/189) reflect that one should "talk considering the circumstances of place, time, etc." Once, Gunatitanand Swami and Nishkulanand Swami went to Kariyani to see Swaminarayan Bhagwan. As He was in hiding, the saints did not know Swaminarayan Bhagwan's whereabouts. An old lady sweeping the floor was present, but the saints could not communicate with her due to their vows. So the old lady shouted, "If there is someone around, please tell the saints that there is a window in the house and you should go through the window to see Maharaj." When the saints saw Swaminarayan Bhagwan, He asked, "Did you come from the village? Did anyone see you?" Swaminarayan Bhagwan was pleased when Gunatitanand Swami replied, "We came from the river. No one saw us."

In another instance, while at the Akshar Ordi in Gadhada, Swaminarayan Bhagwan had Nityanand Swami read the Sutra Bhashya. It soon became very crowded, so Swaminarayan Bhagwan asked Muktanand Swami to individually ask the saints if they understood the discourse. If they did not understand it, Swaminarayan Bhagwan asked them not to come the following day. When Gunatitanand Swami was asked, so that He could continue to have God's darshana, He enthusiastically replied, "Yes, such talks are unprecedented, and will not be spoken again in the future!" Swaminarayan Bhagwan thus remarked, "He understands - let Him come tomorrow."

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