|January 09, 1999 |
Niles, IL: Dasbhai's home
Once, when the mahanta of the Tarnetar mandira came to Junagadh with his disciples, Gunatitanand Swami was sweeping the temple grounds. The mahanta approached Gunatitanand Swami and asked where he could find the mahanta of the Junagadh mandira. Gunatitanand Swami asked him to be go inside, and the mahanta would shortly be with him. When Gunatitanand Swami washed up and came, He explained to the surprised visitor that the he who is a humble servant is the true mahanta.
There is a famous saying by Tulsidas on ego: "Kanaka tajyo, kaaminee tajyo, tajyo dhaatu ko sanga; tulasee, laghu bhojana karee, jeeve maana ke ranga" or "Tulsidas [says, though one] has renounced women, wealth, and possessions, he lives on praise alone, the greatest of all obsessions" [ref. Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 41]. True to the saying, during His travels as Neelkanth Varni, Lord Swaminarayan uncovered the ego of a baavaa who lived isolated in a cave but subsisted on ego. Lord Swaminarayan discusses the topic of ego in many Vachanamruts.
In Vachanamrut Loya 14, after explaining that a person who has anger, ego, or jealousy definitely regresses in satsanga, Lord Swaminarayan states, "A person with ego remains arrogant even before those who are superior to him, but he cannot become humble and serve them."
Giving the example of Uddhavji in Vachanamrut Loya 16 and Gadhada Last 28, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "He who thoroughly realizes the greatness of God would not have ego."
In Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 25, Lord Swaminarayan describes, "If a devotee who once had only 20 kg of grains in his house were to attain...the sovereignty of the entire earth, and if, after that, he remains just as loving and humble with the saint as he previously was...and if he remains just as humble even if he were to attain the kingdom of Indralok or Brahmalok, then God would be extremely pleased upon him. As for a renunciant, even after attaining powers similar to those possessed by God, if he can continue to menially serve all saints in exactly the same manner as he did when he was new...and not attempt to impose his authority upon other saints or try to compete with them, then God would be extremely pleased upon him."
In Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 41, Lord Swaminarayan explains that enjoyment from ego is like the joy a dog gets from chewing a bone. This is because in reality "As a result of the chewing, [the dog's] bone is abraded and the bone becomes covered in blood [from its own mouth]."
In Vachanamrut Vadtal 11, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "Ego is the cause of anger, jealousy, and negativity. And in fact, even the devotion of an egotist is said to be demonic."
In Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 26, Lord Swaminarayan explains that He does not like if one has ego "Of one's devotion, renunciation, detachment, divine state, understanding, following of [God's] commands, etc."
In Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 27, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "The saint may have compassion on a lustful person, but he will not have compassion on an egotistic person...Further, one does not fall from satsanga due to lust as one does due to ego."
In Vachanamrut Jetalpur 3, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "Of those vicious natures [i.e. ego, jealousy, lust, anger, greed, etc.] ego is absolutely the worst of all. Just look, one who has a minor flaw in any other religious vow still manages to survive in satsanga, but those who have ego have never been able to survive [in satsanga]."
The letter Lord Swaminarayan wrote to Swayamprakashanand Swami and saints titled Vedaras covers the five vartamaanas: nirmaanee (without ego), nishkaamee (celibacy), nirsvaadee (without taste), nirlobhee (without greed or possessiveness), and Nihsnehee or Nihspruhee (without attachment for one's family). Over half of the letter is on the topic of becoming nirmaanee.
Finally, in Vachanamrut Loya 6 and Panchala 5, Lord Swaminarayan explains that it is ok to keep ego in front of someone who has "Fallen back from satsanga" or "One who spites satsanga, or speaks negatively of God or His great saint." However, Dinkar Uncle explained that Lord Swaminarayan said this while in the company of Kathis (known for their strong personality and passion). Today, we are only going to come across God's devotees, and thus we should never have ego.