|May 08, 2004 |
Des Plaines Mandira
Given in Swami Ni Vato 8/16, in 1886 VS, the year that Swaminarayan Bhagwan departed for Akshardham, He accepted a sickness and asked Gunatitanand Swami, who was in God's service, to return to Junagadh. Realizing that Maharaj had decided to leave His physical body soon, Swami became saddened. Maharaj thus said, "When the time comes, I will send for You." In due course, per Maharaj's instructions, Brahmanand Swami came to Junagadh and asked Swami to return to Gadhada on Jeth sud 6. At the time, Maharaj was very ill and no one was allowed to see Him, but when Somla Khachar informed Him that Swami had arrived, Maharaj called Swami. After Swami prostrated, Maharaj sat up and hugged Swami. Looking at Swami for a long time, Maharaj said, "Mithaa vahaalaa kem veesaro, me tamathee baandhel tana. Tarasyaane jema paaneedu vaalu, bhookhyaane bhojan ho. Mithaa vahaalaa kem veesaro, me tamathee baandhel tana." or "Dear, how can I forget You, My body is united to You - just as water is dear to a thirsty person, and food is dear to a hungry person, My body is united to You" [Maharaj and Swami's relationship is similar to the relationship between the soul and the body]. After inquiring about the ongoing temple work in Junagadh, Maharaj gifted a crown from Dharamapur for the moorti of Siddheshwar Mahadev and then gave His thaala to Swami (Swaminarayan Bhagwan would often taste some of the food offered to Him and then give the rest to a devotee upon whom He was pleased).
The following day, Maharaj called Gunatitanand Swami and Gopalanand Swami. He told Gopalanand Swami that though he had made Gopalanand Swami the leader of all, he should keep two people ahead: one was Gunatitanand Swami, who was Maharaj's manifest Abode, and the other was Raghuvirji Maharaj. On Jeth sud 10 (June 1, 1830), Maharaj departed from His physical body. During Maharaj's deha-kriyaa (cremation rites) in Laksmi-vadi, all the devotees lost their composure. Gopalanand Swami expressed that "Everyone [mistakenly] believes that their Father has passed away." Gunatitanand Swami held young Raghuvirji Maharaj's hand and performed the cremation rites.
Also given in Swami Ni Vato 10/243, soon after, while returning from the ritual bath, Gunatitanand Swami saw green grass growing next to a small streamlet. Seeing this He thought, "The life of this grass is water, but my life, Maharaj, is gone." Saying this, He fell to the ground and immediately, Maharaj appeared and lifted Him. Maharaj embraced Swami and said, "I am not gone. I forever reside in You...I am forever in You...I am forever in You."