Intro to Satsang - Gunaateeta Saint



    Gunaateeta refers to the highest-level liberated state, where one enjoys the peace and bliss of Akshardham, in loving devotional service of God.

    One reaches this state by the loving association of a gunaateeta saint, i.e. a saint that is already gunaateeta. A gunaateeta saint has aquired the understanding/qualities of Mool Akshar Gunatitanand Swami, and thus God resides in him.

    Depending on the context, other terms used in the Vachanamrut and Swami Ni Vato to describe the highest-level liberated state include: brahmaroopa, brahmasvaroopa, ekaantika, param-ekaantika, aksharroopa, satpurush, sadguru, param-bhagavat, uttam-mukta, mota-purush, vadvaanal sant, etc.

    A gunaateeta saint is shabdaateeta (above words), bhaavaateeta (above feelings), and gunaateeta (above modes of nature). The gunaateeta saint is totally-purified, filled with divine qualities of mahimaa/gnyaan (glory/knowledge of God), nirdoshbuddhi (sees divinity in all), etc.

    God's saint possesses these three qualities:

    1. Atmanishthaa (knowledge and conviction of the self's true identity as a soul).
    2. Svaroopnishthaa (faith in the manifest form of God).
    3. Svadharmanishthaa (perfect adherence to one's code of conduct).

    The gunaateeta saint additionally possesses these four qualities:

    1. Samtaa (spiritual equanimity).
    2. Suhradbhaava (friendliness towards all).
    3. Sarvadeshiyataa (equality of vision).
    4. Saadhutaa (deep humility and simplicity).

    Qualities of a gunaateeta saint:

    1. He naturally behaves with samp, suhradbhaava, and ekataa.
    2. He does not have attachment or aversion toward anyone.
    3. He does not discriminate against anyone.
    4. He does not belittle any religion.
    5. He does not see negative in anyone - even toward those that harbor negativity or are disbelievers. He does not associate with them, but he prays for them and takes the good in them too.
    6. He is a well-wisher of even those that hurt him. Even his curse takes the form of a blessing.

    The gunaateeta saint naturally lives with samp, suhradbhaava, and ekataa:

    1. Samp is working in unity or with harmony. An example that Yogi Bapa often gave was birds trapped in a net. They were able to escape the net by rising all at once and turning upside down. By working in samp, wondrous things are achieved.
    2. With suhradbhaava there is heartfelt oneness, and you accept another's fault as yours. At home for example, a mother might take upon herself a daughter-in-law's mistakes to bring peace to the home. In satsanga, one accepts the faults of other devotees as his/her own.
    3. Ekataa is unity. Bhagatji Maharaj, Jaga Swami, and Krishnaji Ada had divya ekataa or the divine oneness of being "one soul in three bodies."

    Four ingredients of a gunaateeta saint:

    1. "Dharma should be known as the good conduct expressed in the Shruti ('first-hand' or 'heard' scriptures, the Vedas with the Upanishads) and Smruti ('second-hand' or 'from memory' scriptures, also called the Dharma Shastras by sages - in a broader context includes all spiritual works besides the Vedas)" [ref. Shikshapatri verse 103].
    a. Dharma consists of yam and niyam, the first two steps of ashtaang-yoga. The five principal yam are ahinsaa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmachaarya (celibacy), and aparigrah (to not accumulate or non-greed) [ref. Patanjali's Yoga-sutras section 2, verse 30]. The five principal niyam are saucha (purity in thought, word, and deed), santosh (contentment), tapa (austerity), svaadhyaay (study), and Ishvar praanidhaan (surrendering to God) [ref. Patanjali's Yoga-sutras section 2, verse 30].
    b. Hindu scriptures discuss two main dharmas, one related to varna (caste) and another related to aashram (stage in life - brahmachaari or celibate, gruhastha or householder, vanaprashta or 'entering the forest,' and sanyaas or detached). In the Shikshapatri, Lord Swaminarayan introduces many dharmas, for householders, saints, etc.
    2. "Gnyaan is to properly know the forms of jiva (souls), ishvara (demigods), maayaa, [brahma or mukta, and Parabrahma]" [ref. Shikshapatri verse 104].
    3. "Vairaagya should be known as not having a liking for anything except God" [ref. Shikshapatri verse 104].
    4. "[Mahaatama sahita] bhakti should be known as great love for God supported by true knowledge of His glory" [ref. Shikshapatri verse 103].
    a. Nine types described in scriptures are, shravan (listen), kirtan (sing), smaran (remember), paadsevan (serve, at feet), archan (anoint and bathe), vandan (offer respect), daasya (remain as a servant), sakhya (remain as a friend), and aatmanivedan (dedicate, with the soul) [ref. Bhagavat 7/5/23]. Gunatitanand Swami discusses premlakshanaa bhakti (as displayed by the Gopis toward Lord Krishna) and paraabhakti (devotion as brahmaroopa) as the 10th and 11th types of devotion [ref. Swami Ni Vato 8/22].




    Lord Swaminarayan shows the full understanding with which to worship God, such that God eternally dwells in one's heart. A person with such an understanding has the conviction that, "The world remains stable and trembles; the stars remain steady in the sky; the rains fall; the sun rises and sets; the moon appears and disappears, waxes and wanes; the vast oceans remain constrained within their boundaries; a drop of liquid develops into a human possessing hands, feet, a nose, ears, and the rest of the ten senses; the clouds, through which lightening strikes, float unsupported in the sky; and a countless variety of other wonders are due only to the form of God that has been attained." He realizes that, "The countless wonders which have occurred in the past, those which are currently taking place, and those which will occur in the future are all due only to the manifest form of God that has been attained." Further, he remains equipoised "Whether someone were to throw dust on him or were to humiliate him in any way, and whether he was seated on a donkey after having his nose and ears cut off or if honored by being seated on an elephant." Moreover, he views with equality "A beautiful young woman, an unattractive woman, and an old woman, and a heap of gold and a pile of stones."

    The Vachanamrut continues, "He also possesses countless noble virtues such as gnyaan, bhakti, vairaagya, etc... Consequently, by the grace of God, the devotee attains countless types of powers and liberates countless beings. Despite these powers, though, he tolerates the praises and insults of other people. This itself is also a great feat, because to tolerate despite being so powerful is not easy for others to achieve. Therefore, one who tolerates in this manner should be considered to be extremely great."

    Lord Swaminarayan goes on to explain that "Since it is God who sees through his eyes, he empowers the eyes of all of the beings in the world; and since it is God who walks through his legs, he is also capable of endowing the strength to walk to the legs of all of the beings in the world. Thus, since it is God who resides in all of the senses of such a saint, that saint is able to empower the senses of all beings in the world. Therefore, such a saint is the sustainer of the world. His greatness lies in the fact that he tolerates the insults delivered even by insignificant people. Only those who are forgiving in this manner should be considered to be extremely great."


    Lord Swaminarayan has given 11 honors to the saint that understands "God and His devotees eternally possess a form...Furthermore, he realizes that there is no other all-doer in this world besides that God, and he realizes that without God, even a dry leaf cannot be stirred."

    The 11 honors are:
    1. Even if he is an ordinary person, he is still dear to God.
    2., 3., 4. Kaal, karma, and maayaa are unable to administer their power over him.
    5., 6., 7. God Himself places the dust of his feet on His head, is afraid of harming him, and longs to have his darshana.
    8. He is wise.
    9. He attains a spiritual form in the Abode of God and forever remains in God's service and presence.
    10. The darshana of him is equal to the darshana of God Himself.
    11. His darshana alone can redeem countless wretched souls.


    In Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 26, Lord Swaminarayan describes the saint who "Suppresses the actions of maayaa's gunas (the senses, subtle faculties, etc.), but himself does not get suppressed by their actions; only performs activities related to God; is staunch in his observance of the five religious commandments; and believing himself to be brahmaroopa, he worships God."

    Lord Swaminarayan explains that such a saint "Should not be thought of as a human being, nor should he be thought of as a demigod, because such behavior is not possible for either humans or demigods. Indeed, even though the saint appears to be human, he is still worthy of being worshipped on par with God." Therefore, "Whoever desires to attain liberation should serve such a saint. Also, females should serve females possessing such virtuous qualities."


    "The characteristics of the saint -
    1. Nirmaani (without ego or to have full respect for God)
    2. Nishkaami (celibacy or to have the desire for only God)
    3. Nissvaadi (without taste or to have the taste for only prasaad or food offered to God)
    4. Nirlobhi (without greed or possessiveness or to only want the service and grace of God)
    5. Nisnehi (without attachment for one's family or to be attached only to God and devotees)
    are also described in the scriptures.
    The saint who possesses these characteristics has a direct relationship with God. Thus, one should develop the conviction of God based on his words. In fact, to have firm faith in the words of the saint is itself the conviction of God."


    Lord Swaminarayan proclaims, "Whoever feeds you sincerely will earn the merits of performing millions of sacrifices and will ultimately attain liberation. Whoever touches your feet will be freed of the sins committed in millions of past lives. Anyone who kindly offers you clothes will also attain ultimate liberation. Whichever rivers and lakes into which you dip your feet become like places of pilgrimage, and any tree that you have sat under or eaten fruits of will also definitely benefit. If anyone devoutly does your darshana, or if someone devoutly bows before you, then all of his sins are destroyed. Moreover, whom you talk to about God and whom you inspire to observe religious vows will attain liberation. In fact, all of the actions of saints like yourselves who [have a firm refuge of God and] observe vows, are redemptive."

    SWAMI NI VATO 1/47

    Gunatitanand Swami states: Bhagavaananu dhaama gunaateeta chhe ne jeevane gunaateeta karavaa chhe...

    Thus, Gunatitanand Swami's mission was to make those who come in His or His saints' contact, like Him.

    SWAMI NI VATO 4/143

    Gunatitanand Swami has explained the greatness of the saint as follows:

    Je vakhate svaamee prashna uttara karaavataa te vakhatamaa svaameeye motaa saadhuno mahimaa kahela vaata: motaa chhe, bhagavaananaa malelaa chhe, bhagavaananaa vachanamaa varte chhe, bheedo khame chhe, bhagavaana ene vasha chhe, bhagavaana e kahe ema kare chhe, bhagavaana e kahe ema fare chhe, bhagavaanane ene jeetyaa chhe, bhagavaananaa abhipraayanaa jaananaaraa chhe, mokshanaa daataa chhe, ene darshane bhagavaananu darshana thayu, ene poojye bhagavaana poojaee rahyaa, garbhavaasa, jamapuree ne choraasheethee e mukaave chhe ne vihada je bhagavaananu aksharadhaama tene pamaade chhe ne bhagavaananaa saadharmyapanaane pamaade chhe, evaa e motaa chhe, enaa vinaa bhagavaanane chaalatu nathee, enaa darshane pancha mahapaapa balee jaaya chhe, enee eendriyunee kriyaaye kareene brahmaanda sachetana thaaya chhe, enaathee kaala, karma, ne maayaa tharathara kampe chhe; jema dehane poojye jeeva poojaaya rahyo tema aa saadhune poojye bhagavaana poojaaee rahyaa, e annadaataa chhe, antarayaamee chhe, sarvagnya chhe, enu karyu thaaya chhe, ne e manushya jevaa dekhaaya chhe pana manushya nathee, bhagavaana enaa bhelaa rahyaa chhe, avinaashee dhaamane pamaade chhe, kartaa thakaa akartaa chhe, vrukshanee pethe eno deha parane arthe chhe, santanaa lakshana kahyaa chhe evaa chhe, kaameela, kaabeela, saba hunnara tere haatha evaa chhe. aa prakaare mahimaa samajavo kahyo chhe.

    "Gunatitanand Swami talked about the glory of great saints during question-answer sessions: the saint is great; he is one with God; he acts in God's accordance; he tolerates hardships; he has completely pleased God; he does as God says; he has won over God; he knows God's essence; he is the granter of liberation; seeing him is [equivalent to] seeing God; offering him worship is (equivalent to) worshipping God; he makes one forgo [the pain of] birth, death, and taking 8.4 million life forms, he makes one attain God's unlimited Akshardham, and makes one attain God's divine qualities - he is that great. God wants to always be with him; by seeing him, the five great sins are burned away; by his contact, the world gets divine-life; time, deeds, and illusion tremble in front of him; just as one does pooja [offer symbolic worship] to a soul by doing pooja to the body, by doing pooja to him, God's pooja is done; he is the giver of food; he is omnipotent; he is omniscient; he is the all-controller; although he looks like a human, he is not human; God remains with him; he makes one attain God's indestructible Abode; he is the all-doer and yet transcendent; like a (shade-giving) tree his body is for others; he has all the qualities described of a saint; he is perfect, he is capable, and whatever is to happen is in his hands - one should understand his greatness in this way."