॥ શ્રી સ્વામિનારાયણો વિજયતે ॥


Spiritual Discourses

by Bhagwan Swaminarayan


Purifying the Company One Keeps

On the night of Māgshar sudi 1, Samvat 1877 [6 December 1820], Shriji Mahārāj was sitting in Surā Khāchar’s darbār in Loyā. He was wearing a white khes and a white dagli made of chhint. He had also tied a white feto around His head and had tied a bokāni with another feto, the chhoglu of which was hanging from His head. In addition to this, He had covered Himself with a thick, cotton cloth. At that time, an assembly of paramhansas as well as devotees from various places had gathered before Him.

Thereupon Shriji Mahārāj asked the paramhansas, “After joining the Satsang fellowship, what do you consider to be the most difficult achievement?”

The paramhansas could not answer the question, so Shriji Mahārāj replied, “For a person to become ekāntik is extremely difficult. What is this state of being ekāntik? Well, it is to do the bhakti of God along with dharma, gnān and vairāgya. That is the state of being ekāntik.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which one dharma-related endeavor is such that if practiced, all aspects of dharma remain? Moreover, out of worship, remembrance, singing or listening to devotional songs, listening to spiritual discourses, and other God-related endeavors, which one endeavor, if it is kept even when all others are abandoned in difficult times, helps maintain all of the others?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “Of the dharma-related endeavors, if one maintains the vow of non-lust,1 all other endeavors will develop. Of the God-related endeavors, if one keeps the conviction of God, then all of the others will develop.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which type of thinking, if maintained constantly, is beneficial and detrimental if altered? Also, which type of thinking is beneficial if repeatedly altered and detrimental if not altered?”

Again Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “Thoughts regarding one’s conviction of God should never be altered. In fact, it would be beneficial if they are repeatedly reinforced by listening to the greatness of God. Repeatedly altering them, however, would be detrimental. But, if one has firmly decided in one’s own mind, ‘I want to do this,’ then that type of thinking should be repeatedly altered on the advice of a sādhu. If he suggests, ‘You should not sit here and should not do this,’ then one should not sit there and should not do that. If, in this case, one’s own decision is altered, it would be beneficial; if it is not altered and one does as one pleases, then that would be detrimental.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Despite the fact that he observes dharma, sitting with and listening to which type of satsangi or paramhansa would make one subject to developing faults?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “If a person has faith in God and observes dharma, but also believes his self to be the body and has egotism as well as desires for worldly activities, then if God and His Sant denounce these, he will definitely perceive flaws in God and His Sant. Then, he will talk about the perceived flaws of God and His Sant to others and cause them to become like non-believers. One should not associate with such a person in any way; doing so is harmful.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which type of sādhu, even though he observes dharma and has faith in God, should one not accompany to bathe, sleep near or hear talks from?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “A sādhu who discouragingly says, ‘Can the vow of non-lust and other virtues really be realized in one life? They are realized only by the grace of God; otherwise liberation is attained after countless lives. So can liberation truly be attained in this very life?’ By all means, one should shun the company of anyone who speaks such discouraging words. Conversely, someone else claims, ‘We are fulfilled in this very life. The force of lust, anger, arrogance, matsar, egotism, and other vicious natures is trivial. By the grace of God and His Sant, we will destroy them all.’ One should, by all means, seek the company of a sādhu who speaks in this manner and is eagerly engaged in methods to destroy lust and the other vices.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which type of sādhu, even if he speaks encouragingly, should be shunned?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “If a sādhu emphasizes his own efforts only and believes himself to be fulfilled by his own efforts, but does not acknowledge the strength of God and does not feel, ‘By endeavoring in this way, I want to please God’ - then such a sādhu should be shunned.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which type of sādhu should one keep the company of, and which type should one not keep the company of?”

Shriji Mahārāj then replied, “If we are staying with a sādhu who observes the religious vows strictly and has firm faith in God, but who instead of reprimanding us, pampers us and lets us have our way, then even if he, like Muktānand Swāmi, is considered great in public opinion, his company should not be kept. On the other hand, if a sādhu repeatedly reprimands one and maintains constant vigilance on any swabhāv he sees within one, and if he does not cease to denounce that swabhāv until it is overcome and does not merely flatter, then even if he is not considered great in public view, one should still keep his company.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj asked another question, “Suppose a sādhu possesses all of the glorious virtues of bhakti, gnān, etc. However, on account of which one vicious flaw should one avoid his company?”

Again Shriji Mahārāj replied, “If he is very lazy, sleeps too much and when told by others to bathe, meditate or observe other niyams, says, ‘I’ll do it later; what’s the hurry? I’ll do them slowly’ - then even though he may appear to be good, one should avoid his company.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked a question, “A sādhu may speak well; but, due to which fault in his speech should his talks not be heard?”

Shriji Mahārāj then replied, “If, out of vanity, he talks about the bhakti, gnān, vairāgya and dharma within himself to be superior; and shows the virtues of gnān, bhakti, etc., in other sādhus to be inferior, then one should not listen to his talks.”

Once again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which type of speech should be viewed as amrut even though it is harsh?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “The words of a sādhu who in his speech denounces his own parents, sister, brother and caste with harsh words should be known to be good. Why? Because one who hears those words realizes the virtues of that sādhu; i.e., ‘In no way does this sādhu have attachment to his bodily relations or others.’ Therefore, those words should be enjoyed like amrut.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj posed a question, “When should one maintain conceit, and when should one not maintain conceit?”

Once again Shriji Mahārāj supplied the answer, “One should not maintain conceit before a staunch follower of God, even though he may be a simple and meek devotee. On the other hand, one should certainly maintain conceit before a person who has fallen back from Satsang. In fact, one should not become suppressed by him, and in any question-answer exchange, his words should be answered with stern words of one’s own.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj asked, “When should one not have a desire for the darshan, etc., of God and His Sant. When should one have such a desire?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “Suppose I were to ask all of the sādhus, ‘Who will go to Burānpur and Kāshi?’ Then, when no one speaks, one should rise in the assembly and say to Me, ‘Mahārāj, if you say so, I shall go.’ So saying, one should follow My command and go there. In those situations, to gain My pleasure, one should not keep any desire for keeping the company of the Sant or My darshan, etc.

“Moreover, when one, who a sādhu or I have grieved, rebuked, insulted or expelled, and who is crying out of that shock, is approached by a non-believer, such as an ekadmal, who starts to talk about the flaws of the sādhu or Me, then before him, one should exhibit tremendous affection towards the sādhu and God. One should say, ‘I am His servant, and even if He were to cut me to pieces, I would still never perceive flaws in Him. He will grant Me liberation.’ In that situation, one should exhibit such great affection.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “What should not be done, even if God is pleased by it? What should be done, even if God is displeased by it?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “If I were to give an order which seems to be full of adharma, then one should be hesitant in following it; that is, one should take some time and not accept it immediately. For example, Shri Krishna Bhagwān ordered Arjun, ‘Cut off Ashwatthāmā’s head.’ But Arjun did not follow that command. Likewise, even if I am pleased by it, that type of instruction should not be followed. Also, an instruction by which the prescribed niyams of the five religious vows are transgressed should not be followed. If by not obeying these two types of commands, God is displeased, then one should definitely let Him be displeased; in those cases, one should not attempt to please Him.”

Once again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “While meditating on God, countless different waves of vicious thoughts arise in the mind, just as large waves arise in the ocean. When such thoughts do arise, how can they be suppressed?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered His own question, “When such vicious thoughts arise, one should stop the meditation and should clap and chant ‘Swāminārāyan, Swāminārāyan’ aloud, without shame. One should pray to God, ‘O Lord! You are a friend of the meek! You are an ocean of mercy!’ Also, one should remember a great sādhu of God, like Muktānand Swāmi, and pray to him too. As a result of this, all disturbing thoughts will be eradicated and peace will prevail. Apart from this, there is no other method to eradicate such thoughts.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj posed another question, “Which virtue should be renounced, even if it is believed to be a great virtue in this Satsang and is being praised by all? Which fault, even though it is a fault, is suitable to be imbibed?”

Once again Shriji Mahārāj supplied the answer Himself, “One may be like Muktānand Swāmi and may be observing religious vows more resolutely than all; however, if as a result of this, another sādhu feels inferior because he cannot behave on the same level with the former, then that virtue, even though it may be great, should be renounced. Instead, one should behave on the same level as all of the other sādhus. Even though behaving on the same level as others is a drawback, it should be imbibed.”

Again Shriji Mahārāj asked, “In these sādhus, which is the one flaw which, when abandoned, would cause all flaws to be abandoned? Which is the one virtue which, if cultivated, would cause all virtues to be cultivated?”

Shriji Mahārāj answered, “All flaws reside in the flaw of identifying one’s self with the body. If that is abandoned, all flaws are abandoned. Furthermore, if the sole virtue of ātmā-realization, i.e., realizing oneself as the ātmā, distinct from the body, is developed, then all virtues will develop.”

Shriji Mahārāj again asked, “Which types of vishays, when indulged in, enlighten the mind, and which types of vishays, when indulged in, cause ignorance to prevail in the mind?”

Again Shriji Mahārāj replied, “By indulging in God-related vishays, the mind is enlightened; and by indulging in worldly vishays, ignorance prevails in the mind.”

Next, Shriji Mahārāj asked, “Which places, which times, which company and which actions should one not associate with, even if it is God’s command?”

Shriji Mahārāj again supplied the answer Himself, “Even if it is God’s command, a sādhu should not stay in a place where he has frequent contact with his bodily relations. Also, if I seat one where women can also be seen while having My darshan, and if I were to say, ‘Do My darshan,’ then one should not sit in such a place. Rather, one should make an excuse and leave. Further, if adverse times are prevailing and riots are taking place, then even if it is God’s command to stay, one should leave that place; but one should not stay there and suffer beatings.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj asked another question, “Which scriptures should be heard and studied, and which scriptures should not be heard or studied?”

Once again Shriji Mahārāj replied, “Scriptures which do not promote God possessing a form and do not describe God’s avatārs, but instead discuss pure Vedānta and propound a single, formless entity, should never be studied or heard, even if they have been written by someone very intelligent. Also, even though they may be merely devotional songs like those composed by Ranchhod Bhakta, if they describe God’s form, they should be sung and heard. Such scriptures should also be studied and heard.”

Vachanamrut ॥ 6 ॥ 114 ॥

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This Vachanamrut took place ago.


1. Nishkām vrat (નિષ્કામ વ્રત.)

Prakaran Gadhada I (78) Sarangpur (18) Kariyani (12) Loya (18) Panchala (7) Gadhada II (67) Vartal (20) Amdavad (3) Gadhada III (39) Bhugol-Khagol Additional (11) Additional Info Vachanamrut Study People in the Vachanamrut Vachanamrut Introduction Vachanamrut Principles Vachanamrut Preface Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Blessings Vachanamrut Calendar Paratharo 4: Auspicious Marks Paratharo 5: Daily Routine Appendices

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