॥ શ્રી સ્વામિનારાયણો વિજયતે ॥


Spiritual Discourses

by Bhagwan Swaminarayan

Gadhada II-66

Questions to the Senior Sādhus; Holding a Red-Hot Iron Ball

On Posh vadi 1, Samvat 1881 [5 January 1825], Swāmi Shri Sahajānandji Mahārāj was sitting on a cushion with a cylindrical pillow that had been placed on a large, decorated cot on the veranda outside the east-facing rooms of Dādā Khāchar’s darbār in Gadhadā. He was dressed entirely in white clothes. Garlands of yellow flowers and red guldāvadi flowers adorned His neck, and a tassel of yellow flowers decorated His pāgh. At that time, while some sādhus were singing a Vishnupad to the accompaniment of a sarodā and dukad, munis as well as devotees from various places had gathered before Him in an assembly.

After the devotional songs had finished, Shriji Mahārāj said, “Today I wish to ask all of the senior sādhus some questions.” Having said this, He directed His first question to Ānand Swāmi. He said, “Suppose there is a person who, despite having little intelligence, recognizes his own faults and does not look at the faults of other devotees; instead, he looks only at their virtues. On the other hand, suppose there is another person who is very intelligent, yet he does not see his own faults. Moreover, he overlooks the virtues of other devotees and looks only at their faults. Why is it that the person with little intelligence finds faults in himself, whereas the person with much intelligence cannot realize his own faults? That is the question.”

Ānand Swāmi answered as he thought correct, but he was unable to give a satisfactory reply.

So Shriji Mahārāj explained, “The answer to that is as follows: It is because that person has offended some great devotee of God either in this life or in a past life. As a result of that sin, his intellect has become corrupted. That is why he perceives faults in devotees without being able to realize faults in himself. This is the only answer to that question.”

Next, Shriji Mahārāj asked Nityānand Swāmi a question, “Is there only one means to attain God or are there many? You may say that God can be attained by four means - gnān, vairāgya, bhakti and dharma. But if God is attained by these four means, then the principle that liberation can be attained exclusively by seeking the refuge God does not stand.”

Nityānand Swāmi tried to answer the question in many different ways but was unable to do so satisfactorily.

So Shriji Mahārāj said, “Liberation is only attained by the refuge of God. However, God is very powerful; even the deities such as Brahmā and others live under His command. In fact, out of fear of God, even the causes of all of the brahmānds, namely kāl, māyā, etc., conscientiously follow His commands. Obviously then, a devotee of God should also strictly follow God’s commands; that is the very characteristic of a devotee of God. For this reason, all other spiritual endeavors should also be performed strictly. Thus, liberation is possible only through God, whereas those other spiritual endeavors are for the purpose of pleasing God. That is the only answer to the question.”

Then Shriji Mahārāj asked Brahmānand Swāmi, “Does the jiva, which dwells within the body, possess a form or is it formless?”

Brahmānand Swāmi replied, “It possesses a form.”

Hearing this, Shriji Mahārāj queried, “If the jiva did possess a form, then that would mean it has hands and feet, as well as other limbs. However, the Vedstuti chapter of the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhāgwat states, ‘God created the buddhi, indriyas, man and prāns to enable the jiva to attain liberation.’ If the jiva itself did possess a form, then what would be the need of creating the buddhi, indriyas, man and prāns for it? Therefore, seeing such words in the scriptures, one can only conclude that the jiva is by its inherent nature characterized by eternal existence and consciousness.

“The jiva also possesses the kāran body, which is the embodiment of eternal ignorance. Just as a magnetic rock attracts iron and then sticks to the iron, similarly, the jiva has a nature of sticking; thus it sticks to the two māyik bodies - the sthul body and the sukshma body. Then, due to its ignorance, the jiva believes those bodies to be its own. In reality, though, the jiva is not like those bodies at all.”

Then Brahmānand Swāmi asked, “After the ignorance of the jiva is dispelled by the bhakti of God, the association between the jiva and the three māyik bodies, i.e., sthul, sukshma and kāran, no longer remains. So when the jiva attains the abode of God, with what type of form does it stay there?”

Shriji Mahārāj replied, “When the jiva’s ignorance is dispelled, its association with the three māyik bodies is broken. Thereafter, the jiva remains as pure existence and consciousness. Then, by God’s will, the jiva receives a body composed of chaitanya prakruti - which is distinct from the eight types of jad prakruti of God, i.e., pruthvi, jal, etc. With that body, then, it stays in God’s Akshardhām. This is the answer to your question.”

Thereafter, Shriji Mahārāj asked Gopālānand Swāmi a question, “It is due to the grace of God and His Sant that one can master ashtāng-yoga or realize the ātmā. Why is it, then, that even though God and His Sant are the cause of these, they become secondary, and instead, one’s interest in yoga and ātmā-realization increases?”

Gopālānand Swāmi replied, “After practising ashtāng-yoga, when one actually masters it, one develops a little conceit. As a result, one becomes somewhat less interested in God.”

To this, Shriji Mahārāj commented, “When a yogi attains God-realization, he also becomes brahmarup, and no form of conceit is possible in Brahma. Thus your answer is not consistent.”

Gopālānand Swāmi then said, “Mahārāj, I cannot understand this. Please be compassionate and explain it to Me.”

So Shriji Mahārāj began, “It should be understood in the following way: When a person wishes to eradicate his faults, he should eradicate them after consulting the words of the great. For example, if a person has some worldly task to perform, and he wants to accomplish that job extremely well, he should consult some experts. Similarly, such consultation is necessary here as well. For example, Shukji had become brahmaswarup, yet he studied the Shrimad Bhāgwat with great enthusiasm. In fact, even to this very day, he engages in the bhakti of God. Furthermore, the 88,000 rishis, including Shaunak, had become brahmaswarup, yet they too listened to the discourses related to God from Sutpurāni. Thus, one should take guidance from such words to consolidate one’s bhakti.

“For those faults which one cannot recognize, one should pray to God: ‘Mahārāj, please be compassionate and destroy whichever faults I may have’ - just as when a man has been accused of something and has no witnesses to disprove the allegation, then he proves his innocence by holding a red-hot iron ball.1 Similarly, if a fault cannot be realized, one should pray to God for the eradication of that fault, which amounts to holding the iron ball. One should eradicate one’s faults in this manner. That is the answer to your question.2

Thereafter, Shriji Mahārāj asked Muktānand Swāmi a question, “Suppose a devotee of God has thoroughly realized God, but God does not show him any miracles. Now, if some other performer of magical spells does show him a miracle, would the mind of that devotee waver from God upon seeing this or not?”

Muktānand Swāmi replied, “Mahārāj, if a person has absolute faith in God, then he would never have faith in anyone but God. On the other hand, if a person does have faith in someone else, then he does not have faith in God at all. Such a person is merely a superficial devotee; he cannot be called a true devotee of God.”

Hearing this, Shriji Mahārāj agreed, “That is the exact answer to the question.”

Finally, Shriji Mahārāj asked Shuk Muni, “If a devotee of God has attained realization of God and His Sant, then how does he benefit while he is alive, and how does he benefit after he dies?”

Shuk Muni said, “Mahārāj, that question can be answered only by You.”

So Shriji Mahārāj said, “While alive, a person who has attained God and His Sant spends his days and nights engrossed in spiritual discourses, devotional songs, etc., related to God. He also has the direct realization of his jivātmā, which transcends the three states, as being brahmarup. With the exception of God, he develops vairāgya for all other objects. Also, he discards adharma and abides by dharma.

“When that devotee dies, God makes him just like Himself. In fact, God had blessed Brahmā: ‘O Brahmā! By My grace, may you know Me as I am, My glory as it is, and My virtues and actions as they are.’ So just as God had blessed Brahmā, He also grants the same blessings to all of His faithful devotees. In addition, just as God is free from kāl, karma and māyā, in the same way, that devotee of God also becomes free from kāl, karma and māyā. Also, he forever resides in the service of God. This is how that devotee benefits after he abandons his body. That is the answer to the question.”

Vachanamrut ॥ 66 ॥ 199 ॥

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This Vachanamrut took place ago.


1. Refers to a custom where an alleged criminal was asked to prove his innocence by holding a red-hot iron ball. If his hands did not develop burns, he was considered innocent.

2. Shriji Maharaj explains the reason why God and the Sant become secondary after one masters ashtāng-yoga and attains ātmā-realization. The major reason is that the devotee has not understood how one who has mastered ashtāng-yoga or ātmā-realization behave. Shukdevji and other yogis did not believe fulfillment after attaining ātmā-realization; instead, they engaged in devotion of God. If this is not understood, then Bhagwan and the Sant will become secondary and ātmā-realization becomes primary. Therefore, one needs to understand how the yogis in the past behaved.

Shriji Maharaj offers 3 solutions here to avoid any deficiencies in spiritual endeavor:

 1. One needs to look at the life of the Mota-Purush and how he undertakes spiritual endeavors.

 2. Contemplate on the words of the Mota-Purush and abide by his instruction.

 3. Pray to Bhagwan and the Sant that one may realize one’s own deficiencies.

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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