Shreeji Maharaj’s Natural Tendencies and Daily Routine

Now are described His special features governing His daily life:

Shreeji Maharaj always used to wake up three or four hours before sunrise. Then usually brushing His teeth, He used to take bath. He cleaned His body with a fine washed garment. Then getting up He squeezed the wet garment with His hands, tightly holding it between His thighs. Then He dried His feet. As He always liked white garments, He used to wear a white well-washed dhoti tightly stretching it round His waist. He covered His body with a white washed garment. Then putting on wooden sandals, He used to go to His usual place for performing the puja and then for His routine meals. While sitting for meals, He used to stretch His upper garment over His head, holding it neatly behind His ears. He always used to sit for His meals facing either eastward or northward. He generally kept His left leg flat on the floor. The right leg He kept straight up and rested His right-hand elbow on the knees of His right leg. He then slowly used to take His meal. While taking a meal, He often drank water. If He found any of the food items served to Him very tasty, then He distributed that item to the devotees seated nearby. While eating He often moved His hand on His belly. Sometimes when He was too pleased with a devotee, He gave Him the food graced by Him.

When He prepared Himself to serve food to the sadhus, He neatly arranged the upper garment on His left shoulder and then tightly fastened the two ends of that garment to His waist. He then moved in the rows of the sadhus. He often repeated the names of the sweets He held in His hands to be served to the sadhus and encouraged them to ask for those sweets again. He moved and moved since He felt great joy in thus serving the devotees and sadhus.

In the monsoon season, Shreeji Maharaj often went along with the devotees and sadhus to the river Ghela near the city of Durgapattam. He liked very much the crystal-clear water of this river and dived in its deep waters along with the devotees. When He went under the water, with the thumb and the finger of His hands he covered his ears, nose and eyes and appeared on the surface of the water after a long time. He then used to brush his face by His right hand and spat out water from His mouth. At times He stood in between the flow of the water and asked the devotees to sing songs and Himself joined in the chorus.

While entering the deep waters of the river and coming out of it after the bath, He generally held the hand of a stout devotee tight. All the devotees also used to follow Him when He came out of the water and they enjoyed the darshan of Maharaj. Then standing on the bank of the river and squeezing the wet clothes put on by Him, He used to dry His body and then put on a white garment tightly. On His head He always put on a turban with one end kept loose. He fastened the turban quite neatly so as to cover the eyebrow. He used to put the upper garment on His left shoulder and tightened one end of it on His waist. Then He rode a horse or a mare and returned to His residential premises surrounded by the crowd of devotees.

Shreeji Maharaj, while walking, had the habit of keeping the upper garment hanging from His left shoulder and walked rowing His right hand, to and fro. At times He walked holding a handkerchief in His right hand, placing His left hand on His waist. Generally, He walked fast and the devotees walking with Him were not able to keep pace with Him. They had, therefore, to run behind Him. When He used to put on wooden sandals, the sandals made a sound.

When He anxiously waited for any work to be done, He simply stood or walked slowly and beat His right thigh slowly with the fist of His hand. At times when many people gathered and dust wafted aloft, He covered His nose and mouth with the handkerchief.

He used to sit on a beautiful wooden cot with a mattress spread which was covered with a clean bed sheet. At times He used to sit on the floor covered by a gādi. Sometimes He was sitting only on a thin cotton carpet. He had the habit of sitting on the round backrest which was usually arranged on a mattress spread over a cot. Generally, he used to sit cross-legged flat on the floor and sometimes sat tying both knees round His waist by a thin garment. Mostly He used to sit resting on the backrest. When He sat on a cot, He reclined on the backrest, stretched His legs, putting one leg over the other. When He sat cross-legged, He used to move His right hand on the urdhvarekhā in the instep of His left leg. At times when He was sitting, He used to press His tongue under His teeth. He moved His neck swiftly on both sides which made a crackling noise and relieved Him of heaviness. Sometimes He got His back massaged by His devotees when He lay down resting His chest on a pillow.

Wherever Shreeji Maharaj was sitting, He always held a rosary of the tulsi beads and moved the beads, chanting the mantra ‘Swaminarayan’. Whenever He was in a gay mood, He moved the beads swiftly, holding the rosary in both His hands. Whenever He gave spiritual talks, He played with the rosary and rubbed it in His hands. When He did not hold a rosary, He counted the mantras with His fingertips.

Sometimes He used to sit in meditation closing His eyes. And at times He kept His eyes open while meditating. Sometimes He suddenly woke up from His meditation. When the sadhus sitting before Him sang songs accompanied by musical instruments, He became engrossed in meditation, sometimes He sang along with them, making a rhythmic sound with the clip of his two fingers. When the sadhus sang songs along with the clapping of their hands, He too joyously joined them. When the sadhus played instruments and sang or when the scriptures were being read before Him, He moved near the reader as if charmed by such performance and often uttered ‘Hare Hare’ meaning what a sweet story it was. He was so fond of the scriptural readings that even when He was engaged in other activities, He often used to repeat ‘Hare Hare’ and when He realised the discrepant note, He used to smile before the devotees.

Whenever He was engaged in talking or hearing the scriptures or songs or was engrossed in some thoughts, if somebody came and asked Him to take His meals or came to perform puja or offer garlands, He would become displeased. At times He would talk before the audience of His devotees on dharma, gnān, vairāgya, or on Yoga, Sāmkhya, Panchratra, Vedānta, etc. Whenever He began to talk on such serious subjects, He raised His two hands upward, loudly clapped and requested the audience to become silent. When He had to talk at a big meeting, He would raise His hands, clap and thus silence the audience and talked standing in a rather loud tone. He was so much lost in the talk that He did not even know of the slipping away of His upper garment from His body.

He sometimes instructed the sadhus to begin the dialogues by asking questions amongst themselves. Whenever a difficult question was asked and the sadhus could not reply to it, He gave the reply and pleased the audience. At times when He talked, He used to talk playing with the flowers in His hand which He rubbed very often. While talking, He sometimes used to twist one end of His handkerchief.

On the occasions of festivals, when many devotees used to come from distant places to offer Him puja, He accepted it with grace. He accepted their garlands with two hands, sometimes with a staff that He was holding and sometimes by stretching His foot. By His mere darshan, sometimes devotees went into a trance. And sometimes they had to be awakened from the trance.

When He was seated in a meeting and when He desired to call a devotee, merely by the glance of His eyes He called him or at times by pointing at the devotee by His finger, He used to call him. He liked the mogrā flowers and the lemons with which He touched His eyes to feel cool. He enjoyed the divine talks and enjoyed talking on spiritual subjects. He asked the devotees to sing and He joined them. He took part in the construction of temples, served food to brāhmins, sadhus and thus constantly kept Himself engaged in such spiritual pursuits. He was quick in accomplishing everything that promoted dharma and bhakti.

He had the habit of holding a handkerchief near His nose when He sneezed. He sneezed loudly and successively twice or thrice. When He yawned, He used to utter ‘Hari Hari’ and rub His eyes.

He was pleased only with those devotees who served Him without cherishing worldly desires. When He smiled or laughed, He used to cover His mouth with a handkerchief.

When devotees came for His darshan from a distance, He immediately used to get up and hold them in His embrace. He enquired of the welfare of other devotees of that particular region. At times when the sadhus, after attending the festival departed from Him, He affectionately embraced them. Sometimes He put His two hands on the head of the devotees and at times gave His footprints on their chests. Similarly extremely pleased at His orders being scrupulously carried out by His devotees or by some becoming anxious to execute such orders, He gave on their chests His footprints. At times pleased with a devotee, He gave him the garland worn by Him or the flower bracelets tied on His hands or the ornaments worn by Him. Because of His magnanimity, He gave away immediately even the rich garments presented to Him to some worthy people.

He had the habit of twisting His fingers till they made a crackling noise and felt relaxed. At times He asked the devotees sitting nearby to twist the toes of His feet till they made a crackling sound.

When He heard of any misery befalling anybody, He at once exclaimed out of pity, “Ram Ram Ram.” At times out of compassion which flowed from His heart, He became impatient to relieve such a one of his distress and gave him food or clothes. When He heard of somebody beating a poor man, it became unbearable for Him. On such occasions He used to threaten the beater loudly in an agitated voice.

When somebody spoke before Him ill of sadhus or of devotees, He felt hurt and reprimanded such detractors. When He felt indisposed, He used to examine the pulse of His right hand by the fingers of His left hand. When He left a meeting, He always said, ‘Sat-chit-ānand’ or ‘Jai Swaminarayan’.

When He toured a region on horseback, He sometimes out of fun rested one foot on the neck of the horse and used to run the horse fast.

When He went to bed, He had the habit of moving His fingers on His forehead as if He was imprinting the tilak mark. He always asked for His rosary before He went to bed and turned the beads. He covered His body up to the neck while going to sleep. Even when He was fast asleep, if somebody slightly touched Him, He immediately awoke and asked, “Who is it?”

The special features of Shreeji Maharaj are described here as they were reclaimed from memory. There are other features also. Shreeji Maharaj stayed in Gadhada and had delivered inspiring discourses, the revealed talks, known as the ‘Vachanamritas’ on the subjects of dharma, gnān, vairāgya and the knowledge of His divine form and of bhakti. He had given these talks in other towns also. Some of them have been reproduced here with a desire to earn the grace of His dedicated devotees.

પ્રકરણ ગઢડા પ્રથમ (૭૮) સારંગપુર (૧૮) કારિયાણી (૧૨) લોયા (૧૮) પંચાળા (૭) ગઢડા મધ્ય (૬૭) વરતાલ (૨૦) અમદાવાદ (૩) ગઢડા અંત્ય (૩૯) ભૂગોળ-ખગોળનું વચનામૃત વધારાનાં (૧૧) વિશેષ વચનામૃત અભ્યાસ વચનામૃતમાં આવતાં પાત્રો આશિર્વાદ પત્રો નિવેદન વચનામૃતના સિદ્ધાંતોનો સારસંક્ષેપ પરથારો પરિશિષ્ટ