Cost of My Kalyan

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21 st June 1981

Swami Shreeji
Gunatit Samaj ni Jai
Mukta-Akshar Purushottam ni Jai

On the anniversary of laying the foundations for Gunatit Jyot – The sadhana mandir for beno wishing to devote their lives to God. I have started to write this autobiography at the behest of my devotees.

Oh... Lord, please guide me to write it such that it will be beneficial to anyone who reads it.

Chapter One - The Purpose of My Life

The purpose of my life is known only to Maharaj who gave me life; but it seems to me that there must have been some previous bond with Shreeji Maharaj and Gunatitanand Swami which enabled my soul to be purified. In order to serve Shreeji Maharaj he has granted this opportunity by placing me in the family of Dr Nathabhai Babarbhai Patel and Diwaliba. I was born at 5.00 p.m. on 1st September 1916 (Badharva Vad 6 S.Y. 1972) in Borsad, Gurajat. I do not remember what I weighed at birth and whether I cried spontaneously or was made to cry. My health was always slightly weak. On the seventh day, enema was given to me to induce diarrhoea. In spite of being thoroughly cosseted and pampered, I was still fragile until the age of five.

 

Read more: Chapter One - The Purpose of My Life

Chapter Two - Early Childhood

Back in the days when Shastriji Maharaj held festivals at the temple in Bochasan, merely 200 devotees would attend. At this time the grains, rice, vegetables and pulses required for the prasad were provided by Sarabhai who instructed the grocer to have the foodstuffs delivered directly to Bochasan. My mother who was greatly influenced by my grandfather did not approve of Sarabhai's actions. My grandfather had heard that those who followed Shastriji Maharaj tended to loose all their worldly possessions and ultimately would become very poor if not beggars! Due to his deep love and affection he feared that this would happen to Sarabhai, hence affect the future of his grandsons. He had aspirations for his grandsons to qualify either as a doctor or a collector, (a collector's occupation was highly regarded at that time), and to ensure that we (both grandsons) gain a skilled profession, he personally supervised our education by keeping us under his care in Nadiyad.

 

Read more: Chapter Two - Early Childhood

Chapter Three - Childhood Years

There isn't particularly anything else that I can remember about my life up to the age of five. I also spent some time with my other grandfather, although most of the time was spent with my Dada in Nadiyad. At the age of five, after having seen other children going to school I told Dada that I wanted to do the same. Dada was so pleased that he bought me a slate and chalk and wearing my new clothes he led me by the hand to school. To celebrate this occasion Dada distributed large petasha (sugary sweets). As far as I can remember I went happily with the other boys to school. To begin with, I was in the class of a teacher called Bhalabhai who was a distant relative of ours. The name of the School was Mogul Court. I attended school from 10.00 am to 2.00 p.m. and then again from 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. I would normally eat before going to school in the morning and also rush home during the afternoon break between 2.00 and 2.30 p.m. to have a quick snack. Dadima would always be waiting ready with my snack. Dada was very highly regarded in the Patel community and therefore always received ladus (traditional sweet dish) as a token of the goodwill during the wedding season. The ladus would be heated up and everyday we would eat them with pompadum as often as we wanted to. In addition, we would indulge in some large diamond-shaped magus (traditional sweet dish) and mathiya (savoury snack), normally eating five mathiyas and one large piece of magus then rush off to school. Often there would also be dhebra, gundarpak, jalebi etc. Initially I was the only one eating all of this because everyone else was a lot older and did not eat as much!

 

Read more: Chapter Three - Childhood Years

Chapter Four - My Teenage Years

In this manner from eleven to sixteen years, I studied from the 1st to the 6th grade, achieving top grades in every subject. I was always a monitor. I prided myself on the fact that I could excel in any subject. When Motabhai came to India from Africa, Sarabhai felt that I should earn some money in order that our debts could be cleared. Motabhai went to meet the headmaster at Nadiyad and requested that I take my final exams. I consented and in 1933, when I was in the 6th grade I sat the exams, achieving a result of 33% and passing. However, obtaining such a low pass, meant my chances of a good career were slim. Had I studied for the full term, I would have had a good career. I would have gone onto further education. Due to poverty and debts, Motabhai suggested he take me to Mombasa and find me a job there. My father-in-law, Ambalal, intervened saying I was much too young to start a career and should study further. I took the exams again whilst living at Amdavad High Court Pleader hostel and a year was wasted.

 

Read more: Chapter Four - My Teenage Years

Chapter Five - Vocational Era of My Life

During my college days, when I went home, I would fill Dada's pipe for him. My principle was that whatever I did, I would do openly, without concealing anything. My uncle suppressed and killed his desires (vruti), thereby becoming very ill and he eventually died. I decided that I would never suppress the urge to do something that I wished and would do whatever I deemed necessary at the time. My actions concerning other aspects of my life; studies, home-life etc. were flawless. While I was at school, Shankarbhai had stressed the importance of a good character. Since then reading had been a very important source for me; whenever I read something, which I considered helpful in moulding my character, I would make a mental note of it and it would be imprinted in my memory.

 

Read more: Chapter Five - Vocational Era of My Life

Chapter Six - Married Life

Every morning I would leave for school at 7.30 am and would come home for lunch at 12.30 p.m. Mummyji would especially prepare my favourite meals. My mind was always pre-occupied with thoughts of the ideal sadhna, which I had read about and I was inclined to lean towards the principles of the "Gitaji". Mummyji did not approve of my pre-occupation and I detested dining alone. Mummyji was afraid that I would leave to join the "Arvind Ashram" just as her brother, Chandubhai, had done. She therefore showed her dislike of my beliefs and efforts to live accordingly. However, it was a principle of mine that each person should be able to live their life according to their own convictions. Hence I adopted whatever I considered to be right and proper and I felt that she should be tolerant and supportive. This I believed but would not confront her. However, Mummyji was very upset and kept crying and I became frustrated. My nature was so typically "Patidariyo" (obstinate and stubborn), that I would not heed anyone and change. I carried on my nishkam karmayog, quietly resisting Mummyji. I would never become angry for fear of hurting her feelings. Although I tried to understand her feelings, I would not do so at the expense of compromising my principles.

 

Read more: Chapter Six - Married Life

Chapter Seven - Quest to Realise God

My search and hunger for the inner soul was gradually leading me towards Yogiji Maharaj. Whenever I sat in meditation, I turned towards Yogiji Maharaj. The spiritual discourses, which I had read about in the literature of Shri Arvind and The Vachnamritam, were very similar, the only difference being that Shri Arvind's literature had a greater effect on my intellect because it was written in English. In Shri Arvind's literature I had found an answer to the one thing that had perplexed me most, relating to my intellectual mind which had hindered my progress spiritually. The question I kept asking myself was: How can the all transcending God who is amayik be known by the indriyas and antahkarans that are inherently mayik? And if I recognised God with my mayik vision, then God too must be mayik. Just because everyone proclaimed Shastriji Maharaj to be an incarnation of God, that did not necessarily make Him so.

 

Read more: Chapter Seven - Quest to Realise God

Chapter Eight - Bapa Illuminates My Soul

At that time in 1952, Yogi Bapa had granted Dadubhai the experience of sakshatkar, in Gondal. Due to this fact, he had renounced all family ties. I had to take leave from work at short notice and had returned to India to take up the family responsibilities. Prior to my return, Maganbapa had summoned me in Mombasa and told me "arrangements are being made for Dadubhai to marry Jyoti but this does not seem appropriate. Rumours are being spread in the whole satsang that Sonaba is mesmerising everyone and Dadubhai has fallen under her spell. The Agri Orient business is prospering but no-one seems to trust one another and each seems to view the other with doubt".

 

Read more: Chapter Eight - Bapa Illuminates My Soul

Chapter Nine - The Tardev Years

At the beginning of 1953 Bapa organised a "Special Train " - a pilgrimage for devotees aboard a train. He had delegated the responsibilities for arranging the whole pilgrimage, costs, tickets etc. to me. This was to be known as "The Special" as the whole train was hired for this purpose. The 21-day pilgrimage was at a cost of Rs. 275 per head. I was in the carriage which was allotted to the muktos from Bombay. I had taken part in the "Special" with the sole intention of serving Him. I was not particularly interested in the places we would visit on this pilgrimage; hence I took care of the money belonging to the pilgrims. I would give them their money when they went shopping etc. In this way I was responsible for approximately Rs. 50 - 60,000 which I kept in a leather bag, in our compartment. Jyotiben, Taraben, Sonaba and I took great care of this precious bag. One of us would always be present to ensure that it did not get stolen.

 

Read more: Chapter Nine - The Tardev Years

Chapter Ten - The Court Case

The year of 1953 passed by in this way. Dadubhai, Chaganbhai and Harmanbhai had accompanied Bapa on his first trip to Kenya in 1953. At that time Chaganbhai was also seeking a suitor for his daughter Purnima. Bapa assisted him in this search and Purnima was married. In January/February of 1954, they all returned from Africa and the Agri Orient business was in turmoil. Hence we were all very anxious about the situation. Bapa was going to come to Bombay in June but Dadubhai asked him to delay his visit for a month. Thus Bapa arrived on 27th July 1954. Dadubhai had gone to Delhi to secure a contract. Whilst he was away the government quite unexpectedly filed a case against the Agri Orient. This was a criminal case for 24 lakh Rs.

 

Read more: Chapter Ten - The Court Case

Chapter Eleven - Total Purification of My Being

The years of 1954 and 1955 passed by in this manner. Taraben and Jyotiben began their sadhna to devote their lives to God. During 1955-1956 Hansa-Didi joined them followed by Deviben in 1959.

 

In 1957 all our efforts to earn money had deemed fruitless. There wasn't any business that we could start. Even Kantibhai could not find work. Eventually, Raghunath who used to handle all our transport work when the Agri Orient was prospering employed him. At that time Raghunath used to work for us. Now he employed Kantibhai and paid him Rs. 300 a month. I received a pension of Rs. 250; Chandrakantbhai and Gordhankaka each gave Rs. 200. In this way the total budget for all the expenses of the Tardev household was between Rs. 900 and Rs.1000. There were fifteen of us and we had a continuous stream of guests. There was Kaka's car, which incurred the expenses for petrol and the driver's wages. We would give Jyoti Rs.700 per month from which she would have to manage a whole month's expenses. Mind you, all the family members: Ba, Lalita, Dhami, Kantikaka, Tara, Jyoti, Kamba, Diwaliba, Kamla, Ramesh, Praful, Ghanshyam, Mukund, Vasudev, Dadukaka and Hansa-Didi - always remained cheerful and totally elated that they had found God. No one had ever complained. They humbly accepted whatever, whenever and however they got it. No one had ever felt melancholy or miserable, always remaining cheerful and optimistic. Bapa has never relented in testing us; he has tested us to the limits and in every way possible. Even Ba would go to the wholesale markets as far as Bhaikhala to buy vegetables as it was cheaper, then she would carry them back on the tram. At that time, there was not much mahatmya so no one would come to help. All the chores, i.e. washing clothes, cooking, washing dishes, puja, and satsang work were all done by the benos.

 

Read more: Chapter Eleven - Total Purification of My Being

Chapter Twelve - Gunatit Jyot is Established

The furnace in which our entire world was disintegrated and which aided the process of purification of our soul, pride, ego, emotive mind, intellectual mind began in 1952 and lasted until 1965. Bapa instigated various incidents which granted me several spiritual experiences and also led to my lok, bhog, déha, paksh, vasna, swabhav and anga to become totally dissolved. My mayik indriyas and antahkaran were transformed, they became amayik, divine, and full of conviction for God. Ever since Bapa granted Dadubhai the experience of sakshatkar, he believed Yogiji Maharaj to be a pratyaksh swaroop, and began to proclaim this, but there were many who opposed strongly. Once one has become firmly devoted to pratyaksh swaroop - His word is the bond, the rest should be disregarded. One who makes such a resolution finds that he becomes free of impurities such as lok, kirti (fame) etc. etc. Dadubhai and company - the whole Tardev mandal were experiencing the effects of ferocious maya which was wild and totally uncontrollable. This experience which began in 1952 lasted until 1965. We only survived this attack from maya through the divine strength and guidance afforded us by Swamibapa. Otherwise, not even the mightiest or bravest muktos would have been able to withstand these attacks. It must have been our Patidar traits, Bapa’s divine strength together with a previous bond with Maharaj, which we must have had, which allowed us to pass through this experimental furnace unscathed. It was definitely Bapa who helped us survive these episodes of our lives.

 

Read more: Chapter Twelve - Gunatit Jyot is Established

Chapter Thirteen - Notable Events of My Life

Bapa must have drawn my inner soul towards him and since then I yearned for something which seemed to be missing from my life; a longing to achieve something and a very powerful aspiration developed. I have always been introspective and would only put into action that which I considered to be beneficial to me. I never took part in anything simply because I liked to do it or had a yearning for it. Before putting any thought into action, I would consider whether it was necessary, whether it was my duty and only then put it into action if it was justified.

 

When I was five years old, I had heard that it was important to be educated and so I had asked Dada to enrol me. I found studying so interesting that I never had any difficulty with it. I always did well in my exams. My education began in Gujarati, I then progressed to study in English and finally attended a Government High School, which was considered to be a reputable school. 200 students had applied for a place at this school and had to sit an entrance examination. Only 30 were selected of which I was one. From the fourth grade my teacher Shankarbhai played a major role in moulding my character. He once said 'To mould one's character is in one's own hand. Everything else, i.e., money, wealth, fame etc., are dependent on your fate but your character is something that you can develop yourself' . This principle became my motto and from then on I began to read all the best literature, from which I extracted noteworthy points, adopted them and applied them in my life. For example, when I was younger, I would adapt to Dada's ways and do as he asked, disregarding my own feelings so that I would be perceived to be an obedient child. I would not even go out to play. After I had finished studying my first priority was to fill Dada's pipe. 

 

Read more: Chapter Thirteen - Notable Events of My Life

Chapter Fourteen - Key Questions Answered

1. When the benos first moved permanently to Gunatit Jyot, Vallabh Vidyanagar, you were going to remain in Bombay. When and how was it decided that you would also stay in Vidyanagar?

 

It was decided that the benos would live in Vidyanagar and continue their sadhna independently under the guidance of Ba, Ben, Kashiba, Jyotiben, Taraben, Hansaben, Deviben, Maniba and Foi. In order that the benos would not be under anyone s obligation and be able to do their sadhna to attain a high spiritual status, a separate independent trust was established called Gunatit Jyot Mahila Trust. This was registered as a public trust and Gordhankaka, Kaka and I were named as the trustees. However, we would not interfere with the day-to-day matters of the trust, which were to be handled by the benos themselves. From the outset, it must have been Yogiji Maharaj's intention that I guide the benos in their sadhna to attain purification of the soul. Hence He instigated the segregation of the sanstha to this end. The result of the vimukh prakran was that I had to remain in Vidyanagar to act as a guardian of the benos in worldly and spiritual terms. Thousands of ladies from the Bochasan sanstha made attempts to gain control of Gunatit Jyot, the so called elders of the sanstha were demanding that we send the benos back to their homes and shut down Gunatit Jyot.

 

Read more: Chapter Fourteen - Key Questions Answered

Chapter Fifteen - Glossary

Arti  - The act of moving the right hand with a lighted lamp in a circular movement in front of the deity and ringing a bell with the left hand singing the glories of God.

Abhav  - To dislike, to take offence, to condemn.

Agna  - To command or issue an order.

Agri Orient  - A fertiliser company where Babubhai and Dadubhai were directors.

Aham / Ahamkar  - Ego, pride.

Akshardéri  - A temple erected on the place where final rites of Aksharmurti Gunantitanand Swami were performed in Gondal, Gujarat.

Aksharbrahm  - One who is in constant communion with God.

Akshardham  - Abode of God. Eternal abode of Lord Swaminarayan.

Aksharmukta - Emancipated soul, one devoted to the service of God, ékantik.

Alauvkik - Divine, extraordinary, supernatural, and rare.

Amayik - Super-human qualities.

Read more: Chapter Fifteen - Glossary

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