Shri Raichandbhai Mehta
“ Shri Raichandbhai Ravjibhai Mehta ” was born at ‘ Vavania ’ in Saurashtra.
His family belonged to a well-known merchant community. His father’s name was ‘ Ravjibhai ’ and mother’s name was Devabai. His mother was brought up in Jain religious traditions. His grandfather was a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna.
“ I was born on 9th November 1867 ”
In “ Samucchaya Vayacharya ”, Shrimad Rajchandra writes :
“ I was born on Sunday, Kartik Purnima .. 9th November 1867, therefore today, I have completed 22 years.
“ In this apparently short span of life, I have experienced much about the SOUL, the nature and mutations of MIND, the integrity of SPEECH, the physical body, the wealth, various impressions of the variegated or multicolored wonderful world formations of various orders, many worldly ups and downs and the causes of interminable misery and unhappiness.
“ All these have been experienced by me in many ways.
“ In my short life, I have entertained all the thought-forms which were thought over by all the powerful saints and philosophers and by the formidable skeptics. I have thought of the universe of desires and aspirations which were discussed by the great rulers. I have also thought of the disinterestedness par excellence, an attitude of serene indifference.
“ I have meditated much on the acquisition of immortality and of temporariness or transitoriness. Many similar great thoughts I have traversed in very few years of my life.
“ I look at all of them as a ‘ SEER ’, and I realize the unfathomable gap between my present state of knowledge and experience and the state of my being when I cherished or entertained these great and multifarious thought-systems
” I aspired to be a great man “
“ For the first seven years of my life, I played alone. I still remember to have cherished a wonderful imagination in my mind. Even in play I had strong desire to be victorious and to be the lord of everything.
“ I aspired to be a great man of a resigned nature. I had no attachment to wearing clean clothes, selection of good food, good bed etc. Still my heart was extremely soft. I still recollect that side of my nature at an early age. Had I had, at that time, the discriminative knowledge which I now possess, I would not have cared more for liberation. It was a life of such spotless innocence that I love to recollect it very often.
“ For four years .. from the age of seven to the age of eleven .. I devoted myself to formal studies. At that time I remembered all what I once saw or read. My recollection was faultless, as my mind was sinless. As a child, I had no idea of fame, hence the bugbear of publicity never bothered me. I had unique retentive memory.
“ I was given much to talking, play and merry-making. Because of good memory, my teacher was pleased with me as I used to recite all what I once read in front of the teacher. At that time, I was full of affection and natural sympathy towards all around me.
“ I learnt that a spirit of affectionate brotherhood was the key to family and social happiness. If I found a separatist feeling or behavior in anybody, it used to pain me very much and my heart used to cry. In my eighth year I composed poems which at later age I found to be very well done.
“ I studied so well that I could explain the book to my teacher who started teaching it to me. I cultivated very wide reading. I had much faith in mankind and I loved the natural world order. ”
“ religious initiation ”
“ My great grandfather was a Vaishnava, and as such a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. I heard from him many devotional songs about Radha and Krishna, also the mysterious stories of the wonder-works of Lord Krishna and other incarnations of God.
I took religious initiation at the hand of a Sadhu named Ramadas Ji. I daily went for the darshana of Lord Krishna and attended lectures and devotional congregations. I believed the incarnation of God as real God and I cherished a strong desire to see His residence.
“ I dreamt to become a great spiritual follower of Lord Krishna and a powerful preacher of His faith. I considered it to be the pride of my life if I could become a great Sanyasi performing Hari Keertana in the public and leading an upright ascetic life.
“ I was so much saturated with such thoughts that I hated the Jains who did not accept God as the CREATOR of the world. I believed that nothing could be created without a creator that the world was a masterful creation and such a uniquely supreme creation could only be the work of God and none else. ”
“ Jainism ”
“ The Jain Banias in my native place praised me as the most intelligent student of the village. But they ridiculed my initiation in Vaishnavism and they argued with me to dislodge me from my faith. I did not succumb but I gradually read the Jain sacred books such as ‘ Pratikramana Sutra ’.
“ The fundamental idea of the Jain works was the advocacy of non-violence and love to all high and low in the world. I liked this idea of universal love and non-violence very much.
“ Occasionally, I visited the residence of the Ruler of Kutch .. as a writer .. since my handwritings were praised as best. ”
“ attending to my father’s shop ”
“ At the age of thirteen, I started attending to my father’s shop. While sitting in the shop, I composed many poems on the heroic and spiritual life of Rama and
Krishna. But in my dealings with the customers of the shop I never weighed less or more.
“ meditating on death ”
“ When I was seven years old, an elderly man named ‘ Amichand ’ .. well-built, stout and sturdy .. a neighbor in my village suddenly expired of a serpent bite.
“ I did not know what death was. I asked my grandfather as to what was the meaning of death. He tried to evade the reply and advised me to finish my meals. I insisted on a reply.
At last he said : ‘ To die means the separation of the SOUL from the body. A dead body has no movement, it contaminates and decays. Such a dead body will be burnt to ashes near a river-bank as it has ceased to function. ’
“ Thereupon, I went stealthily to the cremation ground and climbing a Babul tree I saw the whole process of burning of the dead man’s body and I felt that those who burnt him were cruel.
“ A train of thoughts started on the nature of the death and as a result I could recollect my previous lives. Such knowledge of one’s previous lives is called ‘ Jati Smarana Gnan ’.
“ It is but natural that death and disease are the great humanizing forces in individual and social life of thinking men. It is by being conscious of them that we develop modesty and humility in our behavior and we reduce our attachment to worldly life.
“ By meditating on death, we realize the supreme and sole importance of knowing and experiencing the Atma. Therefore, ‘ Jati Smarana Gnan ’ is very helpful in developing detachment from the world, and a spiritual affection for eternal imperishable ever-living soul. ”
“ knowledge of previous lives and a spirit of complete resignation ”
Shrimad Ji obtained this exceptional knowledge of his previous lives at very young age of seven, a rare phenomenon.
In the Year 1897, at the age of 30 years, he wrote his famous poem in which he thanked the day when he realized unique peace. He described in the poem the order of his spiritual development as :
“ In the Year 1874, I obtained the Jati Smarana Gnan. In the Year 1875, I began to advance on the spiritual path from the point I had already reached in my previous life.
“ In the Year 1886, I developed a spirit of complete resignation and detachment to the mortal body and the rest of the world. ”
“ no future birth ”
In the Year 1889, he wrote in a poem that the only friend of unqualified happiness is lonely indifference which in turn is the mother of spirituality.
He says therein :
“ In my very young age, I knew the nature of the final reality and this suggested to me that henceforth I had no future birth nor will I have to fall back from what I had already gained in spiritual life. I easily reached the state of the SOUL which would require long study and spiritual practice for others.
“ I realized that when in the infinite stretch of time .. in the series of my past lives .. I felt that I could not live without my dearest and nearest ; but I could live without them in those lives too. This proves that my affections and attachments were based on ignorance. ”
Rajchandra Ji salutes the great Tirthankara who realized his SOUL and described it for the benefit of the world. It is only by the teachings of the Tirthankaras that one can easily know his SOUL.
Rajchandra Ji started composing poems at the age of eight and he supposed to have written five thousand stanzas in the first year.
“ Ramayana and Mahabharata ”
In his ninth year he composed Ramayana and Mahabharata in verse and at ten he was mature in his thinking and reasoning. At this age he had a unique curiosity to know new things, a passion to hear new facts, to think new thoughts and to perform fine orations.
While he was eleven, he started contributing articles to the newspapers and he won many prizes for writing competitive essays. One of his essays was on the need for women-education.
Even before his age of fifteen, he studied and mastered many subjects. He became famous as a young poet of astounding memory and with brilliant prospects.
“ women’s education ”
In his book “ Stri Neeti Bodhaka Part-1 ” on “ The Nature of Ideal Moral Life for Women ”, he has advocated the cause of women’s education as essential to national freedom. He advised his brethren to spread education in women, to remove internal quarrels and crippling social customs and thereby expedite the recovery of national independence.
In this book of fifty pages he analyzed the causes of backwardness in women, such as child-marriage, forced marriage of the unequals in health, age and intelligence and lastly, endless superstitions and ignorance.
The matter of the book is divided into four sections :
● The first section deals with prayer to God, devotion, transitoriness of the living body, advice given by a mother to her daughter, avoidance of waste of time, diligence in work and the excellent results obtained by diligence.
● The second section deals with learning, advantages of education, select reading of good books and acceptance of good and useful lessons.
● The third section deals with selfimprovement, adoption of virtues, spread of moral and healthy atmosphere, nature of truth and avoidance of profligacy and debauchery.
● The fourth and the final section deals with the description of the wise and virtuous people and it includes a composition of hundred verses on words of wisdom for all.
“ a command of language and diction ”
Shrimad Ji, from his childhood had a fine command of language and diction, so his style is simple, natural and elegant. In his writings, words follow the sense.
In the “ Sad-Bodh-Shatak ”, he discussed subjects like unity, morality, patience, courage, truthfulness, innocence, devotion, patriotism, social reforms, diligence, avoidance of bad company, learning, avoidance of pride, forgiveness, merit, humility, modesty, keeping good and virtuous company, search for the path of knowledge, doing charity to the deserving persons, love for doing good to others, increased reading etc.
“ self-realization ”
Anticipating the question why should Shrimad Ji have written on ethical topics, he writes :
“ Persons desirous of self-realization, living in worldly life, should try to find the root of all ethical life in their soul and they should be just and honest in earning their living and collection of wealth. This is good moral life for them and it should be observed by them at all cost.
“ In its strict observance, renunciation and non-attachment and such other qualities develop in them and by that they begin to appreciate the effectiveness of the teachings of the same by the Gurus and of the obedience to the same. They rightly interpret their teachings and they easily follow the path to selfrealization.
“ The only path to self-realization or SOUL’S liberation consists in realizing the SELF as completely different from the body and the worldly attachments. The SOUL is free and pure, enlightened and immortal.
“ Man should keep his eye on death and utilize every moment of life in realizing his goal of liberation. One may be a prince or a pauper, but all should know for certain that they are guests of death. ”
“ the path of non-violence ”
“ The adoption of the path of non-violence in thought, word and deed .. the intense desire for Self-liberation and for acquisition of right knowledge and experience for the same .. the searching out of an enlightened Guru and the undaunted obedience to his advice .. Selfcontrol in food, talk and other behavior .. keeping clear of all sins .. purity all around .. observing honesty and justice in worldly life .. curtailment of worldly activities in order to lead a really happy and self-meditative life .. all these are integral to SPIRITUALITY. ”
“ the final years ”
He was only 32 and at the threshold of complete renunciation, when he contracted a severe illness .. one from which he never recovered. As his health deteriorated, he was taken to places where the climate would suit his frail physical condition.
One such place that he visited, not only for his health, but also to remain in seclusion, was the land of “ Dharampur ”. Having stayed there for a month, He visited Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Vavania, Morbi, followed by Wadhwan Camp.
While at Wadhwan Camp, Shrimad Ji established an institution .. the “ Paramshrut Prabhavak Mandal ”. Similarly, a library, “ Shri Subodhak Pathshala ”, was also set up at his instance at Khambhat .. all this in spite of his poor health.
In Rajkot, his health took a turn for the worse. In spite of extreme physical discomfort, his persona radiated bliss. Minute examination and comprehensive treatment by doctors, meticulous care and loving attendance by devotees and relatives were of no avail.
This PURE ENLIGHTENED SOUL left his mortal body on the day of chaitra vad pancham, 9th April 1901 at Rajkot, in a state of complete awareness.