My birth was in “ Savli ” in Baroda District on 4th September, 1898.
When my father was alive, we were very wealthy and affluent. We lived in a spacious house. But after our family business of textile dyeing collapsed, we were reduced to pinching poverty.
We ran into heavy debts, and as a result we had to sell away our big house and other belongings to meet our liabilities and pay off our debts.
We left “ Savli ” for good and moved to “ Kalol ( Dist. Panchmahal ) ” to settle down there.
Life and Teachings of Shri Mota
“ a poor boy ”
My mother would affectionately call me “Chuniya” .. short form of my full name “ Chunilal ”.
This soul’s youth was passed in pinching poverty. I started my studies in an English school in “ Kalol ”. Owing to my acquaintance and intimacy with the Headmaster I had to visit frequently Kalol’s Nagarwada. And as I was a poor boy every one showered on me sympathy and kindness, and helped me to get some work to ease my family’s financial constraints.
To be able to overcome and put my poverty behind me, I had to study. But wherefrom was I to procure the means for it ? It was good that the inspiration had come automatically, followed by determination. This spontaneous desire arising in my heart cannot be a mere whim nor can it go in vain. This gets us moving, prompts us into action. I had already completed seven grades in Gujarati. The English school had just opened in our town.
About this time a new headmaster arrived, firming up my purpose in my heart, intensifying my prayerful attitude towards him. I cultivated his company and contact.
I would also visit his home, buy even vegetables for his house-hold, and in some way or other be of some help to him. I would even play with his children. His wife developed some kind of affection for me. She would even give food and shower love on me as her own son. With the passage of time I became a part of their family.
For all these reasons the headmaster of the newly opened “ Anglo Vernacular Middle School ” taught me all the subjects and completed the syllabus of four classes in just a year and half. This is a fact, a strange fact !
“ obstacles get removed naturally ”
Whenever a strong desire arises in the heart with an intense longing, then by God’s Grace a way is opened out for its fulfillment, our path is made easy and smooth, all obstacles get naturally removed.
All was made easy for me in my higher studies, all means and conveniences came my way. There were many people in my new school. By His Grace, I was able to win their love and hearts. I knew that if I had to study further, I could do so only if I was able to earn their goodwill and love.
“ Ghanubhai ”
One of the teachers in the Kalol’s Anglo Vernacular School was “ Ghanshyamrai Natwarrai Mehta ”. He had a soft corner in his heart for intelligent, clever students. I would go to his house now and then, and if there was any work to be done, I would do it. Owing to this, there was a bond of affection between us.
He did not like that a clever student like me should seek a job with a trader. But how could a poor student like me procure money to study further ? That was the question before him.
This Ghanshyamrai was called “ Ghanubhai ” in short. Ghanubhai felt it would be indeed good if arrangements could be made for his further studies. The poor boy is hard-working and obedient. So, he will not be a burden on anybody, but only helpful and useful.
Ghanubhai’s aunt “ Prabha Ben ( mausi ) ” at that time lived in “ Petlad ” ( a small town near Anand ), she had sympathy for people and would help them according to her means if they deserved her help, or were worthy of it. If this boy could be placed under her care, then he would be helped to find his footing and study till the end to complete his education.
“ Janakidasji .. Sanskrit studies ”
While studying in Petlad, I had the good fortune to come into contact with revered “ Janakidas Maharaj”.
Leaving the school early after its closure, when I had nothing more to study for the day, I would go to him. I would sweep, clean his place of stay and even wash his clothes ; sometimes, I would sit quietly before him when he was engaged in a discussion with someone and listen intently in silence. I would never talk to him for I had nothing to ask. But, I loved to listen quietly when he talked. He was a very simple and unassuming person.
I never had any talk or conversation with him. Sometimes, he would enquire of others about me. “ What is he doing ? What is he studying ? Where does he stay ? ” When I was in seventh grade, which is matriculation, he warned me : “ You will fall seriously ill ; therefore, finish your course of study early. ”
The Petlad paint merchant ran a Sanskrit School, and the head of the school used to visit Janakidas Maharaj. On one occasion when the Acharya was present, Janakidasji pointing to me told him : “ Please help this boy to study the whole course thoroughly and quickly, make him up-to-date in all subjects. Whenever he comes to you, find time to teach him. This boy stays with some outsider so he may not be able to come at your time. ”
In Petlad, the Sanskrit School was a little distance away from the residence of the Divan Sahib, and during the ensuing two and half months, I completed my Sanskrit studies speedily, particularly the grammar section thoroughly. Since Janakidas Maharaj had warned me .. by his grace .. I completed studying all other subjects with the help of guides and questions-and-answers published on the subjects, quite fast.
During this period, I had to visit Ahmedabad. My mother and elder brother were living there at that time. I was at that time staying with Ghanubhai. And exactly as I was forewarned by Janakidasji, I fell very seriously ill. I was, as if, on the verge of death. For many days, I was wholly unconscious. During this period the memory of Janakidasji would come to my mind and I would feel in my heart a great love for him.
And this went on for quite a long time and when I had recovered a little, the doctor instead of advising me to continue my studies, only asked me to give them up for good. I could not even write the entrance examination. But, the headmaster of the high school, “ Shri Ishwar Bhai Patel ” who was a resident of Sojitra loved me because I was a brilliant student and had covered all portions in advance before schedule. Also I had passed my quarterly and half yearly tests creditably.
Had Janakidasji not forewarned me then, I would have failed surely. Cultivation of a holy man’s company with feelings of due respect had not gone in vain for me, I had gained there by.
I learned from this that if you have any love for a holy man even though not knowing its full implications, yet, merely sitting in his holy presence, gives us peace of mind and a sense of relief and ease. And, the cultivation .. even for a short period .. of such company has its own good effects which we feel and experience for some time to come.
I used to experience all this and had a strange desire to visit him every now and then.
Janakidas Maharaj told me : “ Dear Boy, you are going to write your examinations; but go carefully. ”
Saryudas Maharaj was his constant companion. He was very well known in Ahmedabad “ First meet him before you go to examination ”, he instructed me. “ Yes, I will do so ”, I replied and left.
“ college – and – Gandhiji ”
I had settled down in my college studies and made good progress .. and my days, one after another, came to pass peacefully, when all of a sudden a bolt from the blue fell on me. “ Rowlatt Act ” had been passed by the British Raj and Gandhiji decided to challenge it.
From his sick bed he decided to offer “ Satyagraha ”, that is non-violent and peaceful resistance to it. He decided to train the public in this non-violent movement on the sixth of April, 1920, by observing it “ a day of fast .. prayer and hartal ”.
People responded magnificently. But, that very day serious riots broke out in Punjab and the British rulers came down heavily on thepeople, beat them and lathi charged them. As news of Punjab atrocities trickled in, the people became angry and agitated. To protest against these atrocities Gandhiji undertook a freedom struggle and placed it before his people for country’s freedom at any cost.
In the declaration of “ freedom struggle ” he sounded a clarion call for even the young college students to join him. I felt so much for this cause that I thought it was not worth studying any more in the college while the country was burning. If the country’s youth do not work for the country, then who else will ?
“ freedom struggle ”
Those were the days of such intense excitement and agitation that we students could not concentrate on our studies. Everywhere the same uniform atmosphere prevailed. And, the first few students who renounced their college and plunged into this “ freedom struggle ” under the pressure of this tensely charged atmosphere were the brightest and most intelligent.
Among those who quit college with me was one Shri Pandurang Vadame .. who later became “ Rang Avadhoot ”. We were the first among the students to join the “ non-cooperation movement ” after leaving our college in Vadodara.
And, they who had helped me in my education were now unhappy with my decision. I had ruined my life of my own will .. they thought and felt strongly. Even after leaving the college I did not give up my good relationships with them. This relationship I continued with them with all love and good-will, with perfect humility.
All this was in progress as usual Gandhiji again appeared in our midst to give us a pep talk. In fact, he dropped a bombshell :
“ I believed that you will give up college only to immerse yourself in service of the country .. your motherland. There are countless villages in our country. Kindly go and tell the people of these villages all that which is taking place in our land. ”
Gandhiji’s harangue on these lines had its effect on us ; it touched and went through to our hearts. His ideas were novel but true. So under the leadership on one Shri Gidwani, “ Swaraj Ashram ” was founded.
“ Gujarat Vidya Peeth ”
I returned to “ Gujarat Vidya Peeth ” and commenced my studies over again. But, it was difficult for me to be admitted straight away. I had now to appear for an entrance test which also I did. Then another condition was laid on me. I had to get a letter of recommendation from “ Sardar Vallabhai Patel ” to the effect that I had worked for him in a certain place, which also I managed to get.
Now, only a few months remained for me to get my graduation. Once again, Gandhiji arrived on the scene and harangued : “ How can you so unconcernedly continue with your studies, when the whole country is burning ? ”
My mind was once again shaken and churned. I jumped in excitement. I gave up my attachment to the academic degree once for all. Had I stayed on for three or four months more I could have got it. But, I feel no regrets, I had dropped the idea for ever.
“ Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh ”
All of a sudden a letter came from Shri Indulal addressed to Shri Gidwani :
“ If anybody has the heart to serve the Harijans, then a vast field is open to such willing people. And students from the Vidya Peeth are the most suitable, most wanted and welcome. ”
I was the first student from Gujarat Vidya Peeth to join “ Gujarat Harijan Sevak Sangh ”.
I worked as Shri Indulal’s secretary, looked after the Ashram and the school as well as the Sangh’s accounts and correspondence ( which I did for a brief spell ). Owing to some personal difficulties Shri Indulal gave up his responsibilities in the Harijan Sevak Sangh. The centre of this Sangh’s activities shifted to Godra.
“ managing twin institutions ”
Running of the two institutions like the “ Ashram ” and the “ School ” simultaneously by one man was felt by some as incongruous and incompatible at that time. “ Nadiad Harijan Ashram ” was founded by Shri Indulal, while “ Nadiad Harijan School ” worked under Gujarat Vidya Peeth. I held the posts in both these institutions as their responsible head.
There was no one to help or assist me. I had to do it all alone.
In the beginning there was a Harijan to help me, then another from the upper class to assist me. But, after their departure, I was all alone. I had to run the Ashram as well as the school single handed. The situation, which was incongruous and incompatible three or four months ago for me strangely had become proper and appropriate now. Then I was struck by epilepsy.
“ epileptic fits ”
After the attack of epileptic fits, I took leave from my work to go to river Narmada and spend some time on its banks to recover and recoup my health.
Shri Mahesh Mehta and Bhanu Prasad Pandya were with me during my first visit. During my second visit I was all alone. There is a temple, of Ramchodji on the other side of the “ Mokhdi Ghat ”, where lived a sadhu .. a mahatma. I used to serve him every day. Here also, I had about four to five attacks of epileptic fits. While taking leave of the sadhu I bowed to him and asked his blessings.
“ chant God’s name ”
He asked me to “ Remember and chant God’s name at all times, think of Him constantly in your heart and by this you will be cured of this disease ”, he assured me. If the sadhu had given me a herb from the woods, I could still have believed him. But, I had no faith or belief that I would be cured of my disease by constant remembrance of God. I doubted if there was any truth in it at all.
This sadhu even told me that after one year a “ SadGuru ” will come to me and help me to evolve in my spiritual life.
“ Evolve ” and “ Spiritual Life ” were just unintelligible words to me then. But, at that time, I had unbounded zeal for the service of my country, which was the only reality of my life then. And that zeal helped me to stand up to my poverty in life.
“ strange experience in river ”
I had an occasion to visit the bank of river Narmada again. And, I had made a firm resolve. An ailment like epilepsy which attacks only sensitive women had come to me and taken hold of me. And, I .. a man .. a strong willed man, could not prevent it from coming to me or beat it back, which was a disgrace to my manliness. Now, this life was useless and meaningless to me. And, so I decided and resolved in my heart of hearts to put an end to my life by jumping and resting my head in the lap of my mother Narmada.
A little beyond “ Garudeswar ”, there is a high overhanging rock. I walked back a few steps and then ran fast and jumped over the ledge into the river. I remember very clearly the touch of the fast flowing river on my feet, and the living vibrant picture comes up vividly before my mind’s eye. Hardly had the touch been felt by my feet when out of the currents of the water there rose up a strong whirlwind, and lifting me bodily threw me high and far on the other bank !
I had a strange vision then. The figure or the form of the vision was not of this world, but ethereal, other-worldly and strange. I was miraculously saved ! It suddenly dawned on me, “ By His Grace, I am meant for something. God has a purpose and a plan for me in life ”.
I became suddenly aware and convinced of this TRUTH. From that hour my face turned towards God. Thereafter, commenced a fiery and fierce churning of my heart and struggles and conflicts of life. What I saw was not certainly a hallucination. Out of that vision, I gained inspiration .. more than that .. courage, patience, endurance firmness etc. .. and other qualities like Power or Shakti.
“ What will you lose by experimenting ? ”
After the occurrence of the above incident, I came back to Vadodara where my spiritual mother lived.
On the third floor of her house I had another attack of an epileptic fit and my body rolled down the flight of stairs to the second floor. I was bruised by the bricks, there was also a little bleeding and when I recovered my consciousness a little I had the vision of the “ Narmada Sadhu ”, and he told me :
“ Fellow, resort to God-remembrance always in the depths of your being. What will you lose by experimenting with it ? ”
All this clearly manifested before my eyes for a few moments.
I told all this to my “ spiritual mother ”. Hearing all this she was visibly glad and said : “ Chuniya, you’re a very fortunate man indeed. Hereafter, chant God’s Name constantly, while eating, walking, talking, sitting, standing, keep yourself immersed and engaged in it, and you will be rid of the disease. ”
At that time I had greater faith in my ‘ mother ’ than in the ‘ mahatma ’, or ‘ sadhu ’. And by her very manner of explaining all this to me, I was convinced. I began uttering God’s Name.
“ my sadhana begins ”
In those days, I had to do more than my normal quota of work. So I started getting up earlier to find time for chanting God’s Name. But, what I uttered at random while talking, walking, eating, bathing, or even working was not reckoned in this fixed period of two and half hours. During this period my epileptic fits decreased in duration and intensity. In the following three or four months the disease left me totally for good.
This incident .. by God’s Grace .. opened out for me a new way. My sadhana for evolution of “ Spiritual Life ” thereafter was begun. And after one year, I met a SadGuru on the banks of river Sabarmati, who initiated me in this spiritual life. So, the Mahatma’s words in this case also proved true.
Thus, the exercise of God remembrance heralded the advent of new zeal, new enthusiasm, new freshness, new energy, new awareness and a new self-confidence that however adverse and difficult the circumstances of life may be, we have within us the power to come out of them all. And, because of this self-confidence, I could plunge into my ‘ sadhana ’ for my spiritual progress.
I was cured of my disease.
But my mind began to enquire, “ How was I cured by mere remembrance of God ? What is the cause or reason for it ? ”
Behind every action there is a reaction, although hidden from our outer view, or subtle .. yet, there is a cause, there has to be one .. I began to ponder deeply over it.
“ a matter of faith ”
There was one great soul known as “ Godadia Maharaj ” then, there was also one blind Sage, “ Gangeswaranandji ”. There was also Janakidas Maharaj. I had enquired about this of them all. I accosted many. At that time Shri Vidyanandji was very well known. Yet, I was not satisfied or convinced by their explanations : “ You chant His Name with faith and if you have an intense feeling for the Name in your heart then it bears fruit and results flow ”. Ordinarily, this was their stereotyped reply.
All these great men I asked .. those mentioned above .. gave me a stock reply :
“All this is a matter of ‘ faith ’ only .. this is the subject of the Vedas and Upanishads. You are a damn fool to ask these questions !”
“ Gandhiji’s advice ”
Their replies did not satisfy me. Whatever we do must be explained rationally as to why we do it.
“ Boy, become a research scientist in spirituality. There have been many scientists in this world but you must become a scientist of this spiritual science ”, he uttered.
“ Balyogi ”
At the end of the Year 1921 .. when I plunged into the “ freedom struggle ” .. I had no idea about “ God ” or “ Godly Life ”.
I had never run into a Guru nor accepted one. But, the Guru himself came into my life and forcefully caught me a little later. I would not have gone after him, but he gave me a paranormal experience that changed my life and my direction.
From Ahmedabad City Centre while going towards Mangaldas Town Hall, at the foot of the bridge ( over river Sabarmati ) on the right side, there are a few homes for the sadhus to stay, ( which are found even today ), and there a certain “ Balyogi ” had arrived. Many would throng to him. He never gave any lecture or sermon. But, he was always in a state of frenzy or ecstasy.
Once Shri Nandubhai Kantharia of Nadiad happened to visit him, and he heard Balyogi asking people to call “ Chunilal ” to him ! He returned to Nadiad and told me that Balyogi was calling me. I told him, “ I have nothing to do with sadhus. I have no desire to go to him. Even so, I do not know him ”. At that time, I believed that “ sadhus are an economic burden ” on society !
There are a few exceptionally rare souls among them .. genuine ones. But, I still doubt if a majority of them ever follow and discharge their duties according to the code of their religion.
But what surprised me was that without knowing each other and with no relationship with each other what had prompted him to call me by name and state that I was a resident of Nadiad ? It was truly intriguing and it piqued my curiosity. “ There must be some hidden mystery in this ” and that thought gripped me and would not leave me. To satisfy my curiosity I did make it to Ahmedabad.
My poverty was so acute that I had no money for my journey to Ahmedabad and back. So I took money from Shri Nanubhai Kandharia and travelled to Ahmedabad. Thus, by the grace of God, I met Balyogi, for the first time.
“ Shri Balyogi Maharaj ” would be awake all the twenty four hours of the day.
Like a monkey he would leap and jump. It was difficult to understand why he was up to such mischief. He would over-feed me. I stayed with him for four days during which I lost all count of time. I had come to him taking a day’s leave from my school work.
Every half an hour or three quarters of an hour trays of food would arrive. Sometimes, food on silver plates would also come. And, so many sweets were in them. What to talk of it all ! “ Eat this, my boy ”, he would press me. But, I was full up to my nose, so I would refuse. “ But I can eat no more ” I would say.
I would walk with him at nights. He would run and I would run after him. He would jump and leap as a monkey. Whenever he jumped into the river I also would jump with him and he would sport like a mad elephant in the water.
For four days it lasted. Suddenly, I became aware of the passage of time. Until then, time had stood still. I asked his permission to go back home for I had taken one day’s leave only. “ Sir, this is an offence and a violation of my service rules. I cannot afford to be so negligent hereafter ; I should not have done it at all. It looks as if I have drunk a large dose of some intoxicating liquor. Kindly permit me to go back home ”.
He said, “ Go tomorrow ”. So, I stayed on for one more day. All told I had spent with him five days. It was as if I was under his spell.
I am not one who could be mesmerized, yet I was attracted and pulled towards him. I am not going into the reasons for it. But I could not stay with him any longer.
I spent with him five days, and all these passed in a trance-like state, in a state of intense joy and forgetfulness of the outside world.
“ all powerful personality ”
By God’s Grace, I have a firm belief that my Guru Maharaj is a vibrant, living, omnipotent or all powerful personality. On account of my love for him he caught me and took me in to his fold. He came to my house of his own free-will and initiated me.
Once, I had to go to “ Meera Khedi ” in the Dahod Taluq in Panch Mahal District to attend a working committee meeting of the Harijan Seva Mandal. Having purchased a ticket to Dahod by the fast train I was about to board the train when my eyes fell suddenly on my SadGuru seated in one corner of the platform peacefully and quietly.
No sooner had I seen him than, I ran to him and prostrated full length before him. I was glad in my heart that he had come, glad to see him again. He ordered me to return the railway ticket at the counter. I returned the ticket and telegraphed to Dahod to the effect that I would not be able to attend the meeting at Meera Khedi.
I was in happy frame of mind. I prayed to him to come home, which he willingly did. At home, he would jump in fun and joy and even dance. At that time, we lived in Narkhi Pole. We lived in the upper room of a house with a separate entrance.
He had come to Nadiad in answer to my prayer with intense feeling. On the way to Town Hall from Ellis Bridge, a little to the right at the beginning of it, he stayed in one of the onetenement houses provided for sadhus. I had the good fortune of spending four to five days with him.
While taking leave of him, I silently prayed within myself : “ I am unable owing to my limitations of circumstances and situation to stay with you any further. Kindly condescend to come home so that I may be benefitted ”. What that benefit was I could not then clearly define but I do remember that I had prayed to him thus in the silence of my heart.
On his first visit he stayed for two to two and a quarter months. During his second visit he stayed a month and a half. And, on his third visit he stayed a month with me.
He was a disciple of “ Shri Keshavanandji Maharaj ” and had come to initiate me at the command of his SadGuru.
“ Deeksha : Meditation ”
“ Initiation ” means changing your life’s flow from a particular direction to another.
Just as you dig channels to divert and change the flow of water and make use of that water from another direction, so also to change the direction of life’s flow to make better use of it is called “ Deeksha ”, or “ initiation ”.
At that time, I was a through dunce but my Guru Maharaj must have understood the potential in me to change my direction. In this path aptitude plays a very important part. You must also have the necessary ground or capacity for it. He must have sensed the hidden store house untapped in me. And he changed its direction by initiating me on that day i.e., 22nd January 1923 .. “ Vasant Panchmi ” day .. which was a Monday.
He did all that he wanted to. On the first day he told me, “ Meditate ”. I asked back “ On what to meditate ? ”
“ Meditation is thinking of one thing with concentration ”. “ Then do so ” he said.
“ Even that I cannot do ” I replied, “ My mind always thinks so many things at the same time, pros and cons of everything. ”
Thereafter, he got a big nail about 8 to 9 inches long and hit the butt end of it on my forehead between my eyebrows .. not slowly or gently or mercifully .. but very hard. I did not know what happened. Had I known of his intention I would have run away. I felt giddy and lost all consciousness.
“ What was your condition then ? ” he asked. “ Not a single thought crossed my mind ” I answered.
“ How long did this last ? ” he asked. “ About fifteen minutes ” I replied. He said “ Not so ”. “ Then about half an hour to two and half hours ” I answered.
He contradicted this also. “ Three days have passed in this state of mind’s silence ”, he answered.
I was startled and shaken, “ I have done a great mistake ” I said.
This was my greatest experience. Yet, I uttered as above. I wrote a letter to Thakkar Bapa stating that I was unconscious for three days and so could not attend to my school work. I apologized for it.
Guru Maharaj then told me, “ Remaining in this world, you have to work .. but without being worldly. ”
“ How is it possible ? ” I asked. “ Put away the world from your mind ”, he answered.
“ How do I do it ? ” I asked, “ You cannot put it away by mere wishing just because you say it ” I added. He answered, “ cultivate that feeling ”.
“ What feeling ? ”, I asked. He explained : “ Do all for God, dedicating and offering all to Him. The Lord dwells everywhere. He is in us also. The entire world is run by Him. Our very life’s machinery is also run by Him. You have to live your whole life for Him, dedicating it to Him. ”
I could digest all this very easily. I liked the idea and I decided to live my life thus, inculcating the feeling, “ All is God, all my work is for God and dedicated to God. ”
“ a deep and lasting effect ”
This initiation had a deep and lasting effect on me. Out of this intense God-feeling began to manifest within me. And, that feeling and consciousness helped me to stand up against all insurmountable difficulties of my sadhana or spiritual efforts.
His coming to Nadiad is a living example of his unbounded compassion.
When he came for the third time to Nadiad, he put me on the top of a banyan tree on a little hillock near the bank of the river Shedhi, and said : “ You have to go on uttering God’s Name non-stop ”.
He even came close to me with a stone and said, “ I am going to hit you ”. I did not take him seriously. I thought he was merely talking, he will not hit me.
I told him, “ you hit me hard and I nearly fainted from acute pain. I would have died because of that ” . “ No, you will not die, I know for certain ” he replied.
“ You simply talk, for you do not know my pain which is too severe ”, I said. He talked back, “ You will never understand what I am going to say. You will build a beautiful Ashram or a hermitage here at this spot in future and do great things. ”
I did not believe his words. How could I believe ? He had hit me hard and a assuage my pain he was uttering soothing words to console me. I took it all in that limited sense. But, much later, when I built an “ Ashram ” there I recollected his prophecy ! When great men utter such truths, and if one is not receptive to them, then it goes above one’s head and the sense of truth or reality is lost.
“ Dhuniwala Dada ”
Shri Blyogi initiated me in Nadiad. During his first visit he stayed two monthsduring which he told me that “ In ‘ Sai Kheda ’ there stays Shri Dhuniwala Dada, Shri Keshwanandji .. and it is at his instance that I came here and initiated you. Therefore, go to him and seek his blessings for further progress. ”
So I made full preparations for my departure in case he kept me there for a long time. I resigned from many institutions, including the “ Sangh ” .. and even summoned Shri Parikshit Bhai from Navsari to hand over my charge to him. Thereafter, I left for “ Sai Kheda ”. Reaching that place, I put my baggage in a room in a choultry and had a bath and made it to my Guru Maharaj, I bowed to him.
I did not then understand why people fled out of fear from Dhuniwala Dada I put my head at his feet. And, people screamed and warned me, “ Move away, otherwise Dada will break your head ”. But, nothing of the sort happened to me.
When I visited Dadaji for the first time, he asserted “ I am all those great realized souls ”. Who were at that time alive ? He would call out their names. But, my mind began to doubt as to how could he be all these great souls at one and the same time ? I had never openly expressed my feelings. But, in my inner being doubt persisted that this was not probable, not even possible.
Thereafter, a long period of time lapsed, passed. In my sadhana or spiritual endeavours great resoluteness and steadfastness had also been achieved by His Grace. My efforts had picked up strength and intensity. I also began to be absorbed and immersed in it. During that period the saints, liberated souls whose names he had uttered, often materialized and visited me !
In the beginning, I would have the vision of my SadGuru Shri Keshavanandji in the region of their heart, and used to recollect my doubts about his words then. All these souls who materialized in physical forms have given me a fillip or a push along this path.
There are some persons alive even today who have been witness of visits by Sai Baba of Shirdi and Upasani Maharaj. But, in the case of other liberated souls where no witnesses existed, I have avoided mentioning names and incidences of their visits.
By God’s Grace, I met all these great souls personally, and during such materializations and visits to me, how they were, how they appeared to me to be, what were their manners and behavior-patterns, their appearances, their manner of talking, their intonation, their dress, etc. I have described in my book “ SadGuru ” in heroic couplets.
“ unbroken Divine Name ”
I started my sadhana towards the end of 1921 .. and in March 1928 .. I was stung or bitten by a poisonous cobra. Thereafter, my uttering of the Divine Name became unbroken, living and continuous.
Until then, I had to remind myself and take the help of my mind. And, to keep myself engaged in sadhana continuously I had to resort to some harsh means. The mind never gets absorbed automatically.
If I had not the intense feeling for my Guru Maharaj I doubt if my mind could ever have been broken into it spontaneously of its own. I ever kept his awareness awake and alive in my heart wherever I went or whatever I did.
When such conscious awakening becomes continuous and reaches a high point of intensity the mind becomes quiet and helpful. When our mind is not centered within us it becomes a source of evil.
The mind often slips back to its natural position because our control over it gets weakened. It is easy to say, “ Catch the mind and fix it on one point ”, but it is indeed difficult to keep it tied to one object all the time. Sadhana is, therefore, very necessary for this purpose. We have to call back the wandering mind to that one object now and then and remind it by knocking its head to come back home.
“ Guru materializes himself ”
I used to sit before the fire .. sometimes in prayers, sometimes in meditation and sometimes uttering the mantra of His Name. My prayers would continue with the intensity of feeling from the depths of my heart without any stop.
After midnight, I beheld the form of my Guru Maharaj materialize before me ! I was both surprised and startled. And, moved by my love and adoration for him I automatically bowed to him. My utterance of His Name continued non-stop. I experienced an unbroken continuity of feeling of love in my being.
Even after this intense sadhana, my mind and intelligence ( Buddhi ) had not yet dissolved in Him, of which I was deeply aware at that time.
My mind and my Buddhi or intelligence refused to accept and believe this extraordinary experience of God’s Grace.
“ My Guru Maharaj has passed away, he is physically no more. Then how can he appear before me ? It is my love and adoration that has assumed this form. But he is not a reality before me now ”. But at that very moment my SadGuru spoke out :
“ You fool ! I am truly and really present before you in my true original form.
“ I have appeared before you to warn you and awaken you. To take you to greater heights and confirm your efforts in working out your Karma or duties which you have accepted as a means of self evolution has my presence appeared before you, and this experience is granted to you in your own accepted circumstance and situation. ”
When Shri Balyogi appeared before me he was physically no more, yet he appeared to me in his original physical form.
This kind of manifestation or materialization by a liberated soul cannot last forever. Those who are linked with him through love and devotion have a relationship with him, a bond of pure love. And so as long as he lives he continues to live on in the astral plane in his subtle body to help and guide them.
“ mouna .. abhay .. namrata ”
In the beginning, my Guru Maharaj asked me to do my sadhana through four means i.e., “ Mouna ” or “ Silence ” .. “ Ekant ” or “ Solitude ” .. “ Abhay ” or “ Fearlessness ” .. “ Namrata ” or “ Humility ”, with emphasis on the last virtue .. to cultivate humility to the maximum extent possible where the ego is eliminated to become a zero or nothing.
Entering the higher and higher planes of sadhana, when out of its living, conscious, intense, continuity a living flow of aspiration and ‘ will ’ is established .. then out of one’s inner being an ‘ Aura ’ is formed, which becomes a talisman .. a shield for the protection of the sadhak, which thoughts, tendencies and subtle hostile forces which obstruct sadhana, cannot penetrate or pierce through .. and along with the living and burning aspiration which awakes within, are not permitted to come out or emerge so that the intensity of aspiration within grows stronger, brighter and more dense around one’s self.
The above fact in sadhana or self-evolution is an important secret and a subtle fact in this science which has to be experienced.
“ Adwait Sakshatkar ”
Midnight of 29th March 1939 in Varanasi or Kashi, I had the realization of the Formless or Adwait Sakshatkar. It was as if the Light of a Million Suns spread all around me and even entered into me. At that time, I had the experience of Maha Samadhi or the ultimate Samadhi.
After that experience, I felt I had reached and realized Mukti or Liberation. I had the ever present feeling, “ I am Omnipresent ” or ubiquitous in all respects and in its totality and that experience ever remains with me.
“ realization of God with form ”
At the same time, I had the realization of God with form also. But, at that very moment, I also entered the realization of the Formless with a quick bit Hanumanian or Herculean leap. After this experience became established and permanent in my being it became centralized and focused in its living manifestation and then spread upward and outward.
I felt one with everything, one with all and yet separate which I used to feel at the same time and always. The feeling of Empathy of Consciousness with all its qualities thereafter began to manifest, which was my true experience.
“ real SadGuru ”
This kind of awakened consciousness can teach you and inspire you and take you further and further. It fills you with a new understanding and wisdom. It tells you how, when and where to take each step. Such a continuous, living and vibrant conscious awareness is our true, “ living SadGuru ”.
Accepting its refuge and guidance with proper love and reverence and adopting it in life there is nothing in life that cannot be achieved. If we have understood the true essence of spiritual life then there is no question of falling back or retreating in life. If this consciousness is awakened in our life, then we can become free of all care or worry or fear in life. This we can personally experience and verify in our own life.
Once this stage has been reached, our mind and brain never waver in doubt nor wander in search of other pastures.
In case this happens, our awakened mind acting as a watch over us call us back and awakes us. Not only that, we come back with proper understanding to our proper place. This kind of awakened consciousness is our “ thirdeye ” and lifting us up to higher levels, endows us with greater power.
This awakening I call “ real SadGuru ”. This is not mere imagination, but a reality to be experienced by the sadhak.
“ ashram ? ”
Why should I have an “ ashram ” ?
If all of you so desire, then you can be my ashram. If from your heart you become one with myheart and if you become aware why we have met and cling to each other and we can raise the level of our consciousness, if this can result in increasing the space element within us, then we can spread and widen the light within us so as to do Lord’s work.
If I have to create an ashram .. then, by His Grace .. money is no problem. My Beloved will give me the necessary means to build it. Such has been my experience all these years.
But, I do not want to build an ordinary stereotype ashram. Just as electricity produced in a power-house travels to all places so also if God-Awareness manifests everywhere and that awareness awakes in us, then, I would like to build such an ashram.
If I can light the lamp of love and good-will in all of you just as my SadGuru did in me then I can discharge my debt to him.
It is with this purpose that I built mouna or silence rooms. In this there is no lecturing or sermonizing. At other places scripture reading may be allowed, but without actually struggling, working hard, wisdom can never be acquired, which is an indisputable fact according to me.
In this world, “ giving ” and “ receiving ” are mutual and reciprocal. So, after receiving, if I am unable to repay then, I shall feel uncomfortable and indebted all my life, which I do not like.
But, my Guru Maharaj assured me : “ Do not worry, my son .. you have to do many noble works of service. They will spring out of this ashram. Therefore, go ahead and build those ashrams. I shall arrange to repay those who help you in some way or other. Repaying is my responsibility. Leave it to me. ”
Thereafter, I started building and making my ashrams.
And, I have experienced so far that whoever had helped me has been repaid and rewarded in some form or other. This is a hundred percent truth beyond all doubt, without any exaggeration.
Therefore, when anybody helps me in my ashram-work or my philanthropic activities my heart has very tender feelings for him, also I cannot remain without praying for his welfare.
“ this world is reality ”
I view and accept this world as a Reality. Whatever happens is real.
Therefore, I cannot but pray for those who help me in my causes. God’s ways are very strange and we cannot limit Him by saying that He should return the help given only in a particular way.
When great Mahatmas come to us, we are unable to understand and accept them in totality. When I was at the very spot where our ashram stands now in Nadiad my Guru Maharaj, Shri Balyogi, told me that I would build an ashram at the very spot where I was seated at that time. But, I could not believe him, for the simple reason I was very poor and had no money.
“ building an ashram ”
In the Year 1953-54, my brother “ Moolji ” wrote me a letter calling me for some work, which did not materialize. I decided to go back to my place on the bank, Dakhkhaniyo Ovaro, of the river Shedhi. I hired a small cart and put in it a bed, a pillow, cooking vessels some food grains, etc., for I had decided to spend two or three days there.
Suddenly, I remembered Guru Maharaj’s works that I shall build an ashram there one day. I did not inform my friends Shri Nandu Bhai and Sri Hemant Kumar about this. I had an acquaintance with Shri Kuberdas. We knew each other casually, yet I approached him.
I “ What brings you here ? ” he asked me. “ I want to build an ashram here ” I replied. “ I shall give you any amount you want. ” He told me. “ I shall repay in one or two years ” I replied. He gave me about rupees thirteen thousand.
Apart from him another man who helped me was Shri C.D. Mehta who gave me money for Surat ashram also. In Kumbhakonam, in South India, on the bank of the river Kaveri, in idyllic surroundings, we have an ashram.
“ Kumbhakonam ” is considered the Kashi ( Banaras ) of South India. Just as Kumbhamela is conducted in the North. So also such a Kumbhamela is held in Kumbhakonam, thus it is a famous place in South India. There, in beautiful natural surroundings, lies our ashram. This ashram compares well with our Surat ashram in natural beauty. Close to the Ashram flows river mother Kaveri.
My Guru Maharaj once told me not to keep anybody under an illusion or in ignorance, but “ Tell everybody the truth about everything which can be verified by experiment. ”
If you ask any doctor or any office of the health department he will say that the silence or the mouna rooms can make anybody mentally deranged.
By the blessings of my Guru Maharaj such a conscious force is generated or has been generated in those mouna rooms that a man can spend his days inside those rooms very peacefully and happily. This is possible because of the conscious force inside the silence / mouna rooms.
I gave up my post as the secretary of “ Harijan Sevak Sangh ”. My friends advised me that there was nothing wrong in rendering such physical service. But my experience did not permit me to do so.
“ tell everybody the truth ”
My Guru Maharaj also advised me not to indulge in idle sermons or advices. “ Just put people into these ‘ silence rooms ’ and they will imbibe this new technique and move forward. ”
My Guru Maharaj ordered me to “ Do something original in every field of life. ” In spiritual life the root of all progress is inquiry ( Jignasa ) into self to know more about that life. It is a buring desire to experience God. This is the real Guru within you that takes you forward.
Shri Mota decided on 19th July, 1976 to give up his mortal body which fact he communicated to Shri Nandu Bhai only. He asked Nandu Bhai to inform Shri Raman Bhai Amin about his decision, and ask his permission for giving up his ( Mota’s ) body at his farmhouse in Fazalpur after reaching his place.
And, if he was reluctant to give permission to do this then, they should come back to Surat Ashram for giving up his body. The Surat Ashram is six miles away from Surat City. After reaching Fazalpur Shri Nandu Bhai informed Shri Raman Bhai about Shri Mota’s desire to give up his mortal body at his farmhouse.
Early in the moring Shri Mota removed his eye-glasses, his wristwatch and golden chain, and gave them to Shri Rambhai Patel for passing on to Shri Nandu Bhai. Normally, he would give such articles to those near him for safekeeping, but never to Shri Nandu Bhai. This sounded strange to Shri Nandu Bhai who went to Shri Mota’s room.
Shri Mota announced that he would start the process of giving up his body about four o’clock that day.
Thereafter, under his own instructions Pujya Shri Mota was taken into a room at 4:00 p.m.
Only six persons : Sri Nandubhai, Mr. and Mrs. Ramanbhai, Mr. and Mrs. Ram ( Dr. Mrs. Kantaben ) and Sri Rajendra were present and they were called into the room.
Shri Mota told them, “ You may sit in the room or go out, just as you please. Nobody should speak to me or touch me. ”
Pujya Shri Mota gave up his body at 1:30 a.m. on Friday 23rd July, 1976.
“ Vision of Krishna ”
In the Year 1934, I had the realization and experience of God with Form. ( Sagun Sakshatkar ) I beheld Sri Krishna, not the flute player .. it was not a glimpse of His physical form. That Vision was full of Supernal Beauty and dazzling with extraordinary brilliance of a Halo of Divine Light. All around it was a Beauty of a Divine sort. Truly indescribable is that wonderful Vision !
That form was so charming and enchanting to the heart that nothing can stand any comparison to it .. beyond all imagination it seemed ! It was a flexible, soft, transparent as a crystal, blue as the azure sky, living vision of Shri Krishna !
It was not static .. but moving, playing, walking, sometimes coming near me, sometimes going away from me, sometimes I would experience that entering my body, and touching different parts of my being !
I would also feel it working subtle on those parts or organs of my body, sometimes, doing the work of transformation and purification. Sometimes, it would settle between my eye brows and inside my skull and brain and sometimes, it would enter the heart also. My whole being would appear bright golden with a brilliance of Divine Light, supernatural, I experienced higher and subtler and diviner states !
I could know myself, such was my condition then. Shri Krishna’s supernatural vision was so splendid, charming, smooth, delicate, thrilling that I cannot describe it in words.
My whole body felt light in weight and as if floating in air. This had a permanent effect on me, on all parts and every centre of my body.
After the experience of this graceful and auspicious vision .. in the centre of my very being .. a great mutation of transformation seemed to have taken place, which later became permanent. And, it gradually became a living full of brilliance reality, manifesting thus in my life.
After experiencing this Vision, with its pleasing and awe inspiring flowering of consciousness, its attraction and pull manifest so wholly that is continuity is never broken. That attraction and pull manifest so intensely that we become absorbed and lost in it. That intensity of feeling which manifested during this vision with its one pointed and singleness of purpose, thereafter reached its zenith.
Thereafter it grew upward and outward, such a soul with this intensity of feelings on beholding a beautiful scene, nature’s beauty, flowing murmuring waters of a river, new green leaves on a tree, a healthy, charming, chubby child, growing even more living and vibrant, slips into an instant trance of samadhi and feels so blessed by this. The effect of this lasts a long time and manifests in his daily work and relationship in life.