Shree Hari Antardhyan Leela
It was the summer of the Vikrama Era 1886. Shriji Maharaj fell sick. He was completely reduced physically. At that time, Shriji Maharaj got all his followers, saints and Sadhus seated before him and addressed them. Maharaj called Gopalanand swami and both Acharya Maharaj's and took the hand of both Acharyas and put them in the hands of Gopalanand Swami, Maharaj then ordered Gopalanand Swami to look after both Acharyas as they were very young and also make sure that all Sadhus/Brahmcharis/Grahastas stay under the refuge of Dharmavansh and follow Acharya Maharaj's orders. Maharaj spoke about how many Avtaars & Mahapurush's before him have come and even they have had to leave the world, so the rules of Mrutyulok in regards to birth and death even apply to Bhagwan himself (through his own will). Maharaj said the same way previous Avtaars and Mahapurush's have left this world at one point, the same way I will also leave this world. As soon as Maharaj said these words, all Brahmcharis/Parshads/Santos/Gruhastas present began to cry and shout, "Take us with you. We can't imagine a moment without you how will we go through a day". Tears rolled down their cheeks. Their bodies began to a shiver. Some of them fell down so unconscious that it seemed they were dead. "They all began praying to Maharaj, saying please don't leave us, please don't leave us. On seeing this pitiable condition of his devotees, Maharaj took mercy on them. He said to them, "I will go to Akshardham only when you allow me to go." Saying these words of consolation, Maharaj silenced them. But his illness persisted.
Maharaj asked Mulji Brahmchari late in the night to call all Brahmcharis/Sadhus etc to meet Maharaj in Akshar Oradi. This was Maharaj's last Sabha ever, Maharaj spoke on never falling from the path of Dharma, he told everyone present to always follow Dharma, and never Adharma. (It's important to note that Maharaj's first ever Sabha after he was given Gadi by Ramanand swami was also about following Dharma, so his first and last talks were on the importance of Dharma). Moving on, Maharaj also spoke about Bhakti, Gnaan and Vairagya in his last Sabha. Maharaj told the Sabha about his mission and reasons for coming onto this world. He said, "I have completed the tasks I wished to fulfil and I will have to leave this world just the same way my previous Avtaars have." Maharaj sent them to their utaaros and told them he will think about it. All were thinking, what is Maharaj going to do, what is he going to do, they couldn't sleep, they couldn't even do Pooja the next morning properly. It was Tuesday morning of Jest Sud Dasham. The hearts of Saints and Vaishnavas were uneasy today. Their minds were disturbed. It seemed to them that the whole universe was upside down. Describing this episode, the HARILEELAMRUT, says, "The day appeared ghastly. The sun seemed dim in the sky despite a season of summer. The whole atmosphere wore a look of ghastly appearance. There were no stars in the sky. The earth was shivering. All directions were deserted. Jackals were howling. Air was warmer. Trees began to fall. There was full of thunder and lightning. The Murti of Dharma Bhakti started crying. People's mind turned dismal and began to fear. Beasts were terrified. People were now sceptical, Maharaj will pass away.
Bhagwan Shree hari that day sat crossed legged in his Akshar Oradi. All Santos/Bhaktos/Brahmchariyos gathered around Akshar oradi but Maharaj called only 4 Sadguru Nand Sants to his actual room. Gopalanand Swami, Bhajananand Swami, Nityanand Swami and Shukanand Swami (Shukh muni). These 4 Santos were very strong mentally, hence he called them. Maharaj told Gopalanand swami again to look after both Acharya Maharaj's and let no calamity befall them. As Maharaj was saying this, Maharaj started taking breaths slowly, slowly, each breath getting shorter and shorter. Nityanand swami became really startled seeing this, he took Maharaj's hand and realized Maharaj's pulse became very faint, his heartbeats became shallow. Soon afterwards Maharaj's heart stopped beating and there was no pulse. Maharaj had left his body, As soon as Nityanand swami realised this he let out a faint scream and said the words. "The sun has set permanently" (Symbolic line).... Gopalanand Swami told Nityanand Swami to calm down, and pull himself together for the sake of other mentally weak bhaktos etc... Gopalanand Swami said it's our duty to make sure we stay strong for our fellow Bhaktos/Santos etc. As this point Muktos of Akshardham came and did Pushpa Vrushti (showed flowers) of Maharaj as Maharaj went back to Akshardham.
The 4 Santos started a Dhun, the Bhaktos/Santos outside hearing this ran to Akshar oradi forcing themselves in to the room and saw that Maharaj had left. So many Bhaktos/Santos fainted and many were crying. This is one of them situation you just don't know until you it happens to you. The closest person in life, and life itself, removed for ever, How can one handle such a situation, Gopalanand swami comforted and gave all of them strength. It is said that when Maharaj wished to leave this world, he informed Nishkulanand Swami 3 days in advance and asked him to prepare a palanquin for his funeral. Nishkulanand Swami prepared it during a single night only. Time came for Maharaj to be taken to Ghela Nadi to perform the last rituals. All the Santos asked Nishkulanand Swami to prepare a paalkhi. He replied, "It is ready" and brought it. Everyone asked him, "How did you prepare it when lord was alive?" He replied, "I am a heavy hearted obedient servant. No matter how damn or hard the order may be, I must obey it."
Also to note, Shatanand Swami ends the Satsangi Jeevan Granth here. He doesn't go on to write how Maharaj was cremated in Laxmivadi and the reactions etc. He ends it here with Maharaj leaving his body in Akshar oradi. Swami's Hand could write no further as such a thought was unbearable to imagine. But what was once an unbearable thought is now an unbearable reality.
Maharaj was put on the Paalkhi, and was ready to be taken to Ghela Nadi. Santo/Bhakto picked up the Paalkhi but they couldn't even move a few steps, it became that heavy. Santos/Bhaktos started to think, why is this the case, what is Maharaj's wish here. Just then Nityanand Swami said, "it seems Maharaj's wish is not for the cremation to take place near Ghela Nadi, hence the Paalkhi isn't moving, Maharaj's wish is for the cremation to take place in Laxmivaadi." All those present thought...how does Nityanand swami know this? Well that's when Swami himself explained that when Maharaj would visit Laxmivaadi, he would always Bow down to this one specific area in Laxmivaadi, Nityanand Swami had noticed this a few times and asked Maharaj why do you always do Namaskar here to this ground. Maharaj replied to Nityanand Swami saying, "Swami, Many Avtaars that have previously descended to this earth have all come to this specific area in Laxmivaadi at one point or another. Hence I do Vandans here every time I come Laxmivaadi, because this area is that great". Nityanand Swami then told the Santos/Bhaktos to take the Paalkhi to that specific area in Laxmivaadi as it seems to be Maharaj's wish to be cremated there. As soon as the Bhaktos/Santos acknowledged this, they tried to lift the Paalkhi again, however this time the Paalkhi became as light as a feather and was easily carried. From this, all Bhaktos/Santos realized that Nityanand swami was right and that it seems to be Maharaj's wish to be cremated in Laxmivaadi.
The Funeral Pyre was readied by Bhaktos/Santos. Just then Gopalanand Swami called Both Acharya Maharaj's to begin the cremation by lighting fire to the pyre where Maharaj's body was placed. Both Acharya Maharaj's became very reluctant, and refused to do so at first. But Gopalanand swami gave them both strength and told them that only they're worthy of doing such a thing as they are the descendants of Maharaj so it's their duty and their right. Hearing this both Acharyas proceeded hesitantly with the lighting of the funeral pyre. As soon as the Agni Sanskaar started, Both Acharyas couldn't hold back their tears, seeing this everyone else also began crying and some also fainted. Dada Khachar especially couldn't take it and ran to jump in the burning funeral pyre. Just then he was stopped by Gopalanand Swami. Gopalanand Swami told him not to such a thing as It's against Maharaj's Aagna. Dadakhachar said "if I have to go to hell for breaking Maharaj's Agna so be it but I can't live without Maharaj no more, please let me go". Gopalanand Swami calmed him down and ordered him to go to the 'bethak' (Where Maharaj would do Sabhas in Laxmivadi, a bit behind Niskhulanand Swami's oradi). He went to the bethak and suddenly after a few seconds, Maharaj appeared right in front of his eyes, with hundreds of Santos Haribhaktos all sitting with Maharaj. Dadakhachar became confused and started questioning himself saying "Am I in a dream?, what is truly happening?, on one side Maharaj's Agni sanskar is going on and here I'm seeing this? Which one is the illusion and which one is reality?". Maharaj then looked towards him and said "Dada, both are reality. The Agni sanksar is reality and so is this". Dadakhachar replied saying, "then that means you are truly gone? How can I continue to live in this world without you?" Maharaj said, "but that's the thing, I haven't left at all, I'm here right in front of your eyes now. I'll always live pratyaksh in this Satsang right up until the end. I haven't left, and never will. You'll always be able to my darshan through Gopinathji Maharaj's Murti forever, just think of me and I'll appear". Dadakhachar was comforted by these words and felt at peace again.
Gunatitanand swami was walking along a road and saw some green grass and just alongside it he saw a water stream. Seeing this, he thought to himself that this grass is rich and green because of the stream, the grass will dry out without the stream. That's how close the relationship is between the grass and the stream, for the grass to stay as it is, the stream is a necessity for the grass. Without the stream, the grass would not be so rich and green. Yet with me, Maharaj is gone and I'm still here? Does that mean being with Maharaj is not even a necessity for me? How can I continue living like this? Just through thinking such thoughts, Gunatitanand swami fainted there and then. Maharaj gave him Darshan and told him, "Swami, how can you even think that I've gone? I will always be in this Satsang Pragat forever. Such similar experiences happened to many other Saints/Bhakots too where they felt to just leave their body". Maharaj in the same way he gave Darshan to Dadakhachar and Gunatitanand swami, the same way he would give Darshan to the other many troubled Santos/Bhaktos and give them strength and comfort.
Letters were sent to Bhaktos/Santos all over the country informing them too, of the news. One letter was especially written by Gopalanand Swami to Brahmanand Swami who was finishing off Junagadh Mandir. Gopalanand Swami stated in the letter that "Oh Brahm Muni, as soon as you receive this letter, make your way to Gadhpur as soon as possible". Gopalanand Swami handed the letter to the messenger. Swami specifically told the messenger just to hand the letter to Brahmanand Swami, don't inform him of the news of Maharaj returning to Akshardham. Just then the messenger arrived. Seeing this Brahmanand Swami became even more worried. Swami asked the messenger, "how is everyone in Gadhpur?" The messenger just stood there and handed the letter to Brahmanand Swami. Swami opened the letter and as soon as he looked at the bottom and saw that this letter was written by Gopalanand swami, tears started rolling down the cheeks of Swami. Seeing this the messenger asked swami, "why are you crying? there's nothing written in that letter to be extremely saddened about. It's only written for you to come to Gadhpur that's all". Brahmanand swami told him, "you may not see anything deep/hidden in this letter, but I see it all. Just by reading this I know that my 'Vaalido' has left this world. If this was not the case, this letter would not have the name of Gopalanand Swami at the bottom, it would have the name of none other than Sahajanand Swami". Swami in a hurry got whatever he needed and quickly began his distressed journey back to Gadhada. Gopalanand Swami and other Santos received the news that Brahmanand Swami is about to arrive in Gadhada, hearing this many Santo/Bhaktos got ready to greet Brahmanand Swami. As soon as Brahmanand Swami saw Gopalanand Swami and Santos he jumped off the Bullcart and ran towards Gopalanand swami, and said Swami, An injustice has been done to me, Maharaj deceitfully left this world, without even giving me his Darshan? Maharaj gave all of you his final Darshan and had you by his side, and he told me to leave instead. I am the most unfortunate being alive right now. Brahmanand Swami in a panic asked Gopalanand Swami, "quickly tell me, where is Maharaj's body? hurry, take me to it". Gopalanand Swami hesitantly replied to swami saying, "Brahm muni.....Maharaj's Agni Sanskaar has already been done, his body was cremated in Laxmivaadi". Hearing this Brahmanand Swami shed even more tears and fell in Gopalanand Swami's arms and weakly told him, "Swami? why Swami? I had already told you that if by any chance Maharaj leaves this world, make sure you don't cremate his body. Leave it as it is, yet you still went and did this?" Gopalanand swami said "Swami, I know that, but I had no choice. Maharaj made me take an oath that I would firstly cremate his body and then call you (Brahmanand Swami) only after the cremation had taken place. I was helpless Swami". Hearing this Brahmanand Swami became even more upset and weak. Gopalanand "wami thought to himself, here let me take "wami to Gopinathji Maharaj ni Murti, that will ease his pain, Gopalanand Swami grabbed Brahmanand Swami's hand and took him right inside Gadhpur Mandir up to Gopinathji Maharaj's Murti. However seeing the Mandir of Gadhada and the Murti of Gopinathji Maharaj, Brahmanand Swami became even more upset, as this reminded him of the time when Maharaj himself physically helped build Gadhada Mandir. Brahmanand Swami fixated his eyes on Gopinathji Maharaj's Murti and all of a sudden, his tears and sadness turned in to anger. He started calling Maharaj names, he said "I look at this Gopinathji ni Murti and I see a black appearance, but Maharaj you're not just dark on the outside, your dark in the inside too! You've done a major injustice to me, I have come here not to beg for your Darshan, but to ask for justice. I want Justice for the way you deceitfully left me like this, what have I done in this life to have deserved such a cruel punishment from you maharaj? tell me?". Brahmanand Swami couldn't control himself and started thumping his head against the ground extremely hard. Before it could get any worse. Maharaj quickly appeared from the Murti of Gopinathji Maharaj and told Brahmanand swami to stop. Swami looked up and saw Maharaj there before him. Maharaj put a garland around swami's neck, hugged him and said, "Swami, why are you doing such a thing, why are you so distressed? I can never leave you, I still haven't left you, Look...I'm right in front of you at this very moment. I'll always be here, I'll always reside in my Murtis, I will stay in this Satsang, in this Sampraday forever and ever until the sun and moon shine. I will never leave this Satsang, I will forever remain pragat. Whenever you want to do my Darshan, just think of me and I'll appear before you." After much effort in consoling and comforting Brahmanand Swami, Maharaj disappeared in to the Murti of Gopinathji Maharaj again.
On the 13th day since Maharaj returned back to Akshardham, Puja Dodiya a great Bhakta, had also passed away due to major grief. On that same day (13 days after Maharaj passed) News got to Santo/Bhaktos that Manki Godi was shaking and was in an extremely bad/unhealthy state. (Manki Godi never took any food or water for 13 days and cried for 13 days straight!) Manki Godi's health started to deteriorate more and more as the minutes went by. Eventually Manki Godi stopped breathing and on that 13th day, departed to Akshardham forever. Muktanand Swami the mother of the Sampraday, the one the Satsangis would rely on ever so much also departed to Akshardham around 46 (or so) days later after Maharaj departing, to lose a mother at such a time the pain was indescribable.
Bhagwan commanded that no one should leave they body in grief of me leaving mine. Sachchidanand Swami when finding out Bhagwan is planning to leave said to his Shishya Shidanand Swami that I will no longer be able to stay and will have to leave my body as well. Swami was known for having ekatma punu with Swaminarayan Bhagwan. Pure 100% oneness with Bhagwan. He would not take his eyes of Bhagwan, Swami would walk backwards to maintain his eye on Bhagwans face and his love was so much that when Bhagwan was thirsty, Swami would get thirsty, when Swami would get thirsty Bhagwan would also get thirsty. If Swami did not get to see Bhagwan he would cry, the concept of the body is people cry cold tries when they cry through love, but when they run out due to extreme love they cry blood. Swami's eyes filled up with blood and he could not stand being in this body...
Swami sat down and through his Yog power pressurised every vain in his bloody. If we experience the burst of just one vein we'll remember that pain for life because on the extent to which it hurts. Swami's 72,000 veins were pressurised and pulled from the roots, the example is given of when you strain a wet cloth to remove water that is what swami did to his body. Swami's body was lying there utterly dismantled... a pool of blood was left and Swami took his soul to Akshardham. Swami stood by the point that the pain of being away from Bhagwan is so much greater than any other pain. Bhagwan said to the Sabha in Dham "a thief has entered the walls of my Dham". Sachchidanand Swami was called forward and Swami stood in front of Swaminarayan Bhagwan. This connection that took place cannot be described by anyone or with any words. This was the language of love on a heavenly level. Was swami wrong in what he did? Swami prayed with all he had left in him and Bhagwan freed him from the indescribable pain Swami was in. Sachchidanand Swami was sent back to earth and said everything that happened to Shukmuni, this was written on a letter which is still in Vadtal Mandir today.
After, on that 13th day, there was a huge Sabha in Dada Khachar's Darbar but it was as if the Sabha was lifeless. No one was speaking, everyone just seemed lost. Just then Shatanand Swami entered the Sabha. Both Acharya Maharaj's and the rest of the Sabha got up and greeted Shatanand Swami. Both Acharyas and Gopalanand Swami then went over to Shatanand Swami and pleaded saying, "Swami, through Maharaj's order, you have written the Satsangi Jeevan. Maybe if you could recite the Satsangi Jeevan here in the Darbar of Dada Khachar then maybe by listening to this great Granth, all these Santos and Bhaktos will become full of life again and gain immense strength." Shatanand Swami then went on to recite the Granth. As the Katha went on and on, it became evident that the Sabha itself was becoming full of life again. All Santos and Bhaktos who were previously so lifeless, emerged happy and fulfilled. Seeing the Bhaktos and Santos so full of life again, both Acharyas and Gopalanand Swami also became satisfied and happy and realized the power the Satsangi Jeevan. These Leelas of Maharaj have again instilled life back in to these Santos/Bhaktos. This is the power of Satsangi Jeevan, it cures even the greatest grief.
Bhagwan could not have highlighted enough the level to which he is Pragat in his Murti and overall in this Satsang. Bhagwan toured the earth in his human form, everyone became attached to such a level, that every second of their life depended on Bhagwan.
182 years ago no one was ready for a time like this. If we find out a loved one has died, life isn't life any more. Swami's give up everything for Bhagwan, they keep no family, brothers, sisters, money or houses. All they had is Bhagwan. The same Bhagwan that would be the 'everything factor' of every second of everyday. This Antardhyan Leela is one where the more you think about it the more our eyes open to the extent of the feelings present devotes hearts.
Bhagwan established Satsang in numbers of millions and billions, each and every person when finding out this news could not handle it. Every hair on the body, every feeling on your skin starts to feel unreal. Psychologically, this was un-bearable! There is no training one can go through for hearing this information. People in Bhagwans time lost normal attributes of life. They in prospective became life less... Life itself is not sad... but when there is no life, sadness becomes life..."
Bhagwan knew this will be hard for everyone and he said that those who follow my wishes "I will come for them at the time of death." One of humans biggest worries is death, thanks to the grace of Swaminarayan Bhagwan, for a devote departing from the body is a great thing as the soul enters a place trillions of times better. The reality of Bhagwan's life is that he did not come down to earth for himself. The main reason was for your happiness. We have Swaminarayan Bhagwan's life to hold close, everyone else in the world has nothing in comparison to what Bhagwan has given us. In the 49 years 2 months and a day of Bhagwan's time on earth, millions of ways to get to him where exhibited, we just have to pick one and get going. Swaminarayan Bhagwan has given us everything, you have this body and on top of that you have Swaminarayan Bhagwan's life achievements to hold to heart. Many devotes have proven this and there were even great saints like Hariswarup Swami and Ghanshyam Jivan Swami who would do Pradikshna on their hands and knees at the age of 90+, if we look at our body it is currently fully functional, the greatest gift is one you can accept happily and gain joy which will last for eternity.
Looking at the years after 1886:
Bhramanand swami on the 10th day of every month would sing a powerful love filled Kirtan begging Maharaj to come for him... 2 years later Bhramanand Swami finished all the tasks he was asked to do and sat down to sing his last Kirtan in Mulimandir. The Mandir started shaking, the Dev's felt scared, Swami could have turned the world upside down that's how much he needed Bhagwan to come for him. Swami sang his last kirtan "Baare maas pura thaya, aavyo maas adhik" and Bhagwan came with many Muktos to take him to Dham.
Premanand Swami, 2 years after Bhagwan Left his body was asked in a huge Sabha to sing a Kirtan. Swami would normally sing a Kirtan every hour and due to that shock he didn't sing for 2 years. The King, Villagers, Swami's and Bhakto's asked Swami please give life to these people and sing us a Kirtan that would help us remember happy times of Maharaj.. Swami picked up his Saranagi and sang a Kirtan that made every person cry as there could not hold their emotions in... There was no sound system then, it was a direct heart to heart connection everyone experienced.