Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Itasca

Jay Shree Swaminarayan

Who is superior ? Householder devotee or a tyagi ?


Meaning of "Ante Ya Matihi Sa Gatihi"

In samvant 1876 on the second day of the second fortnight of the month of Margshirsh Swami Shree Shahajanandji Maharaj was seated facing south near the temple of Shree Vasudev Narayan under the margosa tree on a wooden cot. He had put on a white turban and had put around his neck a white side-cloth. He had covered his body with a white cotton showl. Strings of yellow flowers were suspended from his turban. Small bunches of yellow flowers were suspended about both his ears and above those bunches were pink rose arranged with aesthetic sense. He was garlanded with garlands of yellow flowers with his right hand, he was playing with a white flower. Munis and devotees from the different places were assembled before him.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked the Munis, 'One devotee has renounce the world and has taken Sanyas. He is not very poignantly influenced by Vairagya yet obseves all the rules of Dharm. However, mundane desires haunt him, which he by a conscious awakening of thought tries to uproot. Another devotee is attached to God very firmly. By the wish of God, he has not renounced the world and remains disinterested, yet he is inwardly nursing some mundane desire. Who is the better of these two ?'

Then Mukundanand Swami said, 'the devotee who as renounced is the better.' On that Shriji Maharaj said, 'How does the one who had renounced just out of frustration and is on his own dictation, can be a better one? and the another one, who has not renounced from the world has done so on the wish of God. How can he be inferior in comparision ?' Then on that, Muktanand Swami tried at his best to satisfy the points arisen but could not do so. Then requested, 'Oh Maharaj; you please guide us.' Then Shriji Maharaj said,'One who has so renounced the world but lacks the intensity of Vairagya and also lacks mature' understanding is likely to revive mundane desires in his heart either when he gets rich food or has to undergo austerities. One who has not renounced is better than such an immature anchoret since the Grihastha remains always awakened in his happiness and in miseries, lest either of them hamper his progress. He therefore, even though staying at home and amidst wordly affairs, stays disinterestedly. He is a true Tyagi who when once he has renounced the world has no more mundane desires. Till then the Grihastha is better than a Tyagi who nourishes Vasana, provided the Grihastha observes the rules prescribed for him unflinchingly. Strict rules are laid down for Grihastha which are difficult to observe. Even in spite of miseries coming in plenty, he would never for a moment swerve from his duty towards the Saints. He would feel himself much more elated because of the divine contact of the Saint who like a touch-stone or liKe wishfulfiling tree gives the desired fruits. The mundane possessions are ephemeral as compared to the divine contact of the Saint that he has regained. Even if the heaven fall, he would never be deterred from his duty towards the Saint to who he is attached. A Grihastha with such an understanding is far better than an immature and shakey Tyagi. It is very difficult to achieve the attributes of a devout devotee and also to get the contact of a Brhmanised saint.' So saying Shriji Maharaj asked them to sing Kirtan composed by Muktanand Swami glorifying God and his Bhramanised saint.

Thereafter Muktanand Swami asked, "The Shruti says 'YA MATIHI SA GATIHI' the course after death is either good or bad according as one's Buddhi is attracted to God or is away from God at the time of death. How can Bhakti therefore be glorified ?'. Shriji Maharaj said, 'One who is in touch with God need not worry about the course of his life after death even if at the time o. death his mind remains attached to God or moves away from him. God always protects him and he is sure to be redeemed. One, who is away from God and dies in full awareness, eventhen he is consigned to hell. So many sinners die with full consciousness, and devotees of God at times meet immature death, as such, would the sinners be redeemed? and the devotees be unredeemed? it is not so. As such, this Shruti means "one who is engaged in devotion now, shall remain attached to God at the time of death." Such a devotee always feels that he is redeemed and he is redeemed definitely. One who has no such contact with God or his Brahmanised saints, inwardly feels that he will not be redeemed, and he is not redeemed. Therefore those who are engaged in the service of God, have nothing more to attain, so much so that when others who have his darshan will be redeemed then can he entertain a doubt about his own redemption ? However, it is very difficult to imbibe the attributes of a real servent of God who has dedicated himself to him. One who so devoutly serves God always behaves as Atma which is in the form of truth, and takes the physical body as perishible. He however does not desire to enjoy anything without first offering the same to his God for being blessed by him. And finaly he would never behave in a manner contrary to the wishes of God. A devotee possesing these attributes is a real servant of God. Whereas one who exhibits physical consciousness and behaves accordingly is a pseudo-devotee.'

Thus Ends Vachanamrit : Gadhada First - 14.

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