Rabindranath Tagore has said that 'Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark'.
Indeed, Faith is the light at the end of the tunnel. Faith gives hope. Faith is life. With faith, one can achieve the impossible.
In the Linga Purana there is the story of Shwetamuni. Having taken the refuge of Bhagwan Shankar Mahadev who is Mrityunjaya (the conqueror of death), he had the firm faith that death would not be able to deal him a blow. As he neared his end, Yama the God of death came to take him. Without having any fear of Yama, Shwetamuni asked him, 'Why did you venture to enter the ashram?' Yama bluntly said, 'To take you.' 'Lord Shiva is the conqueror of death', saying this, Shwetamuni took the Shivlinga in his lap and inhaled a breath of fearlessness. Yama mockingly said, 'This linga is numb, inert and powerless.' To which Shwetamuni replied, 'Lord Umapati is omnipresent. By praying to him with faith, he comes to save his devotees.' Pleased by seeing such great faith, Lord Shankara appeared from the linga and protected Shwetamuni from Yama.
If we possess such unshakable faith, we can achieve anything. Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the very embodiment of faith. When people would be directionless, or fatigued and subdued by circumstances, Swamiji would infuse insurmountable faith in them like panacea.
In the year 1981, a strong reservation movement broke out just before the start of Bhagwan Swaminarayan bicentenary festival in Amavad, There was chaos all around. No side was willing to budge an inch. Each side thought that the other was doing deceit. And so, no side was agreeing to listen to anyone. The city was heading towards a dangerous war-like situation. And with each passing day, the agitation was just getting fiercer and furious and was fast assuming explosive proportions. The condition was even worse, especially near the Sabarmati Ashram where the festival was to be celebrated, as it was surrounded by rioting in all its surrounding areas. How do we go ahead with the festival in such tense circumstances? This question was perplexing everyone. The preparations for the event had begun in a gusto. But now there were ominous signs indicating, that if the ongoing festival was disrupted by such a movement, it would cause great trouble to millions of people coming to visit from within the country as well as from abroad. So everyone rushed to Swamiji. They were all planning to postpone the festival. Even when they were apprising Swamiji about the situation, they were in a negative frame of mind since they were not able to foresee any positive outcome. Everyone was in extreme despair and helplessness and were looking upto Swamiji for a solution. All had lost hope in the face of such volatile circumstances. Their candle of faith was slowly dimming out to the extent that with a few it was nearly on the verge of extinguishing.
But Swamiji was firm in his faith. One of his extraordinary quality was that even in times of such an emergency, he wouldn't react or take any decision immediately. He would always discuss with everyone first and take into consideration each person's opinion. He would probe deeply into everyone's minds. Everyone was unanimous in the opinion that the only solution is to postpone the festival. After listening to everyone, he spoke to them in a very calm and peaceful manner and said that we have to celebrate the festival as per schedule. Bhagwan Swaminarayan will take care of everything. The adverse circumstances will change into favourable ones. Swamiji simply infused a single spark of faith in everyone's hearts, and they all got recharged with fresh faith and hope. With hearts filled with courage, their resolve and dedication was renewed with great vigour.
And truly, things turned out as per Swamiji's words. To everyone's surprise, the chaotic situation was heavily under control right before the start of the festival. The Bicentenary celebrations were simply out of this world. There was no disturbance during the celebrations. Everything turned out as per schedule. The entire event was a huge success. Millions of devotees came to visit from within the country as well as from all over the world. Thousands of saints and dignitaries came in attendance. Thousands of visitors got rid of their addictions and took a vow to live an addiction free pious life. Hundreds of people got inspired to lead lives with purity. All who attended the festival were blessed with infinite benevolence.
This event is testimony to Swamiji’s firm faith in God and is enough to convince anyone that his faith was truly infinite and unfathomable.
Swamiji was in Mumbai in the year 2009. On one occasion, some devotees were discussing the Lok Sabha election results. Pointing out to another devotee, one of them said, 'Swamiji! This fellow is saying that we shouldn't pray at all. Even after praying, God doesn't seem to listen and turns things contrary, so it is better not to pray at all.’ Swamiji says, 'Why? Is this the result of doing Satsang so far?’ The devotee continued arguing, 'But if the prayers are not answered, then why do it?’ Swamishri calmly replied, 'Perhaps even if t doesn't happen, consider it to be God's will. God is the all doer so he will only do what is good for everyone. Even if there is no result despite trying, have faith in God's will.' Everyone fell silent seeing Swamiji's strong faith in God. They were speechless in front of Swamiji’s words of firm faith and devotion.
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.