Avadhana(Powers of Attention and Recollection)
He possessed immense memory powers and publicly performed ‘Shatavadhan’ (performing 100 things at a time) at the age of 19. This was witnessed by the Governor General & other leading personalities of Mumbai. He won several medals and his amazing feats were widely covered by several newspapers then, including The Times of India. Amazed by his exceptional art and memory powers, Queen Victoria invited Him for performance in foreign countries but He thought that such publicity could hinder his quest towards Self-Realization and refused the offer to visit Great Britain (120 years ago).
In about Vikram Samvat 1940 or 1884 A.D. Shrimadji came from Vavania to Morbi. In Morbi, Shastri Shankarlal M. Bhatt was performing the feat of attending to eight objects or eight activities at a time. At the same time in Bombay, Gattulalji Maharaj was performing similar feats. These were the only two well‑known persons for their exceptional memory and attention feats. Shrimadji saw the performance of these feats in Morbi and quickly picked them up.
Within two days after he saw the memory feats, he started performing similar feats before his friends and then for the open public. He was already known as a learned man but when he performed a memory feat of attending to twelve activities at a time before a public of 2,000 persons he became famous as a prodigy with exceptional powers. Some admirers used to address him as the precious diamond of India.
In an exhibition at Wadhwan he performed his memory feat of attending to sixteen activities at a time before an audience of rulers and highly educated public, and all were extremely pleased. The dailies published articles in his praise.
In Botad, before his millionaire friend Sheth Harilal Shaivalal, he performed the memory feat of attending to 52 activities at a time. They included:
- Playing Chopat with three other players;
- Playing cards with three others and at the end to call out all thirteen cards he had;
- At the same time playing chess and at the end of the memory feat to declare all the pieces which were removed from the chess board;
- To count grains which were dropped on his back while he was engaged in the memory feat;
- To perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and to keep the results in mind and to declare them at the end of the memory feat;
- To tell as to how many beads, a man sitting opposite him, had turned from a garland till the time he stopped turning them;
- To hear words of 16 sentences in 16 different languages in a random fashion and later on to speak out all the 16 sentences in the 16 languages;
- To supply individual letters in a random way in a chart to be completed and at the end to compose a verse;
- To prepare problem poems;
- To compose complete verses on being supplied only with one line or half lines,
- To compose 16 poems in 16 different poetical forms starting with one line of each of the recollected complete poems at the end.
Later on Shrimadji easily performed memory feats of attending to 100 things and activities at a time. Even than he used to say that his powers were merely a drop in the ocean, that the powers of the Self were infinite.
Shri Chatrabhujbhai, the brother-in-law of Shrimadji, said that Shrimadji used to tell whether a person uses his right hand or left hand to fix a Paghadi (a head dress - turban) just by looking at the shape of the Paghadi on the wearer's head.
In Vikram Samvat 1943 or 1887 A.D. Shrimadji went to Bombay and there, in Faramji Kavasji Institute and at other places he performed various memory feats and all the newspapers in Bombay gave wide publicity and praise to these performances. He was awarded gold medals by the public and institutions, for his excellent, unheard of and amazing memory feats.
In one of the memory feats he was shown twelve books of different sizes and told their names too. Then he was blind-folded and he used to touch a book he had seen before and immediately call out its name. Dr. Peterson who presided over the performance had nothing but admiration and praise for this outstanding feat.
On another occasion he was shown different food dishes and just by looking at them he told in which there was less salt, without touching the dishes or tasting the food in them.
Some of his admirers suggested Shrimadji to tour the foreign countries and show his ability and powers to the outside world. But he refused the suggestion on the ground that he could not observe religious discipline in foreign countries.
Shrimadji thought the wide publicity of his exceptional powers may hinder his march towards the Self-realization and so before he reached twenty he gradually discouraged it and after twenty we hear next to nothing about his performances of memory feats.