HIS CHILDHOOD: MANIFESTATION AND DEMONSTRATION OF HIS EXCEPTIONAL INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL ACQUISITIONS (POWERS)
The knowledge of past lives proves the height of spirituality he had already reached in his previous lives. He was apparently young in his present life but form the point of view of his achievements of previous lives, he cannot but be regarded as a highly advanced Soul.
From his early childhood modesty, perfection in speech and conversation, exceptional reasoning power and a sharp spirit of non-attachment or disinterestedness and such other qualities made him a pet student of his school as well as of his village. He possessed a sharp and unfailing memory, unusually powerful retentiveness and faculty of recollection. He grasped all that he read or heard only once.
He entered the school at his age of seven and a half years. In about a month after his joining the school he completely mastered the preliminaries in calculation and within two years he finished the study of seven standards.
The monitor of his class, who had initiated him in the study of the first standard book, had to take his help in completing the book. On account of his exceptional performance in study he became the favorite of his teachers and normally he conducted the classes while his teachers used to witness with admiration the work of this gifted Soul. All his colleagues loved him.
Once his teacher scolded him and the next day he did not go to the school. Thereupon all other boys of the class followed him to a field where they ate berries. His teacher was surprised at the absence of all his students, inquired about it and went to the field where Shrimadji was sitting with his friends. Upon knowing the reason of absence of the students in his class, the teacher assured Shrimadji that he would never scold him again and brought them back to the class.
He started composing poems at the age of eight and he supposed to have written five thousand stanzas in the first year. In his ninth year he composed Ramayana and Mahabharata in verse and at ten he was mature in his thinking and reasoning. At this age he had unique curiosity to know new things, a passion to hear new facts, to think new thoughts and to perform fine orations.
While he was eleven he started contributing articles to the newspapers and he won many prizes for writing competitive essays. One of his essays was on the need for women-education. At the age of twelve he composed three hundred stanzas on `a watch'. At thirteen he went to Rajkot to study English but about his English education very little is known.
Before his age of fifteen he studied and mastered many subjects. He became famous as a young poet of astounding memory and with brilliant prospects.
Once Shrimadji, at the age of ten, accompanied Shri Dharshibhai, a judge of Morbi state, from Morbi to Rajkot. During the journey Dharshibhai was much impressed by the unusual talents of Raichand, a boy of ten, and by way of admiration Dharshibhai suggested that Raichand should stay with him in Rajkot. But Shrimadji preferred staying at his maternal uncles' house but he promised to meet Dharshibhai often during his stay in Rajkot.
His maternal uncles came to know from him about the arrival of Dharshibhai in Rajkot; and while Shrimadji was taking lunch there they were loudly planning to kill Dharshibhai. Shrimadji heard this and lost no time to warn Dharshibhai about the criminal intentions of his maternal uncles. This is how this boy of ten, returned the obligation to Dharshibhai.
Shrimadji by his mystic powers of clairvoyance and telepathy, mind reading, etc. learnt that two persons from Kutch were on their way to Rajkot to meet him. So he requested Dharshibhai to allow these two guests to stay with him and Dharshibhai readily agreed to do so.
Thereupon Shrimadji went to receive the two guests and welcomed them by their names. When the guests asked him as to how he knew their names and about their coming to meet him, he replied that all this was possible by the infinite powers of the soul.
These two guests, named Hemrajbhai and Malsibhai, having heard of the exceptional talents of Raichandbhai, had come to persuade the latter to go to Kashi for higher education but when they came to know of the wonderful spiritual powers possessed by Raichandbhai, they dropped their idea. Dharshibhai was much impressed by this incident and gradually he began to respect Shrimadji.
For his return journey to Vavania he had no money, so he sold the sweets he was given by his maternal uncles and with the proceeds thereof he returned to Vavania. This shows his firm determination not to beg of anyone for his personal benefit.
In his book Stri Niti Bodhaka Part 1 on `The nature of ideal moral life for women', he has advocated the cause of women's education as essential to national freedom. He advised his brethren to spread education in women, to remove internal quarrels and crippling social customs and thereby expedite the recovery of national independence.
This book was the first of his writings before he was sixteen and it was published in Vikram Samvat 1940 or 1884 A.D.
In this book of 50 pages he has analyzed the causes of backwardness in women, such as child-marriage, forced marriage of the unequals in health, age and intelligence and lastly, endless superstitions and ignorance. The matter of the book is divided into four sections:
The first section deals with prayer to God, devotion, transitoriness of the living body, advice given by a mother to her daughter, avoidance of waste of time, diligence in work and the excellent results obtained by diligence.
The second section deals with learning, advantages of education, select reading of good books and acceptance of good and useful lessons.
The third section deals with self-improvement, adoption of virtues, spread of moral and healthy atmosphere, nature of truth and avoidance of profligacy and debauchery.
The fourth and the last section deals with the description of the wise and virtuous people and it includes a composition of hundred verses on words of wisdom for all.
Shrimadji, from his childhood had a fine command of language and diction, so his style is simple, natural and elegant. In his writings, words follow the sense.
In the Sad-bodh-shatak he has discussed subjects like unity, morality, patience, courage, truthfulness, innocence, devotion, patriotism, social reforms, diligence, avoidance of bad company, learning, avoidance of pride, devotion to own husband, avoidance of skepticism or nihilism, sympathy, love of religion, writing good books, thriftiness, reduction of the household expenditure, forgiveness, merit, humility, modesty, keeping good and virtuous company, avoidance of the company of foolish women, avoidance of betting etc., thinking of death, search for the path of knowledge, doing charity to the deserving persons, love for doing good to others, increased reading etc.
Anticipating the question why should Shrimadji have written on ethical topics, he writes: "Persons desirous of Self-realization, living in worldly life, should try to find the root of all ethical life in their soul and they should be just and honest in earning their living and collection of wealth. This is good moral life for them and it should be observed by them at all cost.
In its strict observance, renunciation and non-attachment and such other qualities develop in them and by that they begin to appreciate the effectiveness of the teachings of the same by the Gurus and of the obedience to the same. They rightly interpret their teachings and they easily follow the path to Self-realization."
Shrimadji wrote a rosary of 108 golden advice for the benefit of the seekers of Self-realization in Vikram Samvat 1940 or 1884 A.D.
There he advises the people to think of the Self, not to repent for the life already led but to make the best of the life yet to come. A man should repent for his immoral acts and should determine to be thoroughly moral in his future dealings.
A person should allot his time of the day in the following manner: 3 hours to devotion, 3 hours to doing religious rites, 3 hours to food and bodily nourishment, 3 hours to education and learning, 6 hours to sleep and 6 hours to take care of his family and social life, if he is a householder. One who has renounced the world should be absorbed in thoughts of Self-realization and should control his mind from passions and prejudices.
The only path to Self-realization or soul's liberation consists in realizing the Self as completely different from the body and the worldly attachments. The soul is free and pure, enlightened and immortal.
Man should keep his eye on death and utilize every moment of life in realizing his goal of liberation. One may be a prince or a pauper, but all should know for certain that they are guests of death.
The adoption of the path of non-violence in thought, word and deed; the intense desire for Self-liberation and for acquisition of right knowledge and experience for the same; the searching out of an enlightened Guru and the undaunted obedience to his advice; Self-control in food, talk and other behavior; keeping clear of all sins; purity all around; observing honesty and justice in worldly life; curtailment of worldly activities in order to lead a really happy and Self-meditative life; keeping in mind the principles of health, purity, magnanimity and duty; keeping company of the good and wise as a powerful method of maintaining purity of mind and body - are some of the invaluable advice given by Shrimad Rajchandra to men, women, and children in all walks of life, the advice which all should think over before their daily round of duties.
Shri Vinaychand Popatlal Daftari, a friend of Shrimadji, declares in a booklet `Sakshat Saraswati' published in 1887 A.D., as follows:
"In accordance with the rules of epic poetry, Shrimadji composed `Namiraja' a work of five thousand verses wherein he has explained the nature of the four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. This book was composed by him in six days. His spotless divinity and a very high order of thoughts are evident throughout the book.
One religious head requested Shrimadji to prepare a book in verse, of the fundamental tenets of his religion and offered to pay Rupees One Thousand to him for such composition. But Shrimadji turned down the offer.
Shrimadji also edited a newspaper named Vairagya Vilas or the enjoyment of non-attachment."
To our grief nothing of the above is available.
In some of the advisory compositions prepared by him at the age of eighteen years he enunciates a doctrine and then illustrates it.
He says: "The gift of all scriptures can be summed up in two words - devotion to God and adoption of a life of benevolence in the world."
In 1885 A.D. his composition on `Shurvir Smarana' (in memory of the brave) he has given in verse a picturesque description of the brave warriors of the past, who victoriously fought the battles in India; and he compares those glorious moments with the present times when he does not find any one of that caliber to free India from foreign domination. The poem gives us sharp contrasts between the brave of the past and the cowards that inherit them in his days.
Had Shrimadji lived a long life, his aspirations of Indian freedom would have been amply rewarded. He would have been happy to see his friend Mohandas Gandhi, the harbinger of Indian freedom and of the betterment of the peoples of the world, liberating India from British yoke by the Jain method of truth and non-violence.
In all forms of literature Shrimadji has made his mark and had he turned all his energy to literature, he would have given us a vast literature which would have been a milestone in Gujarati literature.
But literature to him was a means of expression and not a method of liberation. He was interested in teaching the people the art of Self-liberation, the foundation and the climax of all arts.
Shrimadji used to say that telling truth about one's own Self is neither Self-praise nor Self-abuse; telling otherwise than truth is a vice.
"One who possesses wider intelligence and outlook, equaminity of mind, straightforwardness and complete sense-control is a properly qualified person for truth-realization. From ages immemorial attachment, avarice and infatuation have clouded the soul's strength and so it has not been able to think of itself. Human birth and that too in Arya Desha or India, and in a noble family and a sound healthy body are the proper means for the soul to think of itself and of its liberation.
If all this is there, then one has only to grow a strong desire in his mind to liberate oneself. If these qualifications are fulfilled one would automatically follow the path of the wise and liberated souls. No doubt will distract him.
as compared with other systems of philosophy and religion, Jain religion is preached by the most pure and holy, by those who have been completely free from all attachments, avarice and infatuations, hence, it is unqualifiedly a path of personal purification and Self-realization by Self-improvement. Therefore, all what the liberated have said and advised is thoroughly believable and should be easily acceptable.
The eternal path preached by the liberated souls is mixed with many undesirable offshoots and developments in course of time. One should distinguish between the path of the liberated and the path of the initiate and erring."
Shrimadji has been very strong in his criticism of these various creeds that have developed in the name of the religion of the liberated Jinas. He has shown in his Atmasiddhi Shastra that the founders of the various creeds have measured their own level and substituted their imperfect beliefs for the true religion.
The wrangling of the Jain religious heads in support of their self-chosen paths of liberation and ethical discipline flows from ignorance and leads to the sharpening of prejudices. Sometimes the highly advanced religious souls are misguided by the rise of infatuating (Mohaniya) Karmas in them and in such circumstances they offer sham religion for the real one, to their followers.
It also happens that finding the difficulty of attaining to the path of the liberated souls, one decides for himself and his followers that the path is not worth following and that what he has achieved for himself is the last limit of achievement for all. Besides, one may not have enough intelligence and discrimination to grasp the reasonableness of the path of the liberated Jinas.
Unfavorable times, selection of wrong persons as the religious teachers, general ignorance of the Shastras and the reluctance to study them for oneself are also some of the causes why various religious castes and sub-creeds develop in the body of the old established religions.
Shrimadji says that the present times are such that the educated are bankrupt in the fund of faith needed for religious discipline. Very few have faith in religion. Those who have faith do not study the religion for themselves nor do they seek proper Guru who can explain them the truths of religion. In case a few try to understand religion there are many who will obstruct their path rather than help them. This is the plight of the educated people of the time and they keep away from religion.
The uneducated in the present times, on the other hand, are so inert and orthodox that they fear to go a step beyond the beliefs of their forefathers and they go the easy way of following blindly the religion of their ancestors. Hence, they believe that the religious teachers, accepted by the elders in age, know everything and that they should be followed wholeheartedly. Neither worshipped nor the uneducated worshiper cares to obtain knowledge and both are rocked in the cradle of a few accepted slogans and pet forms of prayer.
One can rarely find in the present religious folds of Jain religion, one who has intense desire for knowing and following the eternal path of the liberated Jinas.
Normally the Jain Sadhus are initiated by force of adverse circumstances or by an accidental rise of the spirit of intense non-attachment by distressing events.
One who really wants to follow the eternal path of the Jinas gets suffocated in the clumsy practices of the Jain creeds and he runs out of these clutches to a wider atmosphere and freedom wherein he can make real progress.
Shrimadji says that there are very few souls interested in spiritual religious research. Those, who would heartily desire to be free and would actively work for it, are still few. Even for such souls the proper guides by way of an enlightened Guru, proper religious contacts and the supply of adequate religious scriptures are difficult to obtain.
Every one who is given a hearing by them, blows his own trumpet and never inquires whether what he says is true, half-true or untrue. Besides, even these few souls starving for Self-liberation are compelled to waste their precious time in many worldly activities that they find it difficult to maintain the continuity of their spiritual progress.
Shrimadji admits that there are a few souls following the eternal religion propagated by Lord Mahavir but the rest of the Jain religious public present a sorry debacle.
"What pains me," he says, "is not that the Jains lose anything but that only a few are ready to take the advantage of the magnanimous achievements of the great realized souls to the credit of the Jain philosophy and religion. Any well thinking mind will appreciate the truth of what I say."
Two fundamental divisions of Jainism are on the importance of the idols of the great Tirthankaras in the practice of Jain religion.
One side believes that these idols of the Jinas and their worship are authorized by the Jain religious scriptures and they are direct means for Self-realization. The other side believes that the idols need not be worshipped at all.
Shrimadji holds to the first view and declares that the worship of the idols of the Jinas is necessary, desirable, and always helpful in the path of spiritual progress.
By an improper use of reasoning all the tenets of Jainism may be shown contradictory but that is not what a man of spiritual experience does. None will benefit by the way of logical wranglings. Truth which is tested by the touchstone of religious experience is the religious truth and no amount of denying it, can serve any useful purpose.
"I did once believe that idol worship is unmeaning, but now I am convinced of the need and authenticity of it by my own spiritual experience and so I endorse the religion which accepts the worship of the idols of the great Tirthankaras."
In these fearless statements, Shrimadji advises all seekers of truth to keep truth alone and part with prejudices wherever they are found.
Shrimadji says that the Jain religion would have been easy of approach and benefit to seekers of Self-liberation, had it not divided itself into two powerful sects on the ground of idol-worship.
A truly religious man does not pamper this or that opinion, he is ready to accept truth and sacrifice everything on the alter of truth and the experience of the Tirthankaras or the great liberated souls.
Shrimadji declares his complete faith in the sayings and experiences of Lord Mahavir. He says: "The author of Jain scriptures does not mean to say that all those who accept the Jain religion will obtain liberation. One has to work for what he believes. One, whose soul will practice religion, will gain by it. Worship of the idols of the Tirthankaras whose obligation on us is unreturnable is a great purificatory agent and an effective means to Self-liberation. It is meant for us to realize the objective for which worship of the idols is enjoined by the scriptures."
In a letter to his friend in his twentieth year he writes: "Having no intrinsic love of money and yet to use it for the benefit of the distressed and the needy, I tried to earn some money for the future. On other side, wealth, even if acquired for benevolent works, may breed in the person possessing it, blindness, deafness and dumbness. Hence, I do not care for wealth at all."
Shrimadji married Zabakben, daughter of Popatlalbhai, the elder brother of Jagjivandas Mehta on the 12th day of the bright half of the month of Maha in Vikram Samvat 1944. He was twenty at that time.
One year after his marriage, he writes to a friend, under the caption `My thoughts on woman', that unqualified and unrestricted happiness lies in pure knowledge of the Self and never in the worldly enjoyments of married life. Bodily happiness is only a shadow of the real happiness. Besides enjoyments of the body are only short-lived and the sources of consequent misery, disease and death. It is painfully surprising to find the human mind enjoying in worldly and physical pleasures. One should pray for the complete freedom from all desires concerning the bodily and sense-pleasures.
Regarding one's wife, Shrimadji writes: "My desire is for liberation but forced by the fruits of my previous actions, I lead a married life. But here too I normally maintain equanimity, neither attachment nor non-attachment. I feel pained to find sometimes my behavior contrary to my intense desire for liberation."
To a friend, he writes in Vikram Samvat 1946 or 1890 A.D.: "I have married earlier than you by a little over two years. Within these two years I have come to know my wife's mind and I can say that none of us is dissatisfied with the other. Nor can I say that it is absolutely satisfactory. Our relations are common and normal. and this is more due to my indifference. While thinking of high metaphysical thoughts I get strong suggestions for renouncing the householder's order. I had similar thoughts even before my marriage but I had to pacify them as I found that following them would make the very continuance of my life impossible."
In Mokshamala, in lesson No. 12 `Best Householder', lesson No. 45 `Common aspiration', lesson No. 55 `Rules of daily observance by the Householder' and in six lessons Nos. 61 to 66 under the title `Thoughts on Happiness' he gives his views on the ideal householder's life.
He writes: "Though I am happy as householder as compared with others, but the worldly happiness is to be suffered and not to be enjoyed. It is not true happiness. Normally people in the world are unhappy and so the people who are happy in worldly life are called fortunate and favored souls. I have decided to utilize my life in the practice of religion. I normally read and think of the revealed scriptures, keep contacts with the enlightened souls, observe prohibitions and injunctions, observe celibacy for twelve days in a month, give in charity without declaring my name.
I have renounced much of my burden of worldly life. I want to be a forest recluse after entrusting the care of my family to my sons no sooner they come of age. At present I have deliberately chosen to remain as a householder in order that I can guide the householders in the path of religious practice better than the Sanyasis or Yatis can do. The householder's order requires much improvement and I want to expedite it. A householder can easily advise another householder and guide his behavior by his example and practice."
Shrimadji declares that as a principle complete renunciation from the householder's order is necessary for lasting happiness.
Shrimad Rajchandra was also an accomplished businessman in jewelry and pearls. of all the jewelry merchants he was known as one of the most reliable and honest.
Once a younger brother of a pearls merchant sold his pearls to Shrimadji at a certain price. When his elder brother came to know this he scolded the younger brother for selling the pearls at a much lower price then expected. Thereon the younger brother returned to Shrimadji and narrated to him what his brother thought about the transaction. Shrimadji immediately returned the pearls and canceled the deal as it was a mistake by the younger brother. This shows his honesty and sympathy.
Shri Maneklal Ghelabhai, while appreciating Shrimadji's business acumen, writes that even foreign customers used to praise the excellent business organization and exactness of Shrimadji.
Shrimadji wrote in his diary certain rules of discipline, which he decided to observe after he joined a partnership business in Bombay in Vikram Samvat 1946 or 1890 A.D. These rules are in brief as under:
- Do not see anybody's fault. Believe that whatever difficulties come your way, are due to your own shortcomings.
- Never indulge in self-praise as in self-praise one only lowers himself.
- Behave in such a way as it may win affection of others. It may not be so easy to start with but gradually by strong self-determination and resolute effort, you will be able to mold your behavior.
- Declare your line of thought and action to one with whom you wish to join in business or in any worldly matter.
Also win his confidence by your word and deed and assure him that you shall never think or do anything to harm his interests. Should any of your thought or deed prove harmful to your partner or colleague, repent for it and tell him that it will never recur.
Tell him that you shall do the work entrusted to you with care and diligence but without pride or egotism.
Tell your partner that on no account you are prepared to sacrifice your discipline for Self-realization, that he should not use you as a means to secure his unethical motives, that when assured of a possible conflict on the above conditions, you will clear out of the joint partnership with no harm to your partner.
In case your partner doubts your bonafides, request him to declare them freely and explain to him that there is no ground for such doubt. Should he not accept your explanation, respectfully terminate partnership.
Gandhiji regarded Shrimadji as his friend, philosopher and guide. He acknowledges the debt he owes to Shrimadji in his recollections of his friendship with Shrimadji. From 1891 to 1901 A.D. for a period of ten years they were best friends.
Gandhiji says that most of his lessons for self-improvement and on truth and non-violence, he has learnt from Shri Raichandbhai. Raichandbhai is one of the three personalities that have much impressed his mind, the other two being the writings of Tolstoy and Ruskin's `Unto this last'.
To love the murderer is one of the maxims of non-violence and Gandhiji had well learnt it from Shrimadji, who was full of sympathy, forgiveness and piety for all living beings.
Gandhiji says: "I have drunk to my heart's content the nectar of religion that was offered to me by Shri Raichandbhai. Raichandbhai hated the spread of irreligion in the name of religion and he condemned lies, hypocrisy and such other vices which were getting a free hand in his time. He considered the whole world as his relative and his sympathy extended to all living beings of all ages.
Shrimadji was an embodiment of non-attachment and renunciation. He has written only that which he has experienced. He has never allowed his poetic imagination to get ahead of truth and experience. There is therefore no artificiality in his writings. They come from the heart and appeal to the very heart of the reader. He used to keep diary and a pen with him in all his daily routine and he immediately wrote down important thoughts that occurred to him. I never remember any occasion when Shri Raichandbhai got lost or infatuated in any worldly matter."
"His living was simple. He was satisfied with whatever food was offered to him. He put on simple but clean clothes. He used to wear Dhoti, Peharan, Khesa and a turban. He used to sit on a Gadi on the floor in his shop or at home.
He was slow in his walk and he used to think while walking. There was a spark in his eyes, they were full of luster and steadiness. They declared the single-mindedness of his purpose. His face was round, his lips thin, nose not pointed nor flat, body single, height average, color darkish white and general appearance that of an idol in peace.
His tone was so sweet that one would love to hear him more and more. His face was smiling and in full bloom and joy. It clearly declared the internal joy and peace.
His language was so effective and measured that he was never found to be searching for words. Language was his maidservant. He was described by some as an incarnation of the Goddess of Learning, Saraswati. He never changed a word while writing a letter. He expressed his thoughts and meditations in fine and appropriate language.
This description befits only a self-controlled person. By renunciation the external forms one cannot be self-controlled. The real self-control is not an imposition, it is an inspiration and an internal illumination.
Complete non-attachment and renunciation is the gift of the soul. It should be spontaneous and from within and not sporadic or externally imposed. Very rare souls by virtue of their high spiritual attainments in their previous births possess these qualities in them. Only those , who actively try to keep away from all attachments from them, know how difficult it is to attain. Such a difficult achievement was easily found in Shri Raichandbhai. The first step to Self-realization is a cultivation of a spirit of complete non-attachment and it was natural in Raichandbhai.
People normally believe that truth-telling and successful business never go together. Shri Raichandbhai on the other hand firmly believed and advised that truth and honesty were not only useful but also essential to all good business. Morality is not packed within a prayer book, it is to be practiced and lived in all stations of life. Religion and morality sustain both good life and good business. Though Raichandbhai never played tricks with others, he used to find them out quite easily when they were played by others. and he used to snub the persons using the tricks and force them to leave them.
While we are worldly souls, Shrimadji was quite other worldly or liberated from the worldly life. While we may have to take many further births, for Raichandbhai his present life may be the last. While we perhaps are running away from liberation, Raichandbhai was heading towards liberation with a tremendous speed. This speaks volume of Raichandbhai's self-effort.
Whoever will read his teachings and follow them may speed up his march to Self-liberation. From this is evident that Raichandbhai has written for the advanced and the initiate in religion and not for all and sundry.
While many Christian Missionary friends considered their religious duty to convert me to Christianity on the ground of its wonderful vows of charity, chastity, faith and hope, I made up my mind that I should first find out whether the religion of my birth namely Hinduism, gave me the message that I needed.
and I asked a few fundamental questions on Hinduism to Shri Raichandbhai by post and his replies were so logical, so appealing and convincing that I regained my faith in Hinduism and I was saved from conversion of religion. From that moment onwards, my respect and admiration for Raichandbhai increased with leaps and bounds and I considered him to be my religious guide till he lived."
"Religion does not mean religious differences and set beliefs. Religion does not mean cramming or reading of all religious texts or believing all what is said in them as gospel truth.
Religion is the spiritual quality of the soul. It is embedded in human nature in visible or invisible form. By religion we are able to know the duty of man, by it we are able to know our relations (or kinship) with other living beings. But all this requires the capacity to know one's self. If we do not know ourselves we cannot know others rightly. By religion one can know himself. Such a religion can be selected from wherever it is found. All students of comparative religion will testify to what is said about religion here. No religious scripture advises people to tell a lie or to practice falsehood. Nor does any religion advise violence.
Shankaracharya expressed the quintessence of all scriptures in the formula "Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya" that Brahma is the only reality, all else called the world and its differences are unreal or mixtures of truth and falsehood.
Koran Sharif declared that God is only one and He is the only real, and there is nothing else.
In Bible, Christ said: "I and my father are one. All the rest are only manifestations of the one God."
In the expression of the same perennial truth that Reality is only one without a second, many religious and philosophical brains have offered their perspectives and unfortunately their verbal differences have been the cause of much doubt, disbelief and despair for the laymen.
Those who are in earnest about their salvation should leave these differences and follow advice of the experienced Guru rather than be lost in the interpretations of the various religious texts.
We, as stepped in the world by consciousness, are already imperfect and we are trying to take the help of the imperfect scriptures thinking that they are less imperfect than ourselves. We are led by them to a certain limit but beyond it they leave us in the lurch and there we are to rely on spiritual experience alone and none else.
Our spiritual experience becomes our guide, illuminates our future path, assures our march and pushes us to the goal."
Shrimadji says in one of his poems i.e. Apurva Avasara, "The stage of experience which the All-seeing Mahavir saw in spiritual knowledge, He could not himself describe in full. I meditated on that very stage of spiritual experience but I found that I was also incompetent to describe it. I have a desire to describe it in full but for the present it has remained only as my cherished desire."
It is clear from the above that Atma or Self alone is to liberate itself. This truth is repeatedly declared by Shrimadji in many of his writings.
He had studied many religious books. He followed Sanskrit and Magadhi languages very well. He studied Vedanta, Bhagavata and Gita. He read the Jain scriptures as many as he could obtain. He had a fine style of reading and a method of quick grasping. He read Koran and Zand Avesta in translations.
But he used to tell me that he had a soft corner for Jain philosophy and religion, for he strongly believed that soul-saving knowledge had reached its highest possible watermark in Jain philosophy and religion.
Nonetheless, Shri Raichandbhai was never disrespectful to any other religion. He had also a partiality for Vedanta. To a Vedanti he might appear a thorough going Vedanti.
In his talks with me he never said that I should follow a particular religion for my salvation. He always advised me to purify my thoughts and behavior.
Looking to my habit and training of my childhood he encouraged me in my reading of the Bhagavata Gita, and he advised me to read among other books Panchikaran, Mani-ratna-mala, non-attachment chapter of Yoga Vashistha, first part of Kavya Dohana and his own composition of Mokshamala.
He repeatedly told me that the various religions are prisons in which men are prisoners. Whoever wants liberation should jump out of them and should not bear any religious mark on his body.
His simple advice is `live easily and in such a way that you can attain the Lord.' Akha Bhagat gave the same advice. Shri Raichandbhai never bothered with religious differences. They used to choke him."
- Once he had gone out with a friend for a walk in Bombay and on his way he came near a cemetery. He asked his friend as to what was the place they came by. His friend replied: "Cemetery". Shrimadji said that he viewed the whole Bombay city as a cemetery.
- Once Shrimadji's neighbor knowing his superhuman powers told him that he must be knowing the market rates of all commodities and such knowledge could be used to his financial benefit in his dealings in shares. To this Shrimadji replied that he was not a fool to use his spiritual powers for such petty selfish benefits.
- Once Padamshibhai, a resident of Kutch, sought from him the remedy for removing his fear of death. Shrimadji advised that till life is fully led according to fixed destiny there is no death. Why then should we not live well until death visits us ? By the fear of death one cannot be free from death. Be fearless, lead a chaste life and embrace death when it comes.
- His servant Lallu, a resident of Morbi, who had stayed with his family for a number of years caught a deadly disease in Bombay. He used daily to nurse him personally till Lallu breathed his last.
- Once Shrimadji went to see Tokarshibhai, who had Pneumonia and whose sickness was growing fatal. In his presence Tokarshibhai became quiet and experienced peace and joy. After some time Shrimadji receded from him and said to other relatives of Tokarshibhai that the latter was gradually sinking. When he was asked as to how did he know it and as to what did he do by which Tokarshibhai got a relief from his pain and enjoyed peace, Shrimadji replied that he could see Tokarshibhai's death and he therefore tried to change his mind and last desires so as to improve his spiritual prospects for the future birth.
- Once Shrimadji asked his three years old daughter her name, to which she replied that her name was Kashi. Shrimadji lovingly said: "No you are the Self." But Kashiben refused to agree to it. Shrimadji laughed at the child's ignorance.
On Kartik Sud 14th, Samvat 1947, Shrimadji writes in a letter as follows: "That my soul has attained complete knowledge of its nature is an indubitable fact, that my knots of the heart and head have been removed, is a truth of all times and all Self-realized souls will easily recognize and endorse my experience."
At other place he writes: "O you Self-knowledge, the source of all heights of joy and bliss, to you I bow down with all devotion and humility. Innumerable souls without you suffer from ignorance. It is solely by your grace that I could know you and I could reach the goal of my soul's pilgrimage. as a result, I enjoyed unprecedented peace. I felt freedom from all worries and burdens, mental and physical."
"In Vikram Samvat 1947 I could realize the full stature of my spiritual being, and from then onwards I am enjoying increasing peace and bliss."
"In a wink the knowledge which drew me to the worldly life, changed its course and has led me to my proper goal i.e. Self-realization."
In a couplet he says: "One gets a spiritual insight by his spiritual eye and without it he cannot obtain soul-saving knowledge at all. This is not a matter of physical perception and it is foolish to try that way. Only by unqualified, concentrated devotion to a spiritual Guru or guide, one can obtain the soul-saving knowledge. Only a Guru can give this spiritual eye to see the spiritual reality."
In Vikram Samvat 1948, in the month of Magh, Shrimadji writes: "The system which contains a clear description of the right positions of bondage and freedom is the only guide to Self-liberation and such a system is that of the great Mahavir - the Jain system. If in my humble opinion, there is any living man available, in whom the heart of the great Tirthankara is residing, he is no other than the author of these lines. The result of the soul-saving knowledge is the experience of complete renunciation from all worldly considerations and this is what I experience in my own being. Hence, I consider myself to be the perfect disciple of the great Tirthankara. One who gains the soul's knowledge in accordance with the enlightened Guru's opinion, has obtained correct insight and experience, and none else. When the goal and the path are clearly seen there is no difficulty for a sincere disciple to follow the path and reach the goal."
In his talks with Muni Mohanlalji, Shrimadji said: "I do not forget the Self even for a second."
Once Shrimadji said to Shri Devkaranji Muni, an associate of Shri Lalluji Maharaj, that he lived in his body as a separate pulp would be felt in a dried coconut shell."
At Kheda one day Shrimadji in a soliloquy says: "In Samvat 1948, you the great soul of infinite peace and calmness visited Ralaj, in these days you visited Vaso and there you were a great Yogi absorbed in deep meditation and now you are the same Yogindra enjoying bliss and peace here at Kheda." This is Shrimadji's description of himself as a disembodied soul.
In a letter Shrimadji writes: "I think in my mind that I have all qualifications to re-establish and propagate the Vedic religion, but in order to settle and propagate the Jain religion I do require some more qualifications than I actually possess, though of all the available person I am better qualified for the purpose."
- He has written 51 sayings about the religion of a Sanyasi and a Muni (Samyati Dharma) as described in "Dasha Vaikalika Siddhanta". This is a fine exact Gujarati rendering of the original Magadhi text prepared in Vikram Samvat 1945.
- In Vikram Samvat 1953 he wrote on "The doctrine of liberation" or Moksha Siddhanta.
- He had started the Gujarati translation of "Swarodaya" by Shri Chidanandji. His writings are marked by his simple attractive style.
- He had also started writing a commentary on the 24 prayers for 24 Tirthankaras written by Shri Anandghanji. His reflections on the first two of these 24 prayers are worthy of deep study and emulation for any one who wants to complete the commentary. He has brought out in his reflections all the spiritual associations of Shri Anandghanji, in a lucid and inimitable style.
- On one of the couplets of the sixth out of the eight perspectives composed by Shri Yashovijayji, Shrimadji has commented so beautifully well in his three letters Nos. 393, 394 and 395 printed in "Shrimad Rajchandra".
- He prepared a Gujarati equivalent translation of the first one hundred verses of "Atmanushasan".
- Besides, he wrote on the Anitya and asharan Bhavana and a little on Sansara Bhavana out of the twelve Bhavanas or spiritual sentiments from Shri Ratna-karand Shravaka-achar.
- Shrimadji is the only author who has prepared a complete translation of the Panchastikaya, a work of the celebrated Shri Kundkundacharya. In appreciation of this great work, the Panchastikaya, Shrimadji writes to Shri Dharshibhai: "It is rare and subtle to obtain the contact with the spiritual Self. The aim of the discourse is to obtain this difficult objective. The study of this work will develop in a person pure meditation which will lead to absolute knowledge of the absolute reality, the Self, the Atma. The contact with this Self results from the reduction and destruction of perceptual delusions, from the indifference to the sense-pleasures, from a single minded devotion to the Self-realized Guru. as, by these means, the Self-control gets ascendant, the Self begins to manifest its nature in its entirety. A right insight develops and in result, the Self-knowledge."
- He had prepared an index on the Pragnavabodh in Vikram Samvat 1956 which was lately written by the late Shri Brahmachariji of Shrimad Rajchandra ashram, Agas.