Jyaa divo tyaa daatan nahi, jyaa daatan tyaa divo nahiAcharya Swamishree Maharaj
Leaders in any type of organisation tend to spend the majority of their time in their headquarters, with people flocking to see them. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s compassion and selflessness, meant He, without any regard for His own well-being or discomfort, embarked on tours (vicharan) around the world, travelling nearly 2.3 million kilometres to fulfil the wishes of His disciples. This is the equivalent of going around the world 50 times. Since 1979, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj has travelled over 1,000,000 kilometres by air, 900,000 kilometres by road, and 375,000 kilometres by rail to visit the homes and workplaces of over 21,500 people around the world and tend to all their spiritual wishes and desires – no matter how big or small.
While Acharya Swamishree Maharaj embarked on these tours to preach and promote the sublime philosophy of Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, He also sought to raise awareness of the fundamentals of humanity and morality – benevolence, tolerance, and living in harmony with Mother Earth and with each other.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj made immense personal sacrifices, despite His age and sometimes poor health, in order to traverse the world in the manner He did so that He could fulfil disciples’ wishes, shower them with divine love, guide them onto the path towards absolute salvation, and personally establish new Mandirs, Mandals, and centres of spiritual, cultural, and social progression for the benefit of all throughout the world.
When describing the enormous sacrifices made by our Guruparampara during their travels, their endeavours are often describes by, “Jyaa divo tyaa daatan nahi, jyaa daatan tyaa divo nahi” – meaning, if They have started the day in one place, They will spend the night in another; and if They spent the evening in one location, by morning, they will have reached elsewhere. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj would often use this saying to describe the selfless travels of Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, as He established the foundations for the Karan Satsang to flourish in Gujarat, Kutch, Panchmahal, and all throughout India and the world.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj dutifully followed in the footsteps of Gurudev Jeevanpran Swamibapa, and these same words – “Jyaa divo tyaa daatan nahi, jyaa daatan tyaa divo nahi” – can be used to describe the travels of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. These words very accurately illustrate Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s travels in North America in particular. In the 41 years of Acharya Swamishree being at the helm of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, nine Mandirs and twelve Mandals have been established here, the roots of each are in small gatherings in the homes and cellars of disciples inspired by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Even through His last vicharan of North America in 2019, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj would traverse coast to coast in a matter of weeks, state to state over the course of days, and hundreds of miles by road in a matter of hours to visit His eagerly awaiting disciples.
Some days, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj would perform dozens of visits (padhramanis) to homes and businesses all throughout the day and into the early hours of the next morning so that no disciple’s wishes were left unfulfilled. While most individuals cannot tolerate more than several hours sitting in a car and are unable to sleep peacefully anywhere else but in their own home, during His vicharans of North America, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj took rest at the home of a different disciple nearly every night often in a different state than the previous night, but always showing no sign of displeasure, unease or fatigue – all purely for the benefit of His beloved disciples.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s smile, His attentiveness, and spiritual guidance offer solace where, so often, there seems to be none. He has rushed to the needs of thousands of individuals. He has helped transform impoverished regions that had for so long been overlooked by society, by helping communities and people to help themselves, and by inspiring them to lead virtuous lives with the highest moral standards.
One of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s most superlative qualities was His equal regard for all – a truly Godly trait. Whether they were disciples or not, living virtuous lives or less, be they of any background, race or religion, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj carved out the time to treat each and every person that came to Him, as a child of God, and nurtured them will all of God’s compassion.
Following in the footsteps of Gurudev Jeevanpran Swamibapa, the people of the poverty-stricken region of Panchmahal, Gujarat, India have always been very dear to Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. The people here have suffered much hardship, extreme poverty, living in forests with no basic homes or amenities, fallen prey to superstitions, black magic and addictions. Since Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s arrival to the region in 1957, the lives of countless have been completely transformed.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj continued to visit the region frequently, to continually instil spirituality into the lives of the people there, provide support, compassion and sustenance to enable people to lead better lives. Many of the disciples of Panchmahal live in small shacks, in very narrow streets which can’t be reached by car and are exposed to extreme weather conditions. Despite the difficulties in accessing such locations and His own health concerns, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj saw only the plight and suffering of His disciples, attending padhramani’s from house to house, hour after hour, most often on foot, often in the searing heat to uplift the people of Panchmahal.