Verabhai's Valour

Verabhai was formerly a looter. A great one at that! When he decided to raid someone’s property, he never returned empty-handed. Such was his expertise, in this notorious field. 

In the fullness of time, Verabhai became a satsangi and regularly visited Shreeji Maharaj for darshan. 

One day travelling to Gadhada for darshan of Shreeji Maharaj, Verabhai was walking past a pile of daatan (sticks used for brushing the teeth). He picked one and walked off with it, without a second thought. A few paces further he thought to himself, “I have just taken this stick without the owner’s permission. That is theft!” Verabhai retreated and called upon the owner of the pile of daatan. Without saying a word, Verabhai lay prostrate, face down in front of the landlord, and touched his feet. 

“What are you doing, Bhagat?” questioned the landlord. “ I have stolen from you and beg your forgiveness!” exclaimed Verabhai. “ I took one of your daatan sticks without your permission. Shreeji Maharaj has taught me, that it is called stealing. As a devotee of Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s I can no longer do such things. I have taken a vow against it. I beg your forgiveness.” 

Having been forgiven by the landlord, Verabhai continued his journey to Gadhada. Arriving there, Verabhai stayed there for a while. On leaving Gadhada, Verabhai said to Shreeji Maharaj, “Maharaj, if you please, all my bonds would be broken. Then I could stay longer and serve you.” 

Listening to Verabhai’s words, by Shreeji Maharaj’s grace, within a year Verabhai was free from all worldly responsibilities. 22 of his relatives passed away due to one reason or another. So Verabhai came to Shreeji Maharaj and became a saint. However, he could not shun the warrior instincts within him. When a battle broke in Khokhara-Mehmadabad, Verabhai took a sword and cushion for a shield and joined in the fight. He was not able to slay anyone. To the contrary, he had his ear cut off by another soldier! So Shreeji Maharaj instructed him to remove the saffron robes and adorn the white clothes. Maharaj kept Verabhai in his personal service. 

One late night, Verabhai was meditating upon Shreeji Maharaj’s murti. From his body, he could see spirits leaving. Verabhai asked, “Who are you?” Each of the spirits would identify themselves. “I am your lust”, “I am your anger”, “I am your greed”, I am your jealousy” and so on. “You are too strong for us. We can no longer stay inside your body. So we are all leaving you now”, they all answered. 

The next morning, Verabhai described the previous night’s experience. Shreeji Maharaj clarified, “These inappropriate qualities will no longer enter your heart and mind. You are free of them from today.” 

Verabhai enjoyed many years of spiritual bliss serving Shreeji Maharaj and dedicating his life to that eternal cause.