On Samvat 1848 Kartik Sud 10 Ghanshyam Maharaj lost his mother to the heaven abode of Akshardham. Six months later Ghanshyam Maharaj also lost his father to the heaven abode of Akshardham. Before Dharma Dev left this earth he called both his sons Rampratapji and Iccharamji to his bedside and told them to take great amount of care of their brother Ghanshyam. Dharma Dev remembered what Markandeya Rushi said to him during Ghanshyam Maharaj’s birth ceremony, “This child of yours has the attributes of Shiva in Tyaga, Gyan, Tapasiya, Dharma and Yoga.” Dharma Dev told both his sons that Ghanshyam Maharaj is not interested in becoming a householder he wants to become a tyagi. Please take great care of Ghanshyam Maharaj so that he has no interest in becoming a tyagi. A few days after saying these words of wisdom to his sons Dhrama Dev passed away. 

On Samvat 1849 Asohda 10 on a Friday just 21 days after his father death Ghanshyam Maharaj had decided to leave his house. Ghanshyam Maharaj was only 11 years 3 months and one day old when he left his home. With him he took a small outer garment with a loincloth under it. His body was covered by a piece of deerskin, he had a stick in his divine hands, he had also put on a scared white thread (Janoyi) around his body and had a double stringed rosary Tulsi beaded necklace around his neck. On his forehead he had applied two vertical lines called tilak and in the middle placed a red round mark called a chandlo. Chandlo was made out of sacred powder called kum kum and the tilak was made out of gopichand. Around his waist he had tied a rope of munj (sacred grass), he had rosary, a gourd, a alms bowl and a filtering cloth in his divine hands. He also carried a Shaligram (symbolic form of Vishnu) and the idol of Balmukund around his neck. He also carried a gutko (small notebook) in which Ghanshyam Maharaj had made notes from the eight shastras. 

Carrying all these items with him Ghanshyam Maharaj made his way to the river Saryu. Ghanshyam Maharaj crossed the river Saryu and made his way to the Himalayas . In the Himalayas he crossed through a dense forest and came to a place called Muktanatha. Here Bhagwan stood on one foot with both hands in the air and done tapasiya. Bhagwan meditated on Suryanarayan, whilst meditating on Suryanarayan Bhagwan was chanting the Gayatri mantra. Bhagwan performed the tapasiya for four months. After the four months where over Suryanarayan Dev gave darshan to Bhagwan and asked how he could be in service. Bhagwan asked for a boon, the boon he asked for was that none of his inner enemies (anger, jealousy etc) would ever affect him. Suryanarayan smiled at what Bhagwan asked for and said your wish is my command. Suryanarayan bowed down to Bhagwan and left. 

At the age of five months Ghanshyam had learnt to sit on the floor in padmassan. By the time he was six months he began to eat solid foods and at the age of seven months Ghanashyam had his ears pierced. Whilst piercing his ear the piercing expert noticed a bright light radiating from Ghanashyam’s ear as he attempted to insert the needle. 

At the age of three Ghanshyam had his first haircut. On that very day Kalidutt the demon chief himself had come to kill Ghanashyam but the young child recoiled his attempts with his power, from which Kalidutt died by colliding with the trunk of a tree trunk. This incident then troubled Dharmadev- tired of the sinful deeds. He then decided to leave the village and take residence in the town of Ayodhaya 

At the age of Five Ghanshyam was taught how to write the alphbet and then began to put simple words together. Dharamadev and Bhaktimata were then blessed with their third child Ichcharam. Ghanshyam Maharaj was now known as Neelkanth Varni, Varni meaning a bhramchari. 

After Neelkanth Varni’s tapasiya Bhagwan paid his respects to the Himalayas and crossed another dense forest. Bhagwan roamed this forest for about a year. In the forest underneath a Banyan tree Bhagwan saw a Yogi doing a powerful trance of meditation. The Yogi’s name was Gopal Yogi. Neelkanth Varni approached Gopal Yogi paid his respect and learnt the eight disciplines of yoga (Astang yoga). Neelkanth Varni stayed with Gopla yogi for a bout a year and at the end inspired the Yogi to realise his divine form. With the realisation of Shri Hari, Gopal Yogi became fulfilled and left his own body to attain the heavenly abode of Akshardham. 

From the forest Neelkanth Varni went to Bengal and then came to a place called Mount Nav Lakh. Here in Nav Lakh (Nine hundred thousand) Yogi's were performing Yagnas. Each Yogi had a flame and a small pond next to him. Neelkanth Varni gave darshan to each of the nine hundred thousand Yogi's and made his way down the mountain to a place called Balva Kund. From there Neelkanth Varni went to the River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal known as Ganga Sagar. Neelkanth Varni then crossed the river to Kapilashram stayed there for a month then came to a place called Jagnnathpuri. A place of godly and historic reputation, here innocent devotees was awfully exploited by fraudulent elements. Here Neelkanth Varni stayed for two months and got rid of the distress the people were suffering. 

Bhagwan left Jagnnathpuri and crossed a dense forest and came to a place called Manas Pur. From Manas Pur Neelkanth Varni went to Shivkanchi and Vishnukanchi and came to a place called Shri Rangkshetra. From Rangkshetra Neelkanth Varni made his way to Rameshwar, here Bhagwan enjoyed the darshan of Rameshwar Mahadev and decided to stay for two months. From Rameshwar Neelkanth Varni went to Sundar Raj, where Bhagwan did darshan of Vishnu. Bhagwan left Sunder Raj and made his way through a dense forest. Neelkanth Varni spent five days walking through this forest without any food or water. On the sixth day Neelkanth Varni came across a well. Bhagwan drew water from the well and bathed himself sitting under a banyan tree. Neelkanth Varni took out his Shaligram to perform his daily Pooja. 

Bhagwan placed a vessel under the Shaligram and bathed the Shaligram. Strangely enough none of the water he poured on the Shaligram gathered in the vessel. Thinking the Shaligram must be very thirsty Neelkanth Varni poured four to five Kamandals over the Shaligram. To Bhagwans amazement the vessel was still dry. After a while Neelkanth Varni thought to himself that if the Shaligram was this thirsty think how hungry it must be, but Bhagwan had no food to offer the Shaligram. In front appeared Shivaji and Parvati riding their bull. They offered Sathva and salt to Neelkanth Varni. Bhagwan gladly took the Sathva and salt offered the food to the Shaligram and ate the prashad. 

From there Neelkanth Varni went to Bhutpuri, Kanyakumari, Padmanabh, Janardana, Adikeshava and Malayachal – the Kulgiri mountains. He stayed here for five days then went to Pandharpur, forest of Dandakarnya, Neelkanth Varni circulated the whole region and came to Nasik. Neelkanth Varni then went to the banks of the river Tapi, crossed the riveer and came to the river Narmada, Mahi and Sabarmati. After croosing the region of Bhal, Bhagwan came to Bhimnath Mahadev. From there he reached Gopnath Mahadev and went on to the port of Mangrol. 

After a full seven years of pilgrimage, he came to a village called Lojpur. Lojpur is a village near the port of Mangrol. Neelkanth Varni reached Lojpur on Samvat 1856 Sharvan Vud 6 sixth. In this village, Swami Ramanand, believed to be the incarntion of Uddhavji had his Ashram. Neelkanth Varni met Muktanand Swami, the chief disciple of Ramand Swami. Bhagwan asked Muktanand Swami a question, “What is Jiva, Maya, Ishvaar, Bhram and Par Bhram.” Muktanand gave the answer according to what the scriptures proclaimed. Bhagwan was satisfied with the answer and decided to stay with Muktanand Swami until Bhagwan met Ramanand Swami. During his time in Loj Bhagwan practiced and taught yogasan and meditation to other saints, he also inspired other saints to wake up early. Neelkanth Varni was always very subtle and sharp in his comments and expression. In Ramanand Swami ashram there was a sidewall with a great big hole in it to pass firewood through. Neelkanth Varni saw that from one household a lady would pass firewood to the saints on the other side. When Bhagwan saw this he ordered some saints to cover this hole up and said “the hole was not in the wall, but in our religion.” 

After hearing a lot of Ramanand Swami’s strong base of virtues Neelkanth Varni became impatient to see and meet Ramanand Swami. 

A letter was sent to Ramanand swami in Kutch at Bhuj, asking permission to grace him with his presence. Neelkanth Varni waited in Loj for nine months for Ramanand Swami’s darshan. 

On further instruction from Ramanand Swami, Neelkanth Varni began his pilgrimage of the Surashtra region and both Ramanand swami and Neelkanth Varni met at Narsinh Maheta’s house on Samvat 1856 Jeth Vad 12. Narsinh Maheta house is in Piplana. When Neelkanth Varni first met Ramanand Swami he did Sastang Dandvat Pranaam. Neelkanth Varni’s eyes were filled with tears of joy as he watched the calm and wonderful figure of Ramanand Swami. He explained himself to Ramanand Swami in a polite voice, adding, you seem to have many great qualities even greater then your Dharma Dev. Those who see you feel that you are by no mean an ordinary being, but you must be a god, like this there conversation lasted for many hours in to the night. 

Posted on November 6th, 2018 in Lord Swaminarayan by Admin

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