In Ahmedabad I stayed with Dr. R. D. Desai, director of the Academy of Arts. There I held satsang daily and after a time, the devotees began to urge me to establish an ashram in Ahmedabad. Their enthusiasm grew and each day more people gathered for satsang.
I met many influential men of the city who also took a keen interest in an ashram and a piece of land was offered to me for inspection. I chose a site just outside the city near the main road. The ashram was constructed and given the name of Sri Deep Madhav Ashram. The response to Mahaprabhuji's teachings was truly remarkable here.
Once I was speaking with the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Sri Balwant Rai Mehta. We were talking about the ashram and other spiritual matters when he paused and looked at me a little challengingly.
"Swamiji, would you please answer a question for me?"
"Of course," I replied.
"As a swami you have left your home and renounced everything. Now you have built an ashram which is also a kind of home. How do you explain this?"
"The ashram of a swami is like a spiritual hospital or clinic," I replied. "The swami is the doctor who treats the diseases of passion, anger, greed, hate, jealousy, complexes and sorrows. The ashram is a spiritual school and the swami is the teacher. He teaches human dharma, spiritual knowledge and the science of the Self.
"The ashram is the spiritual court of justice and the swami is the judge. He judges truth and untruth in the lives of those who come before him. He explains the laws of karma and makes clear how one can be freed from the prison of death and rebirth. The ashram is no ordinary house. It is a centre of spiritual liberation."
"This is all well and good," the Chief Minister said, "but it still seems a little vague to me. I know that medical doctors use their scientific knowledge to treat diseases. Engineers construct bridges, roads, airplanes, radios and televisions. What does the holy man really contribute to the world?"
"It is the great mistake of most people to consider the science of spirituality as less than medical or technical science," I answered. "For in reality it is of much greater significance. The spiritual doctor opens the inner eye so that one can see God. He opens the ears so that God's voice may be heard. He grants faith, hands and feet so that one may climb the mountain of highest consciousness. He cures many diseases of the soul and, incidentally, sometimes diseases of the body otherwise incurable by others. He is the spiritual engineer of the mind, smoothing the road to link the individual and universal soul. He erects the bridge of Truth across the broad river of ignorance. With his inspiring words he can raise the mind of man and enable it to fly to God. With his spiritual powers he can see past, present and future and can travel to any part of the universe."
The Sri Deep Madhav Ashram continued to grow and the Divine power of Mahaprabhuji shines unceasingly there. Among the people of Ahmedabad are many true disciples of the Light.
There are some amusing stories from Ahmedabad.
One night I was alone in the ashram asleep when some thieves tried to break in. Suddenly there appeared before them threatening snakes, which slithered after them as they fled in fear. I was sound asleep and quite unaware of all this until some days later when I heard the local people say that I was a magician and snake charmer. Although the timely appearance of the snakes had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Mahaprabhuji watching over me, I am still known in Ahmedabad as the "Swami who keeps snakes".
Another anecdote follows. It is written in the scriptures that the position of a person must be respected. For example, the chair of the judge is used only by him and similarly the chair or bed of the Master is not to be used by anyone else.
In Ahmedabad I had a disciple staying with me for a time in the ashram. One evening I went to the city to hold satsang and since he didn't expect me back until the following day, he lay down and went to sleep in my bed. No sooner had he closed his eyes than he felt the bed lean to one side and next moment he found himself on the floor. He immediately understood that he shouldn't have been sleeping on his Master's bed!
When I returned to the ashram he told me of his experience and asked my pardon for his mistake.
Next Chapter: The Second Journey to Assam
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Overview: Spreading Mahaprabhuji's teachings