Lord’s Final Farewell
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Residing in Gadhada Lord Swaminarayan had established a strong sampraday. He had achieved all he had come to earth for and therefore decided it was now right for him to return to Akshardham.
Lord Swaminarayan knew that the saints and satsangis would suffer indescribable pain on His departure, so many would plead Him to stay and some would prevent Him from leaving.
Lord Swaminarayan told Brahmanand Swami to go to Junagadh and oversee the completion of the temple construction. Brahmanand Swami instinctively realised that Lord Swaminarayan would leave His mortal body and go to Akshardham, whilst he was in Junagadh. Brahmanand Swami did not want to go but could not disobey an order from Lord and he left for Junagadh. Before leaving, Brahmanand Swami told Gopalanand Swami not to cremate Lord’s body if He departs this world. Brahmanand Swami said this because he had such great powers that he would bring Lord back to this earth if Lord’s body had not been cremated.
Lord Swaminarayan told Gopalanand Swami of His intention to leave His mortal body. Gopalanand Swami was given the overall responsibility of the sampraday and specifically told him not to inform Brahmanand Swami until His mortal body had been cremated. Here Lord Swaminarayan held the hands of both Acharyas and asked Gopalanand Swami to take care of both of them.
Lord Swaminarayan called a meeting of all saints and satsangis present and said, “I have fully completed all My intentions for coming to earth. I will now return to Akshardham. I promise you I will be ever present here on earth, through My idols, scriptures, acharyas and saints. You must all remain strong and not come after me by committing suicide.”
On hearing this, saints and satsangis exploded into cries of pain and loss. The sense of loss was indescribable.
Lord Swaminarayan sat down with prominent saints and servants, closed His eyes and peacefully left His mortal body and returned to Akshardham, on the 10th day of the bright half of the month of Jeth VS 1886 (1st June 1830 AD), aged 49 years 2 months and 1 day.
Lord’s body was prepared for cremation and was taken to the grounds of Laxmiwadi in Gadhada. Here the Acharyas, Ayodhyaprasadji and Raghuvirji cremated Lord Swaminarayan. Today, a pious temple stands in Laxmiwadi at the site of Lord’s cremation.
Saints and satsangis could not bear the pain of seeing Lord being cremated. Dadakhachar could not bear being separated from Lord, he rushed to jump on the funeral pyre, but was held back by Gopalanand Swami who told Dadakhachar to go to the mango tree in Laxmiwadi where Lord frequently held assemblies.
On reaching the mango tree, the spiritual form of Lord Swaminarayan embraced Dadakhachar and placed a rose garland over him and said, “Dada, do you think I have gone? No, I am ever present and will always be here.”
Brahmanand Swami found out that Lord had departed to Akshardham and he returned to Gadhada. Brahmanand Swami asked Gopalanand Swami, “Why did you cremate Lord before I returned to Gadhada?” Gopalanand Swami replied, “It was Lord’s wish that I called you after He had been cremated, since Lord knew that otherwise you would have brought Him back to earth.”
In great distress Brahmanand Swami went to pray to Gopinathji Maharaj, at Gadhada temple. As Brahmanand Swami reached the temple, Lord Swaminarayan gave Brahmanand Swami divine darshan and said, “I have not left, I am still here.”