BSPP Yogiji Maharaj
YOGI BAPA'S LIFE IN BRIEF
Yogi Bapa was born on May 23, 1892 (Vaishakh vada 12) in Dhari as Jinabhai. When Jinabhai's uncle could no longer take care of the moortis at the Swaminarayan temple in Dhari due to old age, young Jinabhai lovingly did so. During his visit to Dhari, Krishnacharandas Swami from the Junagadh temple, asked Jinabhai to become a saint. Jinabhai was initiated as a paarshada saint (adorning white robes) on November 8, 1908 (Kartik suda 15). Some time later, Krishnacharandas Swami and saints were posted at Rajkot for about one year. Here, Jina Bhagat enjoyed going to Krishnaji Ada's home with the group of 7 saints. Due to Krishnaji Ada's talks, Jina Bhagat was blessed by Jaga Swami in a dream. Krishnaji Ada also arranged for Jina Bhagat and the saints to meet Shastriji Maharaj for the first time at his home on August 12, 1910. On April 11, 1911 (Chaitra suda 13), Acharya Pratiprasadji Maharaj initiated Jina Bhagat as Gnanjivandas Swami. From July 9, 1911 (Ashadh suda 13), Yogi Bapa joined Shastriji Maharaj's mission with seven other saints. On May 24, 1934 (Vaishakh suda 10), after the moorti-pratishthaa ceremony, Shastriji Maharaj appointed Yogi Bapa as the mahanta of the Gondal temple. Yogi Bapa stirred a new devotion in the youth and established centers abroad (in East Africa and England) with the help of Nirgundas Swami and saints. Yogi Bapa left his physical body on January 23, 1971 (Posh vada 11) in Mumbai.
YOGI BAPA’S LIFE IN HIS OWN WORDS
I never slept before midnight. I would sleep on a kothado (jute-bag) and use my arm as the pillow. There were no clocks at the time, so I would just pray to God to wake me up early. Automatically, God would wake me up at 3 in the morning. I would take a bath in cold water, sing devotional songs, make rotlaa (bread) for everyone, sweep the temple grounds, serve devotees food, and do the dishes - I would find much joy in doing this.
Shastriji Maharaj often traveled with many devotees, and I would take care of all of them - I would make sure that all were given proper food, serve them whatever they wanted, and make sure they were all given a proper seat - I did this so Shastriji Maharaj would not have to take care of them; and in turn, Shastriji Maharaj would be very happy with me.
I did exactly as Shastriji Maharaj said - while eating, if he called my name, I would drop the morsel and immediately run to him; while writing, if he called my name, I would drop the pen and immediately attend him; if he said to do pradakshinaa (circumambulate) or maalaa (rosary), I would do that. If Shastriji Maharaj just whispered my name once, I would be filled with joy for many months.
I want to live a meek life - I don't like when people praise me, garland me, bow down to me, do my poojan, or seat me on an elephant (give an exalted status). I truly only like serving devotees and doing menial service. I performed service silently and secretly so that no one would stop me from doing the sevaa - in this way I upheld Swami's [Shastriji Maharaj's] true wish.
I didn't know how to speak, but Swami [Shastriji Maharaj] made me speak - that's how I can talk. Please don't praise me. Praise Maharaj, Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Jaga Swami, Krishnaji Ada, and Shastriji Maharaj. I have lived like this for 40 years - to please God.
GUNAATEETA GNYAANA NU NAVANEETA (ESSENCE OF DIVINE KNOWLEDGE) IN YOGI BAPA'S WORDS
Koinu e jovu nahee (do not see negative in others)
Potaanu karee levu (look after your own liberation)
Munjavana aave to maalaa ghamakaavavee, pana beejaa vichaara na karavaa (in times of difficulty, pray to God but do not think of anything else)
Dareka maa nirdoshabuddhi raakhavee (see everyone with divinity)
Sampa, suhradabhaava ne ekataa raakhavi (keep spiritual togetherness, harmony, and oneness)
Saakshaata no mahimaa nirantara gaayaa karavo (constantly glorify God in the form of the brahmasvaroopa saint you have met)