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Khaiyo Khatri

Once Shriji Maharaj visited Mandvi. He was accompanied by more than hundred saints. Brahmanand was one of them. Maharaj camped under a bunyan tree on the banks of a pond. There was much sand. Saints made a raised platform by heaping all sand together. They spread a piece of cloth on that platform for Maharaj to sit.

Maharaj said to the saints, “if you wish I may cater sands or if you wish I may cater sweets to you. Brahmanand Swami said, “Maharaj, wherever we go in the world, bad people offer us sands in begging bowl, so if you serve us sweets it would be better”. Maharaj laughed and said, “As you wish”. The next day was the Eleventh Day (Ekadashi) of the month. The villagers invited the saints to their homes and offered them fruits. Then they returned to their camp under a bunyan tree.

There lived in Mandvi a certain Khatri named Khaiyo Khatri who knew the Vedas well. He was rich and happy in all respects. He came to know that there came one God of Swaminarayan in Mandvi. He smiled and said, “All come as God. But God is faultless and formless. How can we regard a man as God ?”

There were some followers of this Khatri in Mandvi. He assembled them all and said, “Come with me if you wish to see a fun. Let us make fun of the God of Swaminarayan today. We will eat sweets after becoming victorious.”

All were happy that they are going to witness a real fun. Maharaj came to know about Khaiyo Khatri's arrival. So he made a new trick. Maharaj said to Brahmanand Swami, “you will be in my seat today. I will sit at your feet as your disciple. When Khaiyo Khatri puts a question to you, tell him that was not a real question. Such ordinary questions can be answered by my disciple even.” Brahamanda Swami was a little bit playful. He liked this. He sat on Maharaja's seat pompously. Maharaj took his seat on the ground in front of Swami. Meanwhile Khaiyo Khatri arrived there with his friends. He seemed full of pride as if victorious of the world. On coming, he said, “Who is superior among youn ?” All boastfully said, “I want to ask you four questions.” “Why four ? Ask fourteen questions” said Brahmanand.

Khaiya asked four questions selected from the Vedas. On hearing them, Brahmanand Swami said, “Are these your questions? These are very ordinary and insignificant questions. These questions will be answered by my junior saint”. “Saying thus, he looked at his junior saint, i.e. Shriji Maharaj. Shriji Maharaj at once answered those questions. Khaiyo had thought that none had that much understanding of the Vedas as he possessed. But here it was otherwise. The junior sadhu could tell such things that he had never known.

Khaiyo was surprised. He was so much frightened that if his junior saint had been such, how much knowledge and capacity should his senior sadhu have ? Surely I am at fault to clash with him”. He was confused. He looked at Brahmanad Swami and then at the Junior Sadhu. Suddenly, seeing the smile on the face of the junior sadhu, he was sure that this is not a junior saint, he must be Maharaj. He said to Brahamanand Swami “Come down from the raised platform, let this junior sadhu sit on that seat,” on hearing this, Maharaj laughed and said, “ Khaiyo Khatri, you did recognise me now, when are you going to serve us sweet balls? My saints also like sweet balls as much as your friends do”. Khaiya was startled. He said, “Maharaj, that was the programme when we return victorious”.

“Is this not your victory that you could recognise me in the whole gathering?” asked Shriji Maharaj. Khaiyo had now no way left but to surrender. The next day the saints broke their fast by eating sweet-ball (Laddus). Maharaj, thus, spent a good deal of time in Mandvi. Khaiyo Khatri was now his staunch devotee. Daily he used to go to Maharaj's Darshan and would listen to Shriji Maharaj's words. He had now as much humility as he had pride before. Some of the persons belonging to Khaiya's caste did not like this. Such a Khatri spoke to another Khatri the words which could be overhead by Maharaj. “Person like goats would come to your fold. We, the lions, cannot come to your fold”.

Shriji Maharaj didn't speak anything at that time. But after two days, Maharaj, in the company of saints, devotee and Khaiya, went to the house of that Khatri. Khatri came and took his seat in front of Maharaj. Maharaj stared at him a moment and asked, “Tell me what do you want to do now ?” “Whatever you wish me to do,” said Khatri. “Will you do what I wish ?” asked Maharaj. “I will,” said the spirited Khatri.

Maharaj took an ochre-red coloured cloth from a sadhu and said to Kharti,” wear this and be a saint. Khatri took off his clothes and put on that ochre-red coloured clothes. Then Maharaj asked him, “Now go inside the house. Bring all your mattresses. Heap them here”. Khatri went inside his house, brought all his mattresses and heaped them in the middle of the courtyard. “Now burn them,” said Maharaj. Khatri was about to burn them when Khaiyo said to Maharaj, please pardon me. The whole village would lament if the mattresses would be on flame.” Maharaj smiled, He said, “let it be so. There shall not be a fire”. “Bhagat, would you do as I order ?” said Maharaj to Khatri once more. Now Khatri had returned to his original nature. He courageously said, “Only goats would come to your fold. We are tigers”.

“O tiger! Please look at your clothes,” said Maharaj. Khatri looked at his body and saw the Ochre-red coloured clothes on himself. His surprise was boundless. Khaiyo said, “remove the ochre-red coloured clothes and put on your own dress, Khatri, and take back all your lumber. We know what type of tiger you are.” Khatri was very much ashamed. He fell at the feet of Maharaj and said, “Maharaj, the whole world is like a goat in comparison with you.”