Neelkanth Varni in Rampar
In the region of Kutch in the district of Mandvi, there is a village called Rampar. In this time there was a divine soul named Laksmanbhai. He was from a Luhar Patidar jaat. He was a strong devotee of Shankar Bhagwan in the temple of Billeswar (near Rampar).
Whenever he came to the temple of Shankar Bhagwan to do darshan, he would do his prayers and devotedly bow down to Shankar Bhagwan. Every time he would ask him for the opportunity to meet the Lord Supreme. He said to Shankar Bhagwan “Please have mercy upon me and give me divine darshan of Bhagwan himself.”
Laksmanbhai was such a faithful devotee, that one day Shankar Bhagwan gave darshan to Laksmanbhai and told him that your wish will be fulfilled in a short while. “As the creator of creators, who resides in the heavenly abode Akshardham; Purna Purshottam Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan has arrived on this earth and you will get his darshan soon.” On hearing Shankar Bhagwan’s promise, Laksmanbhai was overwhelmed and excitedly and eagerly awaited for the arrival of Purna Purshottam Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan.
Swaminarayan Bhagwan was born in the town of Chhapaiya in the state of Uttar Pradesh as Ghanshyam. There are many childhood stories of Ghanshyam Maharaj: here he gave his family and friends unlimited happiness for 11 years. Then he left for pilgrimage for 7 years as Neelkanth Varni.
Whilst travelling Neelkanth Varni came to kutch in a town called Manukwa, where he stayed at Natha Suthar house. There he gave his divine darshan and was doing a katha for Adhabhai and other devotees of the town. After having done the katha he wanted to move onto the next town. There Adhabhai told him to take his horse to the next town. Then Neelkanth Varni replied “Adhabhai, if I take your horse then who would bring it back?” Then Natha Suthar’s mother was seated there and said that my son Natha will come and with you and will the horse back, then they left.
Whilst travelling through Gujerat Neelkanth Varni came to Rampar and ended up at Merai Vadi. There Maharaj stood at the banks of the pond. In his hands he had a Kamdal (Pot); on his shoulder he had a deerskin cloth and a small idol of Balmukund (child-Krishna) (around his neck). Near the bank of the pond, 3 men were seated; their names were Khimjibhai, Bhimjibhai and Laksmanbhai. Neelkanth Varni went to them and said “I am very hungry, could someone please give me some food?”
The 3 men said “oh bava, we have eaten and there is no food left, so we have nothing to give you.” Then Neelkanth Varni said “why do you say such a thing when there is food in the pot right there? Please give me some, half a rotlo at least.” The men replied “we have saved this for dinner, and saying this they hid the pot.” However Laksmanbhai thought that this bava is hungry, so he thought to give his part of the food to this bavaji and he did. Neelkanth Varni was pleased and ate the food that Laksmanbhai gave him. He washed his hands with the water from the pond. After he had finished, he relaxed on the bank of the pond. Then the 3 men packed up their things and were about to leave when they noticed Neelkanth Varni lying there and they saw a glare of light coming from his head. On seeing this Bhimjibhai and Khimjibhai said to Laksmanbhai “you have given this bava food but he is someone that possesses black magic.” Laksmanbhai replied “Shankar Bhagwan at Billeswar, told me that I will get a glimpse of the Lord Almighty himself.” After saying this he noticed a mango tree opposite; from the base of this tree to the top he was able to see the divine image of Bhagwan in the tree. Also from all 4 ends there were beams of light coming out of the tree.
Then Khimjibhai and Bhimjibhai said “Hey, Lakhu look what happened, after you fed this bava he is showing his magic.” Then Maharaj appeared and said to Laksmanbhai “I am pleased with you and now whatever you want please ask for it.” Then Laksmanbhai said “there is a Shankar Bhagwan temple not far from here in Billeswar and whatever I desired I have got it.” Then Maharaj replied “Laksman, I will give you ultimate salvation and also for 7 generations of your family.” “Accordingly at your son’s house a divine soul will take birth in the form of your granddaughter and when she is born name her Dhanbai. She will redeem your family and ancestors.”
In the town of Manukwa, Shree Ramanand Swami was staying at the residential place of Adhabhai. Once a Patel bhai came with his five year old daughter named Jivibai and she was playing. On seeing her playing, Ramanand Swami said to Adhabhai, “you see that girl playing there, she will get married into a family in Rampar.” When she is there she will have four sons and one daughter. Her daughter will be a divine soul and strong devotee of Maharaj. Her name will be Dhanbai and she will be able to redeem countless souls and show them the path to salvation.
Accordingly Shree Ramanand Swami and Ghanshyam Maharaj’s words came true.
Jivibai got married to Hirjibhai the son of Laksmanbhai in Rampar. Jivibai and Hirjibhai themselves where strong devotees of Bhagwan and accordingly they had four sons. Their daughter Dhanbai was born in the month of Kartik Sud Purnima VS1881. On this day Bhaktimata was born in the year 1798.
As Dhanbai fai was the youngest, she was the apple of the family’s eye. However Dhanbai fai was never interested in playing. When Dhanbai fai was five years old, she was totally engrossed in her devotion to Bhagwan. As Dhanbai fai got older her devotion became stronger and she would be totally immersed in the meditation of Bhagwan. Sometimes she would be so deep in meditation that she would not move at all, at times it would appear that there was no life in her.
Whenever this happened her mother would say “Dhanu! What’s happening to you?”, then she would reply “only God knows, but during that time I get complete bliss and happiness. Therefore I want to constantly experience this bliss and happiness.” Her mother told her to start getting ready for marriage. Here she replied “I want to free myself from this materialistic world and the things in this world. Therefore please do not fix my marriage, please have mercy upon me and let me continue my devotion in this way.”
Even though Dhanbai fai pleaded with her parents, it was no use and her parents finally fixed her marriage in the town of Baladia. On hearing this Dhanbai fai was extremely upset and constantly prayed to Maharaj even more. She would request to Bhagwan, please save me and free me from this materialistic world and she would remain upset.
As the days passed, Dhanbai fai’s wedding was getting closer. The man who her marriage was fixed with was a bad tempered man and was very irreligious. When Dhanbai heard this she became very upset and she stopped eating and drinking and her devotion towards Bhagwan became more intense. However, she was still forced to get married and go to her in-laws. There was no religion at her in-laws house and they would eat onion and garlic as well. . They had tried to feed her food containing onion however Dhanbai fai did not even look at it. Following this, Dhanbai fai did 15 days of fasting. Then Shreeji Maharaj gave Dhanbai fai darshan and said “don’t worry, as I helped Jivuba, Laduba and Rajbai I will also help you. You are hungry, then eat this sweet (ladoo).” After saying this he gave Dhanbai fai the sweet and left.
Then after several days Shreeji Maharaj decided that due to Dhanbai fai intense devotion towards him; he vowed to protect her celibacy. Therefore Dhanbai fai was able to protect her celibacy, and seeing this her in laws, ended the marriage and sent her home.
Surajba was from a Brahmin caste and lived in Bhuj. She did a lot of service towards Maharaj. At one time Shreeji Maharaj was feeding the birds some grains and Surajba went from Bhuj to Gadhada to do darshan of Maharaj. Surajba said “Oh Lord, there are many people who can feed grains to the birds, then why are you doing this yourself?” Maharaj replied “Suraj, there is a difference between my hands and other’s hands. These souls will take birth in a Satsangi family in Kutch. They will be very devoted and there will be some very divine souls amongst them.” Surajba asked “How can this happen in Kutch?” Maharaj replied “go on hence forth the salvation that I could do with my hands you will be able to do with your hands. Therefore from now on when these souls come to Kutch you will feed them in the same way that I am.”
After saying this Maharaj gave 5 Koris (coins) to Surajba and said “from these coins feed the Kanbi people, do large festivals and with my blessings there will never be an end to the money. Wherever these 5 coins are, Laxmiji will always be present. As you are a Brahmin, Kanbi’s will not eat from your hands. Therefore a divine soul named Dhanbai will take birth in Kutch and give her these coins, and she will do this for the Kanbis of Kutch. She will be able to increase devotion, purity and wash the sins of the people of Kutch. She will do lots of festivals but the money will never end and therefore our blessings are in the form of these coins.” Thus, Surajba maintained and increased the Satsang of Kutch.
In the year VS 1899 at the age of 17, Dhanbai fai got her Sankyog (Renunciation) from Surajba. Surajba became Dhanbai fai’s guru and lived with her in Bhuj. Dhanbai fai with the instructions of Surajba, held an assembly for female devotees. Here Shreeji Maharaj gave Dhanbai fai his darshan and said “continue doing these wonderful and religious activities. I will be with you always in such activities and you and the devotees will benefit from this very much.” In that year Shreeji Maharaj helped Dhanbai fai’s older brother in his farm in Rampar. He helped produce enough sugar cane to feed over 40,000 people.
Several years after Dhanbai fai had become a student of Surajba, Surajba gave Dhanbai fai the 5 Koris that Shreeji Maharaj had given her and explained to her what Shreeji Maharaj had said and what had to be done with those Koris.
With the Koris, Dhanbai fai did many yagnas; she did a yagna for the passing away of the second Mahant Swami of Bhuj, Sadguru Aksharjivan Dasji Swami whose childhood gaam was Rampar as well.
However, one of the most significant yagna that Dhanbai fai did was carried out in Rampar; here she established order and discipline amongst the devotees. This yagna was the first time in Kutch devotees sat in Pangaats (lines when eating dinner).
Also when this yagna was taking place, there was a deadly disease spreading and many devotees wanted to attend however, they were restricted due to their illness.
So the great devotee that Dhanbai fai was had such abilities that she was able to allow these devotees to come to the yagna. Just after the gate of the gaam of Dahisara, Dhanbai fai stood there on the first day of the yagna knowing that the Yaamdoots (demons residing in hell) were going to come and take sinful souls of the gaam especially the ones with the illness. She was able to stop the Yamdoots for 7 days from coming into the gaam. Therefore, all the devotees that were present at the yagna even the devotees that were ill, enjoyed the yagna for the 7 days. There were no deaths at all in the gaam during the yagna, as soon as the yagna was over, the people’s who time it was to die had died and in the following days, over 60 people from the 24 gaams had died. This showed the greatness of Dhanbai fai and what a great devotee of Shreeji Maharaj she was
In all the yagnas that Dhanbai fai did, she spent over 505851 Koris from the original 5 Koris that she had. Those original 5 Koris are still present to do darshan of in the Junovas ladies mandir in Rampar.
As well as doing many yagnas, Dhanbai fai wanted to increase the satsang of females and male haribhaktos of Kutch. In one of her many frequent conversations with Shreeji Maharaj, she inquired to him that there are many people that would like to do darshan of your birth place, however many of your devotees cannot afford to go to Chhapaiya in Utaar Pradesh as it is too far and they cannot afford to travel there. As she was a devoted bhakta Shreeji Maharaj was able to fulfil her wish; “the Gangaji in Rampar will have water that flows straight from the rivers of Chhapaiya, my birthplace.”
(Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh is approximately 750 miles from each other)
As per Shreeji Maharaj’s wish, this happened. The Rampar Gangaji’s were filled with water straight from Chhapaiya. This miracle of Maharaj increased the satsang of Rampar and the other 23 gaams. The satsang increased day by day and the water flowed stronger and stronger. However, in more recent times the satsang has decreased and flow of water has reduced, so now the water is pumped by a motor.
However there are still times were the water comes from Chhapaiya but only a truly blessed soul will know the difference.
In the centre of the Rampar Gangaji is where Dhanbai fai often did meditation and is where her cremation took place. This place is auspicious as Dhanbai fai was such a great devotee, so every female should go there and get darshan of such a place.
Such is the greatness of our Rampar Gaam, it is a gaam full of purity and is auspicious. Many people of all over the globe come to the gaam to get darshan here.
Maharaj had graced the gaam with his presence and therefore we should truly appreciate the greatness of this gaam. And count yourself as such a lucky individual to be born and associated with such a place………..