Pramukhswami

In: People

Submitted By supersaving11
Words 3009
Pages 13
Early years

Shantilal was born in the village of Chansad, Gujarat, on 7 December 1921. His parents, Motibhai and Diwaliben Patel, were disciples of Shastriji Maharaj and followers of the Akshar Purushottam faith.[2] Motibhai and Diwaliben were both involved in the Swaminarayan fellowship; Diwaliben’s family’s association with the Swaminarayan fellowship extended to the time of Bhagatji Maharaj.[3] Shastriji Maharaj had blessed young Shantilal at birth, and had told his father, “This child is ours; when the time is ripe, please give him to us. He will lead thousands to the devotion of God. Through him, thousands will attain liberation.”[4]
Shantilal’s mother described him as a calm and soft-spoken, yet energetic and active child.[5] His childhood friends recall that Shantilal developed a reputation in the town and in school as an honest, reliable, mature, and kindhearted boy.[6] Even as a child, he possessed an uncommon empathy that led others to seek out and trust his opinions and judgments in matters large and small.[7] Shantilal was raised in a simple home environment, as his family was of modest means. Although he excelled in his studies, in the seventeen years he spent at home before becoming a sadhu, Shantilal only had the opportunity to attend school for six years.[8] As he grew older, Shantilal helped his household by doing chores on the family farm.

Early spiritual inclination

Shantilal was strongly inclined towards spirituality from a young age. Upon completing his schoolwork, he would often rush off to the village’s Hanuman temple, where he and a childhood friend would listen to the discourses of a Hindu "holy man" named Haridas.[9] Shantilal’s daily “darshan”, or worship, at the Swaminarayan mandir in Chansad, and his association with Shastriji Maharaj and his disciple sadhus whenever they came to the village, further reflected Shantilal’s…...

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