Respected Bhaishree – An Ardent Follower of Shrimadji
ShriPopatbhaiMohkamchand Shah, fondly known as Bhaishree, was among the few people who were lucky enough to spend a significant amount of time with Shrimad Rajchandraji. He was the first person who believed that an Ashram should be built in the honour of Param Krupaludev so that his valuable lessons would not only be remembered but also passed on to the generations to come. Param Krupaludev used to fondly address Bhaishree as Shukraj (literally, parrot.) At times, Shrimadji also called him Mahamahopadhyay for his great devotion for Jainism.
In VikramSamvat(VS) 1944, Param Krupaludev visited Ahmedabad and thus gave a great opportunity to the leading members of the society to interact with him and be enlightened. Bhaishreemet Shrimadji during that particular visit, albeit for a brief period. One day, inVS 1954, Bhaishree met ShriVanmalibhai and through him he got to know some unbelievable and extraordinary incidents about Param Krupaludev, and the seeds that were planted a decade earlier, resurfaced, ready to grow into a beautiful tree. Bhaishree read more and more about Param Krupaludev and was struck by his charisma, knowledge, philosophy and richness of thoughts. He was so fascinated by Shrimadji that he desperately wanted to see Param Krupaludev and have an opportunity to talk to him. He wrote a letter to Shrimadji, mentioning his deep desire to meet him in person as early as possible. “The time shall come soon,” was all that Shrimadji replied.
The wait finally got over on ShravanVad13, VS 1954. Bhaishree went to Kavitha as per the instructions which were sent to him earlier by Krupaludev through ShriAmbalalbhai and reached ShriZaverbhaiBhagwandas’s house. On seeingShrimadjii, Bhaishree stood in front of him in complete submission.
Shrimadji’s health condition had deteriorated rapidly and he saw the end was close. He lived for just two and a half years after his meeting with Bhaishree in Kavitha. During this time, Shrimadji visited Ahmedabad four times and during each visit,Bhaishree got to meet him, serve him and learn some valuable lessons, a wisdom that Bhaishree spread among the other faithful for years to come.
Devotees would go to Bhaishree to listen to him talk about Shrimadji’s philosophy, life and religion. He would encourage people to follow the virtues of Jainism but at the same time ask them not to follow anybody just for the sake of it. Bhaishree would travel to different parts of Gujarat for satsang and bhakti. His frequenttravels and regular interactions with the devotees inspired him to search for a place where an Ashram could be built for people to come and spend time attending discourses and discussions.
The search for a suitable place ended in Vadva, where Shrimad Rajchandraji had spent a significant amount time, and where the positive vibes of his spirituality still lingered. The land where they decided to build the Ashram was owned by ShriPrabhudasBhikhabhai, son-in-law of ShriLallubhai Patel. The rights of the land were happily transferred to ShethShriManeklal from ShriPrabhudasbhai, and the construction began on AasoSuda15, VS 1972. ShriBhaishree played a pivotal role in bringing the Vadva ashram into existence and increasing its importance in the following years. Many devotees would come to Vadva to attend ShriBhaishree’sswadhyay and bhakti.
On the night of AasoSuda 3, in VS 1988, there arose an unexpected vein problem in Bhaishree’s brain, and he lost control over his body. Following immediate medical intervention, he was taken to Ahmedabad the following day. He had made it very clear to the people around him that he didn’t want to be operated upon or injected with medicines. He believed that his body was not made to be experimented upon. Lack of medications saw his condition go from bad to worse in no time. But he was at inner peace; he called those present and asked them to sit close to him. “Be united and don’t forget Krupaludev,” he said. Then he asked them to recite ‘ApurvaAvasar.’ Overwhelmed, everbody began reciting, albeit in a muted tone. “Why are you not showing any kind of enthusiasm? Speak loudly,”Bhaishree demanded. Such was his command over his senses! He continued to sink and on AasoSud Six, his soul finally left his body