Shrimadji in Vadva
During his visit to Vadva in VS 1952, Shrimad Rajchandraji had stayed in a room next to an old step well. In the course of his stay, Shrimadji used to sit under a banyan tree (Vad) and preach. A number of sages and devotees used to come to meet him and seek his guidance on matters related to religious practices. While he was in Vadva, Shrimadji once pointed to a small hill and said, “That is a golden land. A pilgrimage centre would be built there.”
Excerpts from Writings at Vadva
Shrimadji’s experiences during his stay in Vadva and interactions with sages and devotees at that time are well documented in various books, including the ‘Jivankala’ and ‘Vyakhyansaar.’ Shrimadji has mentioned in ‘Vyakhyansaar’ that the small room he lived in and the area around the step well near the room helped him to be at peace and meditate for hours together.
Shrimadji’s interaction with sages during his stay in Vadva in VS 1952 is published under the title ‘Meetings at Vadva’ in the book ‘Jivankala.’
Shri Lalluji swami, in his introduction about Shrimadji and his teachings, has noted some interesting and important incidents which revolved around Krupaludev.
“Then Shrimadji called all six sages to a secluded place in Vadva. All the sages bowed down to him and sat at his feet. Shri Lalluji got emotional and said, “O Lord! Let me be at your feet all the time. I don’t want this muhpatti.” He threw his muhpatti‚ at Shrimadji’s feet and said with tears in his eyes, “I cannot stand being away from you.” Watching him get so emotional, Shrimadji also got very emotional; tears came out of his eyes and they would not stop despite his efforts to control his emotions. Shri Lalluji felt guilty about what he had done. He wondered if he had unknowingly showed disrespect and committed a crime. Thousand of thoughts came to his mind and he didn’t utter a word for a long time. Others who were present there also got shocked and did not know what to say. After sitting in sadness and silence for about an hour, Shrimadji told sage Devkaranji, “Give this muhpatti ‚ to Shri Lalluji. Keep this for now.”
“After preaching and talking to the devotees and sages, Shrimadji would say that the seeds he was planting were bound to produce desired results sooner or later as those were strong and active seeds. Citing the example of cardamom which takes a long time to grow, he said that his preaching would one day surely enlighten the devotees and help them make their lives better.
On the fifth day, he preached about protecting celibacy. Paramkrupalu Dev looked at Shri Devkaranji and said that one of the guidelines for a sage was to kill himself in order to protect his celibacy. He further asked Shri Devkaranji if that could be considered a suicide. None of the people present there could answer the question. So, after a while Paramkrupalu Dev, with benignity said that celibacy was the soul and it was God’s command to sacrifice body in case there was no other option for a sage to guard his celibacy. Therefore, it would be considered self-protection and not self-destruction.
On the sixth day, Shrimadji told the sages:
You have risen above worldly fascinations such as home, family, society and women. Now you all need to become sages in the true sense. Let your souls shine due to the strength of truth and rightful conduct. Let your souls become stronger. O sages! Think about these six points - 1) There is soul, 2) Soul is constant, 3) Soul is the doer, 4) Soul is the sufferer, 5) There is Moksha; and 6) There are ways to attain Moksha - again and again. I have stayed in Vadva for you only. One day you will also realise this and remember me.”
Shrimad Rajchandraji communicated with many devotees through letters and one-to-one conversations during hisstay in Vadva. The documentation of those letters and notes speak volumes about how Vadva has been an integral part of Paramkrupalu Dev’s life.
Formation of Vadva Ashram- Bhaishree “The Catalyst”
Twenty years later, on the full moon day in the month of Ashwin, VS 1972, the construction of Vadva pilgrimage centre began under the guidance of respected Shree Popatbhai Mohakamchand, lovingly called ‘Bhaishree.’ Initially, four big rooms, a kitchen and a storeroom were constructed. In one of the rooms a picture of Shrimad Rajchandraji was kept on display. People gradually started spending time in that room, reading literature about Jainism discussing various subjects such as life and moksha with fellow devotees. The rest of the rooms were used for lodging and boarding. All visitors to the Vadva Ashram made sure to cut down on their daily needs, become self-reliant as much as possible and live a simple life without causing any problems to others. It was not surprising that the positive vibes created a beautiful and calming environment for one and all. One by one the various wings- Gurumandir, Jinmandir, the idol of Shri Bahubaliji, Swadhyay Mandup, the Library, the Puranpurush Temple and residential rooms were built. A well was also constructed.