Daulat Stankhi, Baton Rouge, LA
“If you ever get money where would you put it?” Stuttering, I said maybe in a draw Swamiji, so He opened the draw, threw in those three quarters, closed the draw and said, “Watch how these will grow.”
In July, 1988, I was asked by my brother-in-law, Narendra Dave, to accompany him to Bay City, Texas to meet and drive back to Baton Rouge, a south Indian Swami, who was visiting the USA. Narendra and my sister, Nalini, had recently met Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji in London, at his parent’s home, and were very interested in His teachings. Narendra, Manish, (my son) and I set out on this hot summer day to start on a very special journey.
My family migrated to East Africa from Gujarat and later we migrated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We understood the Guru concept, as we had known about the Datta Avatars of Sri Alkakot Maharaj Swami and Sri Ranga Avadoot Maharaji. Narendra explained to me, in details, about the incarnation of Sri Swamiji and I was intensely interested to have His darsan. With excitement we made our journey to Bay City. When we got there and I laid my eyes on Him, I became mesmerized by His physical countenance. His smile and gestures were very inviting
We brought Sri Swamiji to Baton Rouge and He stayed at my sister’s house where a few programs were arranged. Narendra and Nalini invited some family members and a few acquaintances to have His darsan at their home. Those of us who were fortunate to be there saw His Holiness manifesting small metal objects and vibhuti, which He gave to us. Some of the people, who came during that time, became His ardent devotees and continue to spread His Mission.
Anyhow, from the exposure I experienced, I figured that Sri Swamiji was beyond any normal human being; He represented a form that was beyond our comprehension. I had just bought a new house, so I requested Him to come and bless the house, and He agreed. He came and we received Him as per our customs. Sri Swamiji seemed to be and He felt at home here. I introduced everyone and He said that we are His family. Little did we recognize what role we had to play in His works and mission.
We had a small, struggling business with an office in a newly developing industrial park, in the city. I thought that I could invite Him to visit and bless this place also. As I started to make the request, Sri Swamiji, with His infinite wisdom and grace agreed, without me completing the sentence. The warehouse in which I had my office was almost empty; except for a small, old desk and some used pac-man video game machines. I used to repair these machines. I didn’t have anything, just an empty warehouse, nothing in there.
Sri Swamiji came in and looked at the machines, and maybe He just wanted to look at them, or maybe He wanted to bless the machines. Finally He said “okay”. I had prepared a place for Him to sit at my desk, He sat there and then He spoke to His assistant, Prasadi, who was very young at the time, and asked him to give Him three quarters. Looking at me, He asked, “Where do you put your money, where do you keep your cash for the business?” Honestly, I didn’t have anything. I really didn’t have that much money coming in. I had no safe, no particular place.
I told Him that I didn’t have any safe or other place. Then He asked, “If you ever get money where would you put it?” Stuttering, I said maybe in a draw Swamiji, so He opened the draw, threw in those three quarters, closed the draw and said, “Watch how these will grow.” Laughing, I said okay, I didn’t take Him seriously at the time, but that money blessing really helped. My business grew tremendously and I benefited a lot out of His blessings.
In 1995 when I went to Trinidad, for the fifty-first birthday celebrations, many things happened there. Sri Swamiji said, “Daulat, you have to build a temple in Baton Rouge and don’t ask money from anyone, do it yourself.” If anybody wants to give a donation, that’s fine, but you must build it. I agreed and with a firm commitment in my heart I set out to accomplish what He had asked. The next time He visited Baton Rouge I showed Him some lands that I had in back of my office, and I took Him to another location not too far away from there, which had three vacant lots
Two alternating lots were owned by my family and the middle lot was owned by an American person. Sri Swamiji identified these lots as the location for the Temple, so I purchased the middle lot from that person, after convincing him that we wanted to build a temple. Afterwards, Sri Swamiji walked unto the property and said that this was the place for the temple to be constructed. Building plans, for a basic building, was approved by Him and we started the construction. From outside the building looks like a warehouse but the inside was good, nicely done with Indianization features. That’s how Baton Rouge Temple came into being.
Just around the time that the construction was getting started I decided to go to the Mysore Ashrama for the Shivaratri festivals. Across the street from the construction site, the family had purchased another three lots. I thought that if we were constructing a Temple, then lots of devotees will come and we will need a place for us to cook food and feed them, this was a custom which we practice.
I told the contractor of my plans and informed him that by the time I came back, I wanted him to construct a similar building, on that property. I made it abundantly clear that this building should be ready within thirty days. He took the challenge and had the building ready for me, on my return. I named it after Jayalakshmi Mata, who is the divine mother of Sri Swamiji. That building now serves as a community hall and it is being used by the general public.
The main experience I had was when He blessed me and I was really laughing. When He asked me where you put your money, I asked, “What money Swamiji,” I don’t have any money. That was drawn into my life, as far as the money was concerned, because really, I didn’t have any money. I figured that this was His money and I was just the medium between the money and Him. I was awake to do whatever His mission was, and to do whatsoever was His will .That’s how the money, and as far as the temple was concerned, happened.
I come from a very spiritual family where my grandfather and those before him, belong to a line of saints. Somehow in 1972, when I came to this country I lost my spiritually. However, after Sri Swamiji came into my life I started changing myself, and whatever His blessings was doing to me, I started going back to my spiritually. Two things happened to me; financially, I was better, and spiritually, I became better. It was only through the grace and blessing from my Master and Guru, Sri Swamiji.
Sri Swamiji is the most powerful being in human form there is. He changes people, He does things that people can’t comprehend, no one can figure out what or who He is. He is so important because there are things which we can buy with money, but when you acquire His blessings, what it does to you, no amount of money can buy that. He never told me to do anything special or to change. I know that whatever I do, the right thoughts will be coming in my mind about spiritually, I am in touch with Him
When I went to Mysore at the Venkatesha Temple inauguration, Sri Swamiji was doing poojas. A few people were inside and I met another devotee, Agastya, from Denmark. He said; let’s go outside for Kumbha Abhishekam. When we ascend the scaffolding we saw many birds, like Garuda, circling the sky above the temple; they would come and then go away for some time, and then we saw a rainbow formed over the area. This experience I will never forget. There is no science required to prove this phenomenon; it was just the best experience of my life.
Sri Swamiji, my Guru, is like an ocean and we, his kids and like the droplets of His being. I have been naughty, but he forgives me. He is so soft, softer than a cotton ball. He is tough but He loves us all. Jaya Guru Datta