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The Forest-Roaming Ends

Loj is a small town near Mangrol in Saurashtra. Once early morning of the sixth day of the month of Shravan Vad, the women folk of the town went to fetch water from a well. They saw a very thin celibate sitting there in the posture of meditation. He was about 18 years. But he was so thin that he appeared hardly 13 or 14 years of age. The women were suppressed to see so young a man turned ascetic. Meanwhile there came a Sadhu named Sukhananand to bathe. He was also suprised to see a young celibate. His eyes were transfixed on seeing the lusture of the eyes of the young ascetic. He brought the young ascetic with loving force to his ashrama. That young celibate was Neelkanth Varni. The ashram belonged to Ramananda Swami. Muktananda Swami, the chief disciple of Swami, was in charge of the Ashram. He warmly welcomed Neelkanth Varni. Neelkanth Varni used to ask questions to other Sadhus wherever he went.

Thus he asked some questions also here. Neelkanth Varni was highly satisfied by the answers given by Muktananda Swami. He had a desire to have Darshan of Ramananda Swami. At that time Ramananda Swami was in Bhuj (Kutch). So Neelkanth Varni stayed there in the Ashram. Thus came the end of this forest roaming [VANA VICHARAN] Today after seven years, one month and eleven days Muktananda Swami was delivering lectures [KATHA]. There were men and women as well in the KATHA. Neelkanth Varni said, “The common meeting of men and women together should never take place.” Muktananda Swami was older by 22 or 23 years than Neelkantha Varni yet he thought Varni's proposal was quite reasonable So he declared, “Hence forth the meeting for ladies and gents will be separate.”

This is an example to show that the great person should never hesitate to learn from the younger man, and if he finds his fault he will gladly without considering about the honour or dishonour accept to rectify his mistake. There was a barber's house adjoining this ashram. There was a hole in the middle of the house. There was a hole in the wall. There took place the give and take [exchange] of live coal to ignite the fire-place, between the Sadhus and the wife of the barber, through that whole. Neelkantha Varni saw this. He disallowed this practice and said at once, “Sadhus should not have any contact with women. This is not a hole in the wall but it is in the religion.” Muktanada Swami also accepted this. The hole was closed, Neelkantha Varni used to teach YOGA to the Sadhus of the Ashram. Everyone including Muktananda Swami was sure that, that young Neelkantha Varni was more advanced than they. So all honoured Varni. Nevertheless, Varni considered Muktananda Swami the chief of the ashram as others did and was within his jurisdiction and did all types of works as others did.

He swept the rooms and collected cow dung, cleaning and washed utensils, fetched water, bathed other Sadhus, collected cow dung for fuel, made cow dung

cakes. He used to put KAWAD on his shoulders to collect eatables (BHIKSHA) for the Sadhus of the Ashram. He ate only once, his food consisted of a loaf and a green chilly. He had no love for taste right from his childhood. Varni was very close with Muktananda Swami, so much that he used to tell Swami to arrange for Ramananda Swami's darshan. He told. after the Darshana We both will go to forest and would carry on undisturbed meditation for God and would never appear in the city. I like soliude more whether it be a forest, a mountain, a river, a tree or a lonely place, “[VACHANAMRIT-GHADHADA- the last chapter No 13].”

Once Varni was keen to know the form and grandeur of the idol of Ramananda Swami. He told Muktananda Swami, “Please sit in the meditation of Ramamamda Swami.” Muktananda Swami did as he was told by Varni. Varni also sat just opposite to Muktananda Swami and began to meditate. Thus Varni entered Muktananda's mind and had a Darshana of Ramananda Swami's form. He described graphically the from of Ramananda Swami. It was a true description.