Once upon a time, Shreeji Maharaj was in Bhuj staying at Gangaram Mala's house. A big gathering was before Him. Sunderji Suthar was among them. Maharaj began, “Whosoever knows Me, will find His relatives and riches very insignificant. Once in the meeting at Jetalpur, I declared that whosoever wanted to join us as Sadhu should stand up. The whole gathering stood up, saying, “I will be the first”, I ordered them to sit down and said that they were all just like Sadhus, so believing My advice they remained as grihasthas (house-holders).”
Sunderji could not remain silent upon hearing this. Sunderji was also holding a higher post in the court of the King of Bhuj. He cried out, “They were the people of villages. They don't have anything like honour, riches or position. They would find interest in becoming Sadhus. “ Maharaj at once understood that Sunderji was proud of his riches and position. This time Maharaj kept mum.
After this happening, He wrote a letter to this effect, addressed to His house-holder devotees. “Our obedient devotees, residing in Halar, Jhalavad, Kathiavad, Gujarat, be in weal! Be well! Such as Mancha Khachar, Sura Bhakta, Somla Khachar, Alaiya Khachar, Vasta Khachar, Matro Dadhal, Naja Jogia, Bhakta Mulu, Mamaiya Khachar, Patidar Adabhai, Jivabhai, Virdas, Seth Ladhabhai, Seth Kamalshi, Bhakta Kala and Prabhudas, etc.” “Please accept Jay Swaminarayan and blessings of Shree Sahajanand Swami, your presiding deity of your family. The aim of writing this letter is as follows:- Leave your houses, princely rule and riches, wherever you are, on reading this letter. Go to Jetalpur, initiate yourself before Ramdas Bhai and turn yourself into an ascetic. Then come back to us at Bhuj, Kutch.”
What a small piece of paper ! 16 or 17 names on it ! But the only line of command! - “Leave everything aside; honour, riches, position and get yourself initiated.” A certain devotee went of the village to take a bath in a river. There he received this letter. On reading the letter, he started off for Jetalpur without informing his family. Another devotee, a merchant, was at his counter and was selling provisions. When he received this letter, he left the shop as it was, and took the way to Jetalpur. The customer says, “O merchant, where are you going?” But the merchant had no ears for them.
The third devotee received this letter while he was at the dinner table. At a moment, he washed his hands and started for Jetalpur. The fourth devotee was about to proceed to his field. He received this letter on the way. Instead of going to his field, he took the way to Jetalpur. The fifth devotee, Ajaybhai Patel, had come in a marriage procession to the wedding of his maternal nephew. He was standing at the door of marriage relatives. He was riding a horse worth two thousand rupees. At this time, he received the letter, he read the letter, left the house and started on foot for Jetalpur. His nephew questioned him, “Uncle,where are you going?” “I have received Maharaj's letter. So I am leaving.” replied the uncle. The nephew was the bride-groom. He wanted to see the letter. The uncle showed him the letter. The nephew read it. He said, “Oh, my name is also there”. Saying this he removed the small fruit tied round his wrist on occasion of marriage (Mindhal) and the marriage dress he wore. The uncle wanted to know whether his name was there. The nephew said, “Maharaj, after writing particular names, has ended the letter with etc after the particular names. Hasn't he? This `etc' includes my name also. Why has Maharaj added `etc' if he wanted only the named persons?”
He, thus, leaving aside the idea of marriage, took the way to Jetalpur. All went to Jetalpur and were initiated. Then they started for Bhuj, Kutch. Maharaj was staying at Gangaram Mala in Bhuj. A big gathering sitting before Him. Sunderji Suthar was also one of them. Their Maharaj said suddenly, “A new group of Paramhansa, my staunch followers is coming just now. Then He got up, the whole gathering also got up. Hardly had they gone a mile or so, when they saw a group of devotees. Maharaj fell at their feet on seeing them. tears of joy rolled down their cheeks. The devotees from Bhuj were dumfounded. They thought, “who could these saints be that on seeing them at a distance, Maharaj fell at their feet?” Meanwhile the Sadhus arrived. All the Sadhus fell at Maharaj's feet. Maharaj raised them up and embraced each one of them. He introduced each one them to Sunderji and others, Maharaj knew all the new-comers, but one was a stranger. Maharaj asked, “Who is this person?”
“He is my nephew. He has removed all marriage dress of a bridegroom and straight away, removing the marriage has turned himself a sadhu. You had not mentioned his name in the letter. But he taking `etc' in your letter includes his name, has come here.” said Ajaybhai. Everyone was astonished on hearing this and shouted, “Well done... Well done..!” Maharaj also gave him a warm embrace. Now Maharaj eyed at Sunderji. “Did you see them all? Have they cared for name, fame or honour?”
Sunderji had nothing to say. All eighteen newcomers were from rich and honourable families. Some of them were Princes. Sunderji choked with emotion and fell at Maharaj's feet. Maharaj kept all these eighteen saints with Him for a few days gladly.”
One day in the midst of a meeting, Maharaj declared, “Everyone of you has one command from me. As with the first command, you left everything behind and turned yourselves into saints, my second command is that you throw away these saffron-coloured robes and become grihasthas (house-holders).”
There was dismay on their faces. They implored, “O Maharaj, why do you send us back into that boiling cauldron?”
“You are very dear to Me. Still, I want you to do many deeds. Hence, this command. Don't worry, you shall never be affected by any worldly bond. I am here to protect you”, said Maharaj There was no other way out. All were ready to obey Maharaj's command, but one of them did not obey it. That was the eighteenth saint, Ajaybhai's nephew who left his own marriage ceremony. He said, “I am not one of those. I belong to `etc' . Where's `etc' in your command? So, I am a sadhu and will remain a sadhu.” “Oh! Wonderful!”, said Maharaj and granted him sainthood. Maharaj gave him a wonderful name of Adbhutanand Swami.
This lesson is a wonderful example, which shows Maharaj's firm trust in His devotees. And devotees unwavering faith in Maharaj. You will never find such an example in the history of the whole world.