Bharat (India) the divine land sanctified by the foot-prints of the God and his incarnation, the aspirants seeking ultimate liberator, the siddhas, the sages- ascetics and the sadhus practicing penance and adorning it still more is its western region which is called Gujarat where all the five incarnations of Bharat stepped in, made it their field of action and transformed it into a holy place of pilgrimage.
'Aasoj' is a very very small village in the tehsil of Savli, located in a corner of the Vaakal region in the Vadodara district of this holy Gujarat. In this village there lived Gopaldas and Kashiba leading a deeply religious and devout life as it they were the very embodiments of Dharma and Bhakti. In the auspicious morning of Vaishakh Sud 10 V.S. 1990 and Thursday, dated 23-5-1934 a divine male child was born to them. And with the manifestation of this child, the blessing that Brahm Swaroop Shastriji Maharaj has bestowed on this village a few years back - "I will return here with a divine soul who will sanctify this village into a holy place of pilgrimage!" was relived today. As at the time of the child's birth, the sign of zodiac was Virgo, He was named "Prabhudas" so that, wherever called by that name. He would remind the caller of the name of God!
As the family followed the Vaishnava tradition, it was from the beginning, engrossed in the devotion of God and in the service of the saints, and therefore, their house was frequently visited by saints, Maha-mandaleshwars and the Shhankaracharyas of the three monasteries. Thus, ever since His childhood, Prabhudasbhai could attain the affection of and the knowledge from the saints and the Maha-mandaleshwars. He served them with all this heart and got the utmost advantage of them. On many an occasion, He displayed his fascination personality and extraordinary wisdom!
Prabhudas had His primary education in Aasoj itself, there after he went to live with his sister's husband in Anand where he had his secondary education up to Matriculation at Sharda-Mandir School. He then had his college education up to lnter-Science at N.V. Science College, Vallabh-Vidyanagar.
Along with the studies in school and college, Prabhudas used to visit the Hanumanji temple, Lambhvel every evening to perform the Pradakshina. He had so far studied the Bhagwad Geeta by 24 different authors among which four were the English versions! He also went on a pilgrimage to shri Nathji on foot!
In 1953 A.D. Prabhudas came in union with Yogiji Maharaj for the first time in Revandas's Khadaki at the house of Manilal- His sister's husband. It was as though a river had submerged into an ocean!
Prior to this, when He was 14 Years old, the Maha-mandaleshwar of Karnali Ashram had bestowed a divine blessing on Him, "You will come in association with a saint who is Sthitpragna (calm and poised either in joy or in sadness, either in victory or in defeat, either in Profit or in Loss, and what not), who himself is desire less and will make you so, who is free from anger himself and will make you so."
Bramaswaroop Yogiji Maharaj, the reader of each one's mind, caressed Prabhudas's neck affectionately, gave Him a pat on His back, drew His face close to His and whispered in His ears, "Please, forgive us for the mistakes committed by the Swaminarayan saints so far, Lord Swaminarayan has sent us here on to this earth to realize the blessings that your guru bestowed on you five Years back!"
Although Prabhudas had imbibed the Sanskaras of the Vaishnav culture and had cultivated a strong dislike for the Swaminarayan sect, He was so deeply touched by the culmination of the selfless love, compassion without expectation, and egoless-ness of Yogiji Maharaj that His heart was lowered at his lotus feet in total submission, and from that very moment His satsang in the Swaminarayan Sect began and from that very moment too, to live by the injunctions of Yogiji Maharaj become Prabhudas's inherent life.
In 1955 A.D. He was officially initiated by Yogiji Maharaj into the sect. From that time on, Prabhudas used to stay with Bapa during vacation and during festivals, and performed various services like cleaning utensils, sweeping the temple premises, serving meals to devotees, Looking after the facilities of the guests during festivals and shibirs (spiritual seminars), massaging Bapa's back, giving discourses to the youths etc. and thus He looked after eighteen different department of the temple.
From 1961 to 1965, Prabhudas served Yogiji Maharaj as his Personal Secretary, during these years, giving replies to the devotees' letters as per Bapa's suggestions, arranging the programs of Yogiji Maharaj and making accommodation for him, making devotees firmly believe how divine and Supreme soul Yogiji Maharaj is, and many more like these were the duties performed by Prabhudas.
Prabhudas always acted upon Yogiji Maharaj's inclination and served him as sincerely and devoutly as Yogiji Maharaj had served Brahmaswaroop Shastrji Maharaj. Bapa was so pleased with Prabhudas's service with absolute devotion that the-following blessings were spontaneously bestowed by him on Prabhudas at different occasion....
- You will become passionless, and thousands will be made so by you.
- Seva (Devotional service) will be rendered to others by you, regarding them as innocent and faultless.
- You have served us as we served Shastriji Maharaj.
- From today the Knowledge of Brahm-Gyann will spring out from your mind and that spring will keep flowing incessantly.
- All the youths that come in association with you will be made to attain the ultimate liberation by Shastriji Maharaj.
- Whatever volition you make will pervade throughout the whole universe.
- The universal religion will be prevalent through you.
- You will shelter and protect thousands Sadhus.
Yogibapa had made volition to initiate Prabhudas into sainthood at Lakshmi wadi, Manavadar. He fulfill of his volition on the pious day of Vijaya Dashami, in 1965 A.D. by initiating Him as Parshad (the renouncer in white n' white) at the Aksharderi in Gondal, and on the most pious day of the Sharad Poornima, the day of the manifestation of Mul Akshar Murti Gunatitanandswami, Bapa initiated Prabhudas Bhagat into sainthood, Named Him "Sadhu Hariprasaddas," garlanded Him with the garland consecrated by him, and bestowing a divine blessing on Him that He was going to begin and epoch-making mission, Bapa said....
"Listen, all of you! Gunatitanand swami, the incarnation of Mul Akshar Brahma... Lived a worldly life for 25 Years. Than Maharaj Performed a grand yagya, invited thousands of the Brahmins to Dinner and initiated him into sainthood at Dabhan. In the same way, we have also held this festival initiated Prabhudas into sainthood. and the divine musical tunes played by the musical band. As Shastriji Maharaj initiated Pramukhswami who undertook the responsibility of the whole satsang, we expect Prabhudas to become Like Pramukhswami and shoulder the responsibility of the whole satsang, and initiate 51 new youths into sainthood
Our Mahant Swami the son of Manibhai from Anand, was initiated as a saint and he initiated many into sainthood, and is taking utmost come of them, Similarly, Prabhudasbhai, who has new become a saint, will make thousands of youths ekantik. It is a divine blessing from our deri that He will be happy within and make others happy, Many led by Him will attain the Askhardham... that is another divine blessing from our heart...."