Powerful, yet short breaths were pumping through her nostrils. Her mouth was gaping slightly, trying to capture any extra air she could. The wind she had been cutting with her speed had given life to her mane. Half the night had passed and she had been galloping at lightning’s pace the whole time. Her every stride sent tremendous amounts of force to every muscle in her body. The drops of perspiration being blown off her coat were leaving a misty jet stream in her wake. At a time when any other horse might have fallen from exhaustion and whined in pain, she ran on. Not even the thought of complaining crossed her mind because for her, this was her destiny. She was carrying the one being she had prayed to serve for births on end. The only thing she wondered was, “What must my rider be thinking? How perplexed must his usually smiling face look tonight?” She had not been raced like this in a long time. He must be in an unusual hurry.
He was the capstone of existence yet here he was, arched over Manki’s back, breathlessly counting every second. To increase his speed he had leaned forward two hours ago and since then had not even thought of leaning back. Sure, his muscles ached; in fact, they screamed for him to let them relax. While he had the power to hear anything, anywhere in the cosmos, tonight he could hear nothing but his white kediyu being whipped by the wind. His lips had never had need to curve into anything other than the most heart-melting smile, but tonight his face was home to a tight-lipped look of urgency. Those eyes that had never mastered squinting or straining were today focused sharp, straight ahead – Jhinabhai was direly in need.
Hundreds saw him that night, dashing 250 km from Panchala to Kheda. He was riding all night to demand garrisons from the British to protect Jhinabhai’s lands. However, as the loose end of his turban streaked past them, only those precious few who truly recognized him thought, “There he goes tonight – Swaminarayan – the master of the universe, but the servant of his devotees.”
Indeed, he was just that. In Akshardham, he was sitting on a divine throne, emanating a peaceful and divine light to infinite galaxies. In all of their heavens, the avatars were worshipping him and waiting eagerly to be graced with his presence. Across the cosmos, devas were waiting to fulfill his every will. Aksharbrahma, the being infinitely more powerful, infinitely greater than any of these others, was his eternal companion and servant. The force of Maya that bound all of creation was simply one of his many incredible strengths. He needed nothing. He wanted nothing. He had no desires of the kind that man is so accustomed to. There was never pain, never stress. There was no worry. Frankly, there were no emotions – other than eternal contentment, peace, and joy. This was why he was the source for every other being’s peace; he was the origin of all happiness. He had heard the prayers of his devotees and he had decided to take birth on this Earth to free them from the pains of Maya and fulfill their every need. From the very pinnacle of existence he had taken on the form, the hardship, the limitation, the pain, the strain of one of the most mundane existences. He did this not because he was compelled. This was his independent choice. While being the master of the universe, he had chosen to enslave himself to the needs and spiritual desires of his devotees.
And he played his part well…