On Monday 22nd January 2018, Shree Swaminarayan Mandirs around the world celebrated the 192nd anniversary since Lord Shree Swaminarayan gifted the world His book of holy commandments, the Shikshapatri.
The small book of 212 verses is in fact a great repository of knowledge and advice; the Lord distilled the vast compendium of Hindu scripture in to an accessible and eloquent scripture, and decreed that for a anyone to remain happy in this life, and thereafter, the rules in the Shikshapatri should be adhered to. Within the scripture, it is clearly stated that it is for the benefit of all souls, and so provides a universal framework by which to live ones daily life.
Maha Sud 5 – Vasant Panchmi – is the Hindu calendar date that marks the end of the winter season and start of spring. This was the day that the Lord chose to gift the world with the Shikshapatri. On this day, Shree Swaminarayan Mandirs around the world gather to perform a communal recital of all 212 verses. At Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, members of the congregation brought in their personal copies of the scripture to follow the reading. The younger generations followed the reading on their digital devices, which served as a sign of the times and demonstrated that the scripture is no less relevant and pertinent today, than it was nearly 200 years ago.
On Sunday preceding the anniversary, a special ‘Sinchan Sabha’ was held, during which the participants were divided into age-relevant workshops to discuss aspects of the scripture in a less formal and more interactive way. Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury often holds these dedicated discussion sessions around important topics and occasions, to allow people of all ages and levels of knowledge to appreciate their relevance, understand their importance in the contemporary world, and ask questions that aid their knowledge and comprehension. As importance is it is, merely reading verbatim is rarely enough as a means to assimilate the rich knowledge of our great faith.