Inspirer: His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj

   
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Shree Swaminarayan Temple - Delaware Murti Pratishtha & Diamond Tula
 
Delaware Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav
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The final day of the Mahotsav, the day for which everyone had anxiously been awaiting, Sunday, July 6th, 2014, had finally arrived. All of the Mahotsav preparations over the past six months, all of the hard work and seva contributed by all of the disciples, and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree and sants’ tireless efforts would be paying off on this day. On this day, Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa would officially manifest at Shree Swaminarayan Temple Delaware and make it their newest eternal abode on this earth. Furthermore, Shree Harikrushna Maharaj would be weighed against one kilogram of real diamonds for the first time in the history of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan.

Acharya Swamishree, sants, and hundreds of disciples from all over the world gathered inside the temple at 8 AM. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree concluded the Vedic yagna ceremony and then performed the long-awaited idol installation ceremony (Praan Pratishtha ceremony). One by one, Acharya Swamishree installed the murtis of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in their new home.

Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples then prayed to the Lord to manifest in pratima-roop (idol form) in Bear, Delaware from Akshardham. The Lord accepted their prayers, and from that moment on, Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa bestows His divine darshan and accepts the prayers of all those who come to the Delaware temple just as He does at His divine abode in Akshardham. Cheers and applause echoed from the crowd as Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa announced the Lord’s arrival to the sinhasan. Acharya Swamishree performed the first-ever aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in the sinhasan. 

Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples then proceeded outdoors for the flag-raising ceremony. Acharya Swamishree raised the very first flag of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Delaware. This flag will be changed each Patotsav (temple anniversary), and it will permanently mark the home of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in the state of Delaware. Acharya Swamishree and disciples performed aarti to conclude the ceremony, and Swamibapa Pipe Band performed a salute before Acharya Swamishree was escorted back into the temple. Upon reentering the temple, Acharya Swamishree installed the idols of Shree Ganpatiji and Shree Hanumaji.

Sants and disciples then quickly assembled a grand annkut to offer to the Lord for the first time in the temple. The annkut consisted of various Indian sweets, snacks, and fruit carvings. A beautifully-decorated tiered cake on a magnificent stand was also placed at the front of the annkut. Acharya Swamishree cut a piece of the cake and offered it to Shree Harikrushna Maharaj and the Lord on this special occasion. Acharya Swamishree and sants offered the first annkut aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, and disciples took turns afterwards. Acharya Swamishree performed aarti with all of the disciples.

Acharya Swamishree was then adorned in crystal-embroidered vagha and escorted by disciples and Swamibapa Pipe Band to the sabha mandap for the last time during the Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav. He bestowed His divine darshan upon all the disciples of the congregation as He walked down the aisle, which had been decorated with a beautiful hand-crafted 50-foot long flower carpet. Acharya Swamishree lovingly cast His gaze upon disciples as He gently placed His divine charan upon the fragrant daisies.

Acharya Swamishree was seated upon His gadi, and He blessed two police officers who had come to the celebrations to assure the congregation’s safety during the Diamond Tula with prasad saals.

Shortly thereafter, Acharya Swamishree was up on His feet, and an ornate golden Tula was rolled out onto the stage. It was now time for the first-ever Diamond Tula of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj in the history of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. The momentous occasion had finally arrived.

The beautiful murti of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj was seated upon a miniature throne on one side of the scale. Acharya Swamishree and sants then placed sugar crystals (saakar) on the other side of the scale. The tick mark on the scale slowly began to change position as the weight of the sugar crystals increased to one kilogram. Finally, when the weight of the sugar crystals surpassed the physical weight of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj’s murti, the side of the scale with His idol ascended higher than the other, and there were cries of joy all around. Acharya Swamishree and sants spun the scale around for the entire audience to have the divine darshan of Harikrushna Maharaj’s idol during the Tula. In a similar manner, Shree Harikrushna Maharaj was then weighed against one kilogram of silver, gold, and platinum in the form of bars and coins. Each time the scale tipped from one side to the other, there were ecstatic cries of joy from all over.

The final moment that everyone from all over the world had been eagerly awaiting for many months had come at last. The platinum was removed from the scale, and Shree Harikrushna Maharaj descended once again. Acharya Swamishree and sants then began to gently pour diamonds into an ornately-decorated bowl on the other side of the scale. Slowly, the scales shifted, the physical weight of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj’s murti had been surpassed by the one kilogram weight of the diamonds, the murti ascended, and the cries of joy that were exclaimed exceeded all previous ones. Our beloved Shree Harikrushna Maharaj was now bestowing the most illustrious darshan in His first-ever Diamond Tula. This sight is one that all those in attendance and all those who were watching live will never forget. Acharya Swamishree and sants spun the Tula around for the entire congregation to have this unique, once-in-a-lifetime darshan of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj’s Diamond Tula. While doing so, Sant Shiromani Shree Dharmavatsaldasji Swami sang two kirtans composed specially by sants and disciples to describe the remarkable occasion everyone was witnessing. Several sants accompanied his singing with their talented playing of musical instruments.

The first kirtan was set to the tune of the hit kirtan from Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey’s Murti Pratishtha Mathosav in 2001, “Murti Pratishtha No, Rudo Avsar:”


Aavyo aavyo aavyo, rudo avsariyo
Delaware ne aangane aavyo
Ke hove hove...
Diamond Tula no avsar rudo aavyo

Swamishree ni prem doriye,
Padharya Shree Ghanshayam
Ke hove hove...

Swamishree ip rem doriye
Padharya Bapashree
Ke hove hove...

Swamishree ni prem doriye
Padharya Swamibapa
Ke hove hove...

Aavyo aavyo aavyo, rudo avsariyo
Delaware ne aangane aavyo
Ke hove hove...
Diamond Tula no avsar rudo aavyo

This kirtan brought back many fond memories of the first ever Murti Pratishtha in the United States and helped form new memories from the most recent, which had just happened on this day.

The second kirtan was set to the favorite kirtan of the Mahotsav, “Rumzum Rumzum Chaale Harivar Rumzum Rumzum:”

Delaware ma harivar keri Diamond Tula nirkho
Nirkho re... Nirkho re...
Nirkho re Diamond Tula nirkho
Ke darshan karta
Nayone... Nayone...

Ho... Sone, platinum e vahalo tolavya
Nitya vahalido diamond vade tolave
Nayone... Nayone...
Nirkho re... Nirkho re...
Delaware ma harivar keri Diamond Tula nirkho
Ho Diamond Tula Nirkho...

Acharya Swamishree was thoroughly enjoying the music and the whole moment; He was clapping and dancing along on stage. The congregation sang the kirtan and clapped along with Him. The atmosphere was absolutely electric. The crowd was in uproar to witness this divine darshan of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj and Acharya Swamishree during the Diamond Tula. No one will ever forget this. Everyone's happiness was evident in their glittering eyes and gigantic smiles. Memories from this event have already been permanently engraved in the hearts of all attendees and those who watched the live broadcast.

The two kind gentlemen from New York who had provided the diamonds for the Tula, Mr. Nitinbhai Shah and Mr. Upendrabhai Patel, were then blessed by Acharya Swamishree and given prasad boxes and Mahotsav mementos.

Acharya Swamishree then performed the first Tula aarti to Shree Harikrushna Maharaj.  All twenty-two sants who had accompanied Him for the celebrations joined Acharya Swamishree for aarti and took a picture together with the Tula to capture the moment. Afterwards, Acharya Swamishree was seated upon His gadi. He showered His final blessings for the Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav and Diamond Tula in Delaware upon the entire congregation and all of the sants, disciples, and children of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan throughout the world.

Acharya Swamishree stated that upon the humble request and prayer of Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa came from Akshardham and will reside in this beautiful temple until the sun and moon shine on this planet. The doors of eternal salvation are now open in Bear, Delaware, and all individuals who earnestly come to this temple seeking the Lord’s divine murti and ultimate salvation will certainly achieve it. Through Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s efforts and the Lord’s blessings, yet another temple has opened its doors in North America.

Next, Acharya Swamishree noted that many months of planning and preparation as well as sleepless nights had gone into making this Mahotsav happen. Acharya Swamishree explained that Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa are extremely pleased with all the sants and disciples who performed any means of seva, big or small, in preparation for and during this Mahotsav. Each and every form of seva, from organizing the Tula, to performing devotional songs and dances, to constructing the temple and the sinhasan, to monetary donations, to creating the Mahotsav stage and nagaryatra chariot, to serving food, to cleaning, to making annkut items, to making the flower carpet that lines the center aisle, to coordinating the audio and video for the event, and much more, has all been noted by the Lord and has been written in His personal diary and will remain there forever. All the sevas performed with heart, body, and wealth in the Karan Satsang turn into diamonds that grant eternal salvation. We are simply a reason for performing any form of seva; the doer of all the actions and the inspiration for all seva is the Supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself.

Further, there is no other Lord like Lord Shree Swaminarayan, and without understanding His true form, eternal salvation is unattainable. Lord Shree Swaminarayan, who is very difficult to be achieved by infinite sages, deities, Ishwars, etc., has so graciously and easily given His true form and murti to us. He has taken this same true form in this temple, so we should lovingly perform His darshan and offer any means of seva that we possibly can.

Lastly, Acharya Swamishree provided blessings on the Diamond Tula. We have all witnessed the historic occasion of the first ever Diamond Tula of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj. The darshan of this divine murti we have all witnessed is truly remarkable. While we all realize the Lord and Shree Harikrushna Maharaj are “atul,” or incapable of being weighed, through this Tula, we have attempted to signify that the Lord is sweeter than sugar crystals (saakar), more valuable than silver, gold, and platinum, and more precious than even the most precious gem known to man – the diamond. Just as we put our strongest efforts and seva into making this Mahotsav possible, we should live each and every day by the Lord’s commands and should aim to perform more and more seva as each day progresses so that we may become as precious as diamonds to the Lord. We should aim to shine as brightly as the brightest of diamonds in the Lord’s crown in Akshardham. With this divine message, Acharya Swamishree concluded His divine blessings for the Mahotsav.

After Acharya Swamishree’s blessings, Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples jubilantly sang along one more time to the kirtan “Rumzum Rumzum Chaale Harivar Rumzum Rumzum.” Then, every single one of the diamond donors was then given the laabh to perform aarti to Shree Harikrushna Maharaj seated upon the Diamond Tula and Acharya Swamishree seated beside the Tula on His gadi. All of the diamond sponsors and parayan sponsors also received prasad paags, Mahotsav mementos and memorabilia coins, and blessings from Acharya Swamishree.

The disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal, Mid-Atlantic, USA, then came on stage with a grand idol of Shree Nilkanth Varni standing upon a large diamond. They presented this special memento to Acharya Swamishree. Just as Shree Nilkanth Varni traveled through India spreading the supreme religious philosophy over 200 years ago, Acharya Swamishree has traveled all over the world doing the same. Without His blessings, guidance, and inspiration, none of the mandal nor temple's endeavors in making this Mahotsav as phenomenal as it was would have been possible. Further, it is because of Acharya Swamishree's divine and tireless efforts that in just ten years since the establishment of the mandal in 2004, a beautiful temple has now been opened. Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree are the cause of all of the temples and divine fruits of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan throughout the world.

In addition to the presentation of the memento, disciples from India and the United States presented Acharya Swamishree with a beautiful long garland made out of lotus flowers, on which each and every petal was covered in our mantra “Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.” The disciples had hand-written our mantra on each and every petal.

Afterwards, several sants and disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Delaware made remarks about the temple and Mahotsav preparations and celebrations. They thanked everyone for their hard work and contributions. By the divine grace of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, everything had come together for a fantastic celebration in the end.

Acharya Swamishree was then escorted out of the sabha mandap and to the temple for lunch. Immediately afterwards, all in attendance were served delicious mahaprasad in the tent adjacent to the temple, and this concluded the three-day Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bear, Delaware, and the Diamond Tula of Shree Harikrushna Maharaj. Because of the Acharya Swamishree and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa's divine efforts, there is yet another home for Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa equivalent to Akshardham in North America. Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa will forever bestow His divine darshan and grant salvation to all those who visit His abode in Bear, Delaware.

The state of Delaware is known for many things, including being the first state to sign the United States Constitution, being the headquarters of many global firms and companies, and, much to the pleasure of locals and tourists alike, tax-free shopping. It will now be known as an eternal home for Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.

This Mahotsav was one that no one will ever forget. With Acharya Swamishree’s love and grace and Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa’s every-flowing mercy, the Delaware Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav and Diamond Tula of Harikrushna Maharaj were an immense success. Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal, Mid-Atlantic, U.S.A. and the members of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Delaware are extremely thankful to the sants and disciples from all around the world who travelled from far and near and contributed their seva to make the Mahotsav a success. Above all, the mandal is extremely thankful to Acharya Swamishree for His blessings, guidance, and inspiration throughout the planning and execution stages of the Mahotsav. Nothing would have been possible without everyone’s collective and collaborative efforts and the Lord’s divine grace. The many fond memories from this Mahotsav and the Lord’s divine murti have danced into and have been engrained in our hearts forever just as the favorite kirtan from the Mahotsav echos, “Chatakthi chaale manohar, vasi manada ni andar..." Jay Shree Swaminarayan.


   
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