Exactly 66 years have elapsed since Jeevanpran Swamibapa installed the divine Murti of Lord Swaminarayan – Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj in the centre of the Karan Satsang, Maninagardham. To celebrate, a 3 day festival, from Monday 15 February to Wednesday 17 February 2010 is being held.
Shree Swaminarayan Temple Maninagar
Monday 15th February 2010
The devout disciple, Sura Khachar lived in Loya. By the grace of the merciful Lord, he was quite wealthy, and due to the profound love and dedication for God that he and his wife had, the couple used that wealth for religious and charitable purposes. One night, Sura Khachar locked up the safe in his home, containing an extremely large amount of money and jewellery. However, he accidentally left the keys on the safe. By coincidence, that was the night that a gang of thieves had planned to enter Sura Khachar’s home to steal all the money. The thieves saw the key and could not believe their luck. They hurriedly tired to open the safe, but it would just not open. They tried to break the lock, but still, they had no luck. After several hours of trying, they abandoned their plans and fled as the time for sunrise was fast approaching. When Sura Khachar and his wife realised what had happened, they made a pledge to dedicate all that money to God, as it had been the merciful Lord Shree Swaminarayan who had saved it all from the thieves. From their donation, a grand Shakotsav was held in Loya.
To demonstrate to everyone the importance of performing humble services, Lord Swaminarayan Himself cooked an aubergine curry (Shak). He used 18 Mahns (1 Mahn (unit of mass) is equivalent to 20 kg) of fresh ghee for just the Vaghar. Into this, He placed cut aubergines, enough to fill 18 large carts. Lord Swaminarayan put in the salt, spices, sugar, chillies etc. and made a delicious curry. He then served the food Himself to the sants and disciples. He had asked Nityanand Swami and the other sants to make sweet ladus, so Nityanand Swami served those. However, the Lord had instilled a divine, delicious taste into the aubergine curry, and consequently, everyone asked for more and more of it, and refused to take any of the ladus. A grand festival was held in this manner in the village of Loya.
On Monday 15 February 2010, Acharya Swamishree re-enacted that episode in Maninagardham. Acharya Swamishree made an aubergine curry, just like Lord Swaminarayan had done in Loya, using 18 Mahns of ghee in the Vaghar. He then served that delicious food to the sants and disciples. The divinity experienced by the sants and disciples in Loya was felt by everyone in Maninagardham. A special devotional song, narrating the details of the entire event, had been composed for this Shakotsav. The entire audience danced with joy as the song was heard.
On this occasion, the Agriculture Minister, Shri Bhupendra Sinh Chudasama, Gujarat Health Minister, Shri Jaynarayan Vyas, and representatives of the Kutchi Leva Patel Samaj Education and Medical Trust were present for the divine blessings of Acharya Swamishree. Through the guests, Acharya Swamishree presented a charity cheque for 76 lakh rupees to the Kutch Leva Patel Samaj Hospital.
For the Shakotsav, 1400 kg of millet was used to make the rotla. The shak was made using 480 kg of ghee and 700 kg of aubergines, into which 160 kg of fresh chillies were added. Setting aside differences in class and stature, people of all faiths sat together to eat the Prasad. It is estimated that over 12,000 people took Prasad during this grand Shakotsav.
Shree Sadguru Din – Acharya Swamishree Pitharpan Day
Tuesday 16th February 2010
Falgun Sud 2 is celebrated as Shree Sadguru Din. This is the special day when in 1972, Jeevanpran Swamibapa succumbed to the prayers of the sants and disciples, and emerged from His 61 day continuous meditation. It is also the day when in 1979, Jeevanpran Swamibapa installed Acharya Swamishree to be His heir, and subsequent Acharya of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi.
During the early morning, sants and disciples performed the Shree Sadguru Din rituals of devotional singing, recitals of the Lord’s sacred name and meditation.
After the Shangar Aarti, a procession was held from Shree Swaminarayan Tower to the Auditorium. The concluding ceremonies for the scripture recitals were held.
Students of Shree Muktajeevan Arts and Commerce College in Vaghjipur who had excelled in their various subjects were presented with awards by Acharya Swamishree.
Students of Shree Ishwarsadvidyashram – our boarding school in Maninagar, had recently taken part in various karate competitions, and obtained gold and silver medals for their skilled demonstrations. Some of these students demonstrated their skills before the audience.
A student of our Swaminarayan Science College has recently received an award for body building. He too was commended by Acharya Swamishree.
On this occasion, a special blood donation session had been held, during which 67 donations were made. Acharya Swamishree and dignitaries lit a flame to signify the official start of the blood donation session.
Earlier this year, Shree Muktajeevan Cricket Tournament was held in the village of Bavla. Acharya Swamishree presented a cup to the winning team, and the runners up.
After Acharya Swamishree’s divine blessings, sants and disciples performed the panchamrut snan ceremony to commemorate 31 years of Acharya Swamishree’s investiture as spiritual leader of the Karan Satsang. Sants and disciples then performed aarti.
Grand Patotsav Ceremony
Wednesday 17th February 2010
Exactly 66 years have elapsed since Jeevanpran Swamibapa installed the divine Murti of Lord Swaminarayan – Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj in the centre of the Karan Satsang, Maninagardham. That was in the original, bungalow Mandir. Eleven years later, in 1955, Jeevanpran Swamibapa built a grand, Shikhar-bandh Mandir, in which He ceremonially installed Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shree Harikrishna Maharaj and Shree Sahajanand Swami Maharaj. Subsequently, in 1980, Acharya Swamishree installed the divine Murtis of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree and Jeevanpran Swamibapa in the main altar of the Mandir.
In accordance with the ancient Vedic rituals, Acharya Swamishree performed the Patotsav ceremony of the Lord immediately after the Shangar aarti. He then performed the ritual bathing of the Lord with water, saffron, milk, honey, ghee, yoghurt and perfumes. This is the only one day in the year that disciples are given the opportunity of the Lord’s darshan when He is unrobed. Acharya Swamishree then sprayed the consecrated water over the sants and disciples. Annakut thaar was offered to the Lord on this special occasion.
Everyone congregated in the auditorium, where an assembly was held. Acharya Swamishree showered divine blessings to everyone present, in which He explained the glory of the Lord, and the divinity of Maninagardham. He explained the proper manner of social interaction with each other, so that we remain contented and in harmony with our family and with disciples.
At the end of this 3 day festival, disciples from all over the world returned to their homes, with divine memories of the Lord firmly instilled into their heart and mind.