Whatever has happened, it was with the will of the Lord. Keep faith that whatever He does, it can only be for our best, even though this may be difficult for us to understand now
(His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, 26th January 2001)
28/01/01 1423 GMT
His Holiness Acharya Swamishree has recently left Bhuj and is on His way back to Maninagar. He is expected to arrive late tonight.
In the past few hours, His Holiness Acharya Swamishree has visited all the Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan Mandirs in Kutch and given darshan to all our satsangis. By the grace of Lord Swaminarayan, all these Mandirs have remained intact. Very little if at all any damage has occurred to any of our Mandirs, with the exception of Bhuj Mandir, details of which have been given earlier. Only a handful, at most, of our satsangis have been slightly hurt. Many are living in tents on the outskirts of their villages, for safety from further quakes, rather than because their homes have been demolished.
Out of the Kanbi inhabited villages, Mirzapur and Sukhpur have received the most damage. The Nar-Narayan Dev Swaminarayan Mandir in Sukhpur has been extensively damaged and at the present count, 8 sadhus who resided there have died. There has been a lot of damage in Rampur. Dahisara Nar Narayan Dev Mandir has incurred extensive damage.
Many of the non-Kanbi inhabited villages in Kutch have been severely affected.
We will receive more information when His Holiness Acharya Swamishree reaches Maninagar. At present there has only been limited contact between Bhuj and Bombay. All this information has been received from our sants in Bhuj through Bombay.
28/01/01 0708 GMT
After 17 hours of journey His Holiness Acharya Swamishree reached Bhuj temple in the early hours of Sunday morning to inspect at first hand the devastation that has fallen to Kutch. Although this is a danger zone area HDH Acharya Swamishree has disregarded his own safety for the benefit of his haribhaktos and the indigenous people of Kutch at large.
By the grace of Lord Swaminarayan only some damage has occurred to our Bhuj mandir including damage to the sinhasan.
The murtis of Lord Swaminarayan and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa were not effected but the murti of Jeevanpran Bapashree and Shree Ganpatiji has been damaged. It is been confirmed that no sants or devotees has been injured in Bhuj mandir.
Unfortunately there has been extensive damage to the Nar-narayan Dev Swaminarayan temple in Bhuj and some sadhus and haribhaktos have been hurt.
Most of the buildings and houses in Bhuj has either been demolished by the earthquake or damaged to such an extent that they will have to be pulled down. There are still strong aftershocks occurring which are being felt in Maninagar and Mumbai.
Reports from Madhapar suggest that many of our haribhaktos are living in the tents and shelters outside of the village.
HDH Swamishree has directed that Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan sants and haribhaktas setup relief camps in and around kutch. These will be erected immediately offering shelter, food, clothing and medical assistance.
The Kadi mahotsav which was to be held from the 1st to the 5th February 2001 has now been postponed.
As of yet there is no confirmed news from the villages around Bhuj.
This page will be updated as and when there is more news.
The earthquake that struck Gujarat on Friday has caused mass destruction to a wide area around the western region of India. News of the exact damage is limited due to the damage to all the communication links. Hopefully this will be restored soon.
This NEWS BULLETIN page will be updated as soon as more information becomes available. If anyone manages to make contact with the affected areas and has any further news, please e-mail the information to tantri@SwaminarayanGadi.com so that this page can be updated.
At the time of the Quake
His Holiness Acharya Swamishree was giving darshan in Kadi, Mehsana. He performed the flag hoisting ceremony on the huge shikhars on the newly re-built Mandir and returned to the main Mandir hall. The santos offered thaal to the Lord and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree sat in front of the Lord and performed maansi pooja. It was at this exact moment that the earthquake struck. Just before the vibrations were felt, a sant noticed that the water in the Lords water cup was not still. Some of the sants were on the roof of the Mandir. When they realised that an earthquake had struck, a few ran down to request that His Holiness Acharya Swamishree should leave the Mandir for safety. His Holiness Acharya Swamishree replied, I will not leave the Lord and go outside! Whatever will happen to God will happen to me as well. Immediately, His Holiness Acharya Swamishree started chanting the dhoon of the Supreme Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa. The sants that came to call His Holiness Swamishree realised that He was adamant and followed His example. Even the sants that were still on the roof came down and sat down to join in with the dhoon. After a few minutes, the shaking subsided but the swirls in the Lords water were still visible for a few minutes more.
There was damage to a few buildings in Kadi, but the Temple structure was unaffected.
Immediately after the earthquake had subsided, His Holiness Acharya Swamishree left for Maninagar.
Destruction in Gujarat
All the news stories have narrated the grim news of mass destruction throughout the Western side of India. Thousands have been killed and homes of many more have become uninhabitable.
In Ahmedabad, 108 houses have been completely flattened. In Maninagar alone, 17 large buildings were razed to the ground. Many more have had major structural damage. But by the grace of the supreme Lord, no damage occurred to Maninagar Mandir, Smruti Mandir, or any of the buildings in the Mandir complexes. With the exception of Bhuj Mandir, all our other Temples, Ashrams, Schools, Hospitals, Guest Houses etc. and all our Sants have survived unscathed.
There have been unconfirmed reports that some damage has occurred to our Mandir in Bhuj. But, no sants or satsangis have been hurt. The extent of this damage will be given here as soon as the news is available.
The majority of the destruction occurred in Kutch, where the epicentre of the quake occurred. All the major roads into Kutch are blocked with fallen trees. The major route into Kutch, the Surajbari Bridge has also been destroyed. All the electricity generators have received damage and the telecommunication masts have all fallen. As a result, there is still very little reliable information about Kutch and its current condition.
Emergency Relief Operation
By the inspiration of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan was the first non-government Organisation to commence the emergency relief work to aid the injured and homeless. Several others have now also commenced providing aid.
Our Sants themselves are involved in digging out survivors from fallen buildings and in clearing the major routes into Kutch.
Food is being distributed to all hospitals and clinics that are providing medical aid to the survivors.
Since the earthquake, over 15,000 people have been fed in our Maninagar Mandir alone.
Vital medical assistance centres, offering medicines, bandaging and the facilities for recuperation have been set up.
Blankets and warm clothing has been distributed to those who have become homeless.
Blood donation camps have been set up at many of our Mandirs. All our Sants and many of our satsangis have already donated their blood. This has been dispatched by the Government Medical Authorities to where it is most required.
His Holiness Acharya Swamishree has Himself led a convoy of vehicles loaded with food, clothing, and medical aid right into the heart of the destruction - into Kutch.
The convoy left Ahmedabad on Saturday afternoon and should arrive by the end of the day. The major route into Kutch has been destroyed, so they will use the long rough route through the Raan of Kutch.
The Indian Military has put-up blockades at all entrances into Kutch, restricting entry. However, His Holiness Acharya Swamishree has been given special dispensation, allowing Him entry into the district.
His Holiness Acharya Swamishree is the only Spiritual Leader who has disregarded His own safety and has entered the region, which has been still classified as a danger zone.
All around the world, disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan have congregated in their Temples and offered prayers for the spiritual welfare of the souls of all those who have been killed in the earthquake and for all those who have been injured and become homeless.
Monetary donations are being accepted to provide for extra relief work in Gujarat. Please contact the Temple in your region for details.
For further public news can be obtained from www.timesofindia.com.
A promise from the supreme Lord Swaminarayan
If any of My disciples are destined to suffer from being starved of food, clothing or shelter, that sorrow will fall upon Me, but not to any of My disciples!