On the 15th October 2016 Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Bolton celebrated Sharad Poonam.
Although Sharad Poonam is typically celebrated as a harvest festival, it has a particular spiritual significance within the Swaminarayan Sampraday.
Sharad Poonam reminds us to be alert to our internal enemies such as passion, lust, anger and greed. These traits must be reflected back whenever they try to enter us. Just as untainted silver perfectly reflects the lustre of the moon, we too must perfectly reflect of the Lord's wishes. Blemishes on that silver cannot perfectly reflect moonlight, and our minds and hearts too cannot perfectly abide by the Lord's commands if they are blemished by those internal enemies. Our hearts should be as pure as the light from tonight's full moon in order for the Lord to reside there. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa explains that this is the time to be truthful and honest with oneself and consider truly how faithful we are to the Lord's will.
Such is the spiritual importance of Sharad Poonam, the last full moon before the New Year. This is why the decoration in Mandirs on this day comprise of utensils that reflect the moonlight - in India, these elaborate designs are set up outside, often in the forecourts of Mandirs where they disperse the moonlight all around.
The evening concluded with everyone receiving doodh pawa (sweetened milk with flattened rice) - the traditional Prasad for Sharad Poonam celebrations around the world.