During these auspicious months of Chaturmaas, the official start of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Bolton Suvarna Mahotsav was marked by the Mahapooja ceremony that was held on the morning of Wednesday 17th August 2022. Just under one hundred young devotees aged 7 to 30 gathered to take part in this special ceremony held to begin the celebrations for the Golden Jubilee.
The Mahapooja ceremony is a special act of devotion and prayer, devised by Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s spiritual heir, Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. Immediately after the supreme Lord had withdrawn His human appearance, the ceremony was first performed and led by Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. Through performing this devotion, Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa alleviated the sorrow from the distressed Sants and disciples caused as a result of the Lord’s departure. Since then, this Mahapooja ceremony is performed during special festivals, scripture recitals, blessings and celebrations.
The educational Mahapooja was an opportunity for young devotees to experience a poojan led by 2 eminent Sants, who performed the rituals of this auspicious adoration ceremony whilst the young disciples followed their instructions. Alongside the Sants narration, a full English explanation was given with each step of the Mahapooja to embed the spiritual knowledge and true meaning and importance of each ritual. To further develop the Yuva Satsangis understanding, a powerpoint slide with English translations and visual representations was shown throughout the ceremony.
As per the Shikshapatri, the Mahapooja involved “chanting the Janmangal or Sarvamangal Stotra, whilst offering flowers, sacred tulsi leaves, rice etc to the Lord”. Part of the ceremony was performed in the presence of Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj and all young disciples were fortunate enough to receive His Divine blessings.
The evening of Wednesday 17th August 2022 saw the much awaited official opening ceremony of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Bolton Suvarna Mahotsav to commemorate 50 years since Gurudev Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s first vicharan on English Soil in 1970 and the flourishing of our satsang and community in Bolton since.
The festivities commenced at 5pm, with a grand opening ceremony where we were honoured to welcome 30 dignitaries and special guests including the Deputy Lieutenant, The Mayor Of Bolton, various Councillors, local MP’s and members of the of the Interfaith Council. Our opening ceremony showcased a performance by our very own Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band Bolton in the form of a parade within Mandir grounds to lead Acharya Swamiji Maharaj and a mandal of Sants into the Mandir. This was closely followed by outstanding dance performances by young male and female devotees to welcome our honourable guests and mark the start of our magnificant celebrations.
At 6pm Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj performed Sandhya Aarti Niyams to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
The start of the Golden Jubilee celebrations continued with an astounding Bhakti Sangeet night of music, devotion and jubilation provided by our very own talented musicians and singers to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. Ved Ratna Swamishree Maharaj taught us that “The art of music is so powerful that it can lead to the purification of your mind and bring peace to it”.
To conclude the evening, a spectacular display of Fireworks was held to mark the end of Day 1 of the 5 day Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Bolton Suvarna Mahotsav celebrations and set the thrilling atmosphere for the days to come.