Mahotsav - Day 1
Thursday 12 February 2009, Samvat 2065 Maha Vad 3
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree commenced the four-day festival in Surat, the Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav, by performing the Mangla Aarti ceremony to the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. Following this, Acharya Swamishree presided on His throne on the stage in the Sabha Mandap.
Acharya Swamishree initiated the main scripture recital of the festival, of the Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika sah Vachanamrut scripture, and then gave His divine blessings to the thousands that had gathered in the congregation. He then proceeding to an annex near the main Temple, where He inaugurated the Yagna ceremony. Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London was waiting outside as Acharya Swamishree exited and presided on an ornately decorated gold palanquin. Having saluted Acharya Swamishree, Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band led Him to the entrance to the Sabha Mandap, where He was greeted and saluted by His Holiness Swamibapa Pipe Band Nairobi. The Band then led Acharya Swamishree to the stage.
Several eminent guests were also welcomed to the first day of the festival, and were duly saluted by His Holiness Swamibapa Pipe Band. The guests included:
Ranjeetbhai Gilitewala – Mayor of Surat.
Nanubhai Vanani and Kishorbhai Vakabhai – Gujarat Dhara Sabha
Mukeshbhai Dalal – Chairman of the Standing Committee
Bhimjibhai Budhana, Mansinghbhai Patel and Babubhai Jirawala – Leader, President and Vice President of the Surat BJP political party.
Prafulbhai Panseria, Arvindbhai Godhani and Nitinbhai Bhajiawala – Surat Councillors.
Bharatbhai Satsiya – President of the Sadar Patel Education Trust
Jeerubhai Dhamelia – Primary Education Committee
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree then showered His ashirwad on all.
- We are all here to celebrate the installation of the divine Murtis of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in this magnificent new temple in Surat. However, many disciples have been unable to come to this festival, so let us pray to the Lord to keep with Him during these festivities, all those disciples from across the world.
- The name of this city, Surat, is befitting in five ways:
1. ‘Su’ means ‘pure’ and ‘rat’ means ‘blood.’ That is to say, Surat is home to those with a pure blood, i.e. good moral people, who are bereft of malevolence.
2. ‘Rat’ also means ‘love’ and so the disciples of Surat have a pure love for the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan.
3. ‘Surat’ means ‘steadfast’; no matter the difficulties they encounter, the people of Surat remain steadfast in their contentment, and do not become despondent.
4. ‘Surat’ also means ‘attentive,’ i.e. the disciples of Surat are always attentive to the commands of God.
5. ‘Sur’ means ‘melody.’ The disciples of Surat sway to the melody of the Lord.
- Temples such as this are for the betterment of oneself, to strengthen one’s upasana and fortify one’s devotion.
- Many people ask, ‘in this day and age, what need is there for temples?’ A child asked such a question to Jeevanpran Swamibapa, “Why can’t we make do with believing the Murtis we have at home to be pratyaksha, and serve them? The temple is far and would take over half an hour for the round trip. Moreover, because we would have to travel by car, we would incur the cost of fuel.” Swamibapa replied, “My child, why do you go to school everyday? How much time to you waste on the journey to and from school? You know how to read, and since the teachers will teach you the same material contained in text books, why do you not sit at home and just read those texts? You would save travel costs as well as tuition fees!” The child replied, “You can’t gain an understanding merely by reading. Only when a teacher teaches you, can you understand.” Swamibapa then said, “In the same way that you have to go to school and be taught by a teacher in order to gain understanding, a person has to go to temple in order to acquire good values and spiritual knowledge. He has to associate with sants. In the same way that millions are spent on building schools, it is absolutely appropriate to spend millions on building temples.
The morning’s events concluded with everyone taking Prasad lunch.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree inaugurated the recital of the Bapashree Ni Vato scripture on the first afternoon of the Mahotsav.
Granting access to education, and establishing educational centres, was an one of Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s many societal endeavours. Acharya Swamishree has followed in these inspirational footsteps and has continued to build kindergartens, schools and colleges, particularly in areas where education will be granted to those who would not have otherwise have access to it. For example, Acharya Swamishree has recently established Shree Muktajeevan Art and Commerce College, with a girls’ hostel at the College opening next year. The afternoon’s guests have all been instrumental in the dissemination of education, and were recognised by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan for this. The guests included:
Dr R. Zanzarkya of the Jilla Shikhshandhi
Dr C.Z. Shah and Dineshbhai Bhatt – President and Trustee respectively of the Jeevan Bharat Trust
Babubhai Radia – President of the Sarkal Patel Vidhya Bhavan
Arvindbhai Bhalada – President of the Viskhatan Vidya Bhavan
Vanjeebhai Chawda – President of the Anuspuri Janjani Mochana
Arwindbhai Bhalada – President of Vishvidha Bhavan
Acharya Swamishree honoured the guests with prasad, paaghs and flower garlands, and then showered His divine blessings on all.
On behalf of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree donated water coolers to the Border Station at the India-Pakistan border at Wagha.
The afternoon sabha concluded with the disciples on whose behalf the scripture recitals were being held, performing aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
The first evening of the Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav took place at the grounds of Dharuka College, nearby to Shree Swaminarayan Temple Surat. The evening’s events were an eclectic range of music, dance and ballet – all performed by disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi from across the world and Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s beloved sants.
At 8pm, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree arrived at the College site, where he was greeted by the combined Band of Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London and His Holiness Swamibapa Pipe Band Nairobi. The Bands saluted Acharya Swamishree and led Him into the congregation, where thousands had turned out to see the evening’s events.
The full itinerary of the performances was:
The honoured guests on the evening were K.D. Vaghani (President of Dharuka College) and Dhirubhai Gajera (Secretary of the Gujarat Congress). K.D. Vaghani, inspired by the activities of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Santhan, charged only half the regular rental for the use of the College grounds only a year ago when Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Shatabdi (centenary) celebrations took place in Surat. Overwhelmed by the love, devotion and divinity he has since experienced at the shelter of Shree Swmainarayan Gadi, he has opted to waive all charges and has donated the use of the College grounds for the duration of the Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav.
- Prem Murat Ghanshyam
- Ame Shreeji Na Barak
- Maninagar Mandir e Bandhyo Hindolo
- Chatak Ranjeeli Rudi Chaal
- Musical rendition from Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London
- Man Ko Nirmal
- Bamboo dance
- Vadanam Madhuram
- Dhol fusion with His Holiness Swamibapa Pipe Band Nairobi and
- Sakhi Jone Shobha Ghanshyam Ni
- Vande Mataram
- Dhol fusion with Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London and Swamibapa’s sants
- Kndhose Kandhe Milake
- Jay Jay Swamibapa.