The moment that everyone had been anxiously waiting for finally arrived! The first day of the Golden Jubilee festival of Bhuj Mandir had arrived.
At 7.00 am, the disciples who were the benefactors of the main scripture recitals of the festival performed the mahapooja ceremony. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj then performed the initiation of the scripture recitals.
At 8.00 am Sants, disciples and the three bands of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan gathered near Bhuj Town Hall. The three pipe bands, Shree Muktajeevan Pipe band London, His Holiness Swamibapa Pipe Band Nairobi and Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band Bolton marched in harmony to lead Acharya Swamishree to the assembly marquee in Jubilee Ground. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj presided on a regal, golden chariot, which was pulled by Sants.
The welcoming procession was led to the main, grand entrance to the assembly marquee, which had been decorated in a truly spectacular manner.
After the welcoming ceremony, His Holiness Acharya Swamishree bestowed his divine blessings to all and explained:
The sweet breeze of devotion can be sensed today in Bhuj. This is because, exactly fifty years ago, due to the divine love and requests of Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, and Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, came to preside at the centre of Bhuj. In celebration of this auspicious occasion, the sants and disciples of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan have organised this seven day, golden jubilee festival.
As facets of the festival, disciples are holding recitals of our sacred scriptures with the sole wish to please the Lord. Seeing such devotion in His loving disciples, the merciful Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa has become immensely pleased with everyone and is showering His unsurpassed blessings upon all.
The Lord becomes displeased when He sees people with no devotion. For that reason, in Gadhada First Section Chapter 37 of the Vachanamrut scripture, Lord Shree Swaminarayan says, “If someone serves Me, but does not have any devotion for God in his heart, then I cannot feel any affection for him, even though I may try. I have a liking for him those who have devotion to God in their hearts and who understand that God Himself is graciously present upon the Earth. They understand that this God and His devotees eternally exist with a form, but they would never accept God and His devotees as existing without a form. I like those who have such a firm conviction in them with regard to God existing with a form, whatever ordinary type of person they may be. Such persons are not controlled by the orders of Kaal (time), Karma (deeds) and Maya (infatuation). And if someone does not have such convictions, then My heart will not have any affection for them, even though they may have other virtues such as renunciation (tyaag) and detachment (vairagya).”
Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree says in Chapter 97 of his Varta, “A person who has devotion disregards the yearnings of his own mind. He eliminates the perversions of lust, anger, greed, ego, attachment etc. from himself and surrenders his soul to the eminent Satpurushs towards whom he develops a firm and resolute affiliation and love. Becoming a true aspirant of salvation, he wishes to please the Lord and His Satpurushs in whichever way that he can.”
Such is the immense strength of faithful, loving devotion. A person should perform the various forms of devotion with diligence and for the sole purpose of pleasing the Lord. He should have no other desire or want of reward for his devotion. Such selfless devotion combined with adherence to the religious decree is paramount for a soul to progress towards salvation.
Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa says that a person who wants to attain true greatness must perform devotion. He cites the example of Naradji. Although he was the son of poor servant, due to his devotion, he rose in status and became renowned as the mind of Lord Krishna, i.e. the one who always knows his wishes.
Some people say that they will perform ‘this much’ devotion, and then that will be enough or sufficient. Such thinking is merely frivolousness of the mind. The mind is playing games with the soul and inhibiting its ascent towards the Lord. The mind is such that it will never be satisfied, but will yearn for more and more. Such thoughts make a person forget God.
Devanand Swami says in his religious prayer, ‘Ensure that you do not become so attached to wealth, property, children or family etc. that you forget your obligations to God. Only when true devotion flourishes in your mind and soul, will you be able to recognise the great strength that exist s within you.’
At the present time, we are the fortunate ones who have attained the almighty Lord Shree Swaminarayan, because, we are the ones who are lucky enough to have the divine darshan of Swamibapa, through whom Lord Shree Swaminarayan presides. Swamibapa gave us all his divine love and as a result, we have developed a firm affiliation towards him and are performing selfless devotion to please him. And that is why today, all of Swamibapa’s children are celebrating this Golden Jubilee at his lotus feet.
Let us pray that such religious fervour remains forever within us, and that we do not forget the great fortune of attaining the shelter of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. With such spirituality and true morality in our minds, have mercy and grant us the divine intelligence and strength, so that we continue remaining devoted to the almighty Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
The inauguration of several new publications, including the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Granth Illustrated Edition, Shree Bhaktirasamrut, Kutchma Karan Satsang, Jeevan Pushpa and new CDs, including Bolo Ghanshyamji Bolo re, Shreeji Mere Rakhval and Shreeji Swayam Murti Bapashree was performed by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
On behalf of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, various charitable donations were given by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Cow sanctuaries in numerous villages of Kutch, and other charities, were donated a total of 15 lakh rupees.
The afternoon sabha started with the scripture recital by Sadguru Shastri Shree Sarveshwardasji Swami followed by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s divine ashirwad:
The sweet fragrance of devotion continues to pervade everywhere. To please the Lord during this Golden Jubilee Festival, disciples from all regions of the world have held over 600 scripture recitals.
The recitals of Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vato were held today. This is sacred scripture of Shree Abji Bapashree’s religious sermons, he explains that a person whose has unified his mind with the Lord cannot be influenced by mere, worldly aspects. This is because he considers such yearnings to be insignificant in comparison to the divine bliss of God. His sole purpose in life is to earn merit, which he regards as pleasing the Lord and His Satpurushs. The manner of his appearance, behaviour, speaking and thoughts, will all be aligned to God.
In Gadhada First Section Chapter 37 of the Vachanamrut scripture, Lord Shree Swaminarayan says, “A person who has the devotion of God in his heart understands that God Himself is graciously present upon the Earth, and furthermore, His devotees are also graciously present around Him. At the time of final destruction, this is precisely what remains, whereas everything else is destroyed. They understand that there is no other creator of this world, except for this God, whom they have met.” The Lord says that He likes those who have such a firm conviction, even though he may be an ordinary kind of person.
In Chapter 97 of his Varta, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree defines the meaning of this ‘ordinary kind of person’. He explains, “The behaviours of such an ‘ordinary kind of person’ are not aligned with that of others in the world. They consider such a person to be strange and atypical with normality. Their clothing, diet, character and behaviour may be regarded as being abnormal and inferior. But actually, because he has become united with God, all his activities are being performed by the Lord Himself.” Such a true disciple starts to contemplate about his beloved Lord as soon as he awakens. He performs the rest of his daily duties only after his prayers and worship. Someone who remains dedicated throughout the day to God does not become affected by the grime of the material world, because due to his continuous, dedicated worship, he remains pure and unadulterated. It is such adherence to the religious decree, morality and spirituality that protects him. Such a person has no need to bathe in the sacred Gomti river in order to purify himself. He does not have to go to the sacred pilgrimage sites, such as Kashi or Kedar for that purpose either. Due to his contemplation of the Lord, he remains aware that Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa are continuously with him. For that reason, he remains in the close proximity of the Lord at all times. He regards all his deeds to be performed by the Lord.
Seeing such a devoted person, others may try to emulate him and behave as he does. Without having the qualities or virtues, a person may act like someone else, but his true character will be revealed one day; it will never remain concealed. By a person’s words and manner of thinking, his true worth can be elucidated. Superficially, a person may appear to be good by speaking cleverly chosen sentences and behaving with decorum in public. However, whether he truly is a beloved and devoted disciple of God will become apparent to all in the future. If a person’s mind is pure, his thoughts and words will be chaste but never offensive.
Furthermore, wealth that is amassed through fraud, deceit, treachery or illicit behaviours will lead to unrest in one’s family, mind and soul. Eventually, the mind will be torn apart by itself and any virtues that exist within the person will be destroyed.
All the happiness and distress that a soul experiences are dependent on the person’s own mind. By keeping the mind unsullied and spiritual, the soul will continue to progress. The mind is the forecourt of the soul, just like a front yard leads to a house. If a forecourt is tidy, the home too will be clean and orderly. Therefore, by keeping your mind sacred, Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa will come and preside within the Mandir that exists in the form of your mind.
On this special occasion, let us pray to the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, that our minds remain affixed to the Lord and immersed in His divine ecstasy. For that, we will need to remain at His sacred shelter, the home of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. Remain assured that the devotion performed here reaches the sacred feet of Lord Swaminarayan Himself. May we be given the wisdom and understanding to keep that fact at the forefront of our minds forever.
Disciples from Kutch and Gujarat who were the benefactors of Shree Abjibapa ni Vato samuh parayans performed poojan to Acharya swamishree and received prasadi momentos. On this auspicious occasion, the directors and management of Kutch University came for Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s darshan and divine blessings. On behalf of the Organisation, each guest was given appropriate commendation. In addition, the entire teaching staff and management of our own, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Mahila Arts and Commerce College, Bhuj, came to witness the splendor of the golden jubilee festival.
During the festival, the evening performances were to be held in the vast grounds of the RD Varsani Kutchi Samaj.
At precisely 8.30 pm, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived, and the entire audience gave an applause as He took His seat in front of the stage.
The first performance was from the young students of Shree Muktajeevan Arts and Culture Academy London, who performed a splendidly choreographed and coordinated ‘stomp’ in which they used household items as percussion instruments. Incorporating dance, music and humour, the performers enthralled the audience.
Devotional dance performances were given by very young disciples from Kutch. This was followed by a classical dance performance by disciples from Bolton, UK. Directed and choreographed by Saurabh Rajyaguru, young students of Maninagar performed several dances which incorporated humour and devotion. The talented Sants also gave devotional dance performances.
Inauguration of Sciptures and Kirtan CDs
Bolo Ghanshyamji Bolo Re
As a facet of ‘Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Suvarna Mahotsav Bhuj’, this CD and DVD of devotional songs was published on the fourth day of the festival. Inspired by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the music and lyrics of this collection have been made to come alive with accompanying visuals. This is the first publication of this kind published by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. The music and choreography of this compilation was directed by Shree Kirti Varsani and Shree Sanjay Omkar.
Shreeji Mere Rakhval
The Lord is my Protector – ‘Shreeji Mere Rakhval’, was released on the second day of Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Suvarna Mahotsav, which celebrated the golden jubilee of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Bhuj. This compilation contains devotional songs written by eminent Nand Padvi Sants, Sadguru Shree Sarveshwardasji Swami and Shree Vasantbhai Patel. The music of this CD is directed by Bollywood music industry’s Shree Amar Haldipur.
The supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan manifested upon the Earth again in the form of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. Manifesting in Kutch, Jeevanpran Bapashree was instrumental in reforming countless people of the region and leading them onto the path of eternal salvation. This CD was released during the golden jubilee of the establishment of Bhuj Mandir, the headquarters of the Faith in Kutch. The divine episodes of Jeevanpran Bapashree are described through this collation of devotional songs and accompanying narrations.
Kutchma Karan Satsang
The Swaminarayan Faith has flourished in the Kutch region for over 200 years. Accepting the requests of disciples living in Kutch, Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself toured in the region on 11 separate occasions, from 1804 to 1823 AD. Due to the Lord's unsurpassed divine love, countless people living in Kutch were attracted to Him and became devout disciples. The spread of the Swaminarayan Faith has continued in Kutch through the Lord’s spiritual descendents. This scripture, ‘Kutchma Karan Satsang’, is a historical précis of how the Faith was established there, and was preserved and propagated by Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s continuing work for spiritual and social welfare in Kutch is also summarised in the publication.
Sankhyayogi Bashree Monghiba Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa has protected the true, sublime Faith of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and has made it flourish in a remarkable way. Many Sants and disciples gave their physical, mental, and financial support for Swamibapa’s work. Many women were also highly supportive of Swamibapa’s fearless stance to preserve the sanctity of Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s eternal philosophy. Amongst these, the foremost preacher in the female congregation was honourable Sankhya-yogi Shree Monghiba.
By the blessings of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree and the mercy of Jeevanpran Swamibapa, she had developed prominence amongst everyone in the Faith. She had a true understanding about Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree’s true identity, and knew that the very same Bapashree was present through Jeevanpran Swamibapa.
The life story of Sankhya-yogi Shree Monghiba, and a collation of her teachings, is contained in this small book.
Shree Haristavan Kavya With the blessings of Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the collation of devotional prayers composed by Sadguru Shree Sarveshwardasji Swami, named Shree Hari Stavan, has been in publication for many years. As new prayers were written, part 2 was published by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan.
Shree Haristavan Kavya is an updated, combined edition of these prayers, in which the glory of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, and Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, has been sung in a truly splendid manner.
Swaminarayan Charitra Chitra Darshan The delightfully divine episodes of Lord Shree Swaminarayan are portrayed through beautiful drawings in this publication. Captions about each story are provided to give the background. There is an English phrase, ‘a picture says a thousand words’. In this manner, the travels of Lord Shree Swaminarayan around the length and breadth of India, His deeds for the reformation of society, the establishment of His Faith etc. are retold through illustrations.
Jeevan Pushpa A flower is such a truly splendid creation of God, which has fragrance, softness, beauty and colour. Imagine a flower that has all these other than just one virtue, fragrance. If it did have an attractive scent, people would smell it again and again and seek pleasure from it. Even God could be adorned with garlands and robes made of such beautiful flowers.
The same is true for our Jeevan Pushpa – the flower that exists in the form of our life. The human body may have charisma, charm and beauty, but if it does not have good virtues, it will not be liked by others. More importantly, it will not be liked by God. The value of such a flower, i.e. a life without decency, morality, ethics and spirituality, is infinitesimal. Children who do not develop and blossom with these virtues will, rather than being an asset to their family, society and nation, be a burden. They cannot flourish into upstanding, honourable, trustworthy individuals without imbibing good qualities into their life.
Such teachings of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj are collated in this Jeevan Pushpa publication, which is written in Gujarati and English editions. Implicitly adhering to their divine words of advice will not only yield true happiness in this world, but also thereafter.