Hundreds of disciples and the wider public alike lined the streets on this, the first day of the Shashtipurti (60th anniversary) Mahotsav in Ghanshyamnagar. The day began with His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj seated on a golden chariot that was drawn by disciples from the forecourt of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Ghanshyamnagar to the Sabha Mandap, a short distance away. This all formed part of an eye-catching procession through the streets Ghanshyamnagar. The otherwise unbearable sweltering heat was thankfully accompanied by a cool breeze.
A special welcoming dance was performed by the young disciples of Maninagar and Kutch as Acharya Swamishree entered the Sabha Mandap, which escorted Him to the stage and Sinhasan.
Acharya Swamishree showered His divine Ashirwad on the congregation, which was filled with disciples from the UK, Africa, US, and Australia in addition to those from Ghanshyamnagar and the immediate Kutch region. People had travelled from far and wide to celebrate this auspicious festival. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree’s Divine Ashirwad
We are all gathered here, at the divine assembly of the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, to celebrate the Shashtipurti festival in this village of Ghanshyamnagar. It was only yesterday that the Shashtipurti festival in Kera concluded. In this manner, the tradition of celebrations and religious festivities remains alive at Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, just as it was 200 years ago when Lord Shree Swaminarayan was present in a human form upon this Earth.
Disciples aspiring to please the Lord are holding a recital of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika, two recitals of Swaminarayan Gadi Granth, and 76 recitals of Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vato.
Bapashree explains that the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan is omnipotent, meaning; He is able to do whatever He wills. He is an independent entity. His power and strength is derived from Himself, but no-one is more powerful than Him. All the incarnations of the past and present, all the deities, and everything else in the entire universe, is created and sustained, by none other than Lord Shree Swaminarayan. At times, the Lord shows Himself to be reliant on others. However, this is merely to provide the opportunity for loving disciples to serve Him. He does this because of His unsurpassed mercy.
On one occasion, Bapashree became ill. Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa said to him, “Give me that illness, so that you can continue to preach.” Bapashree replied, “We both are able to do whatever we will. By my will, I have called this illness. At times, we appear to be ill, at others remain well. We appear, and then disappear, in accordance with our wishes. If a king wore clothes such as yours and sat amongst you, no-one would be able to recognise him. In the same manner, we appear in this guise of a human and remain amongst the people, but actually, we are not like them. Infinitely many souls are granted eternal salvation by us.” Such is the greatness of the Lord who we have been fortunate to attain.
In order to protect and separate the true disciples of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree from the irreligion, and to preserve and protect the true philosophy and supremacy of the Lord, Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa came to Kutch and established Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandal in this village. We are celebrating the festival today in village, which has a great significance in the history of our sublime Karan Satsang.
On this occasion, may we pray to the Lord, “You have protected and saved us from irreligion by bringing us into Your fold. You have given us a home at your shelter, at the resort of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. May we remain here forever, at Your lotus feet, forever pleasing You more and more.”
Following Acharya Swamishree’s ashirwad concluded, various donations were presented to charitable and social enterprises, including to the Shree Madhapur Leva Patel and Shree Sarve Seva Sangh community organisations, and to Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Mayla Arts and Commerce College in Bhuj.
Everyone took Prasad lunch at the conclusion of the first day’s morning proceedings.
Evening - Devotional Dance
The first evening of the Shashtipurti Mahotsav was programme of devotional dances performed by Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s Sants as well as disciples. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree arrived at the Sabha Mandap at 8pm – precisely as scheduled – to the awaiting crowd who were eager for His darshan.
The evening commenced with a devotional dance performed by the immensely talented Sants, and then followed a series of dances by young disciples from neighbouring villages, Maninagar as well as London, in addition to a couple of further performances by Sants. Acharya Swamishree bestowed His darshan and encouragement throughout the evening.