His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree bestowed His darshan at the home of the sponsors of the second day’s recital (of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi scripture). He then mounted His golden chariot and disciples drew it to the Sabha Mandap, a short distance away – all the while followed by disciples carrying offerings in the form of chaabs. Hundreds of disciples and locals alike lined the narrow streets along the route of this procession, eager for the divine darshan of the Lord.
Acharya Swamishree presided on His Gadi shortly after arriving at the Sinhasan in the Sabha Mandap, where He received the gift chaabs and blessed the recital-sponsoring disciples, before bestowing His divine ashirwad on all.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree’s Divine Ashirwad
Today is the second day of our festival to celebrate 60 years on the temple in Ghanshyamnagar. The purpose of celebrating festivals like this is to awaken dormant souls from the deep sleep of worldly aspects, and allow them the opportunity to become conscious about the true joy and divine delight that exists in the proximity of the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
True devotion can be seen in all the events being held as part of these festivities. Disciples are showing the talents in all sorts of different ways. However, you must realise that these skills are gifts from God. Do not become arrogant about your performances. Otherwise, your devotional practices will all have been futile.
Souls tend to have an intense infatuation (moh) for whatever they do not have. They do not value what they do possess. Infatuation is the disorder that occurs within the mind. When infatuation increases within a person’s heart, the disorder in his mind also intensifies. The discernment between what is appropriate and inappropriate does not then remain. Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa continuously tour from village to village, town to town, city to city, and country to country, to show souls the truth and reality of a virtuous life.
Such a truly worthwhile existence is attained at Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, at the eternal home of Lord Shree Swaminarayan. Disciples are able to gain the divine strength, devotion and wisdom of the Lord and gain His blessings. Whilst still in this mortal body, the bliss of the Murti can be enjoyed here. Such is the reward of faithfully pleasing the Lord through devotion, using your mind, body and wealth, at Shree Swaminarayan Gadi.
Following Acharya Swamishree’s ashirwad, He inaugurated the Nitya Niyam kirtan compilation CD. The Sabha concluded and everyone took Prasad lunch.
Evening - Samarpan Sandhya
The second evening of the Shashtipurti Mahotsav had been eagerly awaited by not only the disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, but also the wider public. Ever since it was announced in the media that the renowned Bollywood actor, Govinda, was to attend the event to please Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree, hype and excitement had been brewing in the surrounding towns and villages.
The evening is titled “Samarpan Sandhya” – an evening to give all of oneself to God. In the Vachanamrut, Lord Shree Swaminarayan has decreed that the ultimate kind of devotion (bhakti) is Prem-lakshana-bhakti (love-filled devotion), which encompasses nine individual types of bhakti. This nine-fold devotion is also referred to as Pativrata (chaste) bhakti – the kind of infallible devotion that a virtuous woman has towards her husband. The final of these nine kinds of devotion is “Samarpan bhakti” - offering all of oneself; wealth, body and soul to the Lord. Tonight’s auspicious occasion was organized to inspire such Samarpan devotion towards the Lord.
Govinda is a world-renowned and multi award winning Indian actor as well as a former politician. Debuting in 1986, he has appeared in over 120 Bollywood movies. Such is his worldwide appeal, he was voted as the tenth greatest star of stage or screen of the last thousand years by a recent BBC poll. In addition to acting, he is a member of the Indian National Congress Party, for whom he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Mumbai North Constituency of Maharashtra in 2004. Govinda opted out of politics in 2009 to continue his film career.
The night’s event took place at a venue called Hill Garden. It is the only venue of its kind in Gujrat, and is a hugely popular regional as well as national attraction in Bhuj. It was inaugurated by the chief minister Mr. Narendra Modi in 2004 as part of the wider Bhuj development after the 2001 earthquake and includes an amphitheater, boating lake, fairground rides, restaurants and museums amongst its many attractions.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree arrived in spectacular style to a capacity crowd of over 5000 – that was just the present audience; the event was being shown on mainstream Indian TV as well as webcast around the world. Acharya Swamishree entered through the top of the soundstage, presiding in UFO-like aircraft. As the petals of the aircraft opened to reveal Acharya Swamishree’s Murti adorned in magnificent crystal-brocaded garments, the audience broke out into rapturous applause at the sight of this amazing darshan, and the many press photographers’ flash bulbs flashed with frenzy. Acharya Swamishree disembarked His aircraft and was greeted by Govinda – he was truly blessed as Acharya Swamishree gently danced with him in rejoice of this special evening. Govinda later exclaimed, “I have been in many film over the years…but I have never had the privilege of dancing with such a Guru [as Acharya Swamishree]!”
The renowned music producer and director, Shree Rajeev Mahavir, was offered a prasnta paagh, both for his efforts of conducting tonight’s programme, but also for producing the “Tari Murti Pyaari Pyaari” kirtan CD that was released later this evening. The performances started with some classical musical compositions, before renowned singers performed kirtan bhakti – several of their kirtans taken from the earlier-inaugurated CD. Fuller details of the event’s proceedings can be found within the photos, above.