The blistering morning heat on the fourth morning of the Mahotsav was an ominous sign for the Nagar Yatra to come! However, as Acharya Swamishree emerged from the home of the principle sponsor of the Mahotsav and of the recital of the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika sah Vachanamrut, clouds gathered to provide some much-needed shade. The disciples offered garlands to Acharya Swamishree whilst he was presiding on His chariot, while the gathered crowd enjoyed His blissful darshan.
Disciples then drew Acharya Swamishree’s chariot to the Sabha Mandap, through the streets of Kera village where, as per every morning, many hundreds of eager disciples had lined the streets. Once on the stage, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree received the ‘chaab’ offerings from the sponsoring disciples, before presiding on His Gadi to conclude the scripture recitals. Everyone then received divine Ashirwad from Acharya Swamishree.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree’s Divine Ashirwad
Yesterday evening everyone took the opportunity to perform poojan and aarti to the Lord. Our Gurudev Jeevanpran Swamibapa has given us a key tenet to live by: “Remain as God intends for you to; witness what He shows you; and do as He commands.” People today tend to aspire for what others have. If someone else has a large house, nice car, latest mobile phone, servants, fine clothes, they will want that even if they can’t afford it and have to take out a loan.
Lord Shree Swaminarayan has stated in the Shikshapatri, “My disciple should keep a record of his income and expenses, and not spend beyond his income; otherwise he will face great difficulty.” This is the only reason why we should pray to God to only give us the wealth that we deserve.
Whenever Lord Shree Shree Swaminarayan or his sants used to visit the Kutch Region, Sada Ba would always hold religious discourses at her house and the Lord would stay there. Whenever the Lord would stay at Sada Ba’s house, the Lord would have a bath in north of the village where two rivers met, and reside at Sadaba’s place to hold religious discourses.
To further spread the Lord’s supreme knowledge, Lord Shree Swaminarayan manifested in the Village of Vrushpur in the form of Jeevanpran Bapashree. Whenever Bapashree used to visit Kera, he would always come and visit Sada Ba’s house as this was a holy place where the Lord Himself resided.
In the village of Kera, the chief’s son made a superstitious Sadhu his guru and used to try to brainwash all the villagers that Lord Shree Swaminarayan was not the true God. Once, when Saduru Shree Nirgundasji Swamibapa was visiting Kera, this Sadhu challenged Nirgunbapa about the Lord’s supremacy. Nirgunbapa referred to the Lord’s supreme qualities from the scriptures. Listening to this the Sadhu was unable to say anything further.
The morning’s sabha concluded, and everyone received Prasad lunch.
The spectacular sight of four grand elephants, carrying aloft golden carriages for Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, amidst thousands of disciples and onlookers, created a magnificent scene at the start of the Nagaryatra. The roundabout at the entrance to Kera village – the intersection of Shree Swaminarayanbapa Road, Shree Abji Bapashree Road and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Road – was the gathering point. Kirtans filled the atmosphere as Acharya Swamishree arrived, mounted His elephant, and the parade commenced.
Starting at the High School, the Nagaryatra travelled up the main high street in Kera. All along the route, the townsfolk came out to experience this wonderful darshan, attracted by the booming music and blaring bands. Disciples and locals alike took the opportunity to perform aarti to the Lord as the elephants marched elegantly by. Some even fed the elephants – another form of donation as today, these elephants were more than mere animals, but were instead the fortuitous servants of the Lord.
Fireworks began to light the darkening sky as the Nagaryatra approached Shree Swaminarayan Temple, where it was due to conclude. As His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree dismounted His ride and entered the Temple – carried aloft by loving disciples – the fireworks built to a fantastic crescendo that entirely drowned out the noise of the jubilant crowd. As Acharya Swamishree entered the Temple to perform the evening aarti and niyams, those inside needed only to look up at the painted ceiling to be reminded of similar such parades of yesteryear; one painting depicts Jeevanpran Swamibapa presiding in a golden carriage atop a magnificent elephant, with Acharya Swamishree in Swamibapa’s attendance in the rear seat of His carriage.
After the Nagaryatra, everyone had Prasad dinner
Day 4 Morning - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Shashtipurti Mahotsav, Kera
Day 4 Nagaryatra - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Shashtipurti Mahotsav, Kera