Purchase of the Land
Lord Swaminarayan Himself established the supreme Swaminarayan Satsang on this earth. As time went on, an increasing number of people had begun to misinterpret the principles of Lord Swaminarayan to suit their selfish and egotistical motives. The true, supreme teachings of Lord Swaminarayan, so eloquently taught by Jeevanpran Bapashree, were being erased from all existence.
To overcome these obstacles to worshipping the Lord, Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa decided that it was time to establish a separate Centre. From here, the true supremacy of Lord Swaminarayan could be freely understood and the teachings of Jeevanpran Bapashree could be preserved. Lord Swaminarayan's true disciples could pray in peace and harmony.
Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree created the Satsang Mahasabha for the reformation and protection of the religious and administrative affairs of the Satsang. Sadguru Shree Ishwar Bapa decided that is was time to establish a permanent home for the Satsang Mahasabha.
To fulfil all these reasons, Sadguru Shree Ishwar Bapa inspired the creation of the Maninagar Headquarters.
Laying the Foundation Stone
On Samvat 1998 Magsar Sud 15 (Wednesday 3rd December 1941), the foundation stone ceremony of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Maninagar was performed.
The murti of Purna Purushottam Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan and Shree Harikrishna Maharaj were seated on a raised platform under the same mango tree where Shree Ishwar Bapa stood in meditation.
The foundation stone ceremony was conducted by the Brahmin Shree Jaganathbhai Joshi. Shree Ishwar Bapa performed the Mahapooja ceremony accompanied by Jeevanpran Swamibapa, Sadguru Shree Vrundavandasji Swami, Baldevdas Parekh, Hirjibhai Chawda and Chandrasankar Trivedi. Throughout the entire ceremony, Shree Ishwar Bapa kept Jeevanpran Swamibapa in a prominent position, on his right hand side. This was to signify the huge responsibility that he was giving to Jeevanpran Swamibapa. Following the Mahapooja, Shree Ishwar Bapa and Jeevanpran Swamibapa went down into the dug hole and laid the first foundation stone.
Sadguru Shree Ishwar Bapa's Ashirwad
After placing the foundation stone, Sadguru Shree Ishwar Bapa went back to the mango tree and showered His divine ashirwad on the congregated devotees.
Shree Ishwar Bapa said,
Today, I am experiencing immense delight. The command that our beloved Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree gave to me has been fulfilled. Jeevanpran Bapashree said to me in confidence, 'Swami, the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika sah Vachanamrut is ready. In it, the true philosophy of Lord Swaminarayan in unveiled. But Swami, when we are no longer here, others will try to destroy this supreme knowledge. We must not allow this to happen. In order to sustain and preserve this divine scripture, we must establish a headquarters from which these teachings can flourish.'
I then prayed to Jeevanpran Bapashree, 'With your divine blessings and inspiration, I, your humble servant will do precisely as you command. But Bapa, you are showing signs of old age, who will look after this supreme Headquarters? Who will spread these supreme tenets throughout the world?'
Jeevanpran Bapashree became extremely pleased and said, 'Swami, in the Vachanamrut it says that there is no reason for Us to come onto this earth. However, We will again create a reason to manifest and return to this earth. The preservation of this headquarters will be the reason for Our return. We will come in the form of a Sant to protect this divine place, and you will lay its foundation stone.'
Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Abji Bapashree, my beloved guru Sadguru Shree Nirgundasji Swamibapa and I, together with infinite muktas, will remain here forever, at this very site. We consider this site to be our home.
This place is equivalent to Akshardham.
The supreme cause of all incarnations, the creator of all, Purna Purushottam Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan will remain here forever.
From this site, innumerable souls will attain atyantik moksh.
All those who humbly offer their service and devotion at this site will remain prosperous, in both this life and the next.
The true glory of this site is indescribable; whatever we say about it, will never be enough to describe its significance.
The foundations we have laid today run deep, all the way to the Earth's core. They are so unyielding that no one can ever loosen them.
The supreme principles of the Karan Satsang and the divine unadulterated teachings of Lord Shree Swaminarayan will thrive from here and be spread to all regions of the world. Many grand festivals will be held here, at which hundreds of thousands of devotees will gather.
Shree Ishwar Bapa's then explained the significance of this particular site.
Whenever Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan travelled from Khokhra Mahemdavad to Aslali, Jetalpur, etc, He used to pass through this very land. He sat and rested under this very mango tree. On one such occasion, Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan and His eminent sants, Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa, Shree Brahmanand Swami, Shree Nityanand Swami, Shree Muktanand Swami, Shree Sukhanand Swami, Shree Mahanubhavanand Swami, Shree Premanand Swami, Shree Devanand Swami, Shree Nishkulanand Swami, and other sants, and Bhaghuji, Dadakhachar, Surakhachar and other disciples were passing through here. Shreejimaharaj sat under this mango tree. The Lord's mare, Manki and the other horses drank from the lake (this lake no longer exists. It was situated where the Brahm Mahol now stands). Mulji Brahmchari brought some water from the lake and offered it to the Lord.
Surakhachar humbly asked the Lord, "Oh Maharaj, why is this particular tree so fortunate? Every time You pass through this land, You always remember it and sit beneath it. And only then do you continue your journey." Shreejimaharaj replied, "My dear sants travel everywhere, enduring hardship, suffering and abuse. Despite all these obstacles, they unfalteringly continue to spread My teachings. Still, there are many that do not understand My supreme principles. In order that My teachings are spread throughout the entire world, a unique and unparalleled Centre will be established on this land. I will remain here forever, with My divine muktas. The continuous stream of atyaantik moksh will flow from here."
As soon as Shree Ishwar Bapa said these words, a brilliant lustre emanated from the murti of Shree Harikrishna Maharaj. Within this divine light, the entire sabha witnessed Lord Swaminarayan seated upon a magnificent throne. Everyone became immensely delighted to have witnessed this divine darshan.
Shree Ishwar Bapa continued,
You must have resolute trust and faith, and selflessly and loyally serve this site, with your mind, body and wealth. If you do this, you will experience the eternal bliss of the Lord's murti in this very life. These are the divine blessing of Lord Swaminarayan Himself.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa will be responsible for this site. Have trust in Him, and serve Him well.
Having described the immense glory of the Maninagar Headquarters, Shree Ishwar Bapa concluded his ashirwad. He then performed vartman to the mango tree and distributed prasad to the entire congregation.
This special mango tree, under which Lord Swaminarayan used to sit, is the precise location from where Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj gives darshan today.