Thursday 21st August 2014, saw the second day of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening Festival. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj began the days festivities with darshan of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in the magnificent golden sinhasan and gave darshan to the disciples on whose behalf the parayan were being held. Acharya Swamishree was seated in an ornate golden chariot which the disciples pulled along Townsend Lane to the Sabha Mandap, led by Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band. The chariot was followed by disciples bearing murti and wonderfully decorated gifts on behalf of the parayan.
Following the performance of the parayan vidhi (rituals) and a salute by Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, Acharya Swamishree received eminent guest from the immunity, these included, Lesley Harrison and Sorsha Roberts from the Alkaptonuria (AKU) Society were also warmly welcomed by the trustees of the temple, and received a generous donation to their charity on behalf of Acharya Swamishree from Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Santhan.
Thereafter Acharya Swamishree blessed everyone with his divine ashirwad in which he explained:
The air all throughout the city of London is carrying a messaging saying, “All salvation-seeking souls, awake! Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa, the granter of eternal salvation, will be arriving in this new mandir to guide you onto the path towards salvation!” We are celebrating the second day of the Mahotsav announcing the Lord’s arrival.
Yesterday, sants and disciples put on a lively bhakti sangeet show to please the Lord. In honor of this Mahotsav, disciples set a goal to write 10 million mantra; however, through their willpower and the strength the Lord gave them they exceeded 75 million mantra! Similarly, disciples set up campaigns to run grand opening banners on buses and billboards, announcing this new temple all throughout London. Disciples participated in charity events, such as sky diving, swimming in Lake Windermere, etc. to raise money for St. Luke’s Hospice. All of these are examples of pure devotion, and the Lord is extremely pleased with all of the disciples.
Everyone all throughout London, including news sources such as BBC, is saying that Bapashree’s mandir is majestic. Three or four months ago, it seemed that the construction of this mandir would not be completed. However, Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa is able to make the impossible possible. He gave strength to the sants and disciples working on this temple’s construction, and it was all completed before the Mahotsav.
This Mahotsav is not only being celebrated by London disciples; it is a Mahotsav being celebrated by the entire Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Parivar. As such, disciples from all over the world have gathered here, and the largest sant mandal to ever attend a Mahotsav outside India is here today.
All of these scriptures for which we have done parayans bring us true happiness and allow us to attain oneness with the Lord. The Lord showers His blessings upon all of the disciples who have selflessly done seva with tann, mann, and dhan for samuh parayans and grand parayans, which are, no matter what size, all “grand” in the Lord’s eyes.
Bhakti, or devotion, is a simple tool. It does not require any special knowledge to operate; all it requires is a pure heart with willpower. Naradji has stated in the Bhakti-sutra, “Bhakti brings fruition in all of our endeavors. If anyone wants to experience permanent beauty, bhakti is the cure for him or her.” Today, people go to extremes and spend much money for medicines to improve their beauty. However, bhakti is free to all, and unlike other medicines which will cause harm in overdoses, any amount of bhakti will yield freshness, awareness, and even beauty. Where can we find this bhakti that yields even the impossible, such as beauty? This type of bhakti can only be found in the vicinity of our Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and under the shelter of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. Under this Gadi, all of your endeavors will be achieved via pure bhakti.
As such, this new mandir in Kingsbury has been built to allow pure bhakti to flourish. Swamibapa’s wish, when He came to the UK for the first time in 1970, was to have a shikhar-bandh mandir in London. He and the Lord guided our efforts and inspired us to perform seva to make His wish a reality. The Lord was with us from initially finding this land all the way through completing construction.
Let us revisit the experiences of Aaron Saheb, the collector in Ahmedabad during Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s time on this Earth. When the Lord visited Ahmedabad upon Aaron Saheb’s request, Aaron Saheb also prayed to the Lord to visit his home. The Lord lovingly obliged, and Aaron Saheb performed heartfelt seva to the Lord in his home. He then prayed to the almighty Lord to give him the strength to provide happiness to all the individuals living in India and in his territory. The Lord explained to Aaron Saheb that the Lord and His sants’ blessings will always remain with those who endeavor to perform good deeds. Deeds done with good morals will yield fruit; deeds done amorally will lead to destruction. Aaron Saheb was pleased to receive these blessings and prayed to the Lord to visit Ahmedabad time after time again so that he may continue to receive these divine blessings.
Just as Aaron Saheb was able to experience the Lord’s divinity in India, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa has inspired mandirs and Mahotsavs all throughout the Lord so that disciples everywhere may experience this divinity and the ecstasy of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi.
Let us all pray to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa to give us the knowledge, strength, and devotion to perform seva in this mandir and to live a life of morals, all the way through to the very last breath we take.
Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury - Grand Opening - Day 2
Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj is the current spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. He is the heir to Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj, and sixth in the lineage of ascetic Acharyas, which descends directly from Lord Shree Swaminarayan.