Wednesday 6th August marked another milestone in the lead up to the Grand Opening of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived back in London following vicharan in North America, where He travelled to satisfy the spiritual desires of the disciples residing there. Here in London, He will preside over the final preparations for the Mandir and Festival.
Early morning rain threatened to dampen the high spirits of the gathered disciples, as they eagerly awaited Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s arrival at Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Complex. Right on cue, the clouds disappeared and the entire Mandir site was bathed in glorious sunshine, as Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band emerged to lead the welcome. Joining them were the newly formed Cadets – a thirty strong troupe of aspiring members of the Pipe Band, some as young as three. They lined up in perfect flanks within the flanks of their senior counterparts.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce entered and the Band led it through the Complex towards the awaiting hundreds. The Band saluted Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, and the sponsoring disciples performed welcoming poojan to Him. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and the mandal of sants then entered the temporary Mandir hall in Abji Bapashree House, where they offered aarti to Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Jeevanpran Abji Bapashree and Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa – all beautifully adorned in garments made of chandan (sandalwood paste).
All the disciples then made their way to the near-complete, magnificent new Mandir, where Acharya Swamishree Maharaj presided over the Maha Pooja ceremony to sanctify the soon-to-be-opened Mandir. The Grand Opening now felt imminent after months of tireless preparation by Sants and disciples. The Maha pooja marked the start of the final push towards the Festival. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and the sants then took prasad lunch before resting.
The evening Sabha took place in Purushottam Mahal. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj made a grand entrance, beautified by the chandan robes He was adorning. The entire atmosphere was filled with the fragrance of cooling, soothing sandalwood from Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s garments as He made His way to the stage to preside over the congregation. It was during this short sabha that sants described the remarkable feat of endurance that was Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s tour of North America. Mandir’s were opened, disciples’ homes were graced by His presence, and He delivered numerous Ashirwads all over the region – in total, He travelled over 8000km by road in a matter of days to fulfil these duties; astonishing for anyone, but nothing short of miraculous for a 72 year old. A poignant reminder of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s tirelessness and unparalleled dedication. The sabha ended and everyone had Prasad dinner in celebration of this auspicious occasion.