On the 8th of October 2014, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, celebrated Sharad Poonam in Purushottam Mahal, within Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Complex. Hundreds of disciples gathered in the Hall within which a splendid display of steel utensils was arranged in a multi-tier ornament, at the centre of which presided Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. The sabha commenced with the Divine blessings of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa who explained the relevance of the Sharad Poonam to our sansthan.
Although Sharad Poonam is celebrated as a harvest festival, marking the first full moon after the end of the Monsoon season and representing the healing and nourishing powers of the moons rays (as on this day as moon and the earth are very close to each other); for the Swaminarayan Sampraday, the festival takes on a spiritual purpose.
On Sharad Poonam, disciples must be alert that the mundane worldly desires of passion, lust, anger, greed and other internal enemies do not enter within us but are reflected back. Just as the silver reflects the lustre of the moon, we too must be vigilant to be faithful to and true reflections of the Lord's wish and abide by His commands. But, if the silver plates are tainted, the light cannot be reflected. Similarly, if our minds and hearts are marred, the Lord's commands cannot be abided by. Just as the moon is pure, our hearts must remain pure for the Lord to reside there. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa says that this is the time to be truthful and honest with oneself and consider truly how faithful we are to the Lord's will.
Following enlightenment by these divine blessings, disciples took part in raas to please Lord Swaminarayan. A band of musicians sang kirtans and provided entertaining soul soothing music as the devotees danced and performed raas around the murti of Lord SwaminarayanBapa SwamiBapa. Just as the cooling, refreshing moon disperses a tranquil peace, the Lord's divine murti seated amongst the silver ornaments pervade a divine peace within all who came for His darshan.
After raas, disciples performed aarti to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa and received the divine Prasad of the Lord, which was doodh pawa (sweetened milk with flattened rice soaked in it) and bhajia, as is traditional for Sharad Poonam celebrations around the world.