Lord Shree Swaminarayan manifested in the auspicious year of 1781. Swaminarayan Jayanti is celebrated by disciples to mark the occasion of Lord Swaminarayan's arrival on earth in His human form. The arrival of Lord Swaminarayan was predicted in several scriptures.
In the eleventh chapter of the Shreemad Bhagwat, for example, it is written:
Krutaadishu prajaa raajan Kalaa-vichchhanti sambhavam,
Kalau khalu bhavishyanti Naaraayan-paraayanaaha.
“The people of Sat-yug, Treta-yug and Dwapar-yug wish to be born in Kali-yug, because it is in this age that the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His Satpurush will manifest.”
Disciples of Lord Shree Swaminarayan are so excited by His imminent arrival on this day, they forget to even eat – that is the sentiment behind fasting on this day. The day passes in reflection and worship.
This evening’s celebrations included Ashirwad, kirtan bhakti (devotional singing) and an hour-long dhoon – chanting the Lord’s supreme name. In Maninagar-dhaam, a 24 hour dhoon is held. All this, while the young Lord is gently swung in a cradle. The Lord will give Darshan seated in the cradle for six days. During the evening of each of the six days, disciples will gather at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury. The Lord will be ceremonially unseated from the cradle on His sixth day – Chathi.