Sunday 17th June saw huge and fervent celebrations at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury to mark Father’s Day in the divine presents of our true Father – Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
Well over a thousand people gathered at the Mandir, keen to take the opportunity to celebrate. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj graced the Mandir at 9am, where He was adorned with beautiful regalia by Sants and disciples. The light rain cleared just as Acharya Swamishree Maharaj emerged from the Mandir and made His way to Purushottam Mahal, led by a troupe of dhol players and trailed by dozens of disciple carrying various items for offering poojan to the Lord. The sound of the thunderous drums reached a crescendo as Acharya Swamishree Maharaj approached the stage and presided in the magnificently realised golden Sinhasan.
The festivities included everyone having the opportunity to offer Aarti to Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, senior representatives offered Poojan on behalf of all those present, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj consecrating a wonderful multi-tiered cake, young performers from Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Academy of Performing Arts performed a delightful devotional dance to please the Lord, before Acharya Swamishree Maharaj showered His divine Ashirwad on everyone.
Following the Ashirwad, the net-full of balloons that was conspicuously hung overhead was explained. Beyond just being a traditional balloon drop, each one contained a small niyam – a devotional action – that each recipient would promise to adopt, as their gift to Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj on Father’s Day. The Lord is, of course, uninterested in material presents, but instead wants only for the devotion of His children, and so these devotional pledges were the perfect gifts to Him – an idea inspired by His beloved sants.
At the end of the event, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was led out of Purushottam Mahal with the same pomp and ceremony as His arrival, and led back to His quarters by the talented dholis and dancers. Everyone enjoyed Prasad lunch to end another truly memorable occasion the divine presence of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.