While Sharad Poonam is not specifically a religious festival, it does have a particular spiritual significance within the Swaminarayan Faith.
For disciple of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, Sharad Poonam reminds us to be alert to our internal enemies such as passion, lust, anger and greed.
The festival is synonymous with grand displays of utensils - in India, the forecourts of Mandirs feature such displays that reflect the bright moonlight of the last full moon before Hindu New Year. The spiritual significance of this represents two things: Firstly, how those internal enemies must be reflected back whenever they try to enter us; secondly, just as untainted silver perfectly reflects the lustre of the moon, we too must perfectly reflect of the Lord's will.
Samuh raas is performed around the silver displays, symbolic of our prayer to the Lord to make our hearts as pure as the light from tonight’s full moon. Such is the spiritual importance of Sharad Poonam.
Celebrations at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury commenced with the Ashirwad of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa who explained the relevance of Sharad Poonam. Following these divine blessings, disciples took part in the Samuh Raas, and danced with wonderful flair and enthusiasm to please the Lord. At the end of the evening, everyone enjoyed prasad of doodh pawa (sweetened milk with flattened rice) – the traditional prasad for Sharad Poonam celebrations around the world.