The Platinum Tula
In celebration of the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Platinum Tula Mahotsav, disciples sponsored large parayans of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika scripture and samuh parayans of the Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree Ni Vaato scripture. Disciples participated in mahapooja for these parayans on the second and third days of the Mahotsav – Friday, August 3rd, 2012 and Saturday, August 4th, 2012, in the morning and afternoon. Scripture recitals for these two scriptures were conducted by Sadguru Shashtri Shree Jitendrapriyadasji Swami and Sant Shiromani Shree Gurupriyadasji Swami Friday morning and afternoon and also Saturday morning. Each morning, Swamibapa Pipe Band escorted Acharya Swamishree, who was adorned in fine hand-woven and hand-decorated vagha, into Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall, where He presided upon His gadi for the scripture recitals. Following the scripture recitals on both days, Acharya Swamishree blessed the entire congregation with His divine ashirwad. Please see below for Acharya Swamishree’s divine ashirwad from the morning and afternoon of day two of the Mahotsav and from the morning of day three of the Mahotsav.
Friday Morning Ashirwad
Acharya Swamishree blessed the congregation and encouraged everyone to strengthen upasana (the supreme understanding of the Lord’s true glory). Without a firm upasana, eternal salvation cannot be achieved. In order to have firm upasana, religious knowledge is required. Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa has taught us the four fundamental pillars of upasana. One of them is understanding Lord Shree Swaminarayan to be divine, always existing with a human-like form, and being omnipresent. After we have gained knowledge about the Lord’s true form, we should not have affection for anything or anyone else.
One should read the scriptures of the Karan Satsang in order to develop and maintain chaste devotion (pativrata bhakti). Chaste devotion consists of all nine types of devotion and is the best type of devotion because with it, we recognize Lord Shree Swaminarayan to be our savior and like our husband. We should never bow down to other incarnations because if we do, that will be a huge flaw in our chaste devotion. Once we have acquired the Karan Satsang, we should follow all the commands of the Lord and His Satpurush. The commands act as a boundary and keep us in check within the Satsang. The commands given out from Shree Swaminarayan Gadi are easily followed if we are able to control our minds (man). The mind can be controlled by beating it and not succumbing to feeding it whatever it desires from the five sensations. The five sensations should be used in service of the Lord and not for pleasure in worldly objects. We should listen to what the soul (jeev) desires rather than what the mind desires.
In order to be happy and be the Lord’s mukta, we should be free of worldly pleasures acquired by taste, women, wealth, speech, and beauty. We should have niyams to keep control of our minds and the five sensations. A prudent disciple knowingly behaves in a way that will cause pain to his indriyas, mind, and body. He knows that the pain and suffering in the body is caused by the will of God because we may have failed to follow a command. If the pain recedes, it is also due to His will.
We should not have any yearnings for riches of other abodes such as Brahm Lok, Dev Lok, Badrikashram, Shwet-Dweep, etc. Everything those abodes possess and much more is present in this Satsang if we gain the true knowledge to recognize it.
We should not have any phoniness when performing a seva (service to the Lord). We should perform seva only please Him and not to please others or to show off. Devotion and asceticism should be done whilst remembering God, and if it is not, all of it will go to waste. If God is with us while performing any type of seva, He protects us from all evil. We should behave according to God’s will. If not, our devotion does not look good by itself, and we can never achieve the fruits of that seva. In order to progress in our lives, our thoughts should be controlled, and we must keep restraints on our bodies. Even control our food intake controls our intake of thoughts. Our thoughts should be such that one thinks oneself to be a soul and not a body. All of our quarrels in life are due to thinking and behaving as a body rather than as a soul. The Lord – not kaal, karma, or maya - is the cause and doer of everything. Sadhans are simply just a way to please the Lord; otherwise, salvation is merely achieved by knowing Him to be the incarnator of all incarnations and by strengthening our upasana.
Friday Afternoon Ashirwad
Acharya Swamishree blessed the congregation and explained the importance of having temples. We are gathered here because of this temple and are able to showcase our talents in the form of devotion. In one's life, a person can attain immense peace by going to temples. A person’s life is filled with three types of miseries (trividhi taap). Peace is at the lotus feet of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His anadi-muktas (highest status of the liberated soul). Someone who can destroy all sins of their disciples, catch their sankalps (thoughts), and free them from maya is called the Lord, an incarnation (avtar) of the Lord, a sankalp-swaroop of the Lord (divine persons who give darshan upon the Earth by the Lord’s will and are His representation on this Earth), and anadi-mukta. Blessings from the Lord and His Satpurush are only useful if we completely understand their true glory. True riches and upasana are obtained from meditation, singing kirtans, and reading religious scriptures.
Whoever takes the shelter of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi will surely achieve eternal salvation. A mumukshu (salvation-seeking soul) and a person who will complete their very last cycle of birth and death will attain Shree Swaminarayan Gadi for eternal salvation. We are truly fortunate to have easily attained Lord Shree Swaminarayan. We did not have to go searching for Him. However, just because we have attained Lord Shree Swaminarayan by birth or by other means of association with the Karan Satsang does not mean we can automatically understand His glory and knowledge; we need to put in the effort to do so. We should all concentrate on learning His true glory and knowledge in order to immensely please Him.
Saturday Morning Ashirwad
Acharya Swamishree explained in His ashirwad that Lord Shree Swaminarayan does not look at our bad virtues. If He did, we would never stand a chance of attaining Akshardham. He has showered His love as a mother towards us; He loves us regardless of our bad virtues. By His grace, the bad attributes that are within our bodies disappear. Whoever even comes in sight of Lord Shree Swaminarayan will be freed from the cycle of birth and death. The Lord has manifested on this Earth to free the souls from the three types of miseries. Until eternal peace is achieved, it is difficult to live within the murti.
Out of all the internal enemies, jealousy is the worst. We should all come together and perform seva together to please the Lord. We are all children of the Lord and have the same rights to please Him as the disciples next to us. The three types of miseries burn us day and night. If we do not falsify what we experience from the five sensations, it will all continue to haunt us. One should strengthen His thoughts by understanding that the Lord we have found is not available to infinite many deities, Brahma, etc. Everyone is experiencing bliss because of the karan murti. Our ancestors have gone through a lot in the past so we that we may experience happiness. If we have to sacrifice our minds, bodies, and wealth to please the Lord and His Satpurush, we should gladly do so. We must stay firm with chaste devotion. If our head bows to another deity or Ishwar, we will fall from salvation. The Lord becomes pleased with a disciple who is indifferent about all worldly desires. A disciple who expects nothing in return of his services is a true disciple. A disciple also should not have pride and ego in the fact that he performed seva. If he does, he will surely fall from the path of salvation.
We should identify with the Lord and His Satpurush, consider Them to be our own, revere them, and consider them to be like a site of pilgrimage. We should offer whatever services are required to please the Lord and His Satpurush. One should become troubled due a Satpurush’s anxieties and be pleased due to His happiness; this is regarded as identifying with the Lord and His Satpurush. A person provides his wife and children with food, clothes, jewelry, luxuries, wealth, etc. and keeps them comfortable. He even disregards his own suffering and sometimes goes to a faraway land in order to earn money so that he can spend that money on them to provide them with whatever they need and want. When one spends such wealth for a Satpurush, it can be said that he has regarded the Satpurush to be his own.
Acharya Swamishree also inaugurated the new editions of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika, Shree Harignanamrut Kavya, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Ni Vaato, Navaliyani Nautam Lila, and Vyasan Nu Vamal scriptures as well as six new eBooks on the Swaminarayan Gadi website. In addition, on Saturday, sponsors for the Vachanamrut large parayans brought in chhaabs of various offerings for Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. These disciples were presented with prasad paags at the conclusion of the morning’s program. Acharya Swamishree also inaugurated the new editions of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika, Shree Harignanamrut Kavya, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Ni Vaato scriptures. Also, disciples from North America who sponsored parayans at the Bhuj Suvarna Pratishtha Mahotsav but were unable to make it to the Mahotsav due to various circumstances, were each blessed and presented with a Manki ghodi memento and prasad coin by Acharya Swamishree. Disciples from all over the United States also pledged donations for the new temple in Kalol, India to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree.
Following this, the awards ceremony for SGS Talent 2012 took place, and all of the first, second, and third place winners of the many competitions were presented with medals. All of the participants were presented with certificates of participation and t-shirts, and they all had the darshan of and were blessed by Acharya Swamishree. Afterwards, Acharya Swamishree was escorted out of Swamibapa Hall, and everyone was served prasad lunch in the tent outside. This concluded the morning portion of the third day of the Mahotsav. Subsequently, everyone proceeded to downtown Secaucus for the nagaryatra and Swamibapa Community Festival.
Additionally, on Saturday, throughout the morning and afternoon from 8 AM to 3 PM, a blood drive outside the main entrance of the temple took place in a New York Blood Center blood donation bus. Acharya Swamishree had performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bus and had blessed all of the doctors, nurses, and volunteers at 8 AM. Remarkably, exactly 70 people had signed up to donate blood, and exactly 50 pints of blood were collected. This year, the number 70 celebrates the 70th anniversary of Acharya Swamishree manifesting upon this Earth, and the number 50 celebrates the 50th anniversary of Acharya Swamishree being initiated as a sant by Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. This year’s blood drive was the most successful yet at Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey, and it was all due to the grace of the Lord.