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Inspirator: His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj
   
   
HDH Acharya Swamishree Visits the Bodleian Library, Oxford  
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History of the Bodleian Shikshapatri

On Tuesday 30th July 2002, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj, spiritual head of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Maninagar visited the Bodleian Library in Oxford University for the darshan of the Shikshapatri. He was accompanied by a large group of his Sants and disciples.

After being greeted by Mr Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Vaishnava and Hindu Studies, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and the group were escorted to the Bodleian Library to view the Shikshapatri. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was given a special viewing of the Shikshapatri in the Governor’s boardroom. This had been specially arranged by Dr Gillian Evison, Director of the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, who was also present on this occasion.

Lord Swaminarayan has stated in the Shikshapatri, "These are My words and thus they should be regarded as My own Murti (form)". Thus, as the sloks (verses) of the Shikshapatri constitute the murti of Lord Swaminarayan Himself, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj performed poojan and aarti of the Shikshapatri. The actual Shikshapatri is written in Sanskrit, together with the Gujarati translation which was written by Shree Nityanand Muni. This particular script was scribed by Shree Nilkanthanad Muni in 1830 AD.

On behalf of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, the Worldwide Centre for Spiritual, Cultural and Social Welfare, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj gave a cheque to the Bodleian Library in recognition of the tremendous work that they have instigated for the preservation and conservation of the Shikshapatri and other great Hindu texts. The cheque was then presented to Dr Gillian Evison by the Trustees of the Swaminarayan Temple, Golders Green. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj signed the Guest Book on behalf of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan.

After the Shikshapatri darshan, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and the rest of the group were given a tour of the University and its’ colleges. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was shown the “Ivory Towers” were the Deans of the University are based and the Great Hall where the University graduation ceremonies are held.

Following the tour, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the Oxford Centre for Vaishnava and Hindu Studies (OCVHS) with a visit to the Centre's premises. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj spent some time in the Centre's library, which contains many manuscripts of the Hindu religion, in Sanskrit and in their English translations.

Dr Evison and Shree Shanakaji described the work of the OCVHS and the Digital Shikshapatri project. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the project and presented Shree Shaunaka Rishi Das with a traditional ceremonial paagh (turban), a shawl and prasad. Dr Evison was also presented with a shawl and prasad by the trustees of the Temple. Shree Shaunaka Rishi Das commented, "With the blessings of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the project will definitely be a success. Your presence is our great blessing."

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj made a donation to the OCVHS so that their valuable work can continue.

 
 
 
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