First Day of the Mahotsav
Thursday 7 May 2009, Samvat 2065 Vaishak Sud 13
The long awaited day had arrived. Thursday 07 May 2009 was the start of the five day festival to celebrate the golden jubilee of the establishment of the Mandir in the sacred village of Vrushpur. Construction work in the newly built Mandir had taken over 18 months. More recently, preparations for the festival had been underway for several months. All this activity was performed by our sants and the disciples of Vrushpur living around the world, as a form of their devotion unto the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree.
The first day of the festival, Vaishakh Sud 13, is also the Patotsav day of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Bhuj. So in the early morning, Acharya Swamishree performed the Patotsav Ceremony of the Lord in Bhuj Mandir. He then departed for Vrushpur and arrived in the village outskirts by 8.00 am, from where a welcoming procession, led by H H Swamibapa Pipe Band, Nairobi was held. The band members had come from Nairobi especially for the festival, and it was evident that they were extremely proud to perform in the home village of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. Prior to the start of the festival, H H Swamibapa Pipe Band performed in various locations in Bhuj to promote awareness of the festival. The welcoming procession ceremonially led Acharya Swamishree to the Mandir, where Acharya Swamishree unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mandir. He was then led to the assembly marquee that was situated close to the Mandir.
The sants had created a splendid background setting on the stage, which depicted the scenes of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree’s centenary, which was celebrated by Jeevanpran Swamibapa at the site of Bapashree’s Chhatri. At that time, when others were afraid of evening uttering the name of Bapashree, it was Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa alone who had the courage and determination to protect and propagate the name and teachings of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. If it were not for Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, everything associated with Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree would have been completely annihilated. For that reasons, Jeevanpran Bapashree’s family themselves hailed Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa as their ‘Jeevanpran’ as it was Swamibapa who gave them the strength and courage to come out of hiding and live in the village again, and to stand up to Bapashree’s opponents. They, along with the true disciples of Bapashree, acknowledged that without Swamibapa, the entire existence of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, His teachings and His philosophy would not have remained.
In celebration of the festival, disciples had held many scripture recitals. After performing adoration to the sacred scriptures and Acharya Swamishree, these disciples performed aarti. Acharya Swamishree then performed the commencement ceremonies for the recital of the Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika Sah Vachanamrut, the sacred scripture - Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, Shree Jeevanpran Swamibapa ni Vato Part 1 and Shree Jeevanpran Swamibapa ni Vato Part 2.
In His divine blessings, Acharya Swamishree said:
- The main scripture recital of this Golden Jubilee festival is being held on behalf of Sankhya-yogi Bashree Kanba, who lived in the village and dedicated her life to this Organisation. In worldly terms, she was the grand-daughter of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. She had a true appreciation of Bapashree’s greatness. Furthermore, she realised that Bapashree’s true heir and protector of Bapashree’s principles was Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. She knew that the blessings given by Jeevanpran Bapashree would remain true if Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s commands and will was obeyed. She imparted this wisdom to everyone who came to her. The villagers of Vrushpur who have remained dedicated to Jeevanpran Bapashree owe a great deal to Bashree Kanba.
- Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree used to hold festivals such as this on many occasions. People from all faiths used to offer their services during the festivals, and in this manner gain the divine blessings of Jeevanpran Bapashree. People from all strata of society, and even great scholars, used to come to hear Bapashree’s speeches and learn from Him.
- Through these festivals, sants, and disciples from all over the country and in deed, around the world are given an opportunity to interact with one another and learn from each other. As disciples of the supreme Lord, we are all one family, and in simple terms, a festival can be regarded as a family reunion. Here, everyone is equal, and everyone is given the opportunity of assimilating the teachings of the supreme Lord into their life and having the darshan of the Lord. Divine happiness radiates everywhere and from everyone.
- In the construction of the new Mandir building, all the disciples of the village have contributed, but the biggest assistance has been given by Gopalbhai Shivji Hirani and his family. To please the Lord, everyone has worked hard in all manners. Let us pray to the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa that He bestows the divine strength, devotion and wisdom to remain forever faithful to Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, till the last breath. Then, the blessings attained from this festival will remain alive and blossoming within you.
After the divine blessings, Acharya Swamishree gave Prasad to the invited guests from the village.
During the afternoon, a world peace rally was held from the village of Naranpur to Vrushpur. Acharya Swamishree presided on a military style tank throughout the rally and gave darshan to everyone. The convoy of over 400 motorcycles stretched for over 2 miles.
During the evening, a program of devotional dances and short dramas, was held in which sants and young disciples from Shree Muktajeevan Kala Academy Maninagar, and disciples from Vrushpur and the surrounding villages performed. Patriotic dances were also performed as part of the evening’s program. Thousands of people from the village and the surrounding areas came to see the performances and were delighted by the devotion of the young students. This was an interactive evening in which the audience were asked questions about who was being depicted in the drama/caricatures.