On Monday 16th August 2010, Acharya Swamishree led disciples from all over the world, hundreds of visitors, locals and the Worshipful Mayor in the Lake District town of Bowness-on-Windermere (Northern England), to commemorate the last days our beloved Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Jeevanpran Swamibapa held His final sabha in Windermere, Cumbria 31 years ago in 1979, atop of what has since been affectionately coined ‘Swamibapa Hill’.
The day’s events began at precisely 1000 with a magnificent procession, led by a dove-shaped chariot carrying Jeevanpran Swamibapa and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree through the town of Bowness-on-Windermere. Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London and Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band Bolton Shree Muktajeevan Dhol Academy filled the air with melodies and beats.
The Mayor of Windermere, Bill Smith, officially welcomed the procession at the banks of Lake Windermere where everyone boarded boats for a cruise of Lake Windermere. One of the boats, Ms Cumbria, was the very vessel graced by Jeevanpran Swamibapa 31years ago. Acharya Swamishree, along with the Mr Smith and Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, unveiled a commemorative plaque on the boat to serve as a permanent tribute to Jeevanpran Swamibapa.
Speaking before the event, Mr Smith said “I’m delighted to welcome Acharya Swamishree to the shores of Windermere once again. Our communities have a long and proud history of welcoming visitors from all around the world, and it is a particular pleasure that Acharya Swamishree and his followers bring a message of such joy and love with them.”
On disembarking the boats, Acharya Swamishree oversaw the planting of a tree at the foot of Swamibapa Hill, again to serve as a permanent reminder of Jeevanpran Swamibapa and His values of love, respect, decency and charity towards all.
During a special assembly held on the Hill, both Mr Smith and Mr Wilkinson spoke about the day’s events.
Bill Smith said, “Your holiness and visitors to Bowness this morning, and this afternoon. I’d like to welcome you to Bowness on behalf of the population here, our resident population who I’m sure again this year have been taken extremely pleasantly by surprise, by the tremendous event that you’ve put on here today in celebration of what happened just 31 years ago.
“It’s a great privilege for me to be able to take part with you this morning and I enjoyed the event very much last year. I’ve enjoyed it again this year, and been rather more involved than last year when I was able to just welcome people here. But to actually take part in your procession this morning and to get the feel and whole atmosphere that was created there was absolutely marvellous. And I think it is a wonderful event and we would like to welcome you all back on a regular event to Bowness hopefully annually but for those of you that can get here more often, obviously the tree now planted here is a permanent memorial to the event that happened. And we like to think that we will see you all regularly if not annually or for some maybe less frequently. But you will always be welcome.
“I thank you again for allowing me to take part in your celebrations this morning.”
Nigel Wilkinson said, “What a beautiful sunny day and just looking up there at the hills and the scene, it really is absolutely fantastic and the ceremony out on the lake was very moving, and one that I genuinely feel honoured to have been invited to participate in.
“We are extremely honoured to have been able to have your spiritual leader unveil the plaque today on the vessel Miss Cumbria.
“In 1979 that was the vessel that your previous spiritual leader travelled on, on his last day on earth and now there is a lasting and permanent memorial on board that boat to commemorate that day.
“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this, this is the first plaque commemorating a spiritual leader on the boat. The only previous plaque we have commemorates the day that Her Majesty the Queen sailed with us from Ambleside down to Bowness. So it really is a first for Windermere Lake Cruises and one that I am particularly honoured to have been able to have been involved with.
“So I would just like to say a sincere thank you to you for coming this year and as you have done, for more than 30 years now. You’re very very welcome in Windermere in the Lake District. It’s one of the highlights of my year to be able to welcome you and to be involved and I hope you thoroughly enjoy the rest of your day up here. Thank you.”
The event concluded with a mass picnic on Swamibapa Hill. Many local residents and visitors joined the congregants to share some of the Prasad so that they too became blessed by Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree.