The official end of the Diwali festivities is known as Labh Pancham, the auspicious day from when businesses resume working after the recess. As implied by the name, it falls on the fifth day of the New year. This year, Labh Pancham fell on Saturday 05 November 2016. Traditionally, the Labh Pancham celebrations were held in the in the Swaminarayan Tower, Shree Suvarna Tula Smarak Bhavan. Therefore, the Labh Pancham celebrations commenced with poojan of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in the Tower Mandir.
A procession, led by Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band Maninagar and young cadets, was then held from the Tower to Shree Muktajeevan Auditorium, where the special assembly for this day was held. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the congregation and explained the significance of the day, and the vows that a true loving disciple should take at the start of the new year in order to please the Lord. As part of this auspicious occasion, 157 disciples held recitals of the sacred scripture, Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vato.
A former student of our own Swaminarayan Arts College, Shri Bhagyesh Jha, was one of the chief guests during this assembly. He was a highly respected IAS officer who retired in 2015 and was then made chairman of Gujarat Sahitya Academy. Recently, he has been appointed Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Communication & Public Relations, at the Chief Minister's Office (CMO). Shri Bhagyesh Jha was very close to Shri Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister. He is also a well-known poet and writer.
Another guest was Dr Daudbhai Ghanchi, eminent scholar and professor living in the village of Kalol, just outside Ahmedabad. Dr Ghanchi is a highly respected leader of his own community, renowned scholar amongst academics, and a professor who has served as Vice-Chancellor of North Gujarat University for many years. He has travelled to countless universities around the world, giving lectures and receiving many awards. Even today, at the age of 90, he takes great delight in engaging into philosophical debate and discussions.
In the presence of these eminent guests, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj inaugurated a new booklet called Vishwa-kalyan-yatri - World Traveller for the Welfare of Humanity. This booklet, collated by Dr Rizwan Kadri, has been published by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan in both Gujarati and English. It contains the heartfelt words spoken by Dr Ghanchi on 23 March 2015 in Kalol, when he met Acharya Swamishree Maharaj for the first time. This initial acquaintance can be described as being an unprecedented meeting of scholars. The discussions between the two remarkable entities revealed the depth of thinking prowess inherent within each other. Dr Ghanchi immediately realised that Acharya Swamishree Maharaj has travelled the world to spread the valuable life teachings for society to progress, such as universal brotherhood, compassion, tolerance, and in this manner, he has endeavoured to remove differences between the people. The love and compassion that Dr Ghanchi experienced radiating from Acharya Swamishree Maharaj delighted him so much that he forgot his own high status. Consequently, words of profound respect and reverence for Acharya Swamishree Maharaj emerged from Dr Ghanchi during his lecture given during that historical assembly. Dr Ghanchi’s heartfelt speech has been retold in this new publication.
As part of the charitable activities of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj gave charitable donations to Gujarat Chess Association for the Blind, and Mangaliyana High School.