The Sants of Lord Shree Swaminarayan commenced their act of devotion on Monday 13 May 2013, Akshay Trutiya, by adorning the Lord with garments made of sandalwood paste
Monday 13 May 2013 was celebrated as Akshay Trutiya, the auspicious festival that falls on the third day of the Vaisakh month. Akshay refers to something that never diminishes.
Legend has it that Lord Krishna’s poor childhood friend, Sudama, went to visit him on this day with the wish to become relieved of his dire poverty. The only thing that he had to offer Shree Krishna was a handful of rice. However, because of that meagre offering, Shree Krishna made him rich overnight.
People wait for this day to invest in gold, and make other investments, in order to bring in good fortune.
The Sants of Lord Shree Swaminarayan commence their act of devotion on this day, by adorning the Lord with garments made of sandalwood paste. As it is the middle of the Summer season, and the temperature has reached over 40 C, the sandalwood is applied to the Lord in order to cool and soothe the Murtis.
The Sants rub sandalwood and make a paste from it. This is combined with saffron before being applied to the Murtis.
Just as sandalwood gives a calm, cooling, soothing sensation to the skin, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj says that bowing down to the Lord adorned with the Sandalwood paste garments does the same thing; it evokes calmness, cooling and soothing sensation to one’s heart and mind.
In His discourses, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj uses the example of sandalwood paste to impart a valuable teaching. He says. “The two words, ‘cool’ and ‘cold’ are synonyms, but there is a distinct difference in their true definitions. A block of ice is cold, but not really cool, whereas, sandalwood is cooling, but not truly cold. The word ‘cold’ conveys harshness, whereas the word ‘cool’ conveys connotations of soothing, calming and softness. Having the same sentiments of the sandalwood within your heart earns you a place in close proximity to God. Just as the sandalwood is rubbed into a paste and then becomes useful in the worship of God, you too must strive hard and make yourself useful to others. Ensure that your personality and conduct gives inspiration to others to progress onto the path of God. That is the learning that you should take from this sandalwood.”