Diwali this year fell on the 21st October, and Annkut was prepared for the following day, Sudgurudin. Early in the morning of Sadgurudin, Shangar aarti was performed to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa presiding in the golden sinhasan.
The grand holiday of Diwali (Festival of Lights) is an eagerly awaited occasion by Hindus all over the world, as it is the start of the Hindu calendar and New Year. Diwali marks the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, making it an occasion of friendship, harmony, and warmth. Lamps are lit in homes and Temples. Rangolis, elaborate patterns are artistically created using powdered paint at the entrance of homes as a welcoming symbol. The sky during this night would be moonless, therefore the lighting of the lamps eradicate this darkness; yet another symbol of good over evil. The sentiment for a disciple of the Lord when lighting a lamp is to pray for forgiveness of past misdeeds and for spiritual strength and wisdom for the coming year so that he can please the Lord more and more.
Diwali this year fell on the 21st October, and Annkut was prepared for the following day, Sudgurudin. Early in the morning of Sadgurudin, Shangar aarti was performed to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa presiding in the golden sinhasan. Thereafter an assembly was held in the Brahm Mahol of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Maninagar. After performing meditation, singing devotional songs and receiving the divine ashirwad of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, Acharya Swamishree bestowed His divine blessing over all.
During the ashirwad Acharya Swamishree explained that at the auspicious occasions of Diwali and the New Year people ask the Lord, ‘Why have you not given me a Merecedes car?, Why have you not helped my son achieve good exam grades? Or, I Have incurred much debt, yet you do pay heed to my circumstances. They say, Lord if you were to bestow upon me wealth, I will prepare food for you, and present elaborate and intricate jewellery at your feet.
Acharya Swamishree explained that such individuals have foolishly misunderstood the greatness of The Lord of all Lord, Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan. Why would the Lord whom, be enticed by the 500grams of sweets, when He dines on splendid food many times a day, everyday? The Lord hungers only for the heartfelt love and devotion of his disciples.
After the arshiwad Acharya Swamishree performed Annkut aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, surrounded by the various thars of the Annkut. Following aarti, Chopra Poojan was conducted, and Acharya Swamishree mercifully signed the accounts books of his disciples. On this day, for Chopra Poojan, it is traditional that the account books for the previous year are finalised and sanctified, and prayers are offered to the Lord to make the coming year financially successful. For a disciple of the Lord, our great fortune is that we have attained the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and have become disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. Therefore our ‘account books’ symbolise the fact that the Lord is forever analysing each of His disciples and making a note of the gain and loss of each person during each day, i.e. He keeps an account of how obedient each person is to the wish of the Lord. Our prayers are to ask the Lord for His blessings that we are obedient and that our account books remain in ‘credit’ during the following year. Following the Chopra Poojan ceremonies, all the disciples received the Lord’s Prasad.