Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav has finally arrived, and the first day of this prestigious event commenced with great fervour. After performing the Shangar Aarti, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived for darshan at Shree Suvarna Tula Smarak Bhavan, Shree Swaminarayan Tower, just as the sun was rising above the Maninagar skyline.



Recital Mahapooja Morning Afternoon

Mahapooja - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav, Maninagar

Day 1 - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav, Maninagar

Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Mahotsav Day 1 - Highlights

Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav has finally arrived, and the first day of this prestigious event commenced with great fervour. After performing the Shangar Aarti, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived for darshan at Shree Suvarna Tula Smarak Bhavan, Shree Swaminarayan Tower, just as the sun was rising above the Maninagar skyline.

A short distance away, some 80 members of the various international branches of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, including members from Maninagar, London, Bolton, Nairobi and New Jersey, had formed four meticulous flanks in front of a golden chariot that would soon draw Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Hundreds of disciples had also gathered and lined the road all the way up to the entrance of the Sabha Mandap – all eagerly awaiting the divine darshan of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj to preside on the chariot. All the while, young children held aloft placards with messages of peace and patriotism.

In the meanwhile, the recitals of all the scriptures had commenced in the Sabha Mandap. The recital of the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika sah Vachanamrut and Shree Swaminarayan Gadi scriptures commenced this morning, with that of Bapashree ni Vato parts One and Two commencing later this afternoon.

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived and took His place on the regal chariot, the principle sponsors of the Mahotsav’s first day offered poojan to Him. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band saluted Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa before leading off towards the Sabha Mandap, closely followed by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s hand-drawn carriage. As the procession entered, the Sabha Mandap was already full. The Pipe Band formed a guard of honour as Acharya Swamishree Maharaj made His way through the centre of the Sabha Mandap and onto the stage, to take His place amidst the truly remarkable golden Sinhasan that has been created by His beloved Sants.

As Acharya Swamishree Maharaj stepped onto the stage, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band saluted Him before soon departing Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj continuously reminds us, “Dedicating one's life to the service of others is the truest celebration of a festival.” In this vain, He has inspired a mass blood donation session that will take place throughout the five days of this festival.

A remarkable young man came for Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s blessings – 8-year-old multiple medal-winning Yoga student Namrakumar Parimal Patel. He was soon off to the National championships and wanted to have the divine blessings of the Lord. Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan made a substantial donation for a scholarship for young Namra, so that he may continue his yoga studies.

Representatives and family members of the martyrs who died or were injured in the recent unrest in India were given financial support by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. Many were present in the assembly, and came to Acharya Swamishree Maharaj for blessings and to receive their token of appreciation for the loyal and praiseworthy work they dedicatedly perform for the Nation’s security.

Five new scriptures and one new kirtan CD were launched this morning. The scriptures were, (1) Sarvopari Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan Part 4, (2) Vachansudha, (3) Nandratna Kirtanavali Part 1 (4) Nandratna Kirtanavali Part 2 and (5) Karo Bhajan Sahu Part. The kirtan CD is called Amrut na Vadhamana.

His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj then showered His divine Ashirwad on all.

As His Ashirwad concluded, today’s guest of honour – Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj of the Haridham Sokhda Akshar Purushottam Sanstha – was escorted to the stage by Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band Maninagar. Acharya Shree Maharaj greeted him with great affection as He welcomed him to the stage to take a seat beside Him. It was clear to see the mutual respect and warmth that these two great leaders in the Swaminarayan Faith have for one another. Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj has been suffering from poor health recently, but was incredibly keen to have the darshan of this Mahotsav, having such a high regard for Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj prayed for the health and wellbeing in his warm welcoming address to Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj. Along with several eminent Sants from the Haridham Sokhda Akshar Purushottam Sanstha, Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj garlanded Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj took the opportunity to say a few reverent words: “I have come here for only one reason – for Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s Ashirwad and for the darshan of these Sants. I have come only to imbue the superlative qualities, that come with these blessings. I urge all to come here where you have the opportunity to live your last life [i.e. attain salvation]. Internal enemies are defeated by the darshan of such eminent Sants as Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.”

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj then lit a flame of peace officially mark the beginning of this auspicious Mahotsav. Swamishree Hariprasadji Maharaj and his accompanying group of Sants and disciples then went into the main Mandir for the darshan of supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan – Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shree Harikrishna Maharaj, Shree Sahajanand Swami Maharaj, Jeevanpran Bapashree and Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa.

Continuing with the charitable giving elements of the Amrut Mahotsav, a financial donation was made from Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan to Shree Swaminarayan Prathmik Shala trust.

Sponsors of the recitals were given prasad and the opportunity of a photograph with Acharya Swamishree Maharaj as a remembrance of this joyous occasion.

The morning session of the first day of the Mahotsav concluded with everyone taking prasad lunch. The afternoon sabha saw continued recitals of the sacred scriptures.

Evening -  Satsang Rangat


Evening - Satsang Rangat

Satsang Rangat - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav, Maninagar

Tonight’s evening event - the first night of the Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Maninagar Amrut Pratishtha Mahotsav, took place at Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Smruti Mandir. In a unique format, this was “Satsang’s Got Talent” as a number of Mandals from around the world showcased their acting skills, in the hope of winning the most points cast through the today-launched Shree Swaminarayan Gadi app on Android and iOS.

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived at 7:45pm to the grounds of Smruti Mandir - where a special sabha mandap has been arranged to host all of the Mahotsav’s evening events. He soon took His place at the centre of the audience from where He presided over the evening, giving His darshan throughout the event. The format of the evening was that each Mandal’s short drama-based act would in turn perform, and at the end of each, viewers rate it from 1 to 10 for its overall quality.

Of course, the aim of all the participants was to please Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, but competition was rife as the acting talent within the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi worldwide family was clear for all to see - and the performers themselves had spent the last several months preparing their presentations in their home territories. Every entry was pleased to take part, but certainly each wanted to end the evening with the winning points haul from the popular vote. The running order of acts was as follows:

1. Bavla - From a Flame, Became a Lamp / દીવથી થયો દીવો
2. London - A Child’s Change of Heart / બાળકનું હૃદય પરિવર્તન
3. Panchmahal - Consequences of Performing Offences / અપરાધ નું ફળ
4. Bolton - Merciful Bapashree / એવા દયાળુ બાપાશ્રી
5. Surat - Creator of Good Character / ચારિત્ર ના ઘડવૈયા
6. USA - The Ego of Arrogant Wrestlers is Deflated / મલ્લ નો ગર્વ ઉતાર્યો
7. Maninagar - Unparalleled Epitome of Spiritual Knowledge / અજોડ જ્ઞાન મૂર્તિ
8. Nairobi 1 - Determination of a True Disciple / ભક્તની ટેક
9. Vadodara - Brotherly Love / ભાતૃ પ્રેમ

The evening’s event went down incredibly well with the audience - the perfect mix of poignancy, humour and spiritual knowledge - keeping the audience engaged, entertained and enthused throughout.

Before the scores were revealed, a special dance was performed by young disciples in commemoration of those murdered on 14th February, when a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the deaths of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

The eventual winners were Vadodara, who’s impressive performance stood out for a number of reasons, not least because their act comprised entirely of youngsters - including the young Karan, who picked up the best actor award as judged by an expert panel.

The final standings in reverse order are Panchmahal, Nairobi, Surat, Bavla, Maninagar, USA, London, Bolton and Vadodara.