The first day of the Shree Vachanamrut Dwishatabdi Mahotsav and Shree Abji Bapashree Shatamrut Mahotsav got underway with on Tuesday 5th November with a grand parade from Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Vrushpur to the site of the Sabha Mandap at Shree Sahajanand Sports Ground.

Morning

Morning Divine darshan of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj

Day 1 - Shree Vachanamrut Dwishatabdi Mahotsav & Shree Abji Bapashree Shatamrut Mahotsav

The first day of the Shree Vachanamrut Dwishatabdi Mahotsav and Shree Abji Bapashree Shatamrut Mahotsav got underway with on Tuesday 5th November with a grand parade from Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Vrushpur to the site of the Sabha Mandap at Shree Sahajanand Sports Ground.

Torrential rain and windy conditions of the last few days and weeks gave way just in time for the start of the Mahotsavs, as hundreds of disciples gathered outside the Mandir in the morning, with many thousands more in the Sabha Mandap – all eagerly awaiting the divine darshan of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. All five branches of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band formed up before Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s golden chariot. As soon as He presided on the chariot, the Bands paid their salutation and marched off, leading the parade through the streets of Vrushpur, and uphill to the Sabha Mandap.

The scripture recitals commenced today, shortly after the poojan ceremony that took place earlier this morning. Recitals of the scriptures Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Granth and Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vato Parts 1 and 2 are taking place through the duration of the five-day Mahotsav. Soon after Acharya Swamishree Maharaj arrived to the Sabha Mandap and presided on His throne amidst the grand sinhasan. He personally recited the sixth chapter of the Gadhada First Section of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika scripture.

Several publications were launched today; the scripture ‘Shree Hari na Ratno Parts 1 and 2 and two kirtan compilations, ‘Bhaghyavidhata Bapashree’ and ‘Abji Bapa Re Tamne Snehe Sambharu’, were released as new publication, with several other scriptures being republished.

His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj then showered His divine Ashirwad to the several thousand that filled the entire Sabha Mandap – disciples had travelled from Europe, North America, Australia and East Africa, and of course from all across Gujarat and India, including 3000 who had travelled from the rural Panchmahal region.

  • This auspicious festival is being held by Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan to pay homage to our beloved Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree who appeared upon this Earth to explain the supremacy of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and give clarification to His sublime philosophy.

  • It was Jeevanpran Shree Muktaveevan Swamibapa who protected, preserved and propagated the name and philosophy of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. The true heir of Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree is Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa.

  • In anticipation of this celebration, disciples around the world have been performing recitals of the Vachanamrut Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika and Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vato. Disciples have been studying and taking examinations in Sanskar Deepika Part 7, which contains a synopsis of the Vachanamrut scripture and the philosophy of Lord Shree Swaminarayan contained therein. Disciples have also performed continuous chanting of the sacred Swaminarayan name. The Lord has become pleased with you all.

  • Together with the Shatamrut Mahotsav to celebrate 175 years since the arrival of the supreme Lord in the form of Shree Abji Bapashree, we are also celebrating 200 years since the commencement of the Vachanamrut scripture.

  • In Samvat 1876, during the night of Maghsar Sud 4, Sunday 21 November 1819, Lord Shree Swaminarayan was asleep in His own living quarters, at the court of Dada Khachar in Gadhada. All of a sudden, the Lord awoke and heard the sound of melodious devotional songs. He asked His attendants, “Who is singing?” The disciple Devji went to investigate. He returned saying that it was the voice of Shree Brahmanand Swami. The Lord was eager to see for Himself, so He stood up and went to the hall where the Sants were resting. There, He also saw Shree Muktanand Swami singing eloquently, together with Shree Aadharanand Swami. The words of the kirtan were, ‘Dradh in charan karo bharosho’ (create resolute trust for the lotus feet of the Lord). Seeing the Lord, all the Sants stopped singing and bowed down to Him. Lord Shree Swaminarayan gently smiled and went outside, where He presided on a raised platform in the courtyard. The Sants followed and sat before Him. Lord Shree Swaminarayan said, “Worshipping God by singing religious songs is a form of devotion that is very dear to Me. In addition, I have particular regard for religious debates and discourses.” Having said these words, He commenced a discussion and asked questions to the Sants. Lord Shree Swaminarayan then commanded the Sants to record His divine words spoken in the assembly. The assembly held that night was the first discourse that is recorded in this Vachanamrut scripture, Gadhada First Section Chapter 1.

  • Exactly 200 years have passed since that first discourse given by Lord Shree Swaminarayan.

  • The perceived contradictions in the Vachanamrut were explained by Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. These questions and answers between Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa and Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree were collated into the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika – commentary to the Vachanamrut. Only references of the Vachanamrut scripture itself are used to explain these apparent contradictions in the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika.

After Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s ashirwad, a number of eminent guests visited the Mahotsavs for the darshan of Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Mahraj – chief amongst them was the State of Gujarat’s Chief Minister, the BJP's Shri Vijay Rupani. He was saluted by the international Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band before addressing the audience for a few minutes. He spoke incredibly highly of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s tireless endeavors to spread the values of peace and morality. In describing Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s superlatives, Shri Vijay Rupani said, “While we in the Government can do much through the law to instill morality, nothing is as effective in achieving this as associating with and serving Sants such as these.”

Other guests included Guajarat’s Minister of State Vasantbhai Ahir, MLAs Virendrabhai Jadeja and Pradyuman Sinh Jadeja, Collector Shri Naghrajan, DIG Shri Subashbhai Trivedi, Collector Vikash Adhikari, Shri Pranav Joshi, ex MP Pushpadan Ghadhvi, President of BJP Kutch Bajap Adyaksha, Sarpanch Ushaben Makwana, ex Minister Tarachand Chheda and MP Nimaben Acharya.

In keeping with all Mahotsavs under the umbrella of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan and under the inspiration of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s philosophy that, ‘Dedicating one's life to the service of others is the truest celebration of a festival’, several substantial donations were made to local charities and causes on this auspicious occasion. The first morning of the festivals ended with everyone taking prasad lunch.

Afternoon - Bal Sanskar Shibir

Afternoon Shibir and pad yatra

A special assembly for very young disciples was held during the afternoon of day 1. Shri Rajeshbhai Dhameliya gave a splendid and highly informative talk about the way of thinking positively and behaving in a manner so that the children grown up happy and contented, and that they can forge a firm foundation for the progression of their life.

Evening - Bhakti Sangeet

Bhakti Sangeet evening

Bhakti Sangeet - Shree Vachanamrut Dwishatabdi Mahotsav & Shree Abji Bapashree Shatamrut Mahotsav

The first evening event of the Shree Vachanamrut Dwishatabdi Mahotsav and Shree Abji Bapashree Shatamrut Mahotsav was a Bhakti Sangeet evening. A massive ensemble of musicians and chorus singers joined famous singers Ansh Memon, Shailesh Barot, Gautam Birade and Kalpesh Vekaria, with Swamibapa’s own highly talented Sant, Shree Uttampurushdasji Swami providing the vocals for three of the kirtans. The entire concert was produced and conducted by Shri Kirtibhai Varsani.

Crowds gathered early in a specially erected temporary concert hall adjacent to the Sabha Mandap, and took their seats – eagerly awaiting the arrival and darshan of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. With the venue filled to the brim, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj soon arrived to preside at the front on the congregated audience, along with His beloved sants. The first performance of the evening was a rendition of the Indian National Anthem. The rousing Anthem saw everyone stand up to pay respect to the Nation, which lasted precisely 52 seconds – this year marked the 52nd anniversary since India gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947.

The performances that followed were a wonderful mix of heartfelt poetic songs and upbeat numbers. The lyrics focused on the purpose of the two festivals being celebrated – the glory of the Vachanamrut and Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree.