Our very own Shree Swaminarayan Arts College, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad held a special event to commemorate the 591st anniversary of the official founding of Ahmedabad City on Tuesday 26th February 2002.

Tuesday 26th February 2002

Divine Blessings of Acharya Swamishree

Our very own Shree Swaminarayan Arts College, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad held a special event to commemorate the 591st anniversary of the official founding of Ahmedabad City on Tuesday 26th February 2002. The event formed yet another glorious facet of the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Satabdi (Centenary) Celebrations, inspired by His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree.

In the year 1411 AD, Ahmedabad city was named after the Emperor Ahmadshah. Exactly 591 years later, the staff and students of Shree Swaminarayan Arts College organised the event and decided that such an occasion could only be deemed successful if it was graced with the presence of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree. Acharya Swamishree accepted their invitation and attended the function together with a large group of His Sants and haribhakto.

Bhadra Fort

The commemoration assembly was held at one of Ahmedabad's famous historical sites, the Bhadra Fortress. This is the very same place where Lord Swaminarayan was invited by the Navab King as part of a plot to kill Him.

Lord Swaminarayan preached and practised non-violence and compassion. As a result, many people relinquished their own faiths and became disciples of Lord Swaminarayan. Certain other people became jealous and actively tried to obstruct the Lord and His activities. The Lord continued in His goal to disseminate morality, unperturbed by the evils of the opponents. On one occasion, Lord Swaminarayan went to Ahmedabad. Coincidentally, about the same time, the father of the Navab Vitthalbhan of Ahmedabad died. Many opponents of Lord Swaminarayan thought to take advantage of the Navab's present poignant situation and persuaded him that the death of his father was caused by the actions of Lord Swaminarayan and His performance of non-violent sacrificial yagnas (ceremonies). They convinced the Navab that Lord Swaminarayan had recently performed a yagna, but no animals had been sacrificed, and as a result the presiding Goddess of Ahmedabad had become angry. The Navab was told that if Lord Swaminarayan was allowed to preach in the city, the reign of the Peshwa Empire would completely disappear. The Navab became angry and planned to kill the Lord. He sent an invitation to Lord Swaminarayan to visit his castle. The Navab gave instructions to his soldiers to construct a tank into which was poured boiling hot oil. A magnificent throne was created around the tank to disguise it.

Lord Swaminarayan arrived at the castle with a group of His Sants. The guards stopped the Sants from entering the castle, allowing in just Lord Swaminarayan. However Sadguru Shree Devanand Swami pushed the guard aside and followed the Lord. The Navab stood up as the Lord entered his court and indicated that the Lord should preside on the grand throne. But the Lord is omniscient, nothing can be concealed from Him. He said, "I am a Sadhu. I am not worthy of such a grand chair." Saying this, Lord Swaminarayan pressed the throne with His jyestika (stick). A great ball of fire erupted as the throne fell into the boiling oil. The Navab's evil plan had failed. Lord Swaminarayan declared, "The Lord will never stand for injustices such as this." Shree Devanand Swami was on the verge of cursing the king. He was just about to say "Dattan so pattan kar daaloon" (let your kingdom be crushed to the ground), but Lord Swaminarayan stopped him. Half the words of the curse had been spoken and so immediately, the ground started to shake.

In his anger, the Navab banished Lord Swaminarayan from the city, "Leave now through the Idar Gate and do not enter the city again," he ordered. Calmly, Lord Swaminarayan replied, "For how long shall I refrain from visiting your city?" The Navab said, "As long as the Peshwa empire rules, you may never return." Only a few years later, the Peshwa rule ended and the British Empire took control of the city.

At this very same Bhadra Castle site, the divine murti through whom Lord Swaminarayan is present upon this earth today, Acharya Swamishree, returned to host Ahmedabad's commemoration ceremony. After Lord Swaminarayan's visit nearly 200 years ago, Acharya Swamishree is the first Sant of the entire Swaminarayan Sampradaya to have visited the site.

Program Events

The program commenced with a welcoming speech by Shree Swaminarayan Arts College's Principal Shree D D Vekaria. On behalf of the entire college, he thanked Acharya Swamishree for His encouragement for the event and for attending.

The Former Chief Minister of Gujarat Shree Amarsingh Chaudhary offered flower garlands and a shawl to Acharya Swamishree. The Mayor of Ahmedabad Shree Himatsingh Patel was also eager to pay homage to His Holiness with flowers. They asked Acharya Swamishree for the spiritual strength and wisdom so that they could all unite and work for the continued success of the city and its affairs. In the past, Ahmedabad city enjoyed a much greater prominence in all respects. They prayed to Acharya Swamishree for blessings so that this fortune would return. All the invited guests commended His Holiness Acharya Swamishree for all His immense social and charitable activities.

His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree blessed the congregation and the summary of blessing is available by clicking on the following link - Divine Blessings of Acharya Swamishree.

Amongst the Chief Guests on this occasion were, Shree Amarsingh Chaudhari, Former Minister of Gujarat, Shree R N Bhattacharya, Manager of Shree ACB, Shree Jaynarayan Vyas, Former Secretary of Narmada Vikas, Shree Himatsingh Patel, Mayor of Ahmedabad, Shree Badruddhin Shekh, Shree Standing Committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Shree Dharmendra Shah, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

A former pupil and current teacher of the Arts College, Dr Rizvan Kadri has written a book called "Atitnaa Aaynaama Ahmedabad" in which a collection of essays about the history of Ahmedabad city has been included. The inauguration of this book was performed at the divine hands of Acharya Swamishree. His Holiness complimented the work of the author saying that this book is an excellent source of information about Ahmedabad's history and that it would become a valuable asset for the historians of future generations.

The commemoration program concluded with the recital of India's National Anthem, the Rashtra Geet.