HDH Acharya Swamishree celebrates Bolton Temple patotsav and before arriving back to London visit's Lake Windemere.
The evening's events began with His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree performing Sandhya aarti followed by the sants performing kirtan bhakti. This was the fourth day of the Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika sah Vachanamrit parayan and the recital of this granth was done following the evening niyams. Acharya Swamishree then showered His divine blessings on all by giving ashirwad.
To celebrate the Shravan month and as a prelude to the patotsav celebrations the following day, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree inspired a samoh raas. The Shravan month traditionally marks the commencement of the monsoon season in India, during which time the evenings are dark and clouded over. In times of darkness, Acharya Swamishree is our divine guiding light and on this auspicious evening He gave darshan dressed in regalia made of lights and LEDs, meticulously prepared by the devotees of Bolton. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree encouraged and inspired everyone to dance in the raas as the immensely talented sants performed kirtan bhakti. The evening ended with everyone receiving prasad of ice cream.
17th August 2003
Today was the third anniversary of the installation of the murtis of Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shree Jeevanpran Abji Bapashree and our Gurudev, Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa by our beloved Acharya Swamishree. The Patotsav vidhi began at 8am followed by devotees performing aartis and ankoot darshan. The proceedings then moved to the sabha where the Rahasyarth Pradipika Tika sah Vachnamrit parayan was concluded
The invited guest Shree Jasvantlal Chhotubhai Patel was then honoured by Acharya Swamishree who gave him a prasad paag and a memento of this occasion. Shree Jasvantlal Chhotubhai Patel is of Gujarati origins and has been the UK representative of many eminent Indian political leaders. He took a few moments to express his delight and honour at being invited to this auspicious event:
"I have had the honour of serving many political leaders in my career, but none have been as influential and inspirational Acharya Swamishree.
"It is the ambition of every Indian political leader to unite the many ethnic groups of India to live in peace with one another. No politician has so far achieved this. Acharya Swamishree is the only person in my experience with the power and divinity to unify people in this way.
"I pray to Acharya Swamishree to continue with His selfless efforts to spread peace throughout the world and to carry on serving as an example and inspiration to leaders all over the world."
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree then gave divine ashirwad to everyone. During the ashirwad, numbered tickets were handed out to everyone present and Acharya Swamishree spoke of a surprise to take place in a few minutes. It was later explained that 20 lucky winners would each receive a special gold coated sweet from the ankoot. Acharya Swamishree Himself picked the 20 tickets as everyone watched in anticipation. The day's celebrations ended with everyone receiving prasad lunch.
Later that evening, a magnificent fireworks display was inspired by Acharya Swamishree and organised by the Bolton devotees. Acharya Swamishree gave darshan to everyone as the afternoon's rain cleared and the clear night sky was filled with a dazzling array of fireworks.
18th August 2003
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree and the sant mandal departed from the Bolton mandir this morning to arrive in Windermere at approximately 10am. Our beloved Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa held His final sabha on the Hill here shortly before concluding His divine leela on this Earth, and so Windermere has become a significant pilgrimage site for devotees of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan.
The morning heavy rain cleared, contradictory to weather reports, to reveal bright sunshine as Acharya Swamishree arrived in Windermere to salutations from Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree then graced a golden palkhi as the Pipe Band led a procession to the pier of Lake Windermere. Hundreds of residents and visitors to the town gathered to have the divine darshan of Acharya Swamishree and the sant mandal. The captain of the Lady Lakeland, having become infatuated with the magnificent procession, requested Acharya Swamishree to grace his vessel. Acharya Swamishree answered the prayers of the captain who then ordered two other liners to be especially reserved for Acharya Swamishree, the sants and gathered devotees. Acharya Swamishree then boarded the Lady Lakeland, led by Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band, and the three boats set-off for a one-hour tour of Lake Windermere. It is on this lake that Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa lovingly embraced Acharya Swamishree – the moment that was captured in the "bhet na murti" that is now commonplace in homes and mandirs throughout the world.
After the Lake tour, a special sabha was held at the exact location of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa's final sabha, which commenced with Acharya Swamishree and the sants performing poojan and aarti to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa. Extracts of the Vachanamrit were recited after which His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree gave ashirwad in which He said:
"It is stated in the Vachanamrit that true devotion is to have a constant inclination of ones thoughts towards Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa. That is why we are gathered here today, at the exact location of our Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa's final sabha, to recollect His divine leela.
"The supreme Lord is capable of giving absolute salvation from His divine abode, Akshardham. So what is the reason for Him coming onto this Earth? The only reason for His manifestation is to fulfil the wishes of His true devotees. The supreme Lord always answers the prayers of His loving devotees.
"We must always remember how privileged we are to be under the shelter of such a merciful supreme Lord. There have been infinitely many lords but our Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa is the supreme Lord of all these others.
After Acharya Swamishree's ashirwad, devotees performed aarti to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree before taking lunch. Acharya Swamishree and the sant mandal departed from Windermere for London in the late afternoon.