On Saturday and Sunday, August 1st and 2nd, 2015, Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Secaucus, New Jersey celebrated the fourteenth patotsav and anniversary in the presence of HDH Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj, eminent sants, and hundreds of disciples. It is hard to believe fourteen years have passed since the historic Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav and Suvarna Tula held to celebrate the opening of the first shikhar-bandh Shree Swaminarayan Temple in North America.
The first day of the Patotsav commenced with scripture recitals of Shree Abji Bapashree ni Vaato in Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall. Acharya Swamishree then performed sandhya aarti, and everyone performed evening niyams in the temple prayer hall. Mahaprasad was then served to all. In the evening, Acharya Swamishree, sants, and dsiciples congregated in Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall for a samuh raas celebration to please Lord Swaminaryanbapa Swamibapa. Acharya Swamishree was seated on a beautifully-decorated chariot as sants and disciples joyfully danced to live kirtan around Him. Disciples danced in various costumes to add joy for young children during the samuh raas. Numerous sants and disciples played various instruments and sang traditional kirtans for the live samuh raas. Instruments included three dhols, electronic drum set, percussion drum set, saxophone, tuba, and two pianos. Sants and disciples truly had a memorable evening dancing to traditional kirtans to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
Sunday, August 2, 2015, was the 14th Patotsav of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey. From 7 AM to 9 AM, Acharya Swamishree performed the 14th Patotsav vidhi ceremony to the divine murtis (idols) of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. During the ceremony, Acharya Swamishree performed the Patotsav poojan. Acharya Swamishree and Swamibapa Pipe Band also performed the opening ceremony for the annual blood drive that took place that day. Nearly fifty pints of blood were connected during the blood drive.
Upon Acharya Swamishree's return inside the temple, sants and disciples had assembled a grand annkut with a variety of Indian sweets and delicacies before the divine murtis. Acharya Swamishree offered these sweets to the Lord and cut a patotsav celebration cake, which He offered to the Lord as well. Acharya Swamishree and sants then performed aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, and disciples were then given the opportunity to perform aarti as well.
Following, Swamibapa Pipe Band escorted Acharya Swamishree, sants, and honorable guests to Muktajeevan Swamibapa Community Hall. Acharya Swamishree was adorned in beautiful vagha.
Mr. Asad Akhtar, representative from Senator Corey Booker’s office, presented Acharya Swamishree with a proclamation from Senator Corey Booker, congratulating the Temple on celebrating fourteen years. Following, Deputy Mayor of Secaucus, Mr. Gary Jeffas, and Councilman Robert Constantino came to welcome Acharya Swamishree. New Jersey Indian community dignitaries, Mr. Piyushbhai Patel and Mr. Jitendrabhai Fadia came to welcome Acharya Swamishree. Acharya Swamishree and disciples then presented $500 donations each to the Secaucus Fire Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and Township of Secaucus Emergency Disaster Relief Fund. Additionally, Shree Shankarlal Pandey, the craftsman who hand-carved the divine marble murtis of Lord Shree Swaminaryan, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, and Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree that are in New Jersey came from India to USA to see his work for the first time. A press package was also opened by Acharya Swamishree that featured over fifty news articles from events throughout the last year.
The special guests were then escorted out, and Acharya Swamishree subsequently showered His divine blessings upon the entire congregation. Disciples who had recently graduated from high school, college, graduate, and doctorate school were then presented with certificates from Acharya Swamishree to honor their outstanding achievements.
Afterwards, Acharya Swamishree gave His darshan to all disciples and was escorted out of Swamibapa Hall to consecrate the afternoon’s lunch, and this concluded the memorable two-day 14th patotsav celebration of Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey.