Tuesday 3 October 2023 | Bhadarva Vad 5, Samvat 2079

Tue 3 Oct 2023


On the morning of 11th June 2003, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree departed New Jersey and commenced His tour of the rest of the USA to fulfill the spiritual wishes of all the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi disciples.

A Mandal of eminent sants, including Sadguru Shree Akhileshwardasji Swami, Sadguru Shree Sarveshwardasji Swami, Shree Divyacharandasji Swami and Shree Dharmavatsaldasji Swami remained in New Jersey in order to hold public assemblies and give further spiritual guidance to the disciples of New Jersey.

After transiting in San Francisco, Acharya Swamishree and the rest of the group arrived in Seattle's Tacoma International Airport at 6 pm. Immediately, they went to the Mandir in Seattle for darshan where they performed the evening rituals of sandhyaa aarti, niyams, kirtan bhakti and katha. Acharya Swamishree recalled the events of 1970, when He accompanied Jeevanpran Swamibapa to the USA. During the visit Jeevanpran Swamibapa had accepted the wishes of Shree Laljibhai Gurvalia, and had visited Seattle.

The following day, Acharya Swamishree performed padhramanis at the homes of many of the disciples of Seattle. He accepted their requests and visited a region of the city, from where a bird's eye view of Seattle can be seen.

That evening, a public assembly was held at the home of a disciple. Scripture recitals of Bapshree Ni Vato were performed. Our highly talented sants sang devotional bhajans. Several of our scholarly sants gave speeches about the immense mercy of the supreme Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree. They spoke about the relentless endeavors of Acharya Swamishree for promulgating the supreme tenets of Lord Swaminarayan and the rich culture of India. They described the humanitarian projects that Acharya Swamishree has mercifully instigated throughout India. Many dignitaries of Seattle were also present on this occasion. Acharya Swamishree welcomed them all and presented them appropriately.

In His ashirwad, Acharya Swamishree recalled the travels of Lord Swaminarayan in Samvat 1877. At that time, Lord Swaminarayan too was travelling around the region. He traveled from Sarangpur and reached the village of Khambhada where He rested under a pippal tree. The villagers brought a wooden cot upon which the Lord presided. Lord Swaminarayan then described the 2 categories of people that exist in the world; dharmi, religious people and adharmi, irreligious people. Those who adhere to morality and religion will not commit sins such as stealing, performing adultery, being malicious, etc. and they will remain fearful of God. They will behave in accordance with the limitations of the religion. Everyone, including their family and other individuals of the society will have trust in these people. These religious people will have a liking to remain associated with sants. Irreligious people however, will remain completely engrossed in performing evil deeds such as thieving, performing adultery, and consuming wine and meat. No one in the society will trust such people, not even their own relatives. Such irreligious people will not have a liking to remain in the company of sants. Furthermore, these irreligious people will become malicious towards anyone who associates with sants.

Acharya Swamishree said that if you want to be trusted and respected, you must behave in a manner that will merit such trust and respect. One must never follow the path of irreligious people but instead should seek guidance from the examples of religious individuals. Jeevanpran Swamibapa travelled the world to instil morality into all. We all must endeavour to live according to the ideals that He mercifully advocated.

On 13th June, Acharya Swamishree traveled to the snow-covered region of Mount Ranier. Throughout the morning, it had snowed hard, as if the skies were expecting Acharya Swamishree to grace the region, and had wanted to cover the mountain with a fresh layer of snow. As soon as Acharya Swamishree set foot upon the mountain, the snow stopped. Dhoon, dhyaan and kirtan bhakti was performed at the top of the mountain. Acharya Swamishree and the sants prayed for world stability and spiritual peace for all those who have died in the recent world conflicts.

On the morning of 14th June, Acharya Swamishree departed from Seattle. All the loving disciples of Seattle gathered at the airport. Acharya Swamishree promised them all that He would visit them all soon and advised them all to remember the words of the Lord and abide by His commands.

From Seattle, Acharya Swamishree traveled to California. He arrived in Camarillo during the late evening. Acharya Swamishree performed the evening sandhyaa aarti rituals at the Temple.

The following day, scripture recitals were held on behalf of some of the Californian disciples. In His divine ashirwad, Acharya Swamishree talked about the bhakti, devotion that each of us should have unto the Lord. He defined bhakti as an immense love for the Lord that is combined with a thorough and genuine understanding and knowledge of His greatness. Acharya Swamishree defined and explained each of the 9 categories of bhakti; shravan bhakti - listening to the divine episodes of the Lord, smaran bhakti - reminiscing about the glory of the Lord, padsevan bhakti - offerings placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, archan bhakti - performing devotional practices such as poojan etc., vandan bhakti - bowing down to the Lord, dasya bhakti - remaining the loyal and obedient servant of the Lord, sakhya bhakti - establishing a rapport with the Lord so that there remains a total faith in His commands and thereby, all His commands are implicitly obeyed, samarpan bhakti - offering all, wealth, body, mind and soul, unto the Lord. Acharya Swamishree explained that the ultimate type of bhakti is pativrata bhakti, which encompasses all these 9 categories. A virtuous woman would have an unfaltering and resolute chaste devotion towards her husband. When these virtues are directed towards the Lord pativrata bhakti has been achieved. Acharya Swamishree explained the process by which to attain such an elite level of devotion unto the supreme Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa.

Today was also Father's Day. Our true and divine mother and father is Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree. Therefore, the disciples of California made a humble request to Acharya Swamishree, to allow them to celebrate the day. Acharya Swamishree said, "You all celebrate mother's day and father's day once in each year. You pay your respects to your parents annually. But our Hindu philosophy and heritage is much greater than this. In Hindu culture, you are taught to pay your respects to your parents every day. That is why Hindu society advocates that each child should bow down at the feet of their parents every morning."

The disciples gave gifts of flowers to Acharya Swamishree in celebration of Father's day. A special cake was also made. Acharya Swamishree cut the cake and offered it to Shree Harikrishna Maharaj. Acharya Swamishree then distributed the prasad to all the disciples.

Before departing Camarillo, Acharya Swamishree visited the park-grounds of a disciple's home and gave everyone an opportunity of taking photographs, so that they can remember this occasion. Acharya Swamishree joined in with the young disciples and played ball with them. This just demonstrates the greatness of the great - they adapt their behavior in accordance with the type of disciple.

On the 17th June, Acharya Swamishree departed from Camarillo and traveled to San Diego where He immediately commenced His work to fulfil the wishes of His disciples. After visiting the homes of several disciples in San Diego, Acharya Swamishree departed for Tustin.

On 19th June, a special public assembly was held in the city of Tustin. During the assembly, Acharya Swamishree honored the achievements of several of the city's officials who had been especially invited to be present during this special occassion. During His ashirwad, Acharya Swamishree talked about what pleases the Lord. "Lord Swaminarayan says that over the years, many disciples have brought me lavish gifts, such as clothing, jewellery and money. However, none of this can please me. I become pleased with the disciples who surrender the internal enemies such as lust, anger, greed, deceit, pride, envy and jealousy and then offer their worship to me. Of these vices, jealousy is the core of all the internal enemies. It is more subtle than any of the other vices. It is very difficult to eradicate jealousy. However, if one follows the examples and path of a true Satpurush, jealousy can be eliminated from within oneself. However, without following the path of a Satpurush, jealousy cannot be eliminated from within. We are fortunate to have the path of Gurudev Jeevanpran Swamibapa to follow. Jeevanpran Swamibapa has shown us, the disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, the perfect path to follow. Let us all remain on this supreme path to salvation and continue to please the Lord.

After the assembly, Acharya Swamishree travelled to Corona and visited the homes of many of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi disciples living in the city.

On 20th June, Acharya Swamishree accepted the wishes of the Honorable Judge James P Gray and visited the Supreme Court House in Corona. Judge Gray had heard about Acharya Swamishree and His tireless efforts for the benefit of society. He was keen to be granted the darshan of such a divine personality and had made a special request through the disciples of Corona. Judge Gray made a concerted effort to pay due respect to Acharya Swamishree and asked beforehand about the appropriate manner to greet Acharya Swamishree. As soon as he saw Acharya Swamishree he enjoined his hand and said Jay Swaminarayan to Acharya Swamishree. He then bowed down and touched the lotus feet of Acharya Swamishree before offering a flower garland to Acharya Swamishree.

Acharya Swamishree honored his devotion and enthusiasm to please the Lord and his commitment for the advancement of justice. Acharya Swamishree granted Judge Gray a prasanta pagh and presented him with a Shikshapatri. Judge Gray took Acharya Swamishree to his own chambers and requested Acharya Swamishree to visit him once again.

From Corona, Acharya Swamishree traveled to Monte Bello. During the journey, Acharya Swamishree visited several disciples' homes.

During the morning of 21st June, a special assembly was held in Monte Bello. The President of the Federation of Indo-American Association, Shree Prashantbhai was present to gain the divine blessings of Acharya Swamishree. He presented Acharya Swamishree with a commendation plaque on behalf of the entire association. Acharya Swamishree presented Shree Prashantbhai with a prasanta pagh.

On 22nd June, Acharya Swamishree departed from LAX airport and traveled to Chicago. The group reached Chicago's O'Hara International airport late in the afternoon.

The next day, they went to Saint-Louis for 1 night and then returned to Chicago. Everywhere that they went, Acharya Swamishree visited the homes of disciples in order to fulfil their spiritual wishes. Acharya Swamishree has disregarded any of His own personal discomfort and suffering, in order to accept the wishes of the Swaminarayan Gadi disciples.