On Sunday, August 2nd, 2020, all the temples of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan in North America celebrated their annual Patotsavs, following the guidance of His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj. All celebrations took place while adhering to local, state, and federal social-distancing guidelines for COVID-19.
While disciples sorely missed having the physical presence of His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj presiding over the Patotsav ceremonies, without which the ceremonies were performed for the very first time since the establishment of the first temple in North America, Shree Swaminarayan Temple New Jersey, in 2001, His divine presence was certainly felt and experienced by all.
Temple poojaris performed shodshopchaar poojan and the Patotsav vidhi to the divine Murtis of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abj Bapashree, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Eminent sants had sent a recording of the various sloks to follow during the ceremony from the headquarters of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Maninagar. Annakuts, encompassed of various sweet and savory delicacies, were offered to the ever-present and omni-present Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa, and disciples were given the opportunity to perform aarti, as per social-distancing guidelines would allow.
Disciples had the opportunity to listen to Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s blessings from prior Patotsav ceremonies, and His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj then showered His divine blessings upon all disciples through video. He emphasized that the Lord and His Satpurush do not come and go; they are ever-present and omni-present upon this Earth through their idol forms installed in our temples. As such, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj is, too, with us all as we celebrate this important occasion of Patotsav across all our temples in North America on this day.
After Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj divine blessings, disciples performed annakut darshan before the prasad was then packaged into small packets for all disciples to take home. This then concluded the Patotsav celebrations across North America.