"It is the duty of a son to fulfil his parents' wishes; it is a disciple's duty to continue his Guru's mission." Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj
The servitude that Acharya Swamishree Maharaj has towards His Guru is unparalleled in this world. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Smruti Mandir is the physical manifestation of that devotion, built by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj to immortalise His love towards His Guru, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. The Mandir enshrines the spiritual teachings and humanitarian endeavours of Swamibapa, and thus Acharya Swamishree Maharaj has ensured they are never forgotten.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Smruti Mandir (Memorial Temple) in Ghodasar, Ahmedabad, India, is a unique and grand marble temple built at the exact site of Jeevanpran Swamibapa's cremation in 1979. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj built the extraordinary monument in commemoration and celebration of His remarkable Guru. This magnificent Mandir contains unique and unparalleled architecture, art, and sculpture, all representing Jeevanpran Swamibapa's service to society.
Under Acharya Swamishree Maharaj's inspiration, construction of the Mandir began in 1980 CE with the auspicious ground-breaking and foundation-laying ceremonies performed by Swamishree Himself. Its opening was performed on September 15, 1991 CE in the presence of the Vice President of India, Honourable Shree Sankardayal Sharmaji, and attended by India's leading ascetics and scholars.
Today, Smruti Mandir is renowned as one of the foremost sites of pilgrimage. Sages, ascetics, leaders of different faiths, politicians, sportsmen, artists, scientists, professionals, businessmen, philosophers, students and people from all statures of society have visited the Mandir to experience its divine serenity.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj explains, "Smruti Mandir is a physical embodiment of our spiritual love towards Gurudev Jeevanpran Swamibapa. The labour and passion of many thousands of people, both Hindus and Muslims, have gone into its creation – they all worked hand in hand to create this remarkable memorial to Jeevanpran Swamibapa's service to humanity."
Smruti Mandir is solely Acharya Swamishree Maharaj's divine vision, and epitomises His devotion for His Guru. It is Acharya Swamishree Maharaj's glorious gift to the world. By creating Smruti Mandir, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj has allowed the world to experience true spiritual love and devotion – indeed one can experience the divine presence of Jeevanpran Swamibapa simply by entering the Mandir. Many thousands of people who have visited Smruti Mandir describe the unexplainable closeness to God that they feel here.
In terms of architecture and design, the Smruti Mandir is unique within India, but it is the sublime message of devotional love between a disciple and Guru that is matchless throughout the entire world.
On one occasion, Gujarat's leading scholar and highly revered philosopher, Honourable Shree Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, visited the Mandir. Seeing the Mandir's unique architecture, intricate carvings, and the magnificent Murtis installed within it, and experiencing its divine serenity, he gave it the accolade, 'World Peace Centre'. The spiritual desires and prayers of thousands have been fulfilled by performing pilgrimages to the Mandir. Countless visitors describe the remarkable tranquillity and mental peace that they experience at the Mandir. As such, the Smruti Mandir is hailed as a symbol of "world peace." Whilst still on this Earth, the divinity of the Lord's divine abode, Akshardham, can be felt here.
The grounds are filled with mature trees, flowers and vegetation, and colourful displays and musical fountains. The Mandir itself strikes you like nothing else - The octagonal temple spans an area of 36,000 square metres, and is clad with 57,000 cubic feet of intricately carved, pure and flawless Makrana white marble. The Mandir has four grand stairways with four stunning archways that lead to the first floor, where the main shrine of the temple is situated. The 101-feet high spires on the Mandir are capped with golden, symbolic urns, which augment the beauty and grandeur of the Smruti Mandir.
As one enters from the Northern side of the Mandir complex, there is a grand, canopied monument (chhatri) on which the lotus feet of the Lord are installed. Beneath this is a deep well, into which the sacred prayers and chants of disciples are offered. At the entrance of the Mandir, there are large statues of elephants on both sides; elephants are symbols of prosperity and wealth. Moving forwards, one passes the deities, Hanuman and Ganpati on the left and right respectively. Ahead is a magnificent Murti of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the inspirational force behind the creation of Smruti Mandir. In His hand, close to His heart, He carries a small Murti of His Guru. At the centre of the ground floor presides a Murti of Jeevanpran Swamibapa sitting in meditation. This is the very location of Swamibapa's cremation ceremony. The darshan of Swamibapa in this calm, soothing, meditative posture teaches everyone about the importance of meditation in order to achieve the ultimate attainment, the Murti of God. As you ascend to the first floor, you see the magnificent shrine of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His lineage of spiritual successors. At the centre, Lord Shree Swaminarayan presides on a throne with a scripture in His hand – symbolising Him explaining His eternal philosophy to all. To His right stands Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree; to His left Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa, then Sadguru Shree Nirgundasji Swamibapa. To Bapashree's right stands Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa. Before them all, the Murti of Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa presides on Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. The Murtis (divine idols) that are installed in Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Smruti Mandir were made in the city of Jaipur, in Rajasthan. Jaipur is a world renowned centre for marble craftsmanship. The darshan of this divine assembly amazes everyone; their enchantment is incomparable. In the perimeter of each floor are oil paintings depicting the history of the Swaminarayan Faith.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa gave darshan on this Earth for 72 years; as such, the Smruti Mandir has 72 columns, 72 steps, and 72 oil paintings.
In the innermost sanctum of the Mandir, there is a flame that remains lit continuously. Fresh, fragrant ghee is offered to this eternal flame.
During one of the special assemblies held at Smruti Mandir, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj imparted a valuable teaching to the thousands of people in the congregation. He said, "Just like the flame that glows in this Smruti Mandir, a flame of true enlightenment must also be lit within your heart. Just as the light of the flame pervades throughout the Mandir, the flame within your heart must also be spread to others. Just as the mesmerising fragrance of the ghee permeates to all, the sweetness of the flame within your heart must be shared with everyone.
"The Smruti Mandir symbolises purity, true devotion and dedication. Just as the flame removes darkness, you must ensure that you light a flame of devotion within you, so that the darkness of ignorance within your mind is eradicated and instead, the radiance of true love, devotion and spirituality pervades from you to all."
This magnificent festival, which will be held from 24 to 30 September 2016, will celebrate with great splendour and fervour the 25th anniversary of the grand opening of Smruti Mandir. Thousands of disciples from all over the world will make the pilgrimage to experience the spiritual ecstasy of this festival. The five days will be filled with spectacular musical and dance performances, grand processions, scripture recitals, divine blessings from Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, and inspiring displays of devotion – in all, a truly unmissable experience.
"The Smruti Mandir is a monument to eternal peace. People who are pained with the modern day plagues of stress and anxiety come here from all over the world to experience tranquillity and serenity. May they all attain the Lord's divine blessings." Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj