The final day of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening (Sunday 24th August 2014) began with Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and sants performing the shodashopchaar poojan of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa in their magnificent gold sinhasan. During the poojan Acharya Swamishree showered the murti of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa in gold flower petals, followed with aarti to all the murti. During the poojan rituals the mandir hall and balcony were packed with disciples seeking darshan.
After poojan Acharya Swamishree was let to the Sabha Mandap by the Massed Bands of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. On this Grand occasion eminent scholars from Hindi organisations in Kashi, Haridhvar and Rishikesh represented by Shree Akhileshji Mahray endowed Acharya Swamishree with the honorary title Vishwa Vatsalya Mahodadhi - Greatest Ocean of Spiritual Love and Compassion for the entire world, a fitting designation for our beloved Swamishree.
Following the presentation, Acharya Swamishree blessed the congregation with his divine ashirwad, stating:
We have all been waiting for years for an eternal salvation-granting shikhar-bandh mandir of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa’s sarvopari siddhant to be erected in London. This was Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s wish, and today it has become a reality, as the King of Kings, Lord Shree Swaminarayan, and His guruparampara have answered Swamibapa’s prayers and have taken their place in the golden sinhasan in this mandir. This reminds us of the occasion when Jeevanpran Swamibapa installed the murtis of Lord Shree Swaminarayan in Maninagar.
This mandir is the world’s first eco-temple, and it has made news on television, the internet, and social media.
What kind of day has the Lord chosen for this occasion? Today’s Hindu calendar date is Shravan Vad 14. The year is 2014. Today’s English date is the 24th in the 8th month of the year. If we add 2 + 4 + 8, we get 14 again. Bhagwan is the creator and controller of 14 universes. The name of this Mahotsav is “Kingsbury Nutan Mandir Mahotsav,” which, in Gujarati, has 14 letters.
If we take today’s date, it is the 24th. The Lord’s 24 incarnations have chosen this date to arrive and take their place in this temple. If we add the date’s digits together, 2 + 4 = 6. The Lord’s supreme name, “Swaminarayan,” has 6 letters in Gujarati.
Yesterday, the King of Kings granted His divine darshan to 1000s of souls, putting them on the path of salvation, whilst seated upon a grand chariot in the nagaryatra through the streets of Kingsbury. At the same time, Swaminarayan Gadi pipe bands from London, Bolton, and Nairobi, dhol players, and hundreds of dancers created excitement throughout the streets of Kingsbury. Furthermore, there were 70-80 cadets of ages 4-12 from London, Bolton, Nairobi, and Australia, who marched alongside the bands. The spectators of the parade were surprised to see such young children marching with the band. The pipe bands have given the welcoming salute to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa throughout this Mahotsav. Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa is pleased with them all and gives them His blessings.
Today, we performed the shodashopchaar poojan of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa, and He kindly accepted the offerings in the annkut made lovingly by sants and disciples. Also, since the beginning of the Mahotsav, many disciples have sponsored and performed seva for the daily mahaprasad, thaals, and aartis. The Lord is extremely pleased with them all and showers His blessings for their humble service and efforts.
Since the very beginning of this mandir’s construction, sants and disciples have been working towards it restlessly – without looking at day or night, without any thought for food, without sleep. Seva included parayans, aartis, construction, nagaryatra, evening programs, kitchen seva, decorations, audio/video/photography, etc. Everyone had one aim – to build Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa’s shikhar-bandh mandir, within which thousands of souls could be blessed and guided onto the path of salvation. To them, this was the ultimate benefit and satisfaction for the mind.
Even the flags atop this mandir’s shikhars are flying and dancing in the air, calling all to come to this mandir, as Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa has made it His newest eternal home, where He will give all souls freedom.
This mandir will be a place that grants salvation forever. The creator of this mandir and the granter of ultimate salvation are no other than Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself. To obtain salvation from Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself is the greatest pleasure a soul can possibly experience.
We have found the merciful Lord Shree Swaminarayan, who fulfils all of our wishes and desires when we go to Him in need, leaving us filled with utter joy in no time. In the same manner, English Governor Sir John Malcolm, who was residing in India during the Lord’s time on this Earth, humbly requested Lord Shree Swaminarayan the Lord come to His home. Fulfilling his wish, the Lord gave Sir John Malcolm His darshan at his home in Rajkot.
Sir John Malcolm had written three letters to the Lord, requesting Him to visit Rajkot, as Sir John Malcolm, due to his duties as governor, was unable to visit the Lord in Ghadpur. At that time, Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s health was not in the best condition, but upon seeing Sir John Malcolm’s heartfelt desire to meet the Lord, He decided to visit Rajkot. To welcome Lord Shree Swaminarayan, there were many high-ranking British officials along with Sir John Malcolm. Samvat 1886, Fagan Sud 5. February 27 1830 Saturday. In Samvat 1886, Fagan Sud 5 (Saturday, 27 February 1830), Sir John Malcolm welcomed the Lord in the grandest manner and, while holding His hand, had Him seated upon a finely-carved ivory throne within his home.
Sir Malcolm then said to the Lord, “Through your religious teachings, you and your sants have eradicated the evil and the clashes between groups of people that once settled upon Gujarat. With your love, compassion, and practice of non-violence, you have restored humanity within them all.”
Sir John Malcolm then requested the Lord, that if a book of laws or commandments of His religion exists, then would the Lord please shower His kindness and give Sir John Malcolm that book as well. Upon seeing Sir John Malcolm’s sincere desire, the Lord gifted Sir John Malcolm the Shikshapatri, which the Lord had handwritten Himself. Still, Sir John Malcolm had the desire to perform poojan to Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His sants, so he arranged for all of the necessary items. Sir John Malcolm presented the Lord with a garland, adorned Him in a shaal, and sprayed sweet-smelling perfume on His clothing. He also performed poojan to Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swami and respected Sadguru and adorned them in shaals as well.
The Lord knew that Sir John Malcolm did not consume alcohol, and he wished for others to practice the same restriction so that they, too, could lead happier lives. Although he was an English official, Sir John Malcolm led a pious and religious life and had a sincere desire for the Lord’s darshan, and because of this, Lord Shree Swaminarayan came all the way to Rajkot to give His darshan.
Just as Lord Shree Swaminarayan gave Sir John Malcolm His darshan in Rajkot when he humbly prayed to the Lord to do so, the Lord takes His place in the heart of any individual who has a sincere desire to have the Lord in his or her life. So that our hearts may awaken with the desire to be inclined more and more towards the supreme Lord, Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa has found this land for us in Kingsbury.
Today, all of the work for building and opening this mandir has been completed, and the King of Kings’ flag is now flying high in the sky. Now, it is your responsibility to give your family and children good values and teachings so that they may never forget our Indian culture. With this, it is also my request that you all, as the dear children of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa, live and work with each other respectfully and in harmony so that others proudly look up to you as role models.
Those within whose hearts the pride in our satsang has flourished become so enlightened that they become engrossed in the Lord’s murti for all hours of the day, each and every day.
The Lord’s lotus face is so captivating; it is so unique. He is always gently smiling, His eyes are always twinkling, and when we look at His sweet and lovely murti, we are reminded of Swamibapa’s kirtan “Mithi Madhuri Bhali Murti Tari Murti.”
How can one ever forget the divine darshan of Lord Shree Swaminarayan when He is gently smiling, and His twinkling eyes are making our hearts flutter? Oh Lord, you have such endless compassion upon your little child! This memory of your lovely murti will evoke more and more love towards you.
We have witnessed and felt this same type of love from Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. When He calls us to Him and hugs us with the soft touch of His divine form, we never want to let Him go. We are endlessly attracted to His divine murti.
When we really think about it, we realize the vast difference between the King of Kings and ourselves, the common soul. There is absolutely no way we would have the chance to be in association with this divine murti, but the Lord’s heart is so soft, softer than butter, and He showered His endless grace upon us and gave us His divine form.
When butter is exposed to heat, it melts. However, the Lord’s heart is softer than butter, such that even when He simply hears of His disciples’ troubles, His heart melts. He becomes impatient to relieve His disciples of their troubles.
Whenever Swamibapa speaks to us, it feels as if Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself is speaking to us. The Lord has revealed in the Vachanamrut that His satpurush are just as capable as He. They are able to see through their eyes exactly what the Lord sees through His. The Lord works through His satpurush. Our Swamibapa is just as capable as the Lord.
Whenever Swamibapa places His soft hand atop our heads, we feel inner peace. Whenever we obtain the unprecedented love from Swamibapa, it is the luckiest moment of our lives. We are the children of that very same loveable Swamibapa. At different times, He has given us the opportunity to experience His love in many ways.
Today, in the great city of London, Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa is looking directly into our eyes, and we are enjoying sweet nectars at this moment. So that we may enjoy these sweet nectars forever, Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa has given us this palace of a mandir that has everything we could possibly need. The more and more time we spend with the Lord, and the closer we become to Him, the more and more we will enjoy His sweet nectars and achieve happiness and fulfillment in life.
At the conclusion of this Mahotsav, we pray to the almighty Lord, “Oh merciful one! As you are now sweetly gazing and gently smiling down upon us, please give us the knowledge, strength, devotion, and guidance that will allow us to continue experiencing this moment and bliss forever.”
Patotsav and Divine Ashirwad Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening
Annakut Darshan and Finale
On the final afternoon of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening Festival , a magnificent annakut was arranged before the murtis of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa consisting of numerous foods and sweets lovingly prepared by sants and disciples. Many items were decorated as food carvings and interspersed with murti of Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa and figures of sants playing instruments within a beautiful scene. The centre piece was a crystal cake stand in rotating coloured lights. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and sants performed annakut arti for the first time in this Mandir, to the delight of the gathered disciples.
Following annakut darshan, Acharya Swamishree was welcomed into the Sabha Mandap by a nrutya by young disciples dancing to the kirtan Valiro e Valiro. During the kirtan, Acarya Swamishree was led to a seat upon a pedestal gadi arranged in the centre of the mandap, from where the whole sabha could receive his divine darshan. From here Acharya Swamishree personally presented ladva prasad to the many sant and disciples who contributed to and supported the mandir building project and helped in realising the dream that Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa had of building a sikharbannd mandir in the great city of London.
To celebrate this achievement, sants and disciples joyously played raas around Bapa’s murti. Acharya Swamishree blessed disciples with Prasad as they played raas. As the music gathered pace the raas players started to wave flags and built a crescendo of colour and sound as confetti bombs filled the air. As the raas came to a finale sants played fuderi around Bapa, as he gazed on loving at his disciples enjoying themselves.
As a final thank you and in gratitude of the feats Lord SwamnarayanBapa Swamibapa helped everyone achieve leading up to and during the Grand Opening festival, trustees and committee members of London presented Acharya Swamishree with a 3D model of the London temple to place in Maninagardham as a memento of the joyous days of the festival.
Day 5 - Annakut Darshan and Finale Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening
Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj is the current spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. He is the heir to Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj, and sixth in the lineage of ascetic Acharyas, which descends directly from Lord Shree Swaminarayan.