Uttarayan falls on the 14th of January every year. This day is a very sacred and auspicious day. It is when the sun shifts northwards from the south, daylight hours increase from this day. The skies are filled with colourful kites and a sweet delicacy made of sesame seeds and jaggery is consumed.
Devotees gathered on the morning of Uttarayan for Mangla Aarti to receive divine darshan of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa on this auspicious way. Devotees had put up a beautiful display of colourful kites and reels all around the temple hall. It is believed that you receive thousands of blessings in return of one donation. Hence people donate anonymously as they please (Gupt-Daan).
Sandhya Aarti niyams commenced at 6 in the evening. Followed by Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj’s Divine discourses. Acharya Swamiji Maharaj explained, Someone who wants to achieve absolute salvation (aatyantik moksh) and be like sadhus such as Narad and Sanak, should realise that the soul resides in this body and is distinct from the indriyas and antah-karans. The indriyas and antah-karans become attached to the soul, as well as to the external five sensations, but due to ignorance, this soul believes the indriyas and the antah-karans to be its actual form. The five sensations are also distinct from the antah-karans, but due to the constant association of the sensations with the antah-karans, it seems as if they have become one with the antah-karans. Also, the five sensations emerge from the indriyas and they originate externally before pervading internally, but they do not arise internally from the body and not from the soul and not even from the antah-karans. They enter the internal body through those indriyas.
What actually happens is that the sensations first associate with the external indriyas and then enter the antah-karans. If a sensation does seem to arise from the antah-karans, it is because it has entered via the external indriyas in a previous life. Therefore, the only medicine for nullifying the sensations is by gaining control of one’s mind and engaging the sensations in activities related to Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His Muktas, through performing devotion to Him, such as listening to His discourses and devotional songs; keeping control of the prans by restricting one’s diet; and keeping control of one’s body by keeping it compliant with the regulations. If one firmly renounces the sensations through the five indriyas in this manner, then the flow of external sensations cannot enter inside [into the antah-karans].
One can eliminate the sensations that have already accumulated within the antah-karans via the indriyas by considering himself to be a soul. One should have thoughts about the soul having literally no relation with the indriyas or antah-karans. Through such firm thinking; by contemplating on the Murti of Lord Shree Swaminarayan within the soul (chaitanya); and by the bliss of one’s own soul, one should remain internally fulfilled and keep the path of sensations through the five external indriyas closed.
The indriyas are conquered through physical restraint. The antah-karans are conquered by controlling the indriyas, only if the five vartmans are strictly observed. However, it is not possible to conquer the indriyas by only controlling the antah-karans, but the antah-karans can be conquered by controlling the indriyas. This is because, when the indriyas are controlled, they are not allowed to pursue the sensations, so the antah-karans become despondent as they realise that sensory pleasures will not be attained from that body. The Lord has shown the means for affirming the vartman of being free from lust. These are: gaining control of one’s mind through performing devotion to Him, such as listening to His discourses and devotional songs; keeping control of the prans by restricting one’s diet; and keeping control of one’s body by keeping it compliant with the regulations.
Thereafter, Prashad was served to all devotees.