In Hinduism, Ashadh sud poonam (the full-moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashadh) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima. On this day, all Hindus worship and honor their Gurus. Guru Purnima is one of the three main annual festivals in the Swaminarayan Sampraday. His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples all take this day to gather and pay respect to our Gurus, Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa explains the precise meaning of the Sanskrit word “guru.” Gu means “andhkaar,” which is “darkness.” Ru means “prakaash,” which is “light.” Thus, one who enlightens the ignorant or shines light to those in darkness is called a Guru. Swamibapa says further, “Guru veena gnaan nahi,” which translates to, “Without a Guru, knowledge cannot be attained.” Without a Guru, knowledge about religion and the real meaning of life cannot be achieved. Only Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa can enlighten our souls with true religious knowledge, and by doing so, we can achieve the greatest happiness and endless peace of the supreme Lord. Therefore, He is our true Guru, and it is important to honor Him on this auspicious day.
This year, Guru Purnima fell on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Disciples all across North America celebrated Gurupoornima in their Mandirs and mandals. In Florida, Gurupoonam was celebrated in the presence of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree. The disciples of Florida and North America have been truly blessed in various years to celebrate Guru Purnima in the presence of Acharya Swamishree. Additionally, on this day, the 6th Patotsav of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Florida and Acharya Swamishree's Sadbhav Amrut Parva (75th Manifestation Day) were celebrated as well.
The celebrations commenced with the Patotsav ceremony on Sunday morning. Acharya Swamishree performed shodshopchar poojan to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. An annakut was offered to the Lord, and then Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples all performed aarti.
Thereafter, disciples carried Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, who was seated on a golden palanquin, from the mandir into the sabha mandap. Acharya Swamishree and sants led the way. Disciples followed them with abundant offerings for the Lord.
Upon arriving inside the sabha mandap, Acharya Swamishree and sants performed the Gurupoojan ceremony to Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and gave Him the offerings brought in by disciples. Acharya Swamishree and and the event sponsors then performed panchamrut snaan to the divine lotus feet of Lord Shree Swaminarayan. Acharya Swamishree also cut a special cake made for the celebration of His Sadbhav Amrut Parva by the disciples of Florida. Sants and disciples then had the opportunity to perform the aarti of Acharya Swamishree for His Sadbhav Amrut Parva.
Everyone was then seated, and they listened to Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s divine ashirwad about Gurupoornima and our Gurudev Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. Acharya Swamishree then showered His divine blessings upon the congregation.
Following Acharya Swamishree’s divine blessings, all disciples were then given the opportunity to perform the Gurupoojan ceremony. Everyone then had maha-prasad to conclude the celebrations.