The final day of Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj Shashtpurti Mahotsav Naranpar (Saturday 29th April 2017) began with Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and Sants performing the shod-shopchar poojan of the Lord in the ladies Mandir. New Murtis of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and His divine lineage of spiritual leaders, was installed in the Mandir. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj then returned to the men’s Mandir where He performed the shod-shopchar poojan of Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the Sants and disciples who had devoted performed various tasks in preparation for this festival, and through the 5 days of the highly memorable occasion.
A magnificent annakut was arranged before the Lord, comprising of numerous foods and sweets lovingly prepared by Sants and disciples. A grand display of 75 cakes was offered, representing the 75 years of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj upon this Earth, which is being ceebrated throughout 2017 as the Sadbhav Amrut Parva. This annakut represented the love and devotion of all the disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. Accepting the prayers of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the Lord mercifully dined on all the foods and bestowed blessings to everyone. Firstly, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, and then all the Sants and disciples were given the opportunity to perform aarti to the supreme Lord on this very special day.
During the ceremony, Member of Parliament for Bhuj, Kutch, Dr Nimaben Acharya was present. On behalf of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, she was commended for her work for society.
After performing the poojan, everyone went to the assembly marque where Acharya Swamishree Maharaj blessed the congregation with His divine ashirwad.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj explained the significance of this day in the Hindu calendar. Vaishakh Sud 3 is celebrated as Akshay Trutiya. Akshay refers to something that never diminishes. Legend has it that Lord Krishna’s poor childhood friend, Sudama, went to visit him on this day with the wish to become relieved of his dire poverty. The only thing that he had to offer Shree Krishna was a handful of rice. However, because of that meagre offering, Shree Krishna made him rich overnight. People wait for this day to invest in gold, and make other investments, in order to bring in good fortune. The Sants of Lord Shree Swaminarayan commence their act of devotion on this day, by adorning the Lord with garments made of sandalwood paste. As it is the middle of the Summer season, and the temperature has reached over 40oC, the sandalwood is applied to the Lord in order to cool and soothe the Murtis. The Sants rub sandalwood and make a paste from it. This is combined with saffron before being applied to the Murtis. Just as sandalwood gives a calm, cooling, soothing sensation to the skin, bowing down to the Lord adorned with the Sandalwood paste garments does the same thing; it evokes calmness, cooling and soothing sensation to one’s heart and mind.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj explained the significance of celebrations and festivals. They provide a way of demonstrating one’s devotion, and working with others to provide humble services to please the supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj praised all the Sants and disciples who had worked so hard, and humbly used their skills and talents for the benefit of the Faith.
After the divine blessings, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj presented prasad to all the disciples who had contributed to the success of the Mahotsav.
Finally, the concluding ceremony took place. Sadguru Sants, Trustees and leading disciples of Naranpur and Kutch presented a commemorative shield to Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, and honoured Him, the ultimate inspirator of the Shashtipurti Mahotsav. The entire congregation got onto their feet and danced as the new ‘timli’ devotional songs were played.