Today, the fifth and final day of Acharya Shree Purushottampriya Swamishree Maharaj Smruti Satra, marked precisely 77 years since, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa installed the divine Murti of Lord Shree Swaminarayan - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj at the headquarters of the Karan Satsang, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Maninagar.
Today, the fifth and final day of Acharya Shree Purushottampriya Swamishree Maharaj Smruti Satra, marked precisely 77 years since, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa installed the divine Murti of Lord Shree Swaminarayan - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj at the headquarters of the Karan Satsang, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Maninagar. This historic event took place in Samvat 2000 (Saturday 26th February 1944). Thus, Gurudev Swamibapa fulfilled the prophecy of Lord Shree Swaminarayan that the headquarters of His supreme tenets will be built at this precise location in the future, and the wishes of His Guru Shree Ishwar Bapa to create a Mandir there.
The Patotsav celebrations began with Acharya Swamiji Maharaj offering Shanghar Aarti to the Lord, who looking regal and resplendent adorned in elaborately brocaded garments, and gold garlands and necklaces. The first kirtan written by Gurudev Swamibapa and presented to Shree Ishwar Bapa was sung before the Lord by all the Sants and disciples – ‘Jay Divya Murti Ghanshyam tamane anant pranam’.
Acharya Swamiji Maharaj performed the Patotsav ceremony and Aarti to the Lord. Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shree Harikrishna Maharaj, Shree Sahajanand Swami Maharaj and the small Murtis of Shree Harikrishna Maharaj and Shree Lalji Maharaj were disrobed. Of all the amazing spectacles that take place throughout the year at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Maninagar, this is perhaps the most eagerly awaited and highly anticipated occasion, with it being the only day in the year when disciples are granted the unique darshan of the Lord disrobed.
With the Lord wearing just a dhoti, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj lovingly performed the Panchamrut Snan. This ancient and traditional ceremony involves bathing of the Lord with five nectars; milk, saffron, honey, sugar and yogurt.
After the Patotsav ceremony, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj and disciples performed Aarti, before the Sants created a magnificent display of different foods, which was offered to the Lord on this most auspicious of days.
In the Sabha Mandap, the Sants sang the kirtan composed by Swamibapa for this Patotsav day, ‘Bar bar mahine aave trutiya din’.
The divine blessings of Gurudev Swamibapa were then heard during which He stated that this complex where everyone is seated, Maninagardham, is the divine, eternal home of Lord Shree Swaminarayan and therefore everyone is sitting in Akshardham. Material eyes may see differently, but from a truly divine and spiritual perspective, the merciful Lord has given everyone here a place at His lotus feet in Akshardham. Swamibapa said that the very same opportunity that Sants and disciples had 200 years ago, to attain the Lord’s darshan in a Human form, is available here, at Maninagardham, at Shree Swaminarayan Gadi. And therefore, the adoration performed today was performed in Akshardham.
The divine Ashiward given by Sanskar Bhaskar Acharya Swamishree Maharaj on the day of Maninagardham Patotsav in 2015 was replayed. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj reiterated the foretelling by Lord Shree Swaminarayan: when He was travelling from one side of Ahmedabad to the other, He often rested and presided beneath a mango tree, and said that from this very location, He would preside with all His divine Muktas in the future. And it would be from here that His true supremacy and philosophy would be preserved, protected, and propagated all around the world. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj stated that the Lord has made this Maninagardham His eternal home, and is blessing and fulfilling the spiritual desires of all those who come here. He said that the Lord has become pleased with everyone’s dedication and is lovingly embracing all those present in the assembly, and all those who were unable to be here in person but who are watching online.
Acharya Swamiji Maharaj bestowed His Ashirwad to the congregation during which He talked about the unique and leading role that Gurudev Swamibapa had for uniting all facets of Hinduism through His formation and leadership of the Akhil Bharat Sadhu Samaj.
Acharya Swamiji Maharaj described the glory of Maninagardham:
For the protection of the true principles of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, and to fulfil the command given to Him by Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharan Swamibapa laid the foundations of Maninagardham.
Seventy-seven years have passed since Gurudev Swamibapa performed the installation ceremony of Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj in Maninagardham. The supreme Lord will remain here, considering this to be His home, until the end of this cosmos.
Countless seekers of salvation have come here and will continue to come onto this sacred land to experience eternal peace.
This Maninagardham is the Kalp-vruksh (sacred wish-fulfilling tree). Realising this, many Sadhus and Gruhasthas have come to spend their final days here, so that their salvation would be guaranteed.
This Maninagardham is the Tirthotam abode – the greatest of the place of pilgrimage in the world.
The spiritual lineage of this Maninagardham, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, is the lineage of Yogivarya Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa and therefore, is the lineage that descends directly from Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself.
We are truly fortunate to have this Chintamani (sacred wish-fulfilling gem) in our hands. Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj used to say time and time again that at this sacred site, we have attained everything that there is to attain.
Vishwa-vatsalya Mahodadhi Acharya Swamishree Maharaj nurtured this divine garden for over 41 years. He disregarded His own comforts and sceptics, and continued to fulfil the wishes of Gurudev Swamibapa. He remained loyal to the promise that He had given to Swamibapa to look after the Faith. We are all experiencing peace and comfort due to His limitless endurance. And even as He endured so much, He remained smiling and joyous throughout. The greatness of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj is unparalleled in this world.
A lotus flower lives in the water yet does not rot. It remains under the sunshine but does not dry up. This is because it remains attached to the soil beneath the water. As soon as the lotus flower severs its association with the soil, that very same water makes the flower rot and that very same sunshine makes it dry up. Similarly, the greatness and prestige that we all have within this Faith and in the outside world are due to our attachment with this Organisation, because this is where we have attained the blessings of Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj to progress in our lives. If we sever our link with Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, we too will wither away and become inconsequential, just like the lotus flower that becomes detached from the soil.
If we remain within the Faith and show enmity and see flaws in one another, we will not feel the peace. Therefore, we must realise the virtues of each Sant and disciple and have divine sentiments for them all. One must not see the natural traits and behaviours of others and demerit them - that will be the cause of our diminishment from the Faith. There is immense gain here if you know how to supress your own natures and temperaments and continue to reside here. If you are here and do not know how to see good in others, you will face a catastrophic loss.
This improvement of character is what Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj wanted us all to achieve. He wanted us to understand each other, to have respect for each other, to remain humble before others, and to identify and supress our own flaws.
Ved Ratna Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was so eager to look after us all in this way, so we too should have the same eagerness to be looked after by Him in the way He advised.
After this Ashiwad, all the Sants and disciples in the congregation performed Aarti. Acharya Swamiji Maharaj then went into the main Mandir to perform the Annakut Aarti.