5th February 2003, Day 4 - Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Vadodara Rajat Pratishtha Mahotsav and Vishwa Shanti Yagna
5.30am Mangla Aarti
On this, the fourth day of the Rajat Pratishtha Mahotsav, His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree performed the mangla aarti to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa.
As the Lord was to give darshan throughout Vadodara today, He had been adorned in regal red coloured velvet robes and He was wearing a red embroidered moogat upon His head. And to fulfil the desires of His children, He had adorned countless golden necklaces and other gold jewellery.
The concluding ceremony of the Vachanamrut scripture recital was held during the morning assembly. At 8 am, the disciples on whose behalf the recital had been held, brought chaabs of gifts for the Lord onto the stage. The chaabs had been lavishly decorated. These were placed before the Lord and Acharya Swamishree. The disciples then did poojan to the Lord, the Scripture, Acharya Swamishree and the narrating sants.
Acharya Swamishree then gave ashirwad and blessed the congregation.
Later today, Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa will be seated upon a magnificent chariot, and will showering their divine blessings upon all the townsfolk of Vadodara.
This divine spectacle will be reminiscent of the time when King Sayajiraav, who had understood the true glory of Lord Swaminarayan and surrendered unto His shelter, honoured the Lord and held a magnificent procession through the streets of this very town.
We all have a role in moulding the character of society.
As parents, it is your responsibility to rear your children to be worthy children of God and influence their upbringing accordingly. It is the combined responsibility of mothers, fathers, teachers and those in power, i.e. those who can have an influence, to instil spiritual characteristics into a child's life.
It is important that our children are encouraged, from an early age, to go for darshan at the temple, to listen to and recite religious texts etc. By doing so, spiritual attributes can be instilled into a child.
Being a child of God does not bear any relation to one's age. Who is considered to be His true child? Someone, who has faith and trust in the Lord, is contented, good-natured and obeys God, is His child.
Regardless of age, he who keeps good virtues and considers bad qualities to be his enemy is considered to be a true child of God.
Let us pray to Lord SwaminarayanBapa Swamibapa that we remain always His humble children and that we remain committed to instilling the virtues of living according to these principles, to all.
Shree Hariprasaddasji Swamiji Maharaj of the Haridham Sokhda sect of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya came together with a mandal of his sadhus. On behalf of all the sadhus and disciples of the Haridham Sokhda Swaminarayan Sect, Shree Hariprasad Swami presented a garland to Acharya Swamishree.
When Shree Hariprasad Swami Maharaj first came onto the stage, Acharya Swamishree requested that he sit alongside Him on the main paat. However, Hariprasad Swamiji said that such a high position did not befit him, so he was not able to take seat there. However, by the continued requests of Acharya Swamishree, Shree Hariprasad Swamiji Maharaj relented and sat alongside His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree on the main stage.
In his speech, Shree Hariprasad Swamiji Maharaj said,
"Param Pujya Acharya Swamishree has made me sit on this paat but I am not worthy to sit on the same level as Him. My position should remain below Him. However, due to His requests, I am sitting here.
Acharya Swamishree is an extremely great leader and spiritual reformer. His eminence is boundless. He is the successor of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. A deep affection existed between Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Shree Yogiji Maharaj. Whenever they met, Shree Yogiji Maharaj used to say, "You are the fourth successor in the elite lineage from Shree Gopalanand Swami. So I am not worthy to sit alongside you."
From my sants, I have heard about the evening shows that were presented over the past few days. I was extremely pleased to hear about the total dedication and devotion of the sants and young disciples of this Sanstha, which they demonstrated through dance, music and drama. For them, there was no limit in their enthusiasm to please the Lord. Such devotion and spiritual ardour can only arise through one's learning from God and from great personalities such as Acharya Swamishree. Hearing about these events, I truly feel that I have missed out on being witness to true devotion to God."
These were the heartfelt emotional words of Shree Hariprasad Swamiji Maharaj.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree thanked Shree Hariprasad Swamiji for taking the time and bringing along his sant and haribhakta mandal. On behalf of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Acharya Swamishree presented him with a prasadi shawl and distributed prasad to all his other sants.
A magnificent procession was held through the city of Vadodara. The primary purpose of the procession was to propagate further, Acharya Swamishree's sublime message for universal peace and religious tolerance.
The city and indeed the entire state of Gujarat have had to endure serious inter-racial tension over the past year. The aim of this Peace Yagna was to unite everyone so that such conflict is prevented from re-occurring.
During the Vishwa Shanti Yagna, many individuals and societies of all faiths, had come to the Temple to add their support to the cause. In turn, they then conveyed Acharya Swamishree's compassionate words to their own folk. By this time, the afternoon of 4th day of the Peace Yagna, the entire city of Vadodara had become aware of Acharya Swamishree's call for peace and unity.
Those that could come, had visited the Temple and seen Acharya Swamishree and heard His words. However, those that were unable to attend the Yagna functions, became eager for the darshan of Acharya Swamishree. Through this procession, Acharya Swamishree fulfilled their wishes and granted them all His divine darshan.
As the procession progressed through the city, the people of many communities gathered at prominent positions to give their support to Acharya Swamishree and give Him their oath to maintain peace and unity.
At one particular area, the religious heads of the Muslim community had built a stage where they knew the procession would pass through. As the procession passed by, these Muslim people stopped the beautiful chariot that carried Acharya Swamishree and commended Him for this great act of unity and for His teachings of universal brotherhood. They all promised Acharya Swamishree that they would not allow religious tension to arise again.
The magnificent procession arrived back at the Temple on Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Road just before sunset.
Acharya Swamishree performed the sandhya aarti and daily evening rituals.