Guru Guru to sahoo kahe, pan Guru ek Sahajanand
Pragat maryaa ne haathaj jaalyo, teno che aanand"
-Shree Nirgunanandji Brahamchari Maharaj
"Many may be called a Guru, but the one and only true Guru is Sahajanand (Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa). Only those who have resorted unto Him, will attain immense happiness and eternal bliss."
Ashad sud poonam is the auspicious Gurupoornima, one of the 3 main annual festivals of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. On this day, devotees gather and pay homage to our beloved Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa.
Jeevanpran Swamibapa explains the precise meaning of the Sanskrit word “Guru.”
“Gu” means andhkaar (darkness).
“Ru” means prakash (light).
Thus, he who enlightens the ignorant, i.e. shines light to those in darkness, is called a Guru. It is only Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa that can enlighten us ignorant souls to the supreme bliss of eternal happiness, the endless peace of the supreme Lord. Thus, our supreme Guru can only be Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. Jeevanpran Swamibapa says, "Guru veenaa gnaan nahi." Without a Guru, knowledge cannot be attained. Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself showed the importance of a Guru in one’s life by taking Shree Ramanand Swami as His Guru.
This year, the auspicious day of Gurupoornima fell on Friday, July 27, 2018, and the disciples of North America had the great blessing of being able to celebrate this important occasion in the presence of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree. The celebrations took place in Big Flats, New York, near the town of Horseheads, New York, where several families of disciples reside. Disciples from all across North America and all over the world had gathered together for the event.
The Gurupoornima program commenced with a small swagat yatra led by Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band USA. Disciples carried Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree on a grand, golden palanquin through the procession. Jeevanpran Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree lovingly bestowed their divine darshan upon all of their disciples. Upon arriving inside the celebration hall, Acharya Swamishree performed the Gurupoojan ceremony to Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Disciples also carried in chaabs with abundant offerings for Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and presented the various offerings. Disciples also presented a celebration cake, which Acharya Swamishree cut and offered to Shree Harikrushna Maharaj and Jeevanpran Swamibapa. Disciples also had the opportunity to perform panchamrut snan to the divine lotus feet of Lord Shree Swaminarayan. All disciples then had the chance to perform Gurupoojan.
The congregation then listened to divine blessings from Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, who made everyone laugh through His clever examples and explanations about the importance of a guru in one's life. Acharya Swamishree then lovingly showered His divine blessings upon the entire congregation as well. Acharya Swamishree explained that whether sants and disciples were physically present during the celebrations, or whether they simply thought to attend, but were not able to do so due to distance or even worldly obligations, the Lord is showering the same blessings upon all of His children! He is accepting the prayers of all sants and disciples who asked to be kept together as part of the celebrations. Such is the greatness and unconditional love of our Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa! The joyous event came to a conclusion with all disciples having the opportunity to perform Gurupoojan to Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree. Finally, Mahaprasad was served to all disciples.