Thursday, June 29th, 2023, marked the beginning of Chaturmas. On this day, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan celebrated Devshayni Ekadashi and Chaturmas Prarambh. Chaturmas is the 4 month period between Ashad Sud Ekadashi (Devshayni Ekadashi - usually falls around July) and Kartak Sud Ekadashi (Prabodhini Ekadashi - usually falls in October / November). Chaturmas literally means 4 months. During this time, all disciples will take extra vows such as fasting, scripture recitals, meditation, and other religious observances as described by Lord Swaminarayan in the Shikshapatri, sloks 76-78.
At 6:30 AM, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj performed mangla aarti as sants and disciples performed darshan. Following mangla aarti niyams, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj explained the meaning behind Chaturmas and its importance to all in attendance. After doing so, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj noted His daily niyams that would stretch over 4 months until Chaturmas would end. Acharya Swamiji Maharaj blessed the Chaturmas niymas of sants and disciples and performed darshan on this auspicious day.
In the evening, Secaucus Temple celebrated Devshayni Ekadashi & Chaturmas Prarambh by holding Utsav after sandhya niyams and katha. Sants and disciples formed into two sides while facing each other. The celebrations began with younger disciples performing the doha back and forth from each side. During each segment, young kids got out of their seats to perform phundhedi as the music thundered throughout the temple hall and the echoes of mangira could be heard throughout the entire temple. Everyone shared laughs as old and young disciples danced in happiness. As the utsav celebrations carried on, sants led some of the segments, which provided even more joy to the disciples. As the utsav came to an end, all disciples stood up and celebrated while facing Acharya Swamiji Maharaj. As a finale, disciples perform aarti of Lord Shree Swaminarayan before enjoying ekadashi mahaprasad.