In the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the auspicious day of Prabodhini Ekadashi, Kartik sud 11 (Thursday 2 November 2006) was celebrated in traditional style at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden.
The first day of the Dev Diwali period, Prabodhini Ekadashi is the day on which Bhagwan Swaminarayan was initiated (1800 C.E.) and also the anniversary on which He was handed the reins of the Sampraday by His Guru Ramanand Swami (1801 C.E.). It is also the day on which Swamishri was initiated as a parshad by Shastriji Maharaj (1939 C.E.).
In remembrance of these events in the morning, Swamishri joined in the chanting of Vedic Sanskrit verses while admiring the central shrine which depicted the initiation ceremony of Nilkanth Varni by Ramanand Swami. Many youths had also assembled on the mountain of vegetables under the mandir dome complementing the theme of Diksha (initiation).
In the evening, 115 varieties of vegetables were offered before the images in all of the shrines of the mandir with Swamishri performing the arti at 7pm using a dudhi. During his ashirvad in the Haveli, Swamishri mentioned, through examples and incidents, how we must remain stable in the face of praises and insults and how knowledge of atma is the ‘Master Key’. The highlight of the evening was Swamishri sanctifying the vegetables by picking them up in turn; he elaborated on the characteristics of the vegetables and invited the devotees who had gathered in this festival to take them home as prasad.