The 50th Patotsav (anniversary of murti-pratishtha) of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad, was celebrated on 28 April 2012.
In the esteemed presence of Pujya Mahant Swami, Pujya Doctor Swami, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, Pujya Viveksagar Swami and Kothari sadhus, the auspicious Parsnapan Ceremony, based on the Panchratra shastras, was performed to commemorate this special occasion. The first main ritual involved offering worship to twelve kalashes (water pots) containing water specially prepared by using grains, herbs, fruits and other items.
Then, using this sanctified water, abhishek was offered to the murtis in the central shrine – Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami, Shri Gopalanand Swami and Shri Lalji Maharaj.
Following the rituals, the senior sadhus who were present when Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj performed the murti-pratishtha of the mandir in 1962 shared their memories of that auspicious occasion. Pujya Viveksagar recalled, “In 1962, prior to the murti-pratishtha a grand procession was held throughout the city. When the abhishek of the murtis was performed in the mandir, all the sadhus and devotees entered the garbhagruha and at that time Yogiji Maharaj bent over to scoop a handful of water in which everyone had walked, and reverently touched it to his head – such is the glory with which he regarded the devotees.”
Addressing the Patotsav gathering, Pujya Dr Swami said, “Yogiji Maharaj used to say, ‘A mandir is a college for brahmavidya.’ Gunatitanand Swami used to say that without learning brahmavidya, worldly knowledge is of no use. To attain brahmavidya, understand and imbibe three principles: swarupnishtha (firm faith in the glory of God), sanghnishtha (unity) and swadharmanishtha (niyam-dharma).”
At the conclusion of the rituals, an annakut was offered to Thakorji and the 50th Patotsav arti was performed.
At 5.15 a.m. on 29 April 2012, the Swaminarayan Mahayagna for World Peace began in the presence of Mahant Swami, Dr Swami, Ishwarcharan Swami, Viveksagar Swami, Kothari Satsangijivan Swami, sadhus and devotees. Inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj the Mahayagna was held to offer peace and to celebrate 50 years of spiritual and social services rendered by the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Shahibaug. After completion of the initial rituals, senior sadhus addressed the devotees.
Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami said, “In 1948, Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj acquired the land for this mandir and consecrated the murti of Lalji Maharaj. In 1959, Yogiji Maharaj performed the khatmuhurt of the mandir. In 1962, a grand three-day celebration was held in the open grounds of Madhupura Market just a 100 metres from here. Thousands of devotees participated in the yagna and assembly. Today, in the divine presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, this divine occasion is a special memory and whatever good wishes we make will be fulfilled.”
Pujya Mahant Swami said, “To gain maximum benefit we must stop all other thoughts and focus our mind on this main ceremony, and believe all devotees to be divine. If someone contemplates, understands, imbibes and becomes immersed in this principle then they will win over the world. They will experience unbroken joy. God is manifest here. Swamishri has also said that Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj are present here. These are not empty words.”
Pujya Dr Swami said, “To experience God purify the heart. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has said that there is nothing superior to worshipping God. And to purify the heart develop five things: smaran, stuti, seva, sayam and satsang.”
The closing rituals of the yagna were performed by the senior sadhus together with the Mayor of Ahmedabad, Shri Asit Vora. The yagna concluded at 8.35 a.m.
Details of the Mahayagna are as follows:
- 476 yagna kunds around which couples performed Vedic yagna rituals.
- 4,445 couples participated, i.e., 8,890 yajman devotees and well-wishers.
- 59 devotees who were present for the murti-pratishtha in 1962 participated in this yagna.
- 430 Brahmin priests assisted the devotees in the rituals.
- More than 31 lakh ahutis were made into the yagna kunds.
- More than 31,800 devotees and well-wishers attended.
- The yagna kunds were prepared by BAPS youths.
- All decorations, arrangements, housekeeping were done by 3,000 BAPS children, teenagers and youth volunteers.
- The entire yagnashala was spread over 300,000 sq. ft.
- The event was graced by three decorated elephants from the local Jagannath Mandir who performed a pradakshina of the entire yagna arena.
- Also, the murtis of Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj were consecrated in the BAPS Yogiji Maharaj Hospital, adjacent to the yagna arena.
- 39 boys accepted the janoi.
The Chief Fire Officer of Ahmedabad, Mr. Dastur, visited the yagnashala and commented, “Such a mammoth event is a great managerial feat. The open sky yagnashala with broad roads to each section is the safest and best planning I have ever seen in my life.”