30 JANUARY: FELICITATION ASSEMBLY
On Monday, 30 January 2017, a special assembly was held by the BAPS in Gadhada to felicitate the leading town members of different communities and heads of organizations. The evening assembly was held in the presence of HH Mahant Swami Maharaj. After addresses by senior sadhus the leading members of Gadhada spoke glowingly of BAPS and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Then Mahant Swami Maharaj blessed the assembly. Finally, Kothari Adhyatmaswarup Swami of BAPS Mandir acknowledged the support given by all the leaders and authorities to the BAPS Mandir renovation project. Thereafter, all the leaders were honoured on stage and served mahaprasad.
31 JANUARY: YAGNA
On the day prior to the murti-pratishtha of the abhishek murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and marble murtis of Guru Parampara a yagna was held in Gadhada. The yagna mandap comprised of 150 yagna kunds with 1,073 yajmans (participants). The yagna commenced amidst Vedic chantings by 55 Brahmin pandits in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj and senior sadhus. Mahant Swami Maharaj ignited the yagna fire, performed pujan of the murtis and finally blessed the yajmans.
Later in the day Mahant Swami Maharaj launched the kavad yatra – where the holy waters of River Ghela was carried in kavads (traditional vessels) for the ritual bathing of the murtis in the mandir.
In the evening, BAPS sadhus presented a wonderful kirtan aradhna before an audience of devotees and citizens of Gadhada.
1 FEBRUARY: MAHANT SWAMI MAHARAJ AND CM VIJAYBHAI RUPANI INAUGURATE EXHIBITION
On Vasant Panchmi, 1 February 2017, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj consecrated the abhishek murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and marble murtis of Guru Parampara at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Gadhada.
At 9.20 a.m. the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijaybhai Rupani was welcomed at the mandir. Thereafter, Mahant Swami Maharaj and Shri Vijaybhai Rupani inaugurated the grand entrance gate, Yagnapurush Dwar. Then a group photo was taken with the descendants of Dada Khachar and Jiva Khachar. Thereafter, the Chief Minister performed abhishek of the newly installed murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Mahant Swami Maharaj and the Chief Minister inaugurated the new exhibition, ‘Gadhpur jota mane Shriji Sambhare…’ The guests were taken through the exhibition halls, which portray the life, work and message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan through audio-visual dioramas and light and sound shows.
The highlight of the occasion was the Vasant Panchmi celebration assembly. Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, Pujya Viveksagar Swami, Pujya Dr Swami and guests addressed the assembly. Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami described the main features of the newly opened exhibition. He revealed, “For the first time ever a letter written and signed by Sahajanand Swami is displayed in the exhibition. The letter is a testament to his presence on earth.”
Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Education Minister of Gujarat, voiced his feelings, “I congratulate the BAPS for creating an exhibition of an international standard. It is part of an effort to preserve our glorious culture. While viewing the exhibition it seemed as if Bhagwan Swaminarayan was present before us.”
The Chief Minister opined, “This town of Gadhada was very dear to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. And the exhibition about him places Gadhada on an international level. Nowhere have I seen such an exhibition in the whole of India. I thank the BAPS for augmenting the pride of Gujarat. Through the piety of BAPS sadhus one finds them achieving great works, and their pure lives consolidate faith in the hearts of countless people.”
In conclusion, Mahant Swami Maharaj blessed the celebration assembly, “As a teenager Bhagwan Swaminarayan travelled throughout India, but he did not settle down anywhere. However, he stayed in Gadhada for three decades. The reasons being the devotion of the devotees and the merited land of Gadhada. Today, everyone is happy in Gadhada because the abhishek murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan was consecrated with Vedic rites and an exhibition on his life, work and teachings was thrown open to the public. The exhibition will inspire countless people.”
Thereafter, all had mahaprasad.