12 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 11) Monday, Toronto, Canada
Pramukh Swami Maharaj Arrives in Toronto
After concluding a series of conventions for children, teenagers and youths, Swamishri arrived in Toronto. Swamishri was received by kishores dancing enthusiastically, after which he formally opened the Swaminarayan Haveli in accordance with Vedic rituals.
During the evening welcome assembly, kishores performed a lively welcome dance. Thereafter, distinguished guests welcomed Swamishri. Acharya Kishoreji Vyas from the Kanchi Koti Pitham, founded by Adi Shankracharya, was present in the assembly and he spoke about Swamishri's efforts to preserve Hindu culture and values.
Finally, Swamishri, in his blessings, emphasised the rarity of acquiring a human body, which must be utilised in the worship of God. He also spoke about preserving traditional culture and values, and mentioned that children are the real wealth which must be nurtured. This can all be accomplished through the grace of God and His holy Sadhu.
13 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 11) Tuesday, Toronto
Kishore - Kishori Din
In the evening, during the main Kishore-Kishori Din programme, kishores presented a drama that illustrated the main problems they face in the school environment and the role of personal satsang as the solution to these problems.
In his blessings, Swamishri stated that the values and culture prevalent in India must also be practiced here. He also emphasised satsang and education, and the loving relationship that must be cultivated between parents and their children.
14 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 12) Wednesday, Toronto
Morning & Evening Programs
The Canada Yuvak Mandal presented a special presentation highlighting the virtues of a true sadhu during the evening cultural programme.
Senior sadhus then explained how each one of these virtues can be found within Swamishri.
Swamishri blessed the evening assembly by explaining that the only means to liberation is through the manifest form of God.
15 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 13) Thursday, Toronto
Morning & Evening Programs
In the evening the sadhus presented an excellent kirtan aradhana.
Afterwards, members of various Hindu communities described their experiences working with BAPS during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake relief efforts.
Finally, Swamishri, in his blessings, explained the importanceof kirtan bhakti through historical and contemporary examples. He also appreciated the collaborative efforts of different Hindu communities for the earthquake relief.
16 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 14) Friday, Toronto
Bal - Balika Din
During Swamishri’s morning puja balaks sang kirtans and played musical instruments.
During the evening Bal Din assembly, balaks presented a drama that symbolised the search for true happiness. They explained that true happiness does not lie in worldly pleasures, but in spirituality. Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly stating, “All worldly pleasures are accompanied by misery. However, one who takes the refuge of God and His holy Sadhu, and follows the tenets laid down by scriptures, will ultimately attain happiness.”
17 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 30) Saturday, Toronto
Hundreds of devotees gathered to pray for world peace and harmony by participating in the Vishwashanti Mahayagna, or World Peace Prayer.
Religious figures from different faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, and Sikhism, attended the Mahayagna to symbolise unity among diverse religions. They all greeted Swamishri and offered a prayer for peace according to their respective faiths.
The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Honourable James K. Bartleman, was also present on this occasion.
Swamishri concluded the prayers by blessing the assembly. He explained that in order to acquire peace, people must respect all religions, and must also see God in all by maintaining faith in their own religion. He thanked the religious figures and all who attended for being a part of the cause for peace.
18 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 1) Sunday, Toronto
In the morning, Swamishri performed the Vedic murti-pratishta in the haveli, and for the first time outside of India, consecrated a murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni to which people can offer abhishek.
During the murti-pratishtha assembly, Swamishri described the glory of mandirs and the newly consecrated murtis. He explained that the more darshan one has of these murtis, the more peace one will experience.
In the evening assembly, Shri Ramesh Oza and Shri Bhagwat were in attendance. They both addressed the assembly and greeted Swamishri.
20 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 3) Tuesday, Houston
Swamishri arrived in Houston and inaugurated the newly built sadhus' residence.
In the evening assembly, Swamishri was given a grand welcome by the Akshar Dhvani marching band. In his blessings, Swamishri stressed the importance of satsang in one's life, saying it benefits the individual, family, community, and country. He concluded by encouraging everyone to take advantage of the spiritual and cultural activities organised during the 14-day Mandir Mahotsav.
21 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 4) Wednesday, Houston
After Swamishri's morning puja, the kalash vidhi for the Houston Mandir was held, during which Swamishri performed the pujan of the kalashes.
23 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 6) Friday, Houston
The inauguration of the first shikharbaddh mandir in America began with a traditional Vedic mahapuja performed by Doctor Swami, followed by the Prasad Pravesh ceremony performed by Swamishri. Under the central dome of the mandir, Swamishri carried out various Vedic rituals to mark the first official entrance into the mandir.
In the evening cultural programme, sadhus presented a kirtan aradhana.
Viveksagar Swami concluded the kirtan aradhana with a speech explaining the importance of engaging in kirtan bhakti in today's day and age. The Mayor of Stafford, Leonard Scarcella, was present in the kirtan aradhana, and he addressed the assembly. Earlier in the day, he had met Swamishri and honoured him with a Key to the City of Stafford.
26 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 9) Monday, Houston
Senior Citizens' Din
The Southwest Satsang Mandal held a Senior Citizen's Day to give all elderly devotees an opportunity to offer their devotion to God. Senior Citizens got together to sponsor various activities throughout the day, including all meals and parayans, for which they received blessings from Swamishri.
27 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 10) Tuesday, Houston
In today's Karyakar Din, all karyakars received special guidance from senior sadhus on how to improve their seva. Sadhus also explained the importance of seva and bhakti through various kirtans.
28 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 11) Wednesday, Houston
Yuvak - Yuvati Din
After Swamishri had darshan in the mandir, he released balloons to launch today's Yuvak-Yuvati Day, after which yuvaks sang various kirtans during Swamishri's puja. A special morning assembly was arranged for them, in which Doctor Swami addressed them.
The highlight of the evening assembly was a drama performed by the yuvaks entitled 'Brahmanand Darshan'.
In his blessings to the assembly, Swamishri first praised the devotion and services of the Yuvak Mandal. He also stressed the importance of discourses in addition to seva, saying that without the understanding and knowledge provided by discourses, ego will come in the way and one will be unable to perfect one's devotion.
29 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 12) Thursday, Houston
Kishore - Kishori Din
On Kishore-Kishori Day in Houston, members of the Southwest Kishore Mandal highlighted several qualities of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the guru parampara, and Swamishri through a special awards ceremony.
Finally, kishores offered various awards to Swamishri, while explaining in detail the reasons why he should be recognised as 'Adarsh Shishya', 'Seva Murti', 'Bhakti Swarup', 'Aham Shunya Purush', and 'Param Hitkari Sant'. As part of the awards ceremony, during the presentation of the Adarsh Shishya Award, Swamishri was asked to explicate verses from the Bhaktachintamani and narrate an incident in which he gave up his own desires to follow his guru Shastriji Maharaj's wishes.
30 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 13) Friday, Houston
Bal - Balika Din
On Bal-Balika Din the evening cultural programme began with a kirtan aradhana by the balaks. After Swamishri's arrival, they acted out various incidents from Swamishri's life that serve as examples for them to follow.
They also presented a drama about a poor shopkeeper who was unable to reap the benefits of a parasmani that had the capability to change metal to gold, simply because he failed to recognise its importance. The balaks then described how they have recognised the parasmani in the form of Swamishri, who transforms their lives into gold by inspiring them to lead moral lives.
In his blessings to the assembly, Swamishri praised the efforts of the children. He also explained to all parents, "Everyone in the world puts great emphasis on educating their children, but in addition to this, if values are instilled in them then they will do great things, and will be able to serve society."
31 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan sud 15) Saturday, Houston
Guru Bhakati Din
To show their gratitude, love, and respect for Swamishri, all the devotees celebrated Guru Bhakti Din.
Through a dance and various speeches, balaks, kishores, and yuvaks highlighted Swamishri's qualities that make him a unique spiritual leader.
In his blessings Swamishri mentioned the importance of maintaining good conduct in all aspects of life, since we are not here to put on an act, and our actions will speak for us.
Earlier in the day, Swamishri had graced a special Medico-Spiritual Conference arranged for healthcare professionals. Sadhus discussed the crucial role spirituality plays in medicine, and Swamishri met all physicians present.
1 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 1) Sunday, Houston
On Swamishri's last full day in Houston, the Southwest Region held Samarpan Din, where they recognised the sacrifices of countless devotees in organising and executing the Mandir Mahotsav. After Swamishri's morning puja, a special mahapuja was held for all devotees to bring peace into their lives and to fulfil their inner wishes.
During the evening assembly, Swamishri explained that the most important thing to do after the construction of the Mandir is to take full advantage of it, and increase our understanding of our soul. "Once one has knowledge of the soul," he said, "one will not desire to indulge in the pleasures of the world."