2 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 2) Monday, Chicago
Pramukh Swami Maharaj Arrives in Chicago
Sadhus and devotees enthusiastically received Swamishri as his car entered the Mandir and Haveli complex.
In the evening welcome assembly, BAPS trustees and directors welcomed Swamishri by offering garlands and flowers to him. The Consul General of India, Arunkumar, was present in the assembly and praised the beauty of the Chicago Mandir and Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India.
Finally, blessing the assembly, Swamishri stated the importance of keeping faith and explained how to maintain peace of mind. In the end, he conveyed that the ultimate goal of life is to become aksharrup and worship Purushottam.
5 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 5) Thursday, Chicago
Prasad Pravesh & Kalash Vidhi
To begin the inauguration of the second traditional Hindu mandir in America, Swamishri performed the Prasad Pravesh, or the first official entry into the mandir, and kalash pujan vidhi after completing his morning puja.
6 August Vishvashanti Mahayagna
7 August Nagar Yatra
8 August Murti Pratishtha
8 August Murti Pratishtha Sabha
10 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 10) Tuesday, Chicago
Today's Gunatit Din was dedicated to the life and works of Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami.
The evening assembly was centered around Gunatitanand Swami's Yash Gatha. Sadhus sang one verse depicting Gunatitanand Swami's glory, after which this verse was explained by a drama, a speech or a presentation.
Swamishri also described Gunatitanand Swami's qualities in his blessings to the assembly, narrating various incidents, such as, Gunatitanand Swami's transformation of the notorious Munjo Suru. He stressed the fact that Bhagwan Swaminarayan came on earth together with his divine abode in the form of Gunatitanand Swami.
11 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 11) Wednesday, Chicago
Morning & Evening Programs
During the evening cultural assembly, all those present realised the greatness of Shastriji Maharaj through a variety of presentations that described his accomplishments despite the obstacles he faced to spread the Akshar Purushottam upasana.
Swamishri concluded the assembly with blessings, during which he narrated several incidents from Shastriji Maharaj's life, such as, the murti-pratishtha of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj in Vadhwan, and the construction of five spectacular mandirs. He also emphasised the importance of the Akshar Purushottam upasana.
13 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 13) Friday, Chicago
Bal Din "Suvarna Mahotsav"
Todays programmes celebrated the 50th anniversary of the BAPS Children's Forum established by Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj in 1954.
During the morning session, Doctor Swami spoke on family values and the importance of practicing satsang.
The evening assembly centered around a drama about an old man who remembered his childhood days when he used to attend bal sabha during Yogiji Maharaj's time.
In his blessings Swamishri described how Yogiji Maharaj used to inspire children to attend satsang regularly. He then explained the importance of the Akshar Purushottam philosophy by narrating how Yogiji Maharaj used to instruct balaks to recite 'Swami ane Narayan, Akshar ane Purushottam...' He also instructed the balaks to stay away from kusang, such as, eating meat, and to keep good company.
15 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 14) Sunday, Chicago
Early in the morning, Swamishri, sadhus, and devotees gathered in front of the mandir for the Dhvaj Vandan - flag raising ceremony - on India's Independence day, where all present saluted the Indian flag and sung the national anthem.
During the evening, the Midwest Satsang mandal performed the 'Sanskruti' programme. Through a combination of speeches, dances, dramas, and multimedia presentations, kishores portrayed the inventions, discoveries, and ideas of ancient Indian thinkers and spiritual masters. Senior sadhus also addressed the assembly, explaining the importance of preserving sanskruti as well as cultivating character.
At the conclusion of the assembly, Swamishri said in his blessings that one must develop ideal characteristics like compassion, nonviolence, etc. He also stated that the purpose of having this human body is to become brahmarup and worship God. Finally, he stressed the importance of the holy Sadhu by saying that the Sadhu does not live for himself, but for the good of all.
Earlier in the day, physicians and other healthcare professionals participated in a Medico-Spiritual Conference held in the presence of Swamishri.
16 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Adhik Shravan vad 30) Monday, Chicago
In the evening Guru Bhakti Din assembly, Swamishri blessed the assembly, praising the seva of all devotees. He said it was their exceptional seva and strong faith that had helped to build the beautiful mandir in Chicago.
17 August 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan sud 1) Tuesday, Chicago
Swamishri concluded his stay in Chicago by installing the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni in the lower level of the mandir. Swamishri performed the first abhishek himself with water from the sacred rivers of India, after which senior sadhus and devotees did the same.
After spending three months in North America, today Swamishri was to leave for London.
In his final blessings to the devotees, he said that if one is unable to visit pilgrim places in India, one should not worry because the Chicago mandir is a pilgrim place for aspirants. He also explained that one who possesses true intelligence recognises God and His holy Sadhu.
As devotees bid farewell to Swamishri, they knew that Swamishri's divine presence would always remain with them as he continues his vicharan to the United Kingdom, Africa, and finally back to India.