2 March 2007, (Vikram Samvat 2063, Sud 14) Friday, Bhavnagar, Vallabhipur, Sarangpur
At 10.25 am Swamishri departed from Bhavnagar and arrived in Sarangpur via Vallabhipur at 11.35 am.
In the evening Swamishri attended an assembly of 4,375 volunteers who had come to serve in the rangotsav the next day. Swamishri blessed them by inspiring them to sincerely serve the devotees the next day, “Who purifies us! It is the Gunatit Sadhu. Our mother is Gunatitanand Swami, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. They purify us through their divine discourses. They free us from addictions and base nature and make us pure. Thereafter Maharaj embraces us and blesses us with the happiness of Akshardham. To attain this we have mandirs, festivals and spiritual discourses. By sitting inside the mandir we are freed of worldly inclinations and attachment for the body. We are also redeemed of a faultfinding attitude and learn to appreciate each others virtues.
“Sevak means one who is a servant of servants. Only then does one derives happiness. But if one comes here as a boss, then one can never experience inner joy. We all have to become servants. A volunteer does not need any praise or glory. We should focus on serving others.”
At 7.35 pm Swamishri first performed pujan of and then sprayed coloured water on Harikrishna Maharaj. Thereafter everyone performed arti of Thakorji. Finally Swamishri showered coloured holy water on the volunteers.
3 March 2007, (Vikram Samvat 2063, Sud 15) Saturday, Sarangpur; 178th Birthday Celebration of Bhagatji Maharaj
After Swamishri concluded his morning puja, the celebration assembly of Bhagatji Maharaj’s birth anniversary commenced. The assembly was interspersed with speeches by senior sadhus and singing of bhajans. Finally, Swamishri blessed the gathering, “Gunatitanand Swami was great and Bhagatji, his disciple, had come to please him by sacrificing everything. Gunatitanand Swami was very pleased with Bhagatji Maharaj’s seva. The reason was that he obeyed him instantly. He never refused him in anything: in discoursing, in doing seva, in mixing lime or carrying stones. He also served as a barber, tonsuring the heads of sadhus once every month. Swami happily told him to ask for a boon. But Bhagatji did not get enticed in worldly happiness when Swami offered it to him. He wanted only the happiness of God. The wealth of this world is fleeting like a bubble of water. The body is perishable and all possessions come and go. However much one pleases God through one’s physical existence and wealth it will be worthwhile. So Bhagatji Maharaj asked for the happiness of God. From his life one must learn that the happiness in samsar is temporary and that one must strive to attain the bliss of God through katha and bhajan.”
Pushpadolotsav -Festival of Colors,Sarangpur
4 March 2007,(Vikram Samvat 2063, Sud 15) Sunday, Sarangpur; Fuldol Celebration
SWAMISHRI WOKE UP AT 2.30 AM AND ATTENDed the lunar eclipse assembly. The assembly commenced with dhun in the presence of 7,000 devotees. Thereafter Viveksagar Swami spoke about the history and significance of an eclipse. This was followed by a programme of kirtan antakshari in which two groups of sadhus competed by singing verses of bhajans. Swamishri responded with divine gestures during the exciting antakshari programme. The senior sadhus were asked to narrate incidents that they would like to have been present in from the lives of Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Thereafter Krishnapriya Swami presented a programme on the bhajan “Dikhalã didãr pyãrã…”
Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly, “Today, we are observing an eclipse. The devout observe this in pilgrim places like Haridwar and Rishikesh and then bathe in the river Ganga. During the eclipse the moon is being put to misery by evil forces, therefore we pray to redeem it.
“Often, due to perceiving manushyabhav in the life of the Satpurush one does not have faith in the words of the Satpurush and the shastras. Subsequently, we are unable to accomplish our tasks. We then feel that God is not the doer. This lack of faith within grows. However, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj had absolute faith in Shriji Maharaj and all their works were accomplished. They believed that Maharaj is doing the work and it is being done through his will; he is the all-doer. So they never retreated in the face of obstacles.”
The lunar eclipse concluded at 6.45 am. At 7.25 am Swamishri performed his puja, then he went for Thakorji’s darshan.
At 5.40 pm Swamishri arrived at the Fuldol celebration assembly. The stage backdrop was themed on the BAPS centenary year in which a large flag of BAPS spanned from one end to the other. In the middle the murtis of Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj were enshrined inside a replica of the Akshar Deri. Large pots overflowing with colour and giant pichkaris reflected the rangotsav flavour.
The theme of the festival celebration was “Sadguru khele vasant…” Viveksagar Swami narrated about how Gunatitanand Swami spread the colour of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s supreme glory, Adarshjivan Swami elaborated upon Bhagatji Maharaj’s colour of obedience, Ishwarcharan Swami discoursed about how Shastriji Maharaj established the colour of Akshar-Purushottam upasana, Dr Swami explained how Yogiji Maharaj spread the colour of samp, suhrudbhav and ekta and Mahant Swami talked about the colour of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s guru bhakti.
Then Swamishri inaugurated a BAPS video publication ‘Satsang Darshan, Pt 72’. A rendering of Pramukh Swami Maharaj: Life and Work in Tamil and Pragji Bhakta (exam book) in Marathi were also inaugurated. Thereafter, sadhus sang “Yogi ãvo te rang mane shid lagãdyo.”
Finally, Swamishri blessed the festival assembly of 42,000 devotees and 6,000 volunteers, “Sadaiva Sãrangpurasya ramie, sumandire hyakshardham tulye… In such a divine place God forever resides with his abode. Sadaiva means forever. Shastriji Maharaj’s work is for eternity. Ramya means blissful. Whenever one comes here one feels happy. The reason being that Shriji Maharaj, the presiding deity of Akshar-dham, came to this village.
“A dignitary today may hesitate in coming to a village of this size because there are no arrangements to his requirement and satisfaction; and (200 years ago) there were no arrangements of water, electricity and other amenities. And Shriji Maharaj came here with his abode (Gunatitanand Swami) and his muktas. God is thus great because he never forgets the poorest and most ordinary souls. He came to fulfil the wishes of his devotees and celebrated the Fuldol festival here. At that time the female devotees prayed, ‘Mahabalavant mãyã tamari…’
“To transcend maya God said, ‘Come and accept my refuge and believe me to be pure.’ Maharaj came to this little village and talked about his philosophy. Shriji Maharaj enquired about the nature of jiva, ishwar, maya, Brahman and Parabrahman during his seven-year sojourn. But no one could give him a correct explanation. Maharaj explained about Brahman and Parabrahman, where the former is his abode and the latter is himself. To liberate oneself from maya one has to identify oneself with Brahman and offer upasana to Parabrahman.
“In this world one will experience happiness and misery, heat and shade, and honour and insult. This will occur despite having an association of God or his Sadhu. To liberate oneself one has to imbibe knowledge and a spiritual understanding. When one is blessed with the association of God’s abode then one will be able to accept both heat and shade equally. Even in that one shall remain happy and be able to offer bhakti to God.”
At 7.05 pm Swamishri performed pujan of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj who was pedestalled on a golden elephant. Thereafter he performed arti and sprayed coloured water on Harikrishna Maharaj. From a little spray in the hands of Harikshrina Maharaj coloured water issued forth towards Swamishri. Then Swamishri sprayed holy coloured water on the dignitaries and devotees.
8 March 2007, (Vikram Samvat 2063, Vad 4) Thursday, Sarangpur
Swamishri performed the pratishtha rituals of pujan and arti of murtis for the BAPS hari mandir in Bhoj (Vadodara).
7 March 2007, (Vikram Samvat 2063, Vad 3) Wednesday,
Swamishri performed the pratishtha rituals of pujan and arti of murtis for two BAPS hari mandirs of Dhuliya and Varkheda (Khandesh).
From 10.50 am Swamishri gave bhagvati diksha to 43 parshads and parshad diksha to 21 youths. Thereafter Swamishri blessed the assembly.