Sharad Purnima Celebration
14 October 2008 (V.S. 2064, Aso sud 15), Tuesday, Gondal; Sharad Purnima
At 6.50 p.m. Gunatitanand Swami’s birthday celebration commenced on the mandir farm. The celebration theme was “I am eternal”. In the beginning, Pujya Siddheshwar Swami and Pujya Viveksagar Swami addressed the assembly. Then children and teenagers performed a welcome dance. Thereafter, Swamishri arrived on the festival stage. More than 25,000 devotees were present in the assembly. Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami talked about how Gunatitanand Swami spread the glory of Shriji Maharaj. Pujya Dr Swami discoursed on Gunatitanand Swami’s saintliness which is presently reflected in Swamishri’s life. Pujya Mahant Swami elaborated upon Gunatitanand Swami as being Aksharbrahman and that the latter is present in Swamishri. After each of the speeches an arti was performed by senior sadhus, devotees and the chief guest, Maharaja of Gondal Shri Jyoti Bapu and Shri Shivraj Bapu.
Swamishri inaugurated a bhajan CD Murti Pyari Re sung by children. Thereafter he was honoured with garlands by senior sadhus. The kishores of Gondal Satsang mandal performed a traditional dance. Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly, “Today it is Sharad Punam. It is a day of joy, peace, coolness and one which calms our thoughts. Gunatitanand Swami discoursed in Junagadh. His talks, related to faith and trust in God, were penetrating. The listeners were inspired to offer bhakti, realize the glory of God, dissolve their worldly desires and experience the eternal happiness of their own atma. When one understands the true glory of God one realizes the futility of worldly joys and pleasures. And that was why Shriji Maharaj brought Gunatitanand Swami with him to teach us.”
At 10.05 p.m. Swamishri performed the final arti. Everyone in the assembly also performed arti.
Diwali Celebration - Chopda Pujan
28 October 2008 (V.S. 2064, Aso vad 30), Tuesday, Gondal; Diwali
At 6.40 p.m. Swamishri arrived on stage for the mahapuja rituals of Chopda pujan. The function was arranged on the mandir grounds. Thousands of accounts books were arranged neatly on stage. Swamishri participated in the mahapuja rituals till they concluded at 7.40 p.m. Viveksagar Swami addressed the large number of devotees. Finally, Swamishri blessed everyone, “People either take their accounts books to a mandir for sanctification or they do the rituals at home. The rituals are done to bless one with pure thoughts so that one can earn money successfully and use it in a benevolent way. The rituals may appear formal, but they are in accordance to our shastras and culture. God is pleased by such rituals. We always have God in the forefront of all our festivals. By keeping God in the forefront of all our activities, God will bless us.” In conclusion, Swamishri blessed all the accounts books by showering flower petals and rice grains.
New Year Celebration
29 October 2008 (V.S. 2065, Kartak sud 1), Wednesday, Gondal; New Year’s Day
Thousands of devotees had gathered for Swamishri’s morning puja darshan on New Year’s Day. Sadhus sang prayers and bhajans during Swamishri’s puja. Thereafter Swamishri gave blessings for the New Year, “Since the time of Yogiji Maharaj the annual annakut festival has been celebrated here with great devotion and joy. The annakut festival is celebrated in all our mandirs and in all Vaishnav mandirs. Shriji Maharaj celebrated festivals to allow bhakti to flourish in the hearts of devotees. Bhakti should be offered in accordance with dharma. All of you have done a lot of bhakti. Today, we will have darshan of annakut. May all be inspired by God and by doing his darshan attain peace.
“Bhakti done with dehbhav does not last. It is tainted with ego and jealousy. But bhakti performed without mayik-bhav pleases God.” Swamishri further explained that one should not look at the faults of others but look within oneself and make efforts to dissolve one’s own faults.”
At 11.35 a.m. Swamishri went before Thakorji in the mandir and sang thals. The annakut items in all the three shrines of Thakorji had been arranged beautifully. At 12.00 noon Swamishri performed Govardhan puja and the annakut arti in all three shrines. Thereafter Swamishri performed the annakut arti in Akshar Deri and blessed Maharaja Jyoti Bapu of Gondal and devotees who had sponsored the annakut.
In all, 20,000 devotees had annakut darshan during the whole day.
31 October 2008 (V.S. 2065, Kartak sud 2), Friday, Gondal
After his morning puja Swamishri performed the pratishtha rituals of murtis for BAPS hari mandirs in Bhesan and Budhel in Bhavnagar district.
3 November 2008, Gondal; Labh Pancham
Prior to his morning puja Swamishri blessed the large family of the late Daji Bapu. Altogether, 42 members, from 7 years to 76 years, had pilgrimaged by foot from Rajkot to Gondal.
After his morning puja Swamishri performed the pratishtha rituals of pujan and arti of the Nilkanth Varni abhishek murti to be consecrated at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Rajkot. Swamishri inaugurated the decennial celebration of Rajkot mandir by waving the BAPS flag.
During the last five days a parayan was sponsored by Shri Chhotubhai Ajmera. Every morning Brahmadarshan Swami explained the Vachanamrut and in the evenings Viveksagar Swami elaborated upon the Bhaktachintamani. Today was the concluding day of the parayan. Swamishri blessed the evening assembly, “Gondal is a great tirtha like Akshardham. Shriji Maharaj and Gunatitanand Swami are divinely present in Akshar Deri. Yogiji Maharaj had said, ‘Maharaj will bless one with liberation for whatever good deeds one performs here. This is the glory of Akshar Deri.’ Bhaktachintamani contains the divine incidents of Maharaj. It describes how God sat, ate, bathed, met others, brought joy to them and played raas. It may all seem ordinary to us, but the devotees perceived them with divine glory. All actions of God blesses one with moksha.”