1 August 2008, Friday, Bochasan
At 4.00 pm Swamishri arrived for an assembly on the occasion of the solar eclipse. The assembly commenced with the Swaminarayan dhun followed by a discourse by Viveksagar Swami, bhajans by sadhus and a question-answer session with senior sadhus. The assembly concluded at 6.05 pm.
9 August 2008 (V.S. 2064, Sud 8) Saturday, Bochasan, Vidyanagar
Swamishri performed the murti-pratishtha rituals of pujan and arti of murtis for the BAPS hari mandir in Dali (Kheda district).In the evening Swamishri departed from Bochasan for Vidyanagar
16 August 2008 (V.S. 2064,) Saturday, Vidyanagar; Raksha Bandhan Festival
At 10.15 am Swamishri arrived at Akshar farm where an assembly celebrating Raksha Bandhan was in progress. Viveksagar Swami elaborated upon an incident of Shriji Maharaj from the Harililamrut. Thereafter a traditional dance was performed by youths. Swamishri was then honoured with garlands by senior sadhus. Then all the devotees ritually tied rakhis, sanctified by Swamishri, on each other’s wrist.
In conclusion Swamishri blessed the assembly, “The more education one has the greater one’s progress. Without it any society or country cannot develop and progress. Parallel to this progress also lies the observance of dharma. We have mandirs according to the various faiths of people in society. They increase people’s spiritual inclination. The responsibility of providing and developing education rests upon society and the government. The blending of both (education and spirituality) gives inner soul-strength. The more one follows dharma, the more soul-strength one gets.
“Today is Raksha Bandhan. Sisters tie a rakhi on the wrist of their brothers. We pray to God to protect us. Because you live a householder’s life you face many difficulties. But during such festivals we pray to God to protect all. God really protects. So today may all be blessed with auspicious feelings. By taking firm refuge in God he protects and blesses all with peace and happiness.”
In all, 14,000 devotees attended the festival assembly and left after taking mahaprasad.
At 1.00 am Swamishri arrived at the hostel lawn to attend the lunar eclipse assembly. Despite the late night assembly thousands of devotees had gathered. The assembly programme included a discourse by Viveksagar Swami, speeches by Swamishri’s attendant sadhus, and various interesting and humourous presentations by youths of the Akshar-Purushottam Chhatralay.