Today was Uttarayana, a day of kite flying and alms-giving to sadhus and sanyasis. It was the highlight of Swamishri's 15-day stay. To celebrate Uttarayana in the presence of Swamishri was a day of great honour and joy for thousands of devotees. Hundreds of thousands of devotees began flocking to the mandir as early as 5.30 a.m. A dozen spirited youths had arranged an avenue of kites hanging overhead and a decorative flower path for Swamishri. The mandir sanctum sanctorum was filled with a decoration of colourful kites. After Thakorji's darshan, Swamishri came to perform his puja in the assembly hall. Thereafter the festival assembly commenced wherein Pujya Viveksagar Swami explained the significance of Uttarayana. Finally Swamishri, in his blessings, addressed a gathering of 17,000 devotees. Swamishri elaborated on the glory of charity : "The shastras mention several types of charity, namely; giving food grains, land, clothes and knowledge. The fruit of this type of charity is worldly or physical in nature. However, Shriji Maharaj told His sadhus to give charity that will make people eternally happy and free from fear. This charity is called 'abhaydan'. Man has mental, physical and political fears. To be redeemed of them is called 'abhaydan'. And 'abhaydan' can be given by a God-realised sadhu. He inspires and guides us to take God's refuge, offer devotion to Him and elevate us to God's abode." After Swamishri concluded his blessings, he stood up to place two sanctified 'joli' (begging cloth-bag) on his shoulders. 


This was the climax of the occasion, where Swamishri himself was going to say the traditional call for the begging of alms. However, prior to this, Swamishri explained the tradition of begging alms in the time of Shriji Maharaj. And then narrated how he used to beg alms in the time of Shastriji Maharaj. "When one sadhu calls for the alms he says, 'Narayan Hare Sacchidanand Prabho' and then the other repeats it, 'Narayan Hare Sacchidanand Prabho.' Each time Swamishri uttered the call, he folded his hands, closed his eyes and gently bowed before the assembly. The moment was received with a thunder of claps. Swamishri then sat on the stage as 17,000 devotees filed passed him, placing their donations in the joli. Several young children had cut their kite flying expenses and donated the money on that day. A ten-year old child had saved for two years and offered a part of his savings on the occasion. Swamishri patiently gave darshan to all the devotees, sitting continuously from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. In conclusion Swamishri appreciated the festival arrangements and said, "The festival was A-1, the planning was A-1 and the arrangements were A-1".

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