Students of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanskrit Mahavidyalay, Sarangpur, participated in the first scholarly Sanskrit memorization event entitled ‘Akshar-Purushottam Darshan Mukhpath Mahotsav’, held in Gadhada in the esteemed presence of Pujya Bhaktipriyadas Swami (Kothari Swami).
The Akshar-Purushottam Darshan Mukhpath Mahotsav entailed the memorization and understanding of 560 verses and karikas of the Swaminarayan-siddhant-sudha - a traditional scholarly Sanskrit text, authored by Mahamahopadhyay Sadhu Bhadreshdas, which establishes and substantiates the Akshar-Purushottam Darshan’s principles according to Vedic scriptures such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
After the inaugural ceremony, the students were evaluated through: (1) a written exam (2) mukhpath (oral) (3) and a shastrartha (scriptural debate), testing the students’ ability to recall, understand and explain the karikas. In the evening assembly, sadhus and sadhaks innovatively sang the verses and karikas of the Swaminarayan-siddhant-sudha.
The second day of the Mukhpath Mahotsav began with a karika samuh gan in front of the central shrine of the mandir. Following this, the students participated in the two-hour ‘Karika Challenge’ - an interactive 8-round quiz that tested the students’ comprehensive knowledge of what they had memorized. The tasks included grammatically analyzing karikas, reciting a karika based on a pictorial representation of its meaning, and recalling sequential verses. In the evening, the students enjoyed an enthralling assembly focused on Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj’s divine virtues.
The final day commenced with a karika samuh gan along the banks of the sacred Ghela River. The atmosphere was transformed as Vedic prayers and Sanskrit verses resonated across the divine river in the early morning. Students then participated in a nagar yatra, honoring Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami and the Swaminarayan-siddhant-sudha text in a palkhi procession through the holy village of Gadhada.
Thereafter, in a question-answer session with Pujya Kothari Swami the students acquired invaluable guidance on how to tackle the challenges they encounter.
The day culminated with the awards ceremony in the presence of Pujya Kothari Swami and other sadhus. The students were felicitated according to their performances: 23 students completely memorized all 560 verses and karikas; 9 students memorized over 300 karikas; and 19 students memorized over 100 karikas.
The assembly concluded with Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj’s blessings, “Everyone has a strong resolve, without which memorizing would be an impossible undertaking in today’s age. But you are all determined and have a desire to please Swami Bapa.
“Memorization provides numerous benefits, including the cultivation of intellectual strength and development of grasping power. Since memorization requires time, it is necessary to adjust your sleep and diet. Thus, diligence and sacrifice are compulsory… But no matter what, strive to earn the rajipo of Swami Bapa. Everyone should keep a target of memorizing all 560 Sanskrit karikas.
“You all are studying Sanskrit, so make sure to study exceptionally well. This is all Pramukh Swami’s and Yogi Bapa’s work. So, by memorizing these karikas, we will be very pleased.”