15 January 1999 : Friday (Posh vad 13), Mahelav
At 6.45 p.m. Swamishri was escorted into Mahelav with a motorcade of 25 cars, the festive sound of firecrackers, rifles and a music band. The joyful chorus of victory calls honored and heralded the arrival of Swamishri into Mahelav. Swamishri went for darshan to the small mandir on the birthplace of Shastriji Maharaj. After the darshan of Thakorji and the murti of Shastriji Maharaj, Swamishri prostrated and then left for the assembly hall. Here, Swamishri was welcomed with garlands by Pujya Mahant Swami and Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and other dignitaries.
On addressing the assembly Swamishri said, "Mahelav is a very holy land. Shriji Maharaj, Gunatitanand Swami and Bhagatji Maharaj had visited this place so many times. Shastriji Maharaj was born in this village to accomplish the work of Lord Swaminarayan. His childhood name was Dungar and look what a great task he performed. He spread the Satsang in India and abroad and spread the divine light everywhere. He established the knowledge of Swami and Narayan, atma and Parmatma against a tornado of opposition with tremendous zeal and faith. It could not have been done under any circumstances! He had been blessed by Gunatitanand Swami. We have benefited enormously through the birth of such a great divine person. We are colored by maya and now we need to be uncolored and then re-colored with the colour of God, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj."
16 January 1999 : Saturday (Posh vad 14)
MahelavSwamishri visited the birth place of Shastriji Maharaj and Nirgundas Swami. On entering the latter's home, Swamishri keenly observed the small house and expressed, "Both great persons were born in very ordinary homes but what an extraordinary feat they performed!"
At 10.30 p.m. Pujya Viveksagar Swami commenced his first discourse on the life and work of Shastri Yagnapurushdas
Swamishri blessed the assembly and then made a tour in the newly built Swaminarayan mandir.
17 January 1999 : Sunday (Posh vad 15), Mahelav
Swamishri paid his respects by visiting the places sanctified by Shastriji Maharaj in his childhood. Swamishri also went for darshan to the local Radha Krishna mandir, Swaminarayan Mandir and Boot Mata Mandir.
A polio camp organised by the Sanstha was inaugurated by Swamishri in the presence of the District Collector and other officials. More than 150 babies and children were given the polio vaccine at the camp.
18 January 1999 : Monday (Maha sud 1), Mahelav
Swamishri opened a photographic exhibition on the life and work of Shastriji Maharaj.
Swamishri attended a celebration at the Santram Mandir in Nadiad.
On the birthplace, before the murti of Shastriji Maharaj, Swamishri humbly prayed, "It is through your grace and power that such works have been accomplished. You are inspiring and doing everything...
Shower your blessings so that many great works be done through the sadhus and devotees and the Sanstha flourishes..."
During Swamishri's blessings in the morning assembly he said, "Shastriji Maharaj created the Sanstha from nothing. One merely stops in wonder on thinking of his awesome work. He remained enthusiastic in the face of hard times and opposition. His sole mission was to spread the true philosophy of Shriji Maharaj for the redemption of countless people. And so he endeavored in building mandirs of Akshar and Purushottam. His talks were powerful and appealing and he never tired in talking about it to anyone..."
Interview with Prof. Raymond Williams, Wabash College, Indiana, USA: for the new edition of Cambridge Univ. Press' book,"The New Face of Hinduism - The Swaminarayan Sampradaya".
19 January 1999 : Tuesday (Posh sud 2), Mahelav
Swamishri visits the local Jain Mandir for darshan.
Devotees and well-wishers who had contributed and helped in the creation of the new Swaminarayan Mandir were felicitated in a specialy assembly by Swamishri.
20 January 1999 : Wednesday (Posh sud 3), Mahelav
Swamishri performed rituals for the hoisting of flags and establishment of the golden kalashas on top of the new mandir pinnacles.
After the morning assembly, Swamishri paid his respect to the holy shrine dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan on the outskirts of Mahelav.
Swamishri talked of its glory, "Shriji Maharaj halted here with His entourage of paramhanas for rest while going to and from Vartal. Here we have the well from which the paramhansas drew water for bathing and drinking. Sometimes the sadhus lost their large gourds while drawing water from the well."
An evening of kirtan aradhana by sadhus.
21 January 1999 : Thursday (Posh sud 4), Mahelav
Yagna for world peace commenced as part of the Murti-pratishtha ceremony for the newly built Swaminarayan Mandir. Three hundred devotees participated in the yagna.
During his blessings in the yagna for world peace, Swamishri said, "Through the rituals of yagna we invoke the presence of God and ask Him to bless everyone with happiness. That there be peace and harmony in the village, the country and the whole world. This yagna is for the happiness of all souls."
The District Collector of Kheda, Shri Bhagyesh Zha, complimented and praised Swamishri, "Shastriji Maharaj was a light born in a very humble home. And this small light illumined the whole world. Since 7.30 a.m. I have been in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. I can see his ego-free personality. I believe that he has been honored like no one else in the whole world with garlands of flowers and yet his ego-free personality shows that he has conquered ego."
A grand, colourful 1 km long parade took place from Bandhni to Mahelav.
Swamishri addressed the devotees from Tithal. He announced that the Murti Pratishtha (idol installation) celebration for the Tithal Mandir would be held in December 1999. Thereafter, a senior saint announced that Swamishri's 79th birthday would also be celebrated in Tithal.
An exquisite drama and ballet presentation on the life of Shastriji Maharaj - 'Yagnapurush Sukhakari' - was professionally performed for nearly three hours by a cast of 150 children, youths and even senior members of the Sanstha.
22 January 1999 : Friday (Posh sud 5), Mahelav
Mahelav Murti Pratishtha Mahotsav
After his morning puja, Swamishri performed the murti-pratishtha of a new murti of Shastriji Maharaj on his birth place.
At 9.15 a.m. Swamishri entered, with Vedic rites, through the main gate of the new mandir with Thakorji. While walking to the mandir he released many balloons into the air in honor of the mandir murti-pratishtha ceremony.
In the sanctum sanctorum, Swamishri invoked God amidst mantras and rituals into the beautiful marble murtis. The corresponding invocation rituals were being performed by senior sadhus in the first and third wings where the murtis of Harikrishna Maharaj, Laxmi Narayan and Shastriji Maharaj had been installed respectively. After the ceremony, while the annkut was being placed, Swamishri joined in the singing of the dhoon with a mircophone in hand. He told everyone to sing loudly and jubilantly. During this time the mandir was being showered and honoured with rose petals from a low flying aeroplane.
Swamishri also visited the local Radhakrishna mandir and offered his respects on the occasion of its anniversary day. Swamishri also visited the Amba Mata mandir, Shiv Mandir and the Ram Mandir in the village.
When Swamishri arrived for the morning assembly, a mandir dance was performed by the teenage members of the Sanstha.
Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami announced the celebration of the 'Swaminarayan Mahamantra Bicentenary Celebrations' in three years time (2001) and the venue of Swamishri's 79 birthday celebration (1999) in Tithal.
Swamishri, in his blessings, began on a humble note, "By the grace and divine powers of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj the mandir has been inaugurated with Vedic rites, colour and festivity. Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj put before the world the philosophy of Akshar and Purushottam. They accomplished this task amidst a heap of troubles and obstacles. But because it was the truth people came to accept it. Shastriji Maharaj was so resolute in his faith and goal that whatever he decided, he accomplished it in spite of many obstacles and hindrances. He never spoke or thought in a disheartening manner and neither did he lose hope or got frustrated. "Shriji Maharaj has said one should do Satsang for the redemption of one's soul but not for one's body. And doing satsang solely for the sake of one's soul will give joy, joy and joy; happiness, happiness and happiness; and peace, peace and peace. Shriji Maharaj has given the principle of attaining the state of atmaroop and then offering devotion to God. Shastriji Maharaj fostered this principle and the philosophy of Akshar and Purushottam has become renowned through his efforts and glory."
23 January 1999 : Saturday (Posh sud 6), Mahelav
Swamishri attended a special assembly for volunteers who had offered their services during the 7-day festival. During his blessings he said, ... You are all very fortunate to have offered your services during this festival. Many have taken leave from work and postponed their work and businesses. God will be pleased upon you all. Since you were born in this holy pilgrim place you too have become holy. No matter how many prostrations we offer to you it will not suffice...
Swamishri left Mahelav and performed the ground breaking ceremony of a new mandir in the nearby village of Padgol.
At 6.20 p.m. Swamishri attended an assembly in the village of Guntli.
At 6.40 p.m. Swamishri travelled to Sunav village and sanctified the land donated for a new Swaminarayan mandir.
Swamishri reached Bochasan at 7.40 p.m.