known as Devprabodhini Ekadashi, this occurs on Kartik Sud 11.
After sleeping during 'Chaturmaas' - the
4 holy months - in the ocean of milk - 'Kshirsagar,' the Lord awakens
on this day. This awakening is known as 'Prabodh.' His vigil at Bali
Raja's doorstep, which began on Devpodhi Ekadashi, ends on this day.
He then returns to His abode.
To please the Lord all the more, while He
is away guarding Bali Raja's kingdom, devotees observe extra vows during
Chaturmaas. This is an opportunity for devotees to behold Parmatma in
their Atmas. The Lord graces them for having observed the vows and fasts
by manifesting in their hearts. This is known as 'Devprabodh'.
- Devotees celebrate 'Devprabodh' by
observing a waterless fast. This is the fifth of the 5 waterless fasts
to be observed by Swaminarayan followers during the year, as enjoined
by Shastriji Maharaj.
- As in the majority of Hindu Dharma's
festivals, this festival is 'celebrated' by curbing the ten indriyas
and the mind. And the primary factor governing all the senses is the
sense of taste. Therefore in denying the body food and water, all
the senses lose interest in their respective material pursuits. The
time and energy conserved is diverted to offer bhakti to the Lord,
who is thus pleased. This form of self-abnegation prevents the senses
from degrading the Jiva and so this Ekadashi forms a step towards
'Devprabodh' - awakening the Lord within.
- Devotees in the Swaminarayan Sampradaya also offer a 'Haatadi' to
the Lord in the mandirs. This is similar to Annakut, except here,
fresh, raw vegetables are offered and arranged in cane baskets in
front of the Lord. The inherent sentiment is that everything is God
given and this we offer back to the Lord.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan's father, Dharmadev, was born on this day in Samvat 1796 in the village of Itar, Uttar Pradesh, North India.
Ramanand Swami gave
'diksha' to Neelkanth in Piplana in Narsinh Mehta's house on Samvat
1857, naming Him, 'Sahajanand Swami' and 'Narayan Muni'.
One year later in Samvat
1858, on the same day of Kartik Purnima, Ramanand Swami ceremoniously
bequeathed his leadership to Sahajanand Swami, appointing Him as
Head of the Sampraday. It was then that Bhagwan Swaminarayan offered
the matchless prayer, requesting two boons for the devotees from
Ramanand Swami (ref. website article on 'The
Bicentennial Anniversary of Lord Swaminarayan's Advent in Loj.').
Shastriji Maharaj gave
parshad diksha to 16-year-old Shantilal Motibhai Patel of Chansad,
near Vadodara, in Samvat 1996 (1939 CE) at Ambli Vali Pol, in Amdavad.
Shantilal is none other than Pramukh Swami Maharaj.