Audio Blessings of Swamishri:
Golden Anniversary Celebration
5 June 2000, Amdavad
Story of Appointment
Fifty years ago when Shastriji
Maharaj appointed 28-year old Shastri Narayanswarupdas (Pramukh Swami
Maharaj) as president of the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan
Sanstha no one had dreamed that the young seed would flourish into a
giant banyan tree. Many had tried to dissuade Shastriji Maharaj from
giving the mantle to the young, quiet, inexperienced Narayanswarupdas.
But Shastriji Maharaj was fully aware of the potential and divinity
in the shy, unassuming Narayanswarupdas. Today, after 50 years of monumental
sacrifice and service to the BAPS and society the stewardship of Pramukh
Swami Maharaj is a living testimony to what Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji
Maharaj had envisaged on 21 May, 1950 - the day of his appointment at Ambli
Vali Pol in Amdavad. Let us see how this event took place.
Golden Anniversary Celebration of Pramukh Varni Din,
5 June 2000 (Jeth Sud Choth V.S. 2056)
Preparation for this mammoth and highly
anticipated celebration had begun weeks in advance by the sadhus and
devotees. After meticulous planning and hours of execution the day of
celebration arrived. The Sardar Patel Stadium, the venue of the celebration
in the heart of Amdavad, was ready for the historic event.
The day dawned with feelings of excitement and divinity. At 6.00 a.m.,
500 sadhus pilgrimaged and paid homage at Ambli Vali Pol (now called
Yagnapurush Pol). The impressive and benign sight of saffron clad sadhus
was a blessing and a spiritual treat for the people of Amdavad.
At 7.30 a.m. Swamishri's morning puja was charged with a rendering of
devotional bhajans honoring his divine works and virtues.
At 10.00 a.m. Swamishri inaugurated with
Vedic chantings the garden island on the crossroads near the Shree Swaminarayan
Mandir in Shahibaug. The outstanding feature of the island was a giant
replica of Yogiji Maharaj's folded hands. It welcomed all with the message
of 'Bhagwan sau nu bhalu karo' (May God do good to all). The circle
was declared as 'Swaminarayan Chowk' by Shri Ashok Bhatt, Health Minister
of Gujarat. In his brief blessings Swamishri said, "In our Indian culture
the folding of hands is a gesture of welcome and respect. Yogiji Maharaj
wished for the good of all. Whosoever passes here and sees this island
will be liberated."
Swamishri then proceeded to Ambli Vali Pol where he was given a jubilant
and emotional welcome. Amidst the devotional fervor of hundreds of devotees,
the loud hails of 'Jays' and the shower of rose petals from balconies
and rooftops Swamishri walked with Thakorji through the same narrow
alley where 50 years ago Shastriji Maharaj had appointed him as President
before a handful of devotees. Swamishri prostrated in the historic house
where he was appointed and narrated the entire occasion. Thereafter
an assembly was held in the narrow alley of the Pol. Senior sadhus spoke
about the glory of Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and the appointment
ceremony of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Finally, Swamishri crowned the assembly by blessing the ecstatic devotees,
"Ambli Vali Pol is a holy place because Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji
Maharaj had stayed here on so many occasions. It is a great pilgrim
place like Kashi, Kedar, Ganga and its sanctity is like the holy 68
pilgrim places. Since you all stay here you should avail of this holy
Pramukh Varni Din Golden
The golden anniversary celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj's
Presidentship of the BAPS was spectacularly held at the Sardar Patel
Stadium, Amdavad. After several weeks of frantic preparations the venue
was ready. Swamishri arrived at 6.30 p.m. amidst a tumultous welcome.
The 20' high main stage was decorated with colorful, giant cutout figures
of Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and the young Narayanswarupdas.
A 16' high performing stage thundered with a welcome dance 'Sat Swagatam
Shubh Swagatam'. Speeches by Pujya Viveksagar Swami, Pujya Siddheshwar
Swami, Pujya Kothari Swami, Pujya Doctor Swami and Pujya Mahant Swami
described Swamishri's tolerance, humility, saintliness, devotion to
God and his herculean efforts in expanding and developing the BAPS Sanstha.
The program was interspersed with slides and video presentations of
Swamishri's boundless love for all people regardless of caste, creed
or status. A couple of drama presentations eloquently showed Swamishri's
adherence to his vow of refraining from keeping money and the day he
was appointed as President.
As a symbol of respect and reverence, senior sadhus offered garlands
to Swamishri on behalf of the congregation of 40,000 devotees. The program
climaxed with Swamishri's humble blessings:
"Firstly, I offer my sashtang pranams and Jay Swaminarayan to all the
sadhus, devotees, youths, children and well-wishers who have come here.
I am indebted to all of you who have arranged this celebration here...
" God is the root cause of the Sanstha's progress. A banyan seed is
tiny, not outstandingly visible to the eye like the banyan tree. Similarly,
God (like the seed) is the cause of everything. It is because of His
grace and blessings that such progress has taken place.
" I have always had the blessings of Yogiji Maharaj. In every work and
at all times he has taken care of me. In times of difficulties and problems
his strength and blessings were always with me.
"Yogiji Maharaj looked very simple, but he was very proficient in all
activities (vyavhar). By staying with him I was inspired on how to respect
and love the devotees and sadhus. Even in organising festivals I was
inspired by him.
"...all this (the Sanstha's progress) is by the inspiration of God,
Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. There is no feeling that I am
doing all this, but it is happening all through his grace and blessings.
When Yogiji Maharaj left this physical world his blessings bear fruition
through you all (sadhus and devotees). I have the help and cooperation
of the sadhus and devotees.
"Shastriji Maharaj had told me not to worry because Shriji Maharaj,
Gunatitanand Swami and Bhagatji Maharaj would do all the work. And I
see his blessings before my eyes. I am greatly relieved of the pressure
of work, because God bears it. And that God, residing in Shastriji Maharaj
and Yogiji Maharaj, is bearing the pressure of work..."