Swamishri's presence is always a reason
Special days of festivals, then, are especially enriched with
joy and jubilation whenever celebrated in his divine presence.
all celebrations perhaps,
nothing arouses more auspiciousness and elation
than the end and beginning of a year.
This year, in the presence of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the 3-day
festivals associated with Diwali, including the Annakut festival and
New Year held in Gondal, India.
or New Years day (Kartik
sud 1; 16 Nov. 2001) is the first day of the Indian calendar year.
It was the day when Lord Vaman was granted three steps of land from
King Bali. To fulfil the Lords third step, King Bali surrendered
everything and earned His eternal grace.
On New Years day, Lord Krishna stopped the tradition of Indra
puja in Gokul and introduced the ritual of offering fodder to cows
and worship to Mount Govardhan. Subsequently, Lord Indra (god of Rain)
was angered and rained mercilessly upon the village of Gokul. But
Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan with his little finger and provided
refuge and protection to the citizens of Gokul. Hence, this day is
also remembered as a reflection of Gods tremendous power and
the benefit of taking His refuge.
On the morning
of New Years day, Mahapuja is performed in Swaminarayan mandirs,
where devotees participate to seek the blessings of Lord Swaminarayan
and the Guru. At 12 noon, as a symbol of appreciation and prayers
to remain God-centered, the Lord is offered a feast of food items
- called Annakut. A sumptuous and colorful array of vegetarian items,
decoratively arranged by the devotees and sadhus, are devoutly offered
to the Lord.