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
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.