Prasad-Pravesh, Yagna and Procession
4-5 February 2003, New Delhi
According to Sanatan Hindu Dhar- ma, a mandir
is revered as the manifestation of the Divine. The ancient Indian scriptures
on architecture have compared the various parts of the mandir with the
physical form of God. In this perspective the mandir, prior to the murti-pratishtha
ceremony, is consecrated as instructed by our ancient sages. The consecration
ceremony is known as prasad-pujan or prasad-pravesh (where prasad means
ceremony: 4-2-03:- The prasad-pravesh
or mandir consecration ceremony commenced at 3.00 p.m. The rituals were
being conducted under the mandir dome in the presence of senior sadhus,
and devotees from UK, USA, E. Africa and India. At 5.00 p.m. Pramukh Swami
Maharaj arrived to perform the rituals. Amidst Vedic chantings Swamishri
offered a coconut in the yagna fire. The holy ash from the yagna pit was
applied as a chandlo on Swamishri. After offering his humble pranams,
Swamishri blessed the gathering, "It was Yogiji Maharaj's resolve
to have a mandir built on the banks of the river Yamuna. There is power
in his words and that is why it has finally fructified. Every time he
would write a letter to Gadhiya and Trivedi Saheb saying, 'We want to
build a mandir. So, acquire some land.' He sent garlands for the governor
Saheb. Then Yogiji Maharaj passed away. Thereafter, Ishwarcharan Swami
endeavoured immensely. Even I had come to look for the land, but the places
we saw were not suitable and did not satisfy us. We would come running
here at a new proposal, but on seeing it, we would not find it to our
"Swami's wish was to have a mandir on the banks of the river Yamuna.
So by the wish of God and Yogiji Maharaj the proposal for this land was
put forward to us. The government of Delhi gave this land to us. Formally,
we had decided upon the land on the other side (of the bridge). Then by
God's wish the proposal changed and we got this 30 acres of land. We were
happy even if we were allotted 5 acres of land, but the wish of Swami
was for more land. He desires to bless the entire world with satsang and
to redeem all. Maharaj and Gunatitanand Swami had come from Akshardham
with a resolve to redeem everyone. Not to redeem one or two souls but
infinite souls. And that is why we have got this tract of land. Now it
is 30 acres, with another zero added to it! Then the planning for this
vast land began. Ishwarcharan Swami and the team of sadhus from Amdavad,
Mahant Swami, Doctor Swami and other sadhus discussed and thought for
days and nights. They even travelled to (other places to) get ideas as
to what to do and how to do it. And after that they put forward a plan.
"The Sompuras are an authority in making plans. They follow an ancient
tradition in building and construction which incorporates all aspects
of engineering. Their children learn by tradition. This science is scriptural,
Vedic and legal. There are prescribed measurements regarding the height
of pillars, size of shikhars, barshakh and arches. No steel (iron) is
used for construction, and so the foreign and Indian engineers feel that
it is not possible to build anything without it. They think that it will
fall down. But today our mandirs, where stones placed one on top of the
other, still exist after thousands of years. Despite earthquakes they
have not collapsed after even thousands of years. We still see them today.
So here too, the Sompuras made the plans before construction work began.
"To set up an ordinary factory, one has to plan, think and employ
people. And one comes across many obstacles. Still, however, by the profound
wish of Shriji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj the obstacles
were overcome and our work progressed. We got the ownership of the land.
The money was paid and we performed the foundation-stone laying ceremony.
"The beginning was made. The requirements were immense for such a
project. Firstly, it was money. But we have you, the devotees, who are
like strong banks. Devotees in India and abroad have generously donated
and offered their abundant services. Everyone was enthusiastic to serve.
Decisions were made to complete a certain amount of work in a given time
frame. This was all planned out by Ishwarcharan Swami and others. The
plans were prepared by Shrijiswarup Swami, who is our engineer among engineers.
He drafted beautiful plans. Changes were made and the work was done nicely.
The construction work began. The stones were quarried, then sculpted and
transported here. All this had to be done according to time schedules.
Vinubhai Bhatesha and Sagunbhai of London went to get the stones from
the mines (in Europe). Harshad Chavda is an accomplished engineer. He
is like a Sompura because he has learnt the trade. He was a 17 to 18 year
old boy who offered his services with Yogiji Maharaj in Gondal. Yogiji
Maharaj had told him to serve tea, deliver hot water and offer other services
to the devotees during their stay in Gondal. He also did the housekeeping
and cleaning of pots and pans. When Swami passed away, he started doing
photography and became an expert. Then when the Akshardham (Gandhinagar)
project began, the need to acquire stones arose. So he was told to stay
by the mines (in Bansipahadpur, etc.) and the experience made him into
an expert. Then he started doing this work (getting stones sculpted),
and he has become so proficient that today he suggests to the Sompura.
He also offers suggestions to the engineers. God has endowed talent to
the young sadhus too. Since it is God's work, He inspires and gets the
work done through anyone.
"Harshad told Ishwarcharan Swami that we want to quarry stones from
mines. But there is a lot of hassle in stone mines. Mr. Bhatesha knows
about that because he has experienced the process of getting stones from
the mines. Even Harshad is experienced in these matters. He deftly strikes
the price deal with the owners. Then we have Yogesh Swami, who is an engineer
and gold medallist. He too goes inside the mines. The engineers draw the
plans in Amdavad, but he has to get the stones quarried in measured pieces
from the mines in the heat. There's a lot of trouble and argument entailed
in getting the right sized stone out of the mines. But they have all put
in a lot of effort and labour. The work has been done wonderfully.
"In this way, the stones started arriving on site. We also got stones
in containers from Italy. A plan had been drafted for the quantity of
stones to be quarried, for the magnitude of stones to be sculpted and
for them to reach Delhi in fixed time periods. The act of transporting
them was a big task! And when the stones arrived in Delhi they had to
be fitted. The construction of the mandir was accomplished according to
the time schedules. Everyone was enthusiastic in their work. We can call
it to be God inspired, the pervading inspiration of Shastriji Maharaj
and Yogiji Maharaj. Every person felt that he wants to do the work, no
matter what hardships arise. Everyone's heart was filled with God's presence.
There are also other difficulties here too. Recently, there was rain.
How could one perform the pratishtha in the rains? But by God's grace
there has been sunshine in the past two-three days. In such tasks man
believes that he is the doer, but it is God who is the doer.
"Maharaj said that whoever wants moksha can come and ask for it.
Yogiji Maharaj wished to spread the colour of satsang in the whole of
Delhi; that there be joy through satsang in Delhi and people from throughout
the world and universe be inspired with satsang. He (Yogiji Maharaj) was
open-hearted. However, we nourish the narrow attitude of 'no admission'
(in our homes). But God has said that everyone is welcome to the mandir.
It does not matter whether you can contribute or not, but by lovingly
doing darshan one becomes redeemed. Man only blesses those who give, but
God redeems also those who do not give! Because, He is large hearted.
"Today, by the grace of Maharaj the doors of dharma, that is the
doors of Akshardham, will be opened in Delhi. Hundreds of thousands of
people will experience harmony and joy. Such will be the magnitude of
work that will be accomplished here. And today we have all got this opportunity.
"The gruh-pravesh (house-entry) is a ritual. One enters one's home
after performing elaborate rituals in which God is worshipped with Vedic
mantras and prayer rituals are performed so that there will be no problems,
difficulties or miseries. Similarly, we have entered into God's house.
But what is God's house? It is called Akshardham. We have entered into
Akshardham, so don't go out. This is gruh-pravesh, and we are to sit in
Akshardham. So everyone must have the single resolve to please Maharaj.
Everyone should commit themselves to abide by the commands of Maharaj,
to have faith in Him and to serve Him. No matter what happens we must
resolve to commit our lives to God.
"We have made the gruh-pravesh in Akshar- dham because we have the
association of God and His Sadhu. So we must decide firmly that we want
to attain the divine happiness of God. Maharaj and Swami will not forsake
us and we should not forsake God either. God protects us in all ways.
We are fortunate to have had this opportunity to offer our services to
Bhagwan Sahajanand Swami, His devotee - Gunatitanand Swami, Shastriji
Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj, our guru. This seva is not ordinary. It is
infinitely better to serve God and His sadhus than to engage ourselves
in other services, because one attains moksha. We look after and serve
our physical body, and we offer our services to gain honour and fame.
But this service should be done to please God and not to attain honour
and fame. By doing this great seva one attains a highly noble result -
one's sins of innumerable births are destroyed, merits are awakened and
one attains God's happiness. Having attained this (seva) is our great
fortune. May God bless everyone with strength to perform such seva and
"It was Yogiji Maharaj's desire that such unity and harmony prevails.
In satsang, one must always look at oneself. By looking at others' (faults)
one does not accomplish one's work. To seek one's own moksha one must
look at one's own base nature and faults, get rid of them and focus on
Maharaj and Swami. We sing, "Bhakti karta chhute maro pran."
This prayer says that may one's soul depart while offering bhakti to God,
and not while earning money. We need to attend to our mundane duties but
do it along with bhakti. Dada Khachar, Parvatbhai and others had performed
bhakti as a priority in their mundane lives. Just as devotees who performed
bhakti and attained Akshardham by predominantly having God and His Sadhu
in their lives, you too will be blessed with Akshardham by God."
Swamishri's blessings inspired joy and divinity in everyone. Swamishri
also inaugurated the BAPS residential 'Swaminarayan Primary School' in
Abu, with classes from kindergarten to grade 5, by doing pujan of the
auspicious pot (kumbha) and signboard.
Thereafter, Swamishri arrived at the nearby marquee for the evening assembly.
Swamishri honoured and blessed Pujya Mahant Swami and the group of sadhus
who had returned after a 243-day Satsang tour abroad.
Yagna: 5-2-03:- The yagna, which is
customarily performed as part of the murti-pratishtha rituals, commenced
at 7.30 a.m. with the arrival of Swamishri. The large 'Gnanjivan Yagnashala'
with 82 yagna kunds was decorated with festoons. Each yagna kund accommodated
ten couples. About 770 couples from England, America, New Delhi and India
had taken their places in the yagnashala.
Swamishri and 36 principal participants took their seats by the main yagna
kund on the stage. The murtis of the deities were arranged before the
main yagna kund. Parmanandbhai Shastri, Ghanshyambhai Shukla and many
Brahmin pundits initiated the rituals at the hands of Swamishri. The yagnashala
resounded with Vedic mantras. Swamishri bathed Shri Harikrishna Maharaj
with panchamrut and performed pujan of the murtis to be consecrated in
the mandir. Thereafter, Swamishri blessed the participants, saying, "Today,
we have commenced this Vedic yagna as part of the murti-pratishtha rituals.
The pundits from Gujarat have performed the rituals. When Bhagwan Swaminarayan
and His Bhakta have been installed in the capital of Bharat the bells
of glory have tolled throughout the world. People, who come from all over
the world to the capital, will avail themselves of the darshan here. We
have begun the consecration rituals with the yagna. This puja is performed
to please the gods so that they become helpful in all ways.
"For thousands of years this puja (yagna) has been performed. From
Vedic times the sun-god and fire-god have been worshipped. And the God
of all gods is Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He is supreme and the incarnation
of all incarnations. Today we have worshipped Him. By having worshipped
Him we have worshipped all the gods. All the gods will be pleased when
God is installed here in Delhi. The entire nation is ruled from here and
everyone will have good thoughts, religious feelings will spread and God
will be pleased.
"Today, devotees from India and abroad who will perform the rituals
are present. They have come here to perform the yagna with love, feelings
and enthusiasm. I pray to God to grant them with inner peace, peace in
their family and in their businesses. You may not understand the mantras
that will be chanted during the remaining rituals. You will offer flowers
and rice grains according to the instructions of the Brahmins. But there
are sentiments in the mantras. One becomes pure when one listens to the
mantras with devotional feelings. You become pure by listening to God's
holy name. Though you may not understand them, but if you even unknowingly
drink amrut you become immortal. Likewise, knowingly or unknowingly listening
to these mantras from the Vedas will grant you peace and happiness. You
may think that you sat through the rituals but didn't understand anything.
But your presence and participation will give you infinite spiritual merits.
"God is seated here before us. This yagna is held before the supreme
God. Since you are seated before Him you will experience peace and you
must perform the rituals with full faith. God will definitely bless all
of you who are participating in the yagna, but He will also bless those
who will hear about the yagna and talk about the yagna. So, you should
talk afterwards about the festival and yagna to people in India and abroad.
The bells of jubilation and glory have tolled. Talk enthusiastically about
the installation of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj in Delhi. Whoever hears
of this will experience happiness. We pray to God to bless everyone with
abundant peace, happiness and wealth. May there be peace in the world
and in India. We pray to Maharaj that religious feelings flourish in everyone."
Thereafter, Swamishri departed from the yagnashala and the Brahmin pundits
continued the rituals.
5-2-03:- The colourful procession of the deities through the
streets of New Delhi was carried out in beautiful floats prepared by Brahmacharan
Swami and a team of sadhus. The decorated deities were installed in four
floats, namely: 1) Yamuna Rath: Shri Akshar Purushottam Maharaj, 2) Kutir
Rath: Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj, 3) Mayur Rath: Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj,
4) Hansa Rath: Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj and HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Another float echoed with kirtans and dhun sung by sadhus. A marching
band took the lead in the procession, followed by four horsemen, 80 flag
bearers and 16 motorcyclists from Vadodara (who had pilgrimaged 4,644
km in 17 days from Chansad to Delhi). The senior sadhus were seated in
four decorated horse drawn carriages. The presence of 250 sadhus and thousands
of devotees chanting the Swaminarayan dhun in the procession evoked joy
and reverence among the citizens of Delhi. The ladies wing in their traditional
colourful wear also chanted dhun and bhajans. The procession commenced
at 2.00 p.m. from Gujarat Vihar Park and progressed through Vikas Marg,
Mother Dairy Road and National Highway 24, covering a distance of 5 km
before terminating on the grounds of Akshardham complex. Swamishri saw
the entire procession enter the Akshardham precincts from his quarters
and offered his respects to the murtis.
The procession was carried out unimpeded due to the arrangements made
by the Delhi Police. After the procession an assembly was held to felicitate
the contributors and supporters for the mandir project.
Felicitation Assembly: 5-2-03:- At
5.15 p.m., after the procession, an assembly to felicitate all those who
had offered their services in building the mandir commenced.
A column of flags of different countries fluttered in the evening air
outside the main assembly marquee. The assembly was attended by devotees
from all over the world. About 1000 artisans and managers who had worked
in sculpting and constructing the mandir were also present. Addresses
by Dr. Swami, Dr. K.C. Patel, and Mahendrabhai Barrister set the tenor
of sacrifice and appreciation. The coordinator of the mandir and Akshardham
Ishwarcharan Swami, described how Yogiji Maharaj had desired to have a
mandir built on the banks of the river Yamuna. Thereafter, kishores performed
a beautiful welcome dance, "Avo bhakto bhale padharo..." Then
in the felicitation programme Swamishri first garlanded and blessed Ishwarcharan
Swami and the team of sadhus involved in the Akshardham project. Shri
Harshadbhai Chavda, who had performed the service of getting the mandir
stones carved, site engineer Shri Ashwinbhai Patel, Shri Vinubhai Bhatesha,
Sagunbhai Patel and Mahendrabhai Singhodia, who acquired the Italian marble,
were blessed. The leading devotees of Delhi, namely, Yogeshbhai Wadhvana
and brothers, Nitinbhai Gadhiya and family, Nandubhai Patel and family,
Prabhudas Ajmera, Aspi Patrawala and others were also felicitated by Swamishri.
Swamishri remembered the late Shri Kishorebhai Ghadiya to whom Yogiji
Maharaj had written abundant letters for acquiring the land. Shri Chandrakantbhai
Trivedi, who was also blessed with letters by Yogiji Maharaj to acquire
the land, was brought on stage in a wheelchair and blessed by Swamishri.
Shri Sumanbhai Sompura and Manojbhai Sompura who had drafted the plans
of the mandir and Shri Virenbhai Sompura and Bachubhai Sompura who have
made plans for Akshardham were also felicitated with shawls by Swamishri.
The main construction work done by the proprietor of T R & Company
Shri N.T. Ahuja and the foundation work done by Shri Apurva Mukharjee
of Simplex Company were also honoured and blessed by Swamishri. The clearing
and forwarding of the marble was done with dedication by Rajendra Rathod,
Munindra Patel and Yogesh Sadhurambhai Patel. Swamishri blessed all the
contributors for their dedicated services.
The assembly also saw the owners of Carrara marble mines from Italy, Mr.
Vando D'Angiolo, Mr. Giovanni D'Angiolo, Mr. Paolo Lorenzoni and Mr. Gianluca
Lorenzoni, being honoured with shawls and blessed by Swamishri. The Italian
guests were amazed by the intricate carvings of the mandir. Mr. Vando
had been honoured with an award by the Prime Minister of Italy last year
as an outstanding businessman. Mrs. Pauola D'Angiolo, wife of Vando, and
Mrs. Anna D'Angiolo, wife of Giovanni, were also honoured in the women's
During the assembly, devotee Shri Lilabhakta Vishnuprasad Acharya from
Nepal, who is the Vice-president of 'Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh Rashtriya
Samiti', presented a box of prasad , a shaligram, holy saptaganga-jal
and a proclamation to honour Swamishri.
The assembly climaxed with Swamishri's blessings. He acknowledged the
services of everyone in building the mandir. The devotees of the UK, through
the inspiration of Swamishri and motivation of Atmaswarup Swami and sadhus
of London, had contributed for the entire construction of the mandir from
its foundation, shikhar and kalash to the sinhasan, murtis and various
articles of decoration. There were 550 devotees from UK alone who had
flown specially to Delhi to participate in the yagna and murti-pratishtha
The evening felicitation assembly was most memorable. After the assembly,
a spectacular firework display was held in the backdrop of the beautiful,
luminescent, pearl-like mandir.