Mandir Inauguration Festival
Diksha and Murti-Pratishtha
6 February 2003, New Delhi
The day of Vasant Panchmi dawned in all its auspiciousness. The highlight
of the day would be the accomplishment of Yogiji Maharaj's dream - a mandir
on the banks of the river Yamuna. At 6.00 a.m. the abhishek rituals were
performed on the murtis of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj,
Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, Pramukh Swami Maharaj by the senior
sadhus - Mahant Swami, Dr. Swami, Kothari Swami, Tyagvallabh Swami, Ishwarcharan
Swami and Viveksagar Swami.
At 6.30 a.m., Swamishri commenced his morning puja on the main stage.
Simultaneously the diksha rituals of six youths were being performed.
After Swamishri's puja, the youths, five of whom are American citizens
and one a British citizen, were given the customary new kanthi, janoi,
upper cloth and pagh by the senior sadhus and Swamishri applied chandan
and gave them the guru mantra and their new name. The six newly initiated
parshads, three of whom are the only child of their parents, were given
new names as follows: Vipul Patel, A.B. (Harvard) - Vyas Bhagat; Ronak
Shelat, PhD (Pharmacy) - Prabhakar Bhagat; Parmanand Jani, BS (Comp.)
- Kapil Bhagat; Nikhil Patel, BS (Comp.) - Patanjali Bhagat; Bhavesh Patel,
ACC - Kanad Bhagat; Amit Patel, BSc. - Gautam Bhagat.
Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly, "Today is Vasant Panchmi.
It is the best of all days. Today, God will be installed in the capital
and bless all with peace. It is also a great occasion today because these
boys have taken diksha. They have all come after accomplishing their brilliant
studies. They have not become sadhus because they were poor or unable
to earn a living. Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj
had initiated intelligent sadhus. Yogiji Maharaj initiated 51 educated
young youths into the sadhu-fold like Mahant Swami, Dr. Swami, Ishwar
Swami, Viveksagar Swami, Siddheshwar Swami, Kothari Swami and Tyagvallabh
Swami during the Kalash Mahotsav in Gadhada. Swami felt that alongwith
the building of mandirs we should also have educated 'living mandirs'
(sadhus) so that satsang can be inspired and spread in every village.
Through mandirs, satsang and devotees are nourished spiritually. Sadhus
inspire purity, piety and consolidate faith in people. They are like a
flowing river that benefits countless people. Such sadhus lived in the
times of Shriji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and are present
even today. And there are many who are the only child of their parents.
We compliment their parents. It is indeed very great on the part of these
boys, who were educated by their parents in America and could have earned
handsome salaries, to give up everything. There are so many worldly attractions,
that it is difficult to give up everything especially when one has lived
in a materialistic and luxurious society. But they received values, satsang
and God's refuge from their parents. So, they did not get swept away by
the external influences during their academic years and observed the moral
disciplines. We know of the college atmosphere where eating, drinking
and everything takes place, yet they were not touched by them and remained
determined to get diksha here today. This is a very big thing. May they
imbibe dharma, gnan, vairagya, bhakti and infinite virtues, offer their
services to Maharaj and become brahmarup and happy. Congratulations to
their parents for giving away their only son. You have given them to God
so He is yours. You have not given them to a place where they will be
lost and confounded. You have placed them at the refuge of God and thus
they will redeem countless people. If your son was at home, then he would
redeem only one but now he will liberate many. You must feel happy and
strong. It is difficult to give away one's only son. It is natural for
the father to feel the separation and the mother has immense love for
her son. Such mothers have offered their sons with joy, which is a very
great thing! It is difficult for such a thing to happen in this day and
age. But due to the wish of Shriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj one is blessed
with such noble thoughts. The youths who have taken diksha today are all
from abroad; from London and America where there is an abundance of material
pleasures. They have left that and come here. We have given them saffron
clothes. So now there are no joys of materialism. Whatever joy to be experienced
is that of God, spiritual discourses and bhajan. May they be happy with
the bliss of Maharaj and may their devotion increase and intensify. May
Maharaj grant their parents with inner strength. To those who are present
here may Maharaj consolidate satsang in their souls and spiritual discourses
become a part of their lives. May there be a financially conducive climate
in your jobs and businesses. And may there be nothing other than the thought
about God in your minds, 'Tamari murti vina mara nath re biju mane apsho
"We should strive to attain the divine joy of God. Like Dada Khachar
who had surrendered his wealth, home and family to God, we too, have such
devotees of faith and sacrifice today. And this is why they sacrifice
their educated children (to become sadhus); and in addition they offer
wealth and physical services. They have surrendered everything to God.
I pray that such strength is bestowed upon you all."
Everyone was honoured to have witnessed the elevating diksha occasion.
Thereafter, Swamishri inaugurated two audio cassette publications by Swaminarayan
Aksharpith, Aj mare orde re
and Samasya and Samadhan, and a print
publication Karmasiddhant ane Punarjanma by Brahmadarshan Swami.
Murti-pratishtha ceremony: 6-2-03:-
The murti-pratishtha rituals commenced at 8.00 a.m. amidst the Vedic chantings
of Parmanandbhai Shastri and Brahmin pundits. The beautifully carved marble
mandir was the centre of attraction. The mandir mandovar (outer wall of
the sanctum sanctorum) has 35 exquisite murtis of paramhansas and devotees.
The ceilings are decorated with different carved designs. The ornate doors
of the sanctum and its marble frame, main dome and pillars are aesthetically
stunning. The white intricately designed shikhars and the golden kalashes
and flags are a divine and inspiring sight.
The mandir dome echoed with Vedic mantras, and at 8.55 a.m., Swamishri
entered the sanctum. Devotees from India and abroad were engaged in the
pratishtha rituals under the dome. Swamishri performed the invocation
rituals in the murtis of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj - the same murtis
that were first installed at the Hari mandir in Gujarat Vihar eight years
ago. When Swamishri held the mirror before the murtis, the entire congregation
broke into loud chantings of "Swaminarayan, Swaminarayan
Thereafter, Swamishri performed the first pujan of the murtis of Akshar
Purushottam Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj and Shastriji Maharaj with chandan
and offered his respects to them. The pratishtha was the fulfillment of
Yogiji Maharaj's wish to consecrate a mandir on the banks of the river
Yamuna. Swamishri performed the pujan of the murtis of Yogiji Maharaj
established in a shrine by the main dome and Mahant Swami performed pujan
of the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in another shrine by the main dome.
In the kodi mandap, outside the main mandir sanctum, Swamishri performed
the pratishtha pujan of Shri Ganapatiji and Shri Hanumanji. After the
arrangement of annakut, Swamishri performed the pratishtha arti of Thakorji
adorned in beautiful clothes and ornaments. After mantra pushpanjali and
prayer rituals the pratishtha rituals were completed. Swamishri offered
prostrations to the deities and departed to the assembly hall for the
pratishtha assembly. During the murti-pratishtha rituals devotees in the
assembly hall listened to discourses by Viveksagar Swami and Anandswarup
Murti-pratishtha assembly: 6-2-03:- The
historic pratishtha assembly commenced with the Swaminarayan dhun and
a bhajan written by Aksharjivan Swami "Yamuna tat pai raj mandir
and sung by Vishwaswarup Swami,
Premvadan Swami and Shukmuni Swami. An inspiring discourse was delivered
by Dr. Swami. Atmaswarup Swami delivered a speech in English welcoming
the guests and audience on this memorable occasion. Thereafter, Swamishri,
the inspirer of the mandir, was honoured with a garland by Mahant Swami.
The stage guests were also garlanded and welcomed by Mahant Swami, namely,
Deputy Prime Minister of India Shri L. K. Advani, former Finance Minister
and leader of the opposition party in the Rajya Sabha Shri Manmohansingh,
Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi Shri Vijay Kapoor, Chief Minister of
Gujarat Shri Narendra- bhai Modi, Former High Commissioner of England
and constitution expert Shri L. M. Singhvi, MP in the House of Commons,
UK, Mr. Barry Gardiner, Union Minister Shri Dr. Vallabh Kathiriya, Law
Minister of Gujarat Shri Ashokbhai Bhatt, Health Minister of Rajasthan
and popular leader Shri Madhavsinh Diwan, Minister for India's water grid
project Shri Suresh Prabhu.
A welcome dance "Swagatam, shubh swagatam" was performed by
kishores. Then, the invited guests expressed their feelings about the
occasion. Mr. Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent, UK, opined, "The Neasden
mandir cannot be compared to the Taj Mahal because the latter is a monument
to death whereas the mandir is a monument to life." Mr. Gardiner's
address was received with thunderous applause from the audience. Shri
L. M. Singhvi described Swamishri's making of Akshardham as a revolutionary
symbol of spiritual literacy. Shri Narendra Modi praised Swamishri as
a great disciple and a great guru. Lieutenant Governor Shri Vijay Kapoor
said that he was privileged to have been of help in this project. The
former Finance Minister and leader of the opposition party in the Rajya
Sabha Shri Manmohansingh expressed that in Swamishri's divine personality
and work lay the secret of the survival and flourishment of Indian Culture.
The Deputy Prime Minister of India Shri L.K. Advani commented that since
he was elected from Gandhinagar he was the representative of Akshardham
in Parliament. He lauded the Swaminarayan mandir in Neasden, London, and
appreciated Swamishri's efforts in spreading the glory of Indian culture.
Every address by the dignitaries was enthusiastically received with applause
from the audience.
The pratishtha assembly was crowned with Swamishri's blessings in which
he appreciated the stage guests and spoke about the divine power in Yogiji
Maharaj's wish. Swamishri said, "We are all blessed on this auspicious
day. Through the grace and blessings of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand
Swami, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj this grand work has been accomplished.
It was Yogiji Maharaj's deep desire to have a mandir built here. In every
letter, he wrote to Chandrakantbhai and Kishorebhai, 'We want to build
a mandir on the banks of the river Yamuna. Meet the Governor Saheb.' And
since then ten Governors had ruled and left (and no land was acquired),
but one who is blessed gets the benefit of this service. Today we read
a letter by Yogiji Maharaj, 'Take this letter and meet the Governor Saheb
and we will get three acres of land.' But then Swamishri passed away and
30 years had gone by. Then through the wish of Yogiji Maharaj we have
acquired a vast area of land.
"Yogiji Maharaj had desired that the mandir be built on the banks
of the river Yamuna. In every letter he wrote about the banks of Yamuna.
Finally he wrote, 'The mandir will be made on the banks of the Yamuna
and the bells of glory will toll.' And so this land was acquired. Kapoor
Saheb is the eleventh Governor and the land was acquired in his tenure
- this too is due to the wish of Yogiji Maharaj. One who is blessed gets
such a service.
This land is suitable for everyone. There are roads on all four sides
and the grand river Yamuna. Hundreds of thousands of people will come
here. They will have darshan of our culture and values.
"In this world man has progressed immensely. He has landed on the
moon. There will still be more progress. But along with material advancement
the progress in character and values is very essential. When there is
spiritual development alongwith material progress then one's life becomes
fragrant. And such progress brings peace and happiness. Otherwise, 'I'-ness
and 'Mine'-ness create obstacles and rob us of happiness. Hence spirituality
is the root of life. If you do not have the roots then everything is useless.
A tree develops and grows because of its roots. If there are no roots
then the tree has no branches, leaves or fruits. Our roots lie in spirituality.
The more one develops spiritually, the better one's work becomes; be it
for the family, society or country.
"Having faith in God is essential. Spirituality is seeing God in
everyone. Yogiji Maharaj saw God in everyone and therefore he had no distinctions.
He loved all. When one attains the divine vision of atma, all external
distinctions disappear and one loves everyone. And this love brings one
peace and happiness.
"God is the all-doer. He has created this world
and all forms of happiness are derived from Him. We are able to move and
work because He resides within us. Without Him nothing can be done by
ourselves. Without realising our atma or understanding the presence of
God within, we shall experience the void of unfulfillment in our works
and spiritual endeavours. By realising the knowledge of atma one will
experience fulfillment of peace. Bhagwan Swaminarayan descended on earth
with this knowledge of 'Nijãtmãnam brahmarupam...' When
you realise the knowledge that you are atma then you will become free
from the veil of maya. In the Gita Shri Krishna Bhagwan instructs Arjun,
Sarva dharmãn parityajya... - give up your resolves and do as I
say and take refuge in me. God has said, 'You will not be able to swim
the ocean of maya no matter how much efforts you make.' Therefore, 'Mãmeva
ye prapadyante...' 'You take my refuge. Do what I say and you will find
peace.' This is the instruction God gave.
"Shrijji Maharaj has said, 'I am not pleased through any means other
than satsang.' And satsang means a true Satpurush. When you associate
with him you get true knowledge. Otherwise, without him, you go through
conflicts in life. Today, this is the work of Satpurushes like Shastriji
Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. We feel happy when such a place for them has
been made. I pray for peace in India and the world. May we strive to usher
progress in India through spirituality and noble thoughts. May our values
be consolidated in each and every person in India and there be peace in
Delhi. I pray that Advaniji, Atalji and all politicians be successful
in their civic works and that India progresses tremendously."
Swamishri's blessings were received with generous applause from all the
dignitaries, devotees and well-wishers. Thereafter, Dharmavatsal Swami
and sadhus residing in Delhi draped Swamishri in a shawl with the shlokas
of the Shikshapatri written on it - prepared by the women's wing of Delhi.
Then the newly initiated parshads from abroad sought Swamishri's blessings.
Their sacrifice was appreciated by the dignitaries and the assembly of
devotees. Swamishri then blessed all the stage guests with a shawl and
the assembly concluded with a group photo of Swamishri and the dignitaries.
Altogether 7,700 devotees had attended the pratishtha assembly. The two-day
festival was memorable and elevating. Everyone departed with golden memories
etched in their hearts and with the resolve to be present during the inauguration