Search Contact Site Map Download News Vicharan Home What is Vicharan Past Vicharan Vicharan
HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj's Vicharan

1 to 15 August, 2000
Atlanta - Jackson - Perry

Swamishri's Itinerary
August 2000  

2 to 6:


10 to 12:

14 to 15:

Augusta, Atlanta
Atlanta, Jackson (Mississippi)
Jackson, Perry (Georgia)
Perry, Charlotte (North Carolina)

  • 2 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 3) Wednesday, Atlanta: Karyakar Din
    • In the evening assembly, on behalf of the Mayor and citizens of Atlanta, Mr. Greg Pridgeon - Deputy Chief of Staff, honored Swamishri with the 'Dream Realized Award'. The award is presented to unique personalities in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.
    • As part of the Karyakar Din program, a drama presentation showed that an ideal karyakar (volunteer) should have an organized and spotless life; and should sacrifice his mind, body and wealth in the service of Satsang.
      In his blessings Swamishri emphasized the importance of God's infinite strength: "One who sets out to serve faces obstacles and difficulties. But if one is grounded in Dharma (morality) and God's strength then one will achieve success. The Pandavas had nothing, whereas the Kauravas had a massive army of mighty warriors. But the Pandavas had the strength of Bhagwan Krishna and that is why they won. Similarly, if we rely on God's strength then we will attain success in our works."
  • 3 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 4) Thursday, Atlanta
    In the evening assembly, Swamishri was honored from the Governor of Atlanta's office and also offered the 'Key to the City of Clarkstown' by Mayor George Baldesare of Clarkstown.
  • 4 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 5) Friday, Atlanta: Kishore Din
    • The special Kishore Day program in the evening saw a dramatic presentation on world problems by the kishores. A representative of WHO talked about the global problems of health and disease. A kishore representing UNICEF talked on the negligence of parents in rearing their children as the root cause of world problems. And the Green Peace Movement expressed its frustration with the environmental crisis. A scientist voiced his plans to set up a space colony to escape our problem-filled world. Finally, as the panacea of all ills, a representative of the BAPS explained the power of Satsang as the answer to all problems...
    • Mr. Terrell Slayton, Assistant Secretary of Georgia State, presented Swamishri with a citation of Georgia's Goodwill Ambassador and Honorary Citizen.
    • The kishores and kishoris honored Lord Harikrishna Maharaj.
  • 5 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 6) Saturday, Atlanta
    At 6.25pm Swamishri addressed an assembly of doctors offering honorary services in the mandir, "Our shastras say that one who has self-control suffers less diseases. Because when man does not exercise any discipline in eating, drinking, looking, hearing, etc. he invites disease. And the unseen elements (of anger, jealousy, greed, lust) within are more responsible for his sufferings. They cannot be detected by a stethoscope. The shastras prescribe refuge in God as the only cure. The more self-control one has the more peace and happiness one will have in life. And along with self-control one should also associate with a holy sadhu (sant samagam). Prayers too have cured chronic diseases ..."
  • 6 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 7) Sunday, Atlanta
    • At 11.05 am Swamishri performed the maha-puja as part of the 'Bhumi-Pujan' ceremony for the new mandir site. More than 300 devotees participated in the maha-puja.
    • Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was honored by the devotees during the evening assembly.
  • 8 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 9, Tuesday, Jackson (Mississippi)
    Swamishri performed the murti-pratistha of the marble murtis of Shri Akshar Purushottam, Shri Radha Krishna Dev, Shri Hari Krishna Maharaj, Shri Ganapatiji & Guru Parampara (canvas).
    In the evening assembly the Mayor of Jackson city, Mr.Harvey Johnson Jr., presented Swamishri with the 'Key to the City'. After Swamishri's blessings, the devotees honored Lord Harikrishna Maharaj.
  • 9 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 10) Wednesday, Perry ( Georgia) : Shibir
    At 12.25pm Swamishri arrived for the 4-day Shibir in Perry, At 6.00 p.m. Swamishri lighted the lamp and inaugurated the Shibir with a registration of 1800 Bal-Balika and Kishore-Kishori participants. A welcome dance was performed and an ID Card was placed around Thakorji and Swamishri. A drama on, 'Haridas' showed the tolerance of the paramhansas in the face of physical torture and persecution. Swamishri talked about the glory and supremity of Shriji Maharaj.
  • 10 August 20000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 11) Thursday, Perry: Shibir
    • After puja, Swamishri inaugurated an exhibition on the subject of 'Mandir' prepared by kishoris of Houston and Chicago and another on 'Swaminarayan Mahamantra' by kishoris of New Jersey and Los Angeles.
      Swamishri wrote the Swaminarayan Mahamantra five times on a display board. The kishores played an exciting Generation Game with Swamishri as the judge, followed by a question-answer session with Swamishri.
    • At 11.15 a.m. Swamishri went to the Bal Shibir and participated in Ruchi Quiz. Swamishri blessed the session through a question-answer session.
    • In the evening assembly of the Shibir the Fuldol festival was celebrated to enlighten and offer an experience to the participating children and teenagers. The backdrop and stage arrangements were setup to create an ambience of the Festival of Colors. The entire day's theme focused on the significance and spirit of the Fuldol Festival. The festival's theme prayer of 'Maha Balvant Maya Tamari...' was reflected in the speeches and blessings of Swamishri.
      Finally, Swamishri worshipped and sprayed colored water on Thakorji and then sprayed the holy colored water on the kishores and balaks.
  • 11 August (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 12) Friday, Perry: Shibir
    • At 11.10 a.m. Swamishri encouraged the welcoming dance by balaks by clapping amidst them. Swamishri then conducted the game 'Shriji Says' and entertained and enlightened the balaks. In his blessings Swamishri narrated the story of 'Lindiyo' - the lion who had turned meek in a sheep's flock.
    • The evening celebration of 'Shakotsav' was focussed on 'Aharshuddhi' - purity of diet, ie on vegetarianism. The agenda of speeches and blessings by Swamishri enlightened and consolidated this important theme. The Festival was crowned with servings of 'khichadi' that was blessed by Swamishri while it was being prepared in the afternoon. All the Shibir participants dined with Swamishri.
  • 12 August 2000 (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud ) Perry: Shibir, Charlotte
    • In Swamishri's morning puja, kishores of Charlotte stayed up all night to prepare an exquisite stage backdrop. The murti of Lord Swaminarayan was placed on a huge decorated paper elephant beneath a beautiful archway.
    • During the morning session in the Bal Shibir, Swamishri watched the balaks play 'Hot Potato' - passing the beach-ball till the music stopped. The balak left with the ball would go before Swamishri and take a vow on the chit that Swamishri picked out from a bowl. Then a question-answer session was held with Swamishri.
    • At 11.10 a.m. Swamishri went to the Kishore Shibir. A programme of kirtan bhakti was arranged. As Swamishri chose the bhajans on a computer screen the sadhus sang them. The kirtan bhakti's tempo rose. The kishores broke out dancing and at one point Swamishri stood amidst them clapping and engaging in a few light steps. The kishores were elated and everyone experienced joy during these divine moments. Thereafter a question-answer session was arranged with Swamishri. During his blessings, Swamishri spoke, ' Aapane to
      thea ...a...a...ath, Akshardham ma javu chhe mate kantalo lavavo nahi' (we have to go a...a...all the way to Akshardham ...) in a unique long style that left a memorable impression among the Kishores and Kishoris.
    • In the evening Swamishri sanctified a piece of land donated for the building of a mandir by Maheshbhai Desai. Swamishri performed the Bhumi-pujan and arti of the new land.
    • The main focus of the evening assembly was the Raksha Bandhan festival - to imbibe and foster family values. In his blessings, Swamishri said," It is God who ultimately protects us. In this world, someone may protect our money or whatever, but God protects us in such a way that we never have to go through the cycles of birth and death...". Then Swamishri spoke a couple of sentences in English, " All of you are God's children. All of you stay happy."
    • Swamishri tied a Rakhadi on Thakorji and kishores tied the holy thread (nada chhadi) on each others wrists and then tied the two-feet pieces of thin colourful rope with each others. The two ends were then tied to a long string of nada chhadi that was given to Swamishri. During this blessings, Swamishri explained the importance of Raksha Bandhan and stressed on family values.
    • After the evening supper a special session to celebrate Diwali - the Festival of Lights was held. Swamishri and all the shibirites performed arti and then watched a spectacular fireworks display.
  • 13 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 13) Sunday, Perry, Charlotte
    • After the morning puja Swamishri celebrated the Makar Sankranti Joli Utsav. Swamishri explained the significance of the festival as a day on which householders, to earn merits, reverently offer charity to the sadhus and sanyasis. Swamishri then spoke out the call for charity uttered by sadhus, - 'Narayan Hare Sacchidanand Prabho' The kishores clapped in appreciation of Swamishri's crisp, sweet voice. At 10.30 a.m. Swamishri depated from Perry and lauded at Charlotte at 11.30 a.m.
    • In the evening assembly at Charlotte, Swamishri was welcomed by the Mayor of Matthews town, Mr.Lee Myers. He presented the 'Key to the City' to Swamishri and requested him to visit the city again and again.
  • 14 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 14) Monday, Charlotte
    In the evening assembly Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was honored by the devotees.
  • 15 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 15) Tuesday, Charlotte: Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day
    Thakorji and the throne were decorated with the tricolors of the Indian Flag and Rakhadis. After puja Swamishri hoisted the Indian flag and Police Commissioner Mr.Hunter hoisted the American flag. In the evening assembly children performed a 'Kucch Geet' (march). Swamishri explained the importance of Raksha Bandhan in his blessings. Thereafter the sadhus tied Rakhadis on the devotees.
  Living with Swamishri :

6 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 7) Sunday, Atlanta

  • From Akshardham
    A youth asked Swamishri, "Bapa! Where do you really come from?"
    Swamishri replied , "We don't come from homes like you do. God has sent us (himself) from Akshardham. You have all come to attain moksha and we have come to do this work (to redeem).
  • Seva - the Way to Akshardham
    During his visit around the mandir, Swamishri arrived at the medical department. Dr. Harshad requested Swamishri to sit on his chair. Then he gave his stethoscope to Swamishri and told him, "Bapa. We check patients whereas you are the Doctor of doctors so today I ask you to check me."
    When Swamishri placed the stethoscope on his heart Dr. Harshad asked, " Will it go to Akshardham?"
    Swamishri replied in a doctor's confident style, "Yes, it is really eligible to go to Akshardham."
    "Then Bapa, What about us?" the devotees present chorused.
    Swamishri, raising his hand, replied in a divine mood, "Everyone will go to Akshardham! There is Akshardham for all those who do 'Seva'".

12 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 13) Saturday, Perry: Shibir

  • Swamishri answered a couple of questions posed to him during the Bal Shibir.
    Q: We make a lot of mistakes yet you never show any displeasure towards us. How can our mistakes be avoided and with what thought do you forgive us?
    A: To err is human. Only God and His holy sadhu never err. But we project our faults in God and His holy sadhu. And to dissolve them they tolerate our errors and faults. God out of compassion loves and talks to us. If God and His holy sadhu start looking at our faults then we would not be able to sit here. To make us stronger they do not look at our faults. This is their compassion, grace, and patience. If one thinks on their lines then one would stop from erring.

    Q: What expectations do you have from us?
    A: It was Yogiji Maharaj's dream that children become virtuous and through them our society and nation too. For this you have to avoid eating outside. Keep away from bad company. To become ideal means to live a pure life, have honesty, morality, the spirit to help others, dharma and bhakti. You should become virtuous so that it pleases God and your parents. Study well and serve God and the country.

12 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 13) Saturday, Perry: Shibir

  • During an Interview at the Kishore-Kishore Shibir, Swamishri Gave Succinct and Clear Answer to the Spiritual Inquiries of the Kishores

Q: What do you think during your routine walk?
A: Most of the time passes in chanting the Swaminarayan mantra. Sometimes, we think about how to solve a problem written by a devotee. But mostly the walking time passes in chanting the mantra.

Q: When we are with you we feel happy and strong. But why does this not remain when we go away from you?
A: Firstly, one has not understood the glory (mahima) as it is. It is because of body-consciousness (dehbhav) that one cannot experience happiness. But if you have 'mahima' then you will be happy in all situations.

Q: We hear in Satsang that God and His holy sadhu are with you. But how can one experience this?
A: If you have understood that they are with you, then your focus will be towards their commands (agna), wishes (ruchi) and opinions (abhipraya).

Q: On seeing kishores what thoughts cross your mind?
A: On seeing kishores we have only one thought - that you all by the dream of Yogiji Maharaj become firm in Satsang and inspire satsang in others.

Q: What do you think when we disobey your agna?
A: Being a human being one is prone to committing mistakes. And God and His holy sadhu do not reject such a person but call him and ask him with affection so that he may improve. Because if he rejects him, and as a consequence leaves Satsang, then the kishore's soul will fall back. So he does not reject him and allows him to correct himself and do 'seva'.

Q: How can we know that you are happy on us?
A: In obeying the agnas we are pleased. But we are not pleased at one who does it to show-off and one who harbors jealousy. We are pleased if one talks about the glory (of God and all) and does not have doubtful feelings for God and His holy sadhu.

Q: Even after having such a great attainment (prapti) why is there lack of peace within?
A: Gunatitanand Swami has answered that it is due to: 1. worldly desires. 2. disobedience to the moral commands (agna) and 3. ignorance. This means 'dehbhav' - 'I'ness and 'Mine'ness. If one realizes oneself as atma then no worldly desires remain and one will be able to obey the commands.

Q: Which time of the day is your favorite time?
A: The entire day is good. When actions and discourses on His holy sadhu, katha and kirtan are being held then all that time is the best. Therefore one should remember God in all one's actions.

Q: To please you we do 'seva' and 'katha' but we get bored. What should we do?
A: In this world which activity is boring? When you were to come here to America were you bored? One doesn't get bored in one's own physical activity because one finds it full of worth. But it is full of misery. And besides why should it be boring when one wants to go to God! One gets bored because one does not have the resolve for the spiritual path like that for one's body. Were Maharaj, Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj ever bored? So many obstacles came their way but they did not fall back. Therefore, we want to go a…a…all (thea …a…a…ath) the way to Akshardham so you should not get bored.
Swamishri's unique style of saying 'thea…a…a…ath' (a…a…all) touched the kishores and kishoris and became one of the highlights of the Shibir experience.

13 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 13) Sunday, Charlotte

  • Life's Purpose
    At 8:25 p.m., after the evening assembly a youth asked Swamishri, "What is the purpose of life?"
    Swamishri replied, "Oh! There are so many things to do in life. Since you are studying now you should study properly and secondly do satsang. The former is for the happiness of one's physical self and the latter for the redemption of one's atma. No matter how much you earn you should remain firm in 'agna' and 'upasana'. In terms of 'niyam' (moral instruction) you should principally be a vegetarian, have no drinks, no cigarettes and no meat; and keep good company and love your parents."

  • Tolerance
    During the afternoon, Swamishri's room had turned very cold. When this was brought up Swamishri replied, "Yes, my pillow, bed and the quilt had become very cold. The quilt did not stay close to the body. I simply lay awake in such a condition for an hour."
    "Then you should have woken me up," the attendant sadhu said.
    "But I thought why should I wake you up? Because then it would have spoilt your sleep also. And besides, I felt that since I have tolerated for this long then let's tolerate it for a little more time…"
    Without a word of complain, Swamishri bore the cold for over an hour.

15 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 15) Tuesday, Charlotte

  • The Three Keys to Development
    A Bal karyakar asked Swamishri, "Bapa! We run the Bal Mandal in our own way but would you like to give any special instructions?"
    Swamishri responded, "You should be aware in not creating any lapses in the children's academic studies. If they are weak then employ teachers for that particular subject. They should not fall back in their studies. And the parents should not feel that their children have lagged in their studies because of their attendance to the mandir."
    "Secondly, their health. Pay attention for their good health. Explain to them to give up eating outside in restaurants and hotels.
    "And thirdly, their character and satsang values. Introduce them to Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. Narrate stories from Yogiji Maharaj's Bodh Katha and inspire them to do puja daily…"
    For the all-round development of children Swamishri lucidly highlighted the three essential aspects of education, health and Satsang.
  Gems From Swamishri :
  • A karyakar is one who is wedded to faith, service and dedication.
  • To become a devotee of God is a great degree. To become a servant of God (sevak) is also a degree. So we should attain such degrees.
  • One liked by God will be liked by everyone, but one not liked by God will not be liked by anyone. And such a person will not attain virtues and be able to do good works. Therefore mould a life that pleases God.
  • God's commands (agna) are like jewellery; the more you wear it the more your splendor and greatness.

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith