1 November 2005 (V.S. 2061, Aso vad 30) Tuesday, New Delhi;
Dr Faizal Zeerah, President and CEO of International Hospital,
Bahrain, opined, “I had seen the place a year ago and
I have seen it today and there are no words that I can use
to describe it. I have seen love expressed in its most glorious
picture and I have seen devotion to a cause, to a principle
which is overwhelming.
“Pramukh Swami is somebody that all of us love and adore.
He has changed people’s lives, including my own and
many others by touching their lives with his love, affection
and his dedication to make this place a better world. And
this monument – that he is the force behind –
talks a lot about Pramukh Swami more than anybody can describe.”
- 2 November
2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 1) Wednesday, New Delhi; New Year’s
performed his morning puja on the New Year’s Day
on the festival stage. The senior sadhus honored Swamishri
with garlands. Thereafter Swamishri delivered his blessings
for the New Year, “This festival is being celebrated
with the grace of God and the wish of Yogiji Maharaj.
Akshardham is simply wonderful. It cannot be described.
The sadhus and devotees from India and abroad have served
immensely through body and mind. We should be indebted
to Yogiji Maharaj, because if he had not wished then we
would not have been able to do it. Because he wished it
to be grand we were able to accomplish it.
“Maharaj has said that we should write accounts
about how much we have progressed, performed bhakti and
pleased God. We have not to regress but to progress. We
must believe that we are brahmarup and that we are atma.
This will give us all the fruits. A profound attachment
with the Satpurush blesses us with atma-darshan and God’s
darshan. Do not look at the faults of others.”
- At 11.30
am Swamishri arrived before Thakorji where a grand annakut
was arranged. Swamishri joined in the singing of thal
with the sadhus. At 12.00 noon he performed the annakut
- Guest Opinion:
Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar, Head of The Art of Living Foundation,
said, “I think Akshardham is a living example that
this ancient culture is very much alive and so very beautiful.
It is very educative, informative and skillfully sculpted
– and that, too, done in such a short period of
time! What inspiration can do is shown here.”
Shri V.J. Kapoor, Former Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi,
spoke appreciatively, “Today has been an eye-opener
because I just could not imagine that a thing of this
beauty, this serenity could have been created in such
a short time and I think it adds a new dimension to Delhi.
“In terms of architecture I don’t think sculpting
of this quality has been undertaken in recent times anywhere.
“Pramukh Swami is a person who ignites you with
enthusiasm. I think he is a fountain of hope, forward
movement and I know that many precious efforts had to
be aborted here. But he persistently went on for years
and finally this place was organized. The kind of encouragement
that radiates from him, I think, is a source of great
strength to the people around him and people who come
in contact with him.”
L.M.Singhvi, Former High Commissioner of India in UK,
eloquently expressed, “I think Akshardham represents
today an ideal of the heritage of India. It represents
excellence at its best. It represents the values of human
life and the larger sense of humanity and the oneness
of humanity. And that humanity is one family. ‘Vasudhaiva
kutumbakam’ is the underlying ideal of the heritage
of India, and Akshardham represents its quintessence in
the most beautiful manner.
“Akshardham in Delhi is the gift of a great rishi,
a great seer, a great sage, a great visionary and a great
pupil of a great master. He has carved into this beautiful
form, the message and legacy of his preceptor, his teacher
and his master. He has translated it in stone. This is
not one poem in stone. This is a million poems in stone.
One of the great epics of India is Akshardham. That is
why I consider this the greatest pilgrimage of the truth,
the good and the beautiful. There is no place other than
Akshardham where the truth, the good and the beautiful
are combined so beautifully.
“Akshardham represents the highest level of creativity
and the highest level of Divine consciousness in the human
heart, in the human mind and in the human soul. Here is
the confluence of mind, the body, the heart and the soul.
This confluence creates a sense of the sacred.”
- 3 November
2005 (V.S. 2061, Kartak sud 2) Thursday, New Delhi
The evening assembly
was held to felicitate BAPS sadhus, volunteers, craftsmen
and all those who had helped in the creation of Swaminarayan
Akshardham. Their tremendous service and sacrifice were recognized
and appreciated as each principal member involved in the project
came on stage to receive a memento and the blessings of Swamishri.
On behalf of BAPS Mahant Swami and Dr Swami garlanded Swamishri
who was the inspirer and creator of the entire complex. Ishwarcharan
Swami, the coordinator of the entire project, also garlanded
Swamishri and received his blessings.
In his blessings Swamishri said, “Akshardham complex
has been accomplished through the wish of Bhagwan Swaminarayan
and Yogiji Maharaj. All credit goes to Maharaj, Swami, Bhagatji
Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. Everyone involved
in the project has not seen day or night while serving. Regardless
of discomfort you have all performed your services with glory
and feelings. Mementos have been received by all those who
have served, but even if countless more were to be given to
you it would still be inadequate. The sadhus who have served
will be blessed with peace in their hearts. Yogiji Maharaj’s
formula was samp, suhrudbhav and ekta. When any work is done
with these sentiments then the impossible can become possible.
Akshardham has been accomplished through the unity and determination
of sadhus and devotees. Everyone, residing in India and abroad,
had performed austerities, pilgrimages and other spiritual
endeavors for the early completion of Akshardham. All wellwishers
who have contributed be blessed with the attainment of Akshardham.”
Guests: H.H. Sadguru Bodinath Veylan Swami, Head of Himalayan
Academy, Hawaii, opined, “An excellent combination of
traditional Indian architecture and modern technology in exhibits
and film to convey the greatness and values of national and
4 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 3), Friday, New Delhi
At 10.25 am Swamishri
arrived on the festival stage to give diksha to sadhaks and
parshads into the parshad and bhagvati fold respectively.
Swamishri gave the guru mantra and the senior sadhus gave
kanthi, upper cloth and pagh to the newly initiated. The occasion
became sublime with the singing of “Halo Juvanada Harivar
Varva Helo Padyo’. Swamishri finally blessed the assembly,
“To renounce home is very difficult. But due to the
glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji
Maharaj the youths have taken diksha to worship God. It is
indeed a great thing. Appreciations to their parents for giving
their educated boys for diksha. The youths will inspire satsang
in hundreds of thousands of people.”
As part of the murti-pratishtha ceremony of the murtis of
Bhagwan Swaminarayan and guru parampara a yagna was initiated.
The yagna fire was lit with the flame brought from Chhapaiya
and Chansad. Swamishri offered rice grains and ghee into the
yagna kund. Thereafter Swamishri blessed the gathering.
Shri Raghunathan, Chief Secretary of Delhi State, stated,
“I am totally humbled by what I saw. When I see every
part of this Dham, each part is telling me about what a tradition
we have imbibed, that we have inherited, and how precious
this tradition is to us.”
Smt. Sheela Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi, voiced, “It
is something extraordinary. I have never experienced anything
like this. I am still trying to recover from the impact it
has left. It is really marvellous. Not only is it an extraordinary
marvel of architecture, but there is spirituality, devotion,
and faith that comes out of a visit to this structure.”
Shri Bawa Jain, Secretary General of the World Council of
Religious Leaders, reflected, “I don’t think words
can describe this experience. One really has to come here
because whatever you see in photographs is just not enough
for the vibration that you feel. If everybody can have this
experience, I am sure and absolutely convinced there can be
a deep transformation. This moves you to the core.”
Sam Cardon, World renowned Music Composer, Music Director
of Neelkanth Yatra, was overwhelmed and said, “I have
seen extraordinary sites, ancient temples – but something
on this scale with architecture that is thousands of years
old, in today’s world is just extraordinary. I can’t
imagine anything that is its equal. And the fact that it’s
been achieved by people who are devoted, and, I think, extraordinarily
creative and organized – I mean just the logistical
part of it – it just seems like an impossibility. And
yet, it has been done with such a great spirit of cooperation.
I just think it is an extraordinary achievement. I really
applaud what has been done here.”
5 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 4) Saturday, New Delhi
the new website on Swaminarayan Akshardham , www.akshardham.com,
after his morning puja.
Shri L.K.Advani came to see the Akshardham complex and thereafter
received Swamishri’s blessings.
Shri L.K. Advani, President of Bharatiya Janata Party, expressed,
“I can only say that those who have conceived it, and
those who have executed it, and it’s not a few artists
and architects, but tens of thousands of dedicated, devoted
bhaktas of the Swaminarayan Sampraday – they all deserve
kudos, they deserve plaudits for this achievement, which will
always be remembered by everyone. It’s a great service
that they have done to the cause of spirituality and religion,
and it’s a great service that they have done to the
- 6 November
2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 4), Sunday, New Delhi; Labh Pancham,
Dedication Ceremony of Swaminarayan Akshardham
murti-pratishtha rituals at Swaminarayan Akshardham monument
commenced on 4 November and culminated on 6 November 2005
rituals for the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Guru Parampara
(Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj,
Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj) and the deities
(Sita-Ram, Radha-Krishna, Lakshmi-Narayan and Shiv-Parvati)
in Swaminarayan Akshardham took place over a period of three
days: 4, 5 & 6 November. The preliminary pratishtha rituals
were performed on smaller murtis that symbolized the murtis
of the sanctum in Swaminarayan Akshardham. The yagna rituals
were performed at the Bhakti Mandapam on the festival grounds
of Swaminarayan Nagar.
On 4 November 2005 the pratishtha rituals commenced in the
presence of Kothari Swami and Tyagvallabh Swami from 8.30
am to 10.30 am. From 10.30 am to 11.30 am Swamishri performed
the Vastu Puja rituals, kund puja, yantrastha puja and pithastha
dev puja at the kund in Swaminarayan Akshardham.
The yagna kund was lit by Swamishri with the torches brought
by BAPS youths from Chhapaiya, Bochasan and Chansad. Thereafter
the yagna commenced inside the Swaminarayan Akshardham monument.
From 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm senior sadhus performed the pithpuja
(the base for the murtis) and other rituals
which concluded with the arti.
In the morning the holy water from Narayan Sarovar was brought
in 101 pots by 101 female volunteers to the Bhakti Mandapam
in Swaminarayan Nagar. Here, from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon, replicas
of the murtisof Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Guru Parampara and the
deities were placed in small kunds of water (jaladhivaas),
grains and ghee. Meanwhile Brahmin pundits poured ghee in
the yagna kund to the accompaniment of Vedic mantras. At 10.30
am a traditional, colourful procession was taken out from
the Bhakti Mandapam to the Swaminarayan Akshardham monument.
Replicas of the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and other deities
were placed in decorated floats. More than 350 sadhus participated
in the procession. On reaching the inner sanctum of Swaminarayan
Akshardham monument, the divinity conferred to the replica
of murtis through worship rituals in the yagnashala was transferred
through the chanting of mantras into pots filled with water.
This holy water was then ritually poured on the original murtisinstalled
in the sanctum to imbue them with divinity.
From 4.00 pm to 6.30 pm the juices of different fruits and
herbs contained in 49 copper pots were ritually poured on
the murtis by Mahant Swami. At 6.30 pm the holy water was
ritually poured on the five golden kalashes installed on the
monument shikhars. A ritual for protection of the monument
was also performed through the chanting of appropriate mantras.
Finally a 1½ hour invocation ritual of the natural
elements into the murtis was performed.
2005: Murti-Ppratishtha at Swaminarayan Akshardham On
6 November the murti-pratishtha ceremony
of the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Guru Parampara and
the deities in the sanctum of Swaminarayan Akshardham was
the climax of all the rituals. Invoking of the
Divine into the murtis would inspire reverence in the hearts
of devotees when they come for darshan.
At 6.45 am rituals at the small yagna kunds, arranged in eight
directions on the pradakshina of Gajendra Peeth, began. At
every kund a Brahmin pundit and a sadhu performed the preliminary
rituals. At 7.00 am senior sadhus started the initial pratishtha
rituals in the main monument. Devotees from India and abroad
also participated in the rituals. At 9.25 am Swamishri arrived
for the main pratishtha rituals. He sat in a chair that was
anchored to a special lift that could be manually manoeuvred
for the pratishtha rituals of the 11-ft high murti of Bhagwan
Swaminarayan. Prior to the pratishtha rituals, Ishwarcharan
Swami, coordinator of the Akshardham project, tied an auspicious
thread on Swamishri’s wrist and applied a chandlo. Then,
Swamishri began to perform the pratishtha rituals. Thereafter
Swamishri’s chair was elevated to a height of 11 feet
before the face of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The mantras sung
by the Brahmin pundits resonated in the sanctum sanctorum
Akshardham. First, Swamishri touched the different parts of
the murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, from head to toe, with
a gold-tipped darbh stick. Then the invocation of the Divine
in every part of the murti (nyas-vidhi) was performed by Swamishri
in accordance to the mantras chanted. Swamishri
also placed his right hand on the murti’s chest and
chanted the Om and Gayatri mantras. This was followed by the
ritual opening of the murti’s eyes by Swamishri with
the touch of a darbh stick. The same pratishtha rituals were
performed simultaneously on the murtis of the Guru Parampara
and other deities by the senior sadhus. After offering flowers
on the head of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Swamishri held a mirror
before the murti’s face. During this ritual the sanctum
resonated with the chanting of the Swaminarayan mantra by
sadhus and devotees. The pratishtha rituals concluded with
the victory calls of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Guru Parampara
and the deities. The invocation of the Divine in the murtis
of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj,
Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, Pramukh Swami Maharaj,
Ram-Sita, Radha-Krishna, Lakshmi-Narayan and Shiv-Parvatiji
was complete. Then Swamishri performed pujan of all the murtis.
Thereafter an annakut was arranged before the murtis and at
10.10 am Swamishri and the senior sadhus performed the pratishtha
arti. This was followed by the ritual offering of flowers
(mantra-pushpanjali) to the murtis and then
Swamishri blessed the devotees by showering rice grains.
After the auspicious and landmark ceremony, Swamishri was
garlanded with a fragrant garland of mogra flowers by Ishwarcharan
Swami. Finally, Swamishri blessed the pratishtha occasion,
“Yogiji Maharaj’s wish was very strong and powerful.
We have seen its realisation today. This place is vast and
divine. There is God. See how wonderful the darshan is. We
can have the darshan of the avatars. You can see the 500 paramhansas.
Wherever you look, you see God, His devotees and muktas. Everything
has been done ornately and with attention to detail. Whoever
comes inside and does darshan will develop faith in God and
become happy. They will become happy in the sense that their
inner ignorance and darkness will be destroyed, they will
become free from the cycle of life and death, be blessed with
the state of brahmarup and attain Akshardham.
“Maharaj will not forget those who have served in mind,
body and wealth and with feelings of glory. God never forgets
those who fold their hands in respect, come with good sentiments
or serve, even with lesser means. Whoever has offered services
Maharaj will remember him and bless him with Akshardham.
“By the grace of God the construction has been done
wonderfully. The stone was quarried in Rajasthan. Harshad
Chavada has accomplished a great feat. With him was Yogesh
Swami who is an engineer. The murtis we are having darshan
of have been done by Bhaktinandan Swami. Ishwarcharan Swami
and his team have offered their services. Devotees have performed
mala, austerities, dhun, prayer and pilgrimage for the creation
of this supreme mandir and to please God.
“Bhagwan Shriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj are the doers.
To accomplish such a huge project is very difficult, but God
lifted Mt. Govardhan and the devotees gave their support by
raising their staffs. So, what we have done is merely that.
The task has been accomplished through His wish and glory.
comes here will be dissolved of evil instincts, be blessed
with good feelings and salvation by God.”
From 12.00 noon to 12.45 pm the senior sadhus performed the
concluding rituals of homa of the pratishtha yagna.
As the winter sun was setting to call it a day, a new era
would unfold in its wake. History was in the making in all
its eloquent epic divinity and grandeur. Swaminarayan Akshardham
was adorned with garlands of flowers and was awaiting the
spectacular grand finale opening ceremony. More than 20,000
devotees and volunteers from all over India and the world
had taken their seats in the Swaminarayan Akshardham complex.
The humongous architectural marvel resonated with years of
sacrifice, service, devotion and austerities.
Sunday, 6 November 2005 (Labh Pancham V.S. 2062) marked the
culmination of Yogiji Maharaj’s vision and dream of
a grand mandir on the banks of the river Yamuna. The vision
was crystallised by his disciple and successor HDH Pramukh
Swami Maharaj. Through his blessings, guidance, and efforts,
and the dedication of BAPS sadhus, 7,000 craftsmen and 4,000
volunteers the magnificent Swaminarayan Akshardham complex
was ready for its grand opening by the President of India
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Opposition
Leader Shri Lalkrishna Advani in the holy presence of Pramukh
At 5.00 pm, President Kalam was welcomed at the gates of Akshardham
by senior BAPS sadhus. After an initial distant glimpse of
the imposing monument, the President saw the boat ride exhibition
on India’s glorious culture. Thereafter he viewed the
giant screen presentation, Neelkanth Yatra, for five minutes.
At 5.30 pm Pramukh Swami Maharaj met President Dr Kalam, Prime
Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Opposition Leader Shri L.K. Advani
and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri B.L. Joshi at the reception
centre. Then Swamishri and the guests proceeded along the
main avenue towards Akshardham amidst a thunderous welcome
from the audience. The dignitaries took their seats in front
of the steps, facing the monument.
Then, the podium and the steps of Akshardham erupted in celebration
with a dancing troupe of BAPS children dressed in the Indian
tricolours rendering the welcome song, “Swagatam”.
The air was charged with a traditional flavour of honour and
welcome. After the national anthem, Viveksagar Swami spoke
briefly about the philosophical meaning and significance of
Akshardham. This was then followed by a brilliant exposition
on India’s glorious culture and its contribution to
the world through nine theme floats. The colourful and lively
floats showed how ancient India was the forerunner in agriculture,
democracy, science, mathematics, medicine, yoga, education
and spirituality. As each float passed by, the Swaminarayan
Akshardham monument was
appropriately illuminated in different colours.
Then, in his speech, Ishwarcharan Swami described that Akshardham
was the fulfilment of Yogiji Maharaj’s dream by Pramukh
Swami Maharaj. Thereafter, a video film showing the main features
of Swaminarayan Akshardham was screened. Swaminarayan Akshardham
is a symbol of sacrifice and the labour of love of thousands
of sadhus and BAPS volunteers – the fruition of 300
million man-hours of service.
To honour this spirit of Akshardham, over 700 BAPS children
and teenagers offered their obeisances through a novel, cultural
presentation, “Akshardham Vandate”, that symbolized
the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and space. For
every element the boys were dressed in appropriate costumes
and performed to the special music, song and light effects.
The mass participation of over 700 boys performing on the
podium and steps of the monument and colonnade was very moving
and scintillating. Earth was symbolized through the beating
of Indian drums, water was represented by the playing of flutes
and pouring of water from auspicious pots into Narayan Sarovar,
fire was shown through the ringing of bells, air was depicted
through the blowing of conch shells and waving of flags and
space was symbolised through the chanting of the Vedic mantra,
“Om dhyoho Shantihi”.
At the conclusion of the mesmeric performance Swamishri and
the guests climbed up the steps to the main doors of the monument.
There, at 6.15 pm the opening ceremony was performed by the
President, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Lieutenant
Governor in the sacred presence of Swamishri. Amidst the chanting
of Vedic mantras the President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh untied a golden thread
and pushed open the doors to enter the inner sanctum of the
Swaminarayan Akshardham Monument with Swamishri. In the morning
Swamishri had performed the murti-pratishtha rituals of all
the murtis. The dignitaries paid their obeisances to the 11-feet
high murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the Guru Parampara and
the deities of Sanatan Dharma. They were wonderstruck by the
sheer size, and the ornate carvings and divinity of the inner
sanctum. When they returned to the main podium of Akshardham,
BAPS children were performing a traditional dance on the song,
“Mangal Sahajanand Charanraj…” With Akshardham
bathed in colourful lights the evening ambience
became enchanting, divine and festive.
Mahant Swami honoured the presiding guests with garlands.
Thereafter Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh addressed the
assembly in Hindi, “I am very happy in participating
in the opening ceremony of Akshardham – a beautiful
mandir and cultural complex. In the days to come this wonderful
mandir and its complex will be counted as one of the principal
buildings of Delhi. “Our country unifies diversities
but it does not divide people. This is our history and it
was also the message of Swaminarayan. He preached regrdless
of caste and disapproved of thoughts that divided people.
“As I said earlier that this beautiful complex will
become unique among the buildings in Delhi. Hundreds of thousands
of people and devotees will come to see this from all corners
of our country. After being impressed by the attractive murtis
here and the peaceful, devotional atmosphere they will definitely
leave morally and mentally progressed.”
The Prime Minister was honoured with a shawl and presented
with a memento before departing from the assembly.
Thereafter an impressive traditional dance by children was
performed on the song, “Vande Bharatmataram Akshardham
The Opposition Leader, Shri Lalkrishna Advani, spoke gloriously
of Swamishri’s feat in creating Akshardham. He said,
“The Reader’s Digest has mentioned the London
Mandir as one of the wonders in their book 70 Wonders of the
Modern World. But if the people of Reader’s Digest had
seen the Akshardham in Gandhinagar then they would have definitely
mentioned it in their book. …If anyon e comes to see
this Akshardham that Pramukh Swami Maharaj has inaugurated
today then I have no doubt that they will say that it is The
Unique Wonder of the World. A distinct, matchless and amazing
creation in our world. It has been rightly said that the thousands
of craftsmen, sculptors and Swaminarayan devotees have given
300 million man-hours. The inspiration behind that is the
spirit of sacrifice which creates a spiritual revolution in
all the devotees. Wherever the Swaminarayan spirit has reached
it has made society free from addictions, imbued character
and inspired the spirit of sacrifice. The Swaminarayan Akshardham
here is a symbol of this sacrifice.
“On this occasion today I will say that Yogiji Maharaj,
an ideal sadhu of this Swaminarayan tradition, whose dream
it was to have Akshardham built on the banks of Yamuna has
been accomplished by Pramukh Swamiji. For this great work
done by him (Pramukh Swami Maharaj) I congratulate Swamiji
and offer my respects with infinite pranams at his feet.”
Thereafter the President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam addressed the
Power of Ignited Minds
“I feel I am in a different world. I am indeed delighted
to participate in the dedication assembly of Swaminarayan
Akshardham Cultural Complex at New Delhi in the presence of
His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj.
“Today, when I entered into the Akshardham Cultural
Complex, I get an answer for the question, how can you mix
spirituality and social service? How can you separate the
two? Those who wish to sincerely serve society must be spiritually
pure and only those who are spiritually pure can sincerely
serve society and serve the nation.
“But who is the creator? The creator we saw in the giant
theatre. A child wading through rivers, climbing over the
snowtipped Himalayas, slips and slips and then climbs and
climbs, walking across the nation and discovering cradles
of India’s civilization. Who is the child? Can you remember
the child? Oh!
That is the divine child, the child Swaminarayan. The spirit
of the divine child entered into Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj.
And we see the birth of the Akshardham, the civilizational
heritage of India in dynamic form in front of us.
“Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj has inspired thousands of people
across the country and abroad and brought together the best
of the minds for creating a beautiful cultural complex. It
has become a place of education, experience and enlightenment.
It creatively blends the traditional stone art and architecture,
Indian culture and civilization, ancient values and wisdom
and the best of modern media and technology. Multiple layers
of this complex express the strength of the mind, willpower
of the human being, indomitable spirit, flowering kindness,
fusion of scientific and medical talent, myriad colours of
varied cultures and ultimately the power of knowledge. In
essence, it is a dynamic complex with lively images.
“Now, Akshardham has happened at the dawn of 21st century
with the commitment and dedication of one million volunteers
(devotees). What has happened today at Akshardham inspires
me and gives me the confid ence that ‘We can do it’.
The realization of developed India is certainly possible before
2020 with the millions of ignited minds like you.
Oath for Our Nation’s Prosperity
“Now I would like to administer the oath, which I have
designed for this occasion with the blessings of His Holiness
Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj. Friends, are you ready to repeat
- When I see
Akshardham, an integrated complex of ancient Indian civilizational
heritage, I am inspired and feel proud to be an Indian. I
will preserve and nurture it.
- Journey through
Akshardham gives me the confidence that ‘I can do it,
I can do it’. I will apply this in all my actions towards
- I realize that
nation building is an integrated mission of two components
spiritual awakening and economic development. I will pursue
- With the foundation
of spiritual awakening gained from Akshardham, now my mission
will be to enrich the nation hrough commissioning of 1000
PURAs (Providing Urban Facilities in Rural Areas) in different
parts of the country within the next 5 years under the inspirational
leadership of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj.
- I will direct
all my efforts and knowledge to make India a knowledge society
with our ancient civilizational heritage, value system and
make India economically strong, prosperous, safe and a peaceful
nation within the next 10 years.
“My best wishes to all the members of Swaminarayan Akshardham
for success in their missions of promoting spirituality and
social service. My respects and reverence to Pramukh Swamiji
Maharaj and his team. May God bless you.”
Swamishri blessed the dedication assembly in Hindi, describing
the brief life and redemptory work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Then he added, “Yogiji Maharaj had wished that a mandir
be built on the banks of the Yamuna. The mandir was not accomplished
in his presence, but due to his blessings it has been realized
today. Yogiji Maharaj had compassion and love for all in his
heart. Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shastriji Maharaj have preached
that one should love all regardless of caste distinctions. When
one counters hate with hate then there is no peace. By offering
love hatred will be removed and there will be peace. Such was
the love of Yogiji Maharaj. Through the prophecy of Yogiji Maharaj
such a place has been made. Anyone who sees it experiences peace
and inspiration in his heart. Akshardham has been built because
it was Yogiji Maharaj’s wish. It was his sentiment that
through this Dham people be inspired and awakened with character,
peace, spirit of nationalism, family values and redemption in
“In building Akshardham there is no motive of rivalry
with others. The sentiments of a spiritual person are to wish
for the good of all, moksha, peace, progress of Bharat
and the whole world. There is no aspiration that our glory increases
or that it (Akshardham) is the greatest of all and that we are
above all. So there is no competitive feeling that we have done
something greater than someone else. Our feelings are that one
should not hate one another. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has instructed
that one should be resolute in one’s own faith and not
disrespect another’s faith, but show respect instead.
One should not have disrespect for another’s scriptures
and places of worship, but respect them. Akshardham has been
built with these noble sentiments and messages of Yogiji Maharaj.
But it has not been built for the
purpose that it becomes greater than all, that our glory increases
in the world. It has not been done to show to others as to what
we can do. It has been accomplished through the power and glory
of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the inspiration of Yogiji Maharaj
and Shastriji Maharaj. Also, our sadhus have contributed their
immense services in its creation. Our devotees, in India and
abroad, have offered their
assistance and sacrifice. We have also had the help and cooperation
from our wellwishers. It has been accomplished through service
and cooperation. Through the glory and power of Bhagwan Swaminarayan,
Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj such a great feat has been
accomplished. I pray to
God that whoever sees Akshardham is inspired, experiences peace
in his atma, in his worldly life and there be an increase in
mutual love. May there be peace in Bharat and the world. May
there be an increase in spiritual faith in all.”
At 8.25 pm Swamishri, dignitaries and thousands of devotees
performed arti, transforming the Swaminarayan Akshardham grounds
into a sea of flickering lights and devotion. The dedication
assembly concluded at 8.30 pm.
The opening ceremony of Swaminarayan Akshardham left lasting
impressions on all those who were present and on the viewers
who saw the live telecast on Aastha channel in 152 countries.
7 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 6) Monday, New Delhi
The evening assembly
was dedicated to appreciating BAPS volunteers who had offered
their voluntary services for Akshardham and the month long
celebrations. The senior sadhus, Dr Swami, Mahant Swami and
Ishwarcharan Swami, lauded the services of the volunteers.
Finally Swamishri blessed the assembly, “This wonderful
task has been accomplished through the grace of Bhagwan Swaminarayan,
Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj and
Yogiji Maharaj. And you all joined in to perform seva that
was unparalleled. This has been the crown of all services
that you have done so far because it was the seva of Akshardham
and the wish of Yogiji Maharaj to build a mandir. The seva
you have performed was through his command and wish. So, it
was a great seva that you have done. The seva will give you
peace and happiness and grant you the eternal service of Maharaj
and Swami. It was a seva that would dissolve the infinite
cycles of life and death.
“In return for the seva you have done if I offer hundreds
of thousands of prostrations it would not suffice, because
there is no way to repay it. Everyone has served selflessly
with body, mind, wealth and with feelings of glory. You have
served believing it to be your own duty. God is the all-doer.
We are unable to do anything. So by God’s grace engage
yourself in always remembering him…”
Swamishri deeply appreciated the seva of sadhus and volunteers.
Thereafter the senior sadhus garlanded Swamishri, the inspirer
and creator of Akshardham, and offered their respects and
appreciations on behalf of everyone. At Swamishri’s
instruction Ishwarcharan Swami garlanded Mahant Swami, Dr
Swami, Kothari Swami and Viveksagar Swami. Finally, Ishwarcharan
Swami garlanded Swamishri who in response blessed Ishwarcharan
Swami with profound joy and ovation.
In conclusion, Swamishri, senior sadhus and volunteers performed
arti of Thakorji. While performing arti Swamishri conveyed
that at the end he wished to garland Ishwarcharan Swami. After
the arti Swamishri garlanded Ishwarcharan Swami and embraced
him, showering his joy. Thereafter the volunteers were blessed
by samip darshan of Swamishri.
8 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 7) Tuesday, New Delhi
Shri Lahoti, Former Chief Justice of Supreme Courtof India,
opined, “You have
done a wonderful thing here. People will come to Delhi to
see Akshardham and not come to visit Akshardham because they
are in Delhi. I believe the messages of ahimsa, love and service
by Bhagwan Swaminarayan portrayed in the exhibition provide
solutions to our country’s problems. You have shown
our ancient disciplines and culture in a scientific modern
10 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 9) Thursday, New Delhi
In the evening Swamishri blessed Mukesh Ambani of Reliance
Industries. He had seen Akshardham with his mother, Kokilaben.
Mukesh Ambani opined, “I had not expected to see something
like this. Through your inspiration Akshardham has been built,
and it is wonderful. I think this is real India.”
Shri Gunvant Shah, Renowned writer and Thinker, Gujarat, addressed
gathering, “In this huge Akshardham complex there is
a fusion of beauty and endeavor. There is not one pillar in
Akshardham that is absent of art and sculpture. In this holy
place there is not a single hour spent where you do not find
the touch of the highest level of management. There isn’t
one corner that is bereft of the fragrance of human service.”
Shri Tarun Vijay, Editor of Panchajanya, voiced, “Akshardham
is a splendid symbol of Sanatan Vedic Dharma and India’s
revival as a world leader. By coming here one’s faith
in India’s golden future is strengthened. And hope is
raised that amid the fire of world terrorism and violence
there are Hindu Dharma’s great nectar-like forces of
peace, tolerance, love and brotherhood.”
12 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 11) Saturday, New
Delhi; Prabodhini Ekadashi
Today is remembered
and celebrated as the day on which Bhagwan Swaminarayan was
initiated and Swamishri was initiated as a parshad by Shastriji
At 7.00 pm a variety of vegetables and fruits were arranged
before Thakorji. Swamishri performed arti of Thakorji and
thereafter blessed the devotees. He took an aubergine, bottle
gourd (dudhi), moola (white radish), carrot and a bunch of
grapes and spoke of its benefits and gave them to devotees.
13 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 12) Sunday, New Delhi
Shivraj Patil, Home
Minister of India, saw the Akshardham complex. Thereafter
on melting Swamishri he said, “I felt very good here.
It is unique. The Prime Minister told me that he had not seen
such a place ever before.”
In the evening the renowned 84-year-old cartoonist Shri R.K.
Lakshman came for the second time to see Akshardham. He had
visited the monument and boat ride exhibition yesterday and
he had come today to see the giant screen film of Neelkanth
Yatra. He said, “I have gone around the world seeing
many things, but nothing like the experience I have had here.
Everything around here is unique. I criticise on all things,
but here there is nothing to criticise.” After meeting
Swamishri he said, “There was a surge of peace. He is
so touching. My heart opened up. It doesn’t happen often.”
15 November 2005 (V.S. 2062, Kartak sud 15) Tuesday, New Delhi;
At 7.30 pm Swamishri
arrived for Thakorji’s darshan. After arti, during the
bhajan “Gaame, gaame ghume santo…” sung
by sadhus, the senior sadhus: Mahant Swami, Dr Swami, Kothari
Swami and others, had a joli over their shoulders, a cloth
on their heads and were circling before the murti of Shastriji
Maharaj. This all reflected the difficult times during Shastriji
Maharaj’s period. Swamishri was lost in darshan and
prayer and thereafter joined in circling with the senior sadhus.
Then Swamishri proceeded in this fashion towards the assembly
hall for his morning puja. The divine darshan and profound
feelings of pride and sympathy were apparent on Swamishri’s
The Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court Shri Sabarwal met Swamishri after seeing
Akshardham complex. He opined, “What an inspiring abode
you have created for the country and the world. I felt very
good. You have inspired pride for our ancient history.”