Guru Purnima 24th Jul 2021

Ashadh Sud 15 (Punam) in the English calendar months of July-August is celebrated as Guru Purnima also known as Vyas Purnima.

‘Gu’ means darkness of ignorance (Agnan) and ‘Ru’ means that which dispells hence Guru is the dispeller of darkness of ignorance.

It was initiated by the disciples of  Krishna Dvaipayan Vyas better known as Bhagwan Veda Vyas; the son of Sage Parashara and grandson of Sage Vashishtha.

The disciples visited him ceremoniously on this day and offered their respects unto thier Guru. Ved Vyas divided the Veda into four parts (Rig, Sam, Yajur, Atharva), authored Bhramsutras, the Eighteen Purans,  and the great epic of Mahabharat. Veda Vyas is one of the seven immortal beings who still exists today in divine form.

Our revered Nand saints too mention the works of Sage Ved Vyas in their authored scriptures.

The Guru Gita, residing within the Bhram Sahita of Skanda Puran elaborates on the significance of the Guru, the first verse which is presented below and commonly recited witihn the Sanatan Dharma.

Verse:

Gurur-Brahmaa Gurur-Vissnnur-Gururdevo Maheshvarah | Gurur-saakshat Param-Brahma Tasmai Shree-Gurave Namah ||1||

Literal Meaning:

Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheswara (Shiva), The Guru is verily the Para-Brahman

(Supreme Personality of Godhead) – Salutations unto that Guru

Purpport:

The Guru creates sense of wisdom in the disciples hence is Bhrama; the Creator

He nurtures the principles of wisdom and righteousness hence is Vishnu; the Preserver

He destroys the ill-knowledge and ignorance within the disciple by propagation of wisdom and righteousness hence is Shiva; the Destroyer

He; the Lord who is the Guru of all is the Supreme Personality – Salutations unto that Guru

Lord Swaminarayan’s divine qualities as a disciple and a Guru are narrated by Shatanand Swami within the Sarvamangal Namavali.

 

 

Why need of a Guru?

The blind cannot lead the blind. Only and enlightened person can lead one to enlightenment through wisdom and education on righteousness and spirituality. The relationship between the disciple and spiritual master is the highest expression of friendship as it is based on unconditional divine love and wisdom.Therefore it is the loftiest and sacred of all relationships.

To achieve success in the divine search, as in every other aspect of our lives it is paramount to abide by the laws of the Supreme Lord. To be able to understand the secular knowledge available in an institution, one would have to learn from a professor who is educated. Similarly to understand spiritual transcendental truths it is necessary to have a spiritual teacher, or Guru – one who knows God.

Serving a Guru

In the twenty-seventh (27) Vachanamrut of Gadhda Antya Prakran, Lord Swaminaryan says, ‘If a devotee has an intense yearning to engage in the devotion of God and to associate with Saints then regardless of any habits that he may possess, he eradicates it and behaves according to the Saint’s will and command. Even if that habit is such that it has become bound to the soul, an intense desire to associate with the righteous (Satsang) will eradicate it.’

Guru Parampara

The lineage of the successors of the Supreme Guru, Lord Swaminaryan is presented within the Guru Parampara

‘Laxmi Nath samarambha, Naath Yamuna madhyama asmad-Acharya paryantam, vande Guru Paramparaam’

Laxminaath (NarNarayan) who begins the lineage, Naathmuni Acharya and Yamunacharya; who are central Gurus and all Gurus thereafter, I offer my humble obeisance to the lineage of Gurus of the Sampraday.

Chaturmaas 20th Jul 2021 – 15th Nov 2021

The Origins of Chaturmaas

King Bali was the grandson of Prahladji, and grew up with the guidance of his grandfather which gave him a good sense of righteousness and bhakti. When King Bali succeeded his grandfather, he became King of the Demons. Bali Raja’s kingdom expanded quickly in all directions, even up towards heavens and this made the Demi-gods (Devtas) very nervous. There was peace and prosperity in Bali Raja’s kingdom, with all the people living happily and without fear from any crime.

With guidance from his Guru (Sukracharya), Bali Raja decided to conduct an Ashwamedh Yagna. The fruits of this yagna included being able to banish Indra and take over his world (lok). Indra and the other demi-gods went to Lord Vishnu and it was at this time that He said that He would take care of everything. During this yagna Bali Raja had vowed that he would not refuse anything that anyone asked from him. It was at this time that Vaaman Bhagwan came to Bali Raja’s kingdom and asked for 3 steps of land from him. Even though his Guru told him not to agree, Bali Raja stuck by his vow and agreed to give the 3 steps of land promptly. Vaaman Bhagwan then increased His physical size to the extent that with the 1st and 2nd step He measured all the worlds and the sky. For the 3rd step Bali Raja offered himself and was banished to Paataal when Vaman Bhaghwan placed His foot on his head. Vaaman Bhagwan was impressed with Bali Raja’s unselfish devotion and unwavering dharma, and so granted him a boon where he was allowed to visit his kingdom once every year to make sure his subjects were still happy. Thus Bali Raja is one of a few who are chiranjivis (lives for eternity).

As Bali Raja was a true devotee of Vishnu, Vishnu Bhagwan brought him back from Paataal and promised to protect him until the next era. Here, Bali Raja would be crowned as Indra. Vishnu Bhaghwan disguised Himself as a doorman and protected Bali Raja from all dangers. As a result of this, Vishnu Bhagwan was not in Vaikunt and Laxmiji became restless. She took on the form of a Brahmin woman and claimed that her husband had gone away for a large length of time for work, and that she has no where to stay. Bali Raja took her in whole heartedly and protected her like she was his sister.

Finally, on the Puranima day of Shravan, the Brahmin woman tied a colourful string of cotton on the wrist of Bali Raja, praying for protection and happiness (this is how Raksha Bandan came to be). Bali Raja was touched by this and granted her a wish. She immediately looked at the guard and asked for Him, as that was her husband. It was at this point that both Vishnu Bhagwan and Laxmiji revealed their true identities. As Bali was a virtuous man, and a protective brother he requested that Lord Vishnu go back to Vaikunt with Laxmiji, but for the Lord to return as a guard for the 4 months of the year during the monsoon months (chatur maas).

Sadguru Manjukeshanand Swami has composed the above saga of King Mandhata in poetry format for the purpose of singing and remembering the Lord’s benedictions. Sadguru Premanand Swami too sings glories of this Ekadashi by composing Kirtans for DevShayani Ekadashi.

Hindola Utsav 25th Jul 2021 – 24th Aug 2021

The Hindola utsav is celebrated from Ashadh Vad 2 to Shravan Vadh 2. The origins of the divinity of Hindola go back to Vrindavan, 5000 years ago where the Gopis swayed Lord Krishna on a decorated swing. The Hindola utsav has a special status in the Hindu dharma due to this event because of the divine joy of rocking the almighty Lord for His pleasure. The back and forth motion is expressive of bliss, a flight away from the mundane worries of the world. The swinging motion creates elation and identification with spirituality. One experiences a tranquil state of mind because of the immersion into His lustrous murti swaying back and forth. The act of seating the idol upon the Hindola is in itself one of veneration.

During Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s time, once whilst in Vadtal, a decorative Hindolo was tied to a couple of mango trees and the devotees rocked the Bhagwan back and forth. Bhagwan became so pleased that He blessed the devotees by showing his twelve divine forms for this whole month.

During this month the Chal (mobile) murti of Bhagwan is seated upon the Hindola (decorated swing) and swayed back and forth to commemorate the event. Devotees sing hindola bhajans, and the whole mandir is charged with the extra vibrancy and energy of the extra special bhakti that surrounds this utsav. The Hindola is decorated differently everyday with great grandeur and splendour, using a variety of colours, shapes, form and material. Satsangis perform daily aarti of these richly decorated Hindolas for the blessing and merit of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan also often sat on a swing tied between two tamarind trees in Laxmivadi in Gadhada.

If you would like to donate for the Hindola Utsav, you can do that through our online option. Please click on the button below to donate.

Shraavan Maas – 9th Aug 2021 – 7th Sep 2021

Shravana is the holiest month of the year for Devotees. All devout followers of Sanatana Dharma around the world observe austerities in this month with great reverence and devotion. Each day of the month has its own significant value.

Somvaara – Monday – known as Shravan Somvar, is a special day for Lord Shiva.
Managalavaara – Tuesday – Gauri (Paravati) is worshipped in every home, especially by newly married women.
Buddhavaara – Wednesday – are dedicated to Lord Buddha (Buddhvara)
Guruvaara – Thursday – days for worshipping Spiritual Masters (Gurus)
Shukravaara – Friday – every home worships Lakshmi and Tulsi
Shanivaara – Saturday – are for Hanuman and Balaji
Ravivaara – Sunday – Sun God is worshipped

 

In the Shikshapatri Slokha 76, Lord Shree Swaminarayan states:-

All my disciples shall perform additional religious duties during the four months of monsoon (Chaturmaasa).  Those who are incapable shall perform them during the month of Shraavana

 

The four holy months of Chaturmaasa are special auspicious times for pleasing God by offering extra devotion.

It is known that any religious activity performed during these months is more fruitful than any other time. People observe various austerities (Niyams or Vratas) as per Shikshapatri Shloka 77 – 78.

However, out of these four months it is stated that the month of Shravana is most auspicious. Various divine festivities such as Hindola, Rakshabandhan and Janamashtmi are celebrated in this month.

Chaturo ki Chaturai – 24th Jul 2021