The first weekend of July 2019 ushered in a historical moment with the Haridham Mandir
Mahotsav, which marked the murti pratishtha ceremony and grand opening of the Haridham
Mandir in New Jersey. Inspired by Guruhari Hariprasad Swamiji, this mandir is the first Haridham Mandir outside of India that was built from the ground up, and features majestic wood carvings, intricate designs, and is crowned with several shikhars. More than 5,000 devotees from across the world arrived in New Jersey to witness this historical moment and contributed to the celebration that will be engrained in their memories for a lifetime.
Taking place on the evening of July 5th, the first session of the Haridham Mandir Mahotsav was
a youth convention, which was geared towards spiritual development of youths and young
professionals. The session consisted of several speakers sharing their discourses in English
and Gujarati. What was especially appealing was a well-articulated English discourse given by
P. Anandsagar Swami, which was a treat for youngsters more conversant with the English
language. Two books, The Language of Haridham and Guardian of the Soul Part II, were also
launched with the blessings of Swamiji. The youths performed a magnificent cultural dance.
Along with several other saints and dignitaries who spoke, the session ended with Guruhari
Swamiji giving an enlightening discourse and blessing the youths.
The morning of July 6th was reserved specifically for the historical Yagna, a Mahapooja with the
idols that would be installed in Haridham Mandir. The idols were placed front and center while
senior saints conducted the Mahapooja. All the men wore a white chudidar-kurta with a cream koti and all the women were dressed in saris featuring the Haridham colors. More than a
hundred men and women also took initiation in the Mahapooja as Ambrish and Sahradai
devotees. The palpable excitement was further heightened with each ritual and tears of joy
streamed down the face of many devotees as this historical moment was the result of 36 years
of Guruhari Swamiji’s selfless service to devotees. Swamiji was present at the Yagna and
showered his blessings upon all devotees and encouraged everyone to live a life filled with
samp -suhradbhav – ekta.
The evening session on July 6th featured a cultural program—a fantastic combination of dance
and short plays. The entire performance was well-rehearsed and executed perfectly leaving the
audience in awe. The short plays were based on true historical interactions that devotees had
with Swamiji. These short emotional plays narrated the stories of real transformations in
individuals mainly due to Swamiji’s selfless love. Indeed, the entire cultural program perfectly
portrayed the role that Swamiji has played in the lives of thousands of devotees and how he has
served as a guiding force for families when in need of career, family, or spiritual support.
The last session, on the morning of July 7th, was reserved specifically for the
murti pratishtha ceremony. Thousands of devotees came early to witness this historical moment via a live video feed, while the senior saints were at the Haridham Mandir to perform the ceremony. Swamiji entered the Haridham Mandir hall, and along with Pujya Sahebji, Pujya Dinkar Uncle, and saints, performed the rituals that would forever transform carved stones into revered idols. After the murti pratishtha ceremony, Swamiji again came to give darshan and blessings to the devotees. Swamiji filled all devotees with a fighting spirit to defeat stubbornness, ego, and jealousy. As the Haridham Mandir Mahotsav came to a close, it marked a new beginning for the
Haridham Mandir, which will undoubtedly be a sanctuary of peace, happiness, and spiritual
enlightenment for countless individuals for years to come.