Sunday March 17, 2019
Today we celebrated Holi, the festival of colors, at the Fairbridge Hotel. In the spirit of Holi, the stage was decorated with iridescent saris and a spread of colors offered in front of Thakorji. Holi commemorates the day where Prahlada’s father, Hiranyakashipu, ordered his sister, Holika, to burn Prahlada alive. Holika was granted a boon that she could not be harmed by fire. Lord Vishnu, in the form of Narsimha, intervened to save Prahalada and it was Holika who ended up being burned alive. Additionally, Holi holds extra significance for the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It is Bhagatji Maharaj’s Pragatya Din. Bhagatji Maharaj was an extremely devout bhakt like Prahlada and endured much hardship to attain bhrama jñan.
The samaiyo commenced with an elaborate bhajan sandhya with 5 singers, 2 tablas, and 2 dhols. It was emceed by Suketubhai Vyas, who started off by sharing the importance of bhajans and kirtans. Back in Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s time, they would sing bhajans and kirtans daily to relax the mind and get into a positive state. After the bhajan Sahune Lagyo Yogiji no Rang, Suketubhai told us that Swamiji has only one rang, one color, which is Yogiji Maharaj. There are many colors of life that affect our own rang, especially other people’s natures. If we are able to keep our focus on Bhagwan and His Sant instead of everything else, we are able gain atmiyata in our life. As a result, we are able to live harmoniously with everyone.
After the bhajan sandhya, Sugneshbhai talked about how Prahlada was a great devotee of Vishnu, but temporarily became his enemy when he was wrongly influenced by his father’s former advisor, Shukracharya. Sugneshbhai related this prasang to one of Gunatitanand Swami’s vaato regarding the influence of the company we keep. He highlighted that Bhagatji Maharaj imbibed the qualities of an ideal bhakt. Sugneshbhai then introduced the first speaker, Vibubhai Kikani, who spoke on Bhagatji Maharaj’s life.
Vibhubhai began by talking about Bhagatji Maharaj’s desire for spiritual enlightenment. Bhagatji Maharaj came in contact with Gopalanand Swami and was immediately drawn to him. He soon came in contact with Gunatitanand Swami and told him that his happiness ebbs and flows. Gunatitanand Swami told him to come to Junagadh if he wanted to make this atma truly happy. After going to Junagadh, Gunatitanand Swami confided in him that he wanted to give brahma jñan to someone, but no one was ready to accept it. Bhagatji Maharaj replied, “I am ready to accept it.” Gunatitanand Swami told him that 300 people would become his enemy. Bhagatji Maharaj told him that it didn’t matter if 3,000 people became his enemy; he wanted to become happy.
The samaiyo then continued with a discourse by Swamiji. He started off by saying that even though Bhagwan will test a devotee to see where he is spiritually, He will never hurt the devotee and will provide them with everything they need. Swamiji then talked about how we should not get involved in other people’s business or speak or hear negative words about a bhakt or family member. When we engage in these activities, our good karma gets washed away. Sins committed against a bhakt or Sant are etched in iron. If we are able to follow the last paragraph of Pratham 1 in the Vachanamrut then we will be able to keep our focus on Bhagwan at all times.
The samaiyo finished with Shreyasbhai’s eulogy of Dr. Nealbhai, a youth who recently had passed away. Nealbhai came in contact with Swamiji during college in 2008 and, at the time, was aspiring to become a doctor. Swamiji gave his blessings and told Nealbhai that Bhagwan will take care of everything. Neabhai had two qualities that Swamiji wants to see in all youths: his drive to be the best, and his humility. Nealbhai was extremely competitive and wanted to be the best at whatever he did. He studied very hard and graduated college at the top of his class. He was admitted into medical school and became a doctor. Even though Nealbhai was extremely intelligent, he always gave the credit for his achievements to Swamiji.