Once, when Swamiji was on His US vichran, a dignitary approached Swamiji and asked “How many temples do you want to make?” Swamiji replied “50000 temples in two years….” The man was surprised, rather amazed that “Swamiji wants to build 50000 temples within two years, how can it be possible….” After a while, Swamishree beamed and explained that He wants to turn thousands of devotee’s hearts into temples which become a pious place where God resides. Swamishree assured the gentleman that He did not plan to construct temples out of cement, bricks and marbles, instead, He envisages to cultivate conviction and practice of ‘spiritual affinity with one and all’ i.e Atmiyata in all the devotees so that their heart becomes the holy abode of the God Himself.
With such devout purpose and through His divine prowess and sublime selfless love, Swamiji established Atmiya Vidya Mandir, where education leads to sustain divinity in every individual; such a stage is obtainable within religious milieu and spiritual guidance. Hence on the auspicious day of DevDiwali, the 21st of November 2010, Swamishree inaugurated the newly constructed temple in the school premises.
The inauguration ceremony was separated in two stages. The first stage was the Suhradam Yagna Anushthan and the second was the installation of the murtis at the sinhasan in the temple.
2010 is a special year for the members of Atmiya Vidya Mandir family where devotees and volunteers began preparing for this event under the guidance of P.P. Prabodh Swamiji and P.P. Suhrad Swamiji. One of the distinct facets of this festival preparation was excellent co-ordination and gelling of all the members. A meticulous planning, execution and above all with a required feeling of duties and seva was perceptible among them.
For those living in and around the school campus, it was inspiring to watch the dedication with which preparations were taking place for this event. As the weeks ran into days there was a perceptible increase in the tempo of activity at Atmiya Vidya Mandir.
On Saturday, the 20th of November 2010, Suhradam Yagna Anushthan was conducted at the school cricket ground in front of the Kothar Bhavan. About 650 couples participated in this Yagna. Along with the main havan kund at the centre of the pandal, there were more than 212 havan kunds around which three couples along with their relatives performed the holy rituals for the Yagna. Swamishree arrived at the pandal and gave His darshan to all the devotees performing and witnessing the Yagna. Devotees from various parts of India and abroad were part of this historical event and thousands of them witnessed the same. Swamiji extended His amrut vani saying that the purifying offerings to the sacred fire in the Yagna not only lead to a fulfilling spiritual experience but also sterilizes the vices in the environment and makes it divine. He explained the manifold significance of Yagna which assures physical, spiritual and intellectual well being which finally leads to Atmiyata and Suhradbhav in the family and society. Swamishree blessed the Yagna mandap with His divine presence for some time and witnessed the proceedings of Yagna at the main havan kund.
In the evening, a Shobha Yatra took place in which the idols of Shri AksharPurushottam Maharaj, Shri RadhaKrishnadev, GuruHari Shastriji Maharaj, GuruHari Yogiji Maharaj and Pragat GuruHari Hariprasadswamiji Maharaj were brought into the temple through a spectacular procession. The "Shobha Yatra" started at 6.30 p.m with a well decorated chariot in which the murtis were placed.
The next day, 21st November 2010 proved to be a remarkable and a very memorable day for all the devotees as the murti pratishtha ceremony took place in the newly constructed temple in the premises of Atmiya Vidya Mandir. In the early morning of the auspicious day of DevDiwali, at 9.00 am, H.D.H. P.P Hariprasadswamiji Maharaj arrived in the Mandir where He was greeted by many devotees. Swamishree began walking up to the mandir dome and stepped up the stairs with His lotus feet.
The rituals of murti pratishtha were being performed under the main dome of the temple. A special seat had been prepared for Swamishree, and around Him sat some 1000 or more well-wishers and senior devotees. The several thousands of other guests and devotees attentively witnessed the proceedings live on giant video screens in the marquee. Swamishree Himself began to perform the prescribed rituals as Brahmins chanted the appropriate Vedic hymns and verses. The chanting and prayers reverberated around the dome, charging the atmosphere with divinity.
Finally, at 10.15 am, Swamishree was requested to enter the sanctum sanctorum and begin the final rituals and prayers that would perfectly consecrate the murtis. Whilst He Himself performed the pratishtha rituals of the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swamiji in the central sanctum, He requested Param Pujya Aksharvihari Swamiji to do the same for the murtis of GuruHari Shastriji Maharaj and GuruHari Yogiji Maharaj.
In the outer sanctums, the senior saints performed the rituals for the murtis of Shree Hanumanji and Lord Ganesha.
Around 10:30 am, Swamishree, the saints and other guests were given lighted wicks with which to perform the aarti – in front of the deities who were instilled with pran, now fully consecrated in all their royal divinity. The aarti announced to the world the completion of the Vedic ceremonies. The mandir now was no longer just a beautiful inert physical object, but became new, radiated with the infinite divinity and tranquility of God.
After the ceremonies, the curtain to the sanctum was closed and as everyone waited outside, the murtis were clothed in regal splendour and an annakut of hundreds of devotionally prepared dishes were placed artistically before them. This was the first offering to the Lord here!
Swamishree and the guests were then led to the sabha mandap outside the Kothar Bhavan at school cricket ground. The sabha mandap was sanctified with the presence of saints and all the sadhaks from Haridham. The soothing effect of bhajan-kirtan at the beginning of the sabha was perfect to maintain the decorum of such a pious event. Very soon Swamishree arrived and gave His darshan to the thousands of devotees who were eager to have His glimpse. Pujya Sugney Swamiji delivered the ceremonial discourse after the kirtan aradhana. Thereafter, Swamishree was greeted with offering of flowers as all the devotees witnessed it with folded hands. Thereafter dignitaries, officials and respectable personalities present in the function were welcomed. Thereafter, Swamishree blessed the highly dedicated devotees of Bharthana village and those of the Surat area who had toiled day and night to contribute in the functional activities of Atmiya Vidya Mandir and be instrumental in Swamishree’s mission of Atmiyata.
It was followed by a noteworthy speech of Sarthakbhai Jariwala, a student of 11th Science from Atmiya Vidya Mandir who is also the Headboy of the school. Sarthakbhai shared how over the years, they (students of AVM) have been instilled with the feeling of Atmiyata and righteousness. He also shared the fact how Swamiji takes care of them and how Swamiji takes interest in each and every minor detail of the school may it be food, clothes, studies or any other facilities in the school. Sarthakbhai very well explained Swamiji’s vision about the name of the school. As all the students are given this Sutra by Swamishree that they should invoke the God before and after studies which is a sure way to success, thus they study or attain Vidya remaining Atmiya with one another. And it is a befitting feature to make a temple in the school, hence, the name Atmiya Vidya Mandir.
After this heart touching speech of Sarthakbhai, Swamishree blessed the devotees through His paraavani. Swamishree expressed His wish that through Atmya Vidya Mandir He wants to gift the society such eligible individuals who would be devotional, emotionally balanced, intellectually competent and spiritually strong.
Swamishree further said that temple in the school is significant for the concentration of divine energies and vibrations which would keep the students devoid of any vices consequently enabling them to be in a right state of mind to absorb teaching. Thus they will be capable to acquire the qualities of true perception, right judgement, self-mastery, patience, altruism, and unselfishness.
Last but not the least was an amazing speech by Niramaybhai, a student of Grade 2 at Atmiya Vidya Mandir. The devotees had enchanting darshan of Swamiji’s smiling and delightful face expressions while He was listening to Niramaybhai’s speech. In his innocent and sweet voice Niramaybhai said that they are very fortunate that Swamiji started the school from Grade 1 so that right from such a young age they are inculcated with good values. He said that the temple in the school would help them make their heart itself a temple. After the sabha, the devotees moved to have prasad as lunch.
The weather gods were evidently spectator who reserved considerate and ideal conditions that prevailed throughout the festivities but as soon as the sabha was over, the Indradevta showered His grace through heavy downpour on this special event.
Thus, with the inauguration of the temple began a new era for Atmiya Vidya Mandir.
સ્વામીજી આ સ્કૂલ તમે બનાવી એ તમારી અમારા આત્મા પર કરુણા છે...
સ્વામીજી તમે અમને આત્મીયતા શીખવાડી એ તમારી અમારા આત્મા પર કરુણા છે...
સ્વામીજી તમે આ મંદિર બનાવ્યું અને ઠાકોરજી પધરાવ્યા એ તમારી અમારા આત્મા પર કરુણા છે...
તો આજ ના દિવસે તમારા અને સમગ્ર ગુણાતીત પુરુષો ના ચરણો માં પ્રાર્થના કરવી છે કે,
"મંદિર બનાવ્યું આપ બિરાજ્યા, કરવી શું આરાધના. હૃદય મંદિરે કાયમ બિરાજો, ભૂલકા ની છે પ્રાર્થના."
Written by: Seema Madam