Hundreds of devotees of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal USA gathered at Liberty State Park to honor and remember the 5th spiritual heir of Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj (Acharya Swamishree Maharaj), on August 6.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj’s ashes were scattered in the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty, against the backdrop of the New York skyline and New Jersey’s Golden Coast. His predecessor, 6th heir to Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj (Acharya Swamiji Maharaj), spread the ashes.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj passed away on July 16, 2020. He was Acharya of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, a global spiritual cultural organization, for 41 years.
“The Divine Propagation of Sacred Ashes”
Since July 2020, the ashes of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj have spread around the world including India, Australia, UK and Niagara Falls in Canada. The Hudson River between New York and New Jersey is the last Asthi Suman Visarjan, or divine spreading of holy ashes, location for Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band USA, the only Native American pipe band in North America, began the event at Liberty State Park’s Flag Plaza. A procession took place from Flag Plaza to the Liberation Monument, where a ceremonial wreath was laid.
After Flag Plaza, the procession continued towards the waterfront. There, religious ceremonies were held to honor the ashes of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
Representatives of Governor Phil Murphy, Representative Bill Pascrell of the 9th Congressional District, and Liberty State Park leaders were present. A yacht was chartered on the Hudson River to allow Acharya Swamiji Maharaj to immerse the ashes of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
The pipe band played many memorial songs as the yacht cruised along the Hudson River. The ashes were immersed in the Hudson River and a white dove was released to signify peace and love.
It was the final leg of Acharya Swamiji Maharaj’s first North American visit as the new leader of the faith.
The 6th heir visits North America
Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan – North America welcomed Acharya Swamiji Maharaj to the United States in June for his inaugural visit to the country and to Canada since becoming world leader. He was accompanied by a team of sixteen prominent monks known as Sants, as they embarked on a seven-week religious tour of North America, visiting all chapters of Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal USA, an organization non-profit religious organization located throughout North America. .
Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal-New Jersey is a registered non-profit organization established in 1970, which is a branch of the worldwide organization Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. The Secaucus Temple serves as the organization’s North American headquarters and was built in 1998 and opened in 2001. More than 200 cultural temples exist in the United States, Canada, and around the world.
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band USA hosted Acharya Swamiji Maharaj at Newark Liberty International Airport, Terminal B on June 21. In partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a grand Welcome Swagat Sabha was held at the Newark Airport Welcome Center.
Dignitaries and devotees from across North America traveled to Newark Airport to welcome Acharya Swamiji Maharaj. Several police officers and members of Newark Airport management welcomed Acharya Swamiji Maharaj with garlands of fresh flowers.
Before becoming a world leader, from 2004 to 2019, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj spent every summer in North America and traveled to nearly fifty states, spreading the Swaminarayan faith and core values of religious devotion, knowledge, peace, unity and service to humanity. . He follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, to spread the Swaminarayan faith outside India.
Since his appointment in 2020, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj, from Maninagar, Gujarat, India, has carried out religious missions in Australia, Kenya, the United Kingdom and throughout India. Its aim is to bring people together safely, as restrictions begin to ease for COVID-19, and to remind them of the importance of faith and unity.
Formal welcome to Secaucus
An official welcoming ceremony was held on June 22 at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Secaucus. Despite the forecast of rain all day, a break in the weather allowed the outdoor welcome parade to go ahead. Hundreds of devotees from across North America arrived at the Secaucus Temple to welcome Acharya Swamiji Maharaj, as he sat on an intricately handcrafted chariot; custom-made in the USA by Mandir volunteers, as worshipers sang and danced to welcome him.
Mayor Michael Gonnelli welcomed Acharya Swamiji Maharaj to officially welcome him to Secaucus, and the Indo-American youth from the Secaucus Temple surprised everyone with a welcome dance as Acharya Swamiji Maharaj entered the Mandir. Several young devotees under the age of 10, who are part of the Gujarati classes at the Secaucus Temple, sang kirtans in Gujarati to welcome Acharya Swamiji Maharaj, who continually promotes the importance for young people born in the United States to learn their mother tongue, Gujarati.
Acharya Swamiji Maharaj then left New Jersey to begin his tour. He opened a new traditional Shikhar Bandh Hindu temple in Ocala, Florida, July 7-9, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony for a new temple in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He also visited chapters in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, California, Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut and Canada.
Acharya Swamiji Maharaj wrapped up his inaugural North American tour in August in New Jersey. Disciples from across the United States and Canada gathered on August 6 for the memorial devotional ceremony and scattering of ashes in honor of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Acharya Swamiji Maharaj celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Secaucus Temple before finally leaving the US for the UK on August 10.
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