The Glory and Majesty of The Shikshapatri
Dear Friends, you know well about your birthday and you love to receive gifts on your birthdays. As we love to celebrate our birthday and love to receive birthday gifts, we too are required to present appropriate gifts to others on their birthday. Do present a birthday gift to others on their birthday.
As you know the fifth day of the bright half of Maha is the birthday of Shikshapatri. Prior to presenting a gift on this auspicious birthday let us have a look at the following points.
1.The flow and stream of time is not uniform and steady forever. Like a stream, time too changes its route and speed of flow. Society too changes along with the changes in time. Social ethos and norms change as time changes. All these changes greatly affect the aspirants and the devotees of God.
They too have to put in more efforts with reinforced divine powers to maintain the virtues of detachment, self-control, devotion, meditation, truth, compassion, etc.
2.To steadily provide the divine powers, God incarnates himself on Earth and blesses His truthful devotees with those divine powers. Quite prior to the new discoveries and new series of inventions in the world of comfort and entertainment, Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan incarnated on earth at Chhapaiya Dhaam on the auspicious ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra in V.S. 1837. At a tender age of eleven years He forsook worldly relations and walked away to the seclusions of the forests to perform penance for the universal welfare of mankind.
He conducted a pilgrimage of the holy shrines in India and graced the sacred land of Gujarat. While camping at Gadhada, Saurashtra He built an amazingly huge retinue of ascetics, celibates and released souls of Akshardham. He walked to every village, town and city with His retinue of saints and preached the ethical duties of axiomatic religion. It was a rousing call to the communities lost in the slumber of ignorance and blind faith. He taught them the first lesson of virtuous living. He brought back the backward classes in the main stream of society by awarding them with dignity and respect in society through the purity of their own acts. For the benediction and ultimate emancipation of mankind He founded a few means.
First among the means was the Swaminarayan Temple built in the Kalupur area of Ahmedabad. Shri Hari Himself installed the idols of Lord NarNarayandev in the temple with a warm hug and a hearty embrace. Then to continue and expand this chain and the means, eight other magnificent temples were built. All these temples were constructed under His careful planning. To maintain the growth, development and discipline in the Sampradaya, He founded a well knit management structure and appropriate spiritual leadership. To implement it properly He founded the spiritual chair of the Acharya by dividing the sampraday into two diocese, namely Shri NarnNarayandev Desh and Shri LaxminNarayandev Desh. He installed Acharya (supreme preceptor) on each of the spiritual chairs from His Dharmakul. He encouraged Paramhansa to write the scriptures for this axiomatic religion - Shri Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
The spiritual literature and scriptures were written in local languages, national language and the vedic language of sanskrit to fit the limitations of the aspirants, devotees and dependents. Shrimad Satsangi Jivan, Shrimad Satsangi Bhushan and Vachanamrit are the supreme among those luminous scriptures of the ultimate knowledge. .
3.Shri Hari then wrote the Shikshapatri to emancipate the souls. This scripture was written by Him on the auspicious fifth day of the bright half of Maha in V.S. 1882. Shikshapatri is most precious for us because it is a personal prasad from Shri Hari. It is a ladder installed between Earth and Akshardham. This is not an imagination or a dream but consists of hard facts and real truths. Right from the grass root level it reaches the simples of virtues, good habits and takes us most comfortably step-after-step to the complex and most intricate spiritual inquiries and metaphysical heights. Thus right from everyday social life He takes us to the virtues related to religion, ultimate knowledge, detachment and devotion by unveiling it fold after fold. All the tenets, axioms, rules and restrictions have been included in the teachings of the Shikshapatri. It is a code of conduct and human life.
It is not a mere theological collection but contains advice on every single aspect of a perfect human life - ethics, sociology, politics, health, hygiene, theology, metaphysics, etc. It is a beacon lighting up the path of everybody – people to president, poorest to wealthiest, illiterate to scholars and aspirants to enlightened ones. It is not within our capacity to describe the glory, greatness and majesty of the Shikshapatri. Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan himself had written: is My word form, it is My speech. .
4.Shikshapatri is most useful to everyone in every walk of life. It is a guide, advisor and counsellor. Its tenets should be taught to children, youth and adults to improve their lives. It preaches equality between sects and tolerance towards religious belief.
Friends now tell me what birthday gift you would like to give on the birthday of Shikshapatri. What will you present to the Shikshapatri? Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan writes: Read the Shikshapatri daily.
Make a firm resolution on this auspicious birthday to daily read the Shikshapatri. You shall be happy forever with the blessings of Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan.
-By Shastri Hari Swami