Religious tourism: Maninagar Shree leader’s ashes laid in Lake Victoria

What you need to know:

  • Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan is the worldwide centre for spiritual, cultural and social welfare, according to swaminarayangadi.com. 

Hundreds of believers of the Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sanstha from across the world recently gathered Munyonyo to witness the immersion of the Ashes of their former head in Lake Victoria.

As per the Hindu rituals, ashes are to be immersed in a lake or river that touches the ocean.

Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan is the worldwide centre for spiritual, cultural and social welfare, according to swaminarayangadi.com. 

It adds: “Lord Swaminarayan established the Swaminarayan Faith and inspired thousands of people from all creeds and classes to become devout disciples. By manifesting as Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, Lord Swaminarayan elucidated His magnificent philosophy. These tenets form the foundations of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s teachings have been kept alive through His divine heritage of spiritual successors, starting from Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa, whom the Lord Himself established as His spiritual heir and leader of His divine Faith. In this heritage then came Shree Nirgundasji Swamibapa, Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa; and in 1979, Adya Acharya Pravar Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa gave responsibility of the Faith to, Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj. His spiritual heir is Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj who currently personifies the divine, spiritual heritage of supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan. These are the Acharyas, the sovereigns of Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s divine office, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, which is the eternal throne upon which the forever presides in His celestial abode, Akshardham.”

Up the sea

Followers say that the immersion of the ashes of His Holiness Vedratna Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj in the Lake Victoria would effectively mean that the water travels up the River Nile which then joins the Mediterranean Sea.

Lake Victoria in Uganda becomes one of the places where the ashes were immersed as a symbol to show that the deceased Holy leader also had followers here.

Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj carried out the immersion of the ashes in Lake Victoria. PHOTOS | GABRIEL BUULE

Other areas where His ashes were laid include The River Ganges in India, The Hudson River in New York - USA, The Niagra River at Niagra Falls - Canada, The River Thames in London - UK, Lake Windermere at Lake District - UK, The Swan River in Perth -Australia and The Indian Ocean, Mombasa-Kenya.

The head of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sanstha, Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj carried out the Ashti Suman (Laying the ashes) of the late Vedaratna Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj in Lake Victoria as part of His ongoing vicharan (tour) to East Africa.

It sided with the 12th anniversary of Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Kawempe, Kampala.

The Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Kawempe, Kampala was opened by His Holiness Vedratna Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj on December 16, 2010. The 12th Anniversary of the temple, celebrations and prayers were held amid disciples from India, Kenya and UK who joined the disciples of Uganda in celebrating the occasion.

Gopal Patel, a member of the religion explains that the laying of ashes in all these venues is to allow disciples living in those countries to get a chance of being present in the ashes laying ceremonial events and that all these venues where his ashes were laid had also been visited by His Holiness Vedratna Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj on many occasions.

While in Uganda, Acharya Swamiji Maharaj performed various scripture recitals, padharamani to devotees’ homes, offices, factories, quarries and blessed them with abundant spiritual knowledge. He also blessed devotees with His Divine blessings before visiting Murchison Falls along River Nile.

He had a cruise along River Nile together with sants and devotees and blessed the animals living in and around the Nile waters– Hippos, crocodiles, fish, birds, monkeys and many more.

Acharya Swamiji Maharaj visited the Entebbe Zoo – Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, where He blessed the animals at the zoo and gave a handsome donation of Shs10 million and water tanks to help in wildlife conservation.

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