The decorations and centrepieces at Mandirs around the world comprise of utensils that reflect the especially bright moonlight if this full moon evening. These elaborate designs are often set up outside in Mandir forecourts where they disperse the moonlight all around. Sharad Poonam reminds us to be alert to our internal enemies such as passion, lust, anger and greed, and so this occasion has a particular spiritual significance within the Swaminarayan Sampraday.
Such detrimental and evil traits must be reflected back whenever they confront us. Just as untainted silver perfectly reflects the lustre of the moon, we too must perfectly reflect of the Lord's wishes – these are the symbolisms of the silver decorations. Just as any blemishes on that silver cannot perfectly reflect the incident moonlight, our minds and hearts too cannot perfectly abide by the Lord's commands if they are blemished by those internal enemies. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa explains in His famous Sharad Poonam Ashirwads that this is the time to be truthful and honest with ourselves, evaluate how ‘blemished’ we are, and consider how me might increase our faithfulness to the Lord's will.
Such is the spiritual importance of Sharad Poonam, the last full moon before the Hindu New Year.
Disciples gathered in the Purushottam Mahal where a splendid display of silver utensils made for a throne on which Lord Shree Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa presided. A beautiful Sinhasan for the Lord was also created as a backdrop to the stage from where Swamibapa Orchestra were to perform. The evening started with the divine blessings of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa who explained the significance of Sharad Poonam, before everyone enjoyed raas - a communal dance in circumambulation of the Lord. As a rarity here in the UK, it was a perfectly clear night and the full moon shone magnificently over the Mandir forecourt as reminder of the purity and calmness of mind that are needed in order to truly please the Lord.
The evening concluded with everyone receiving doodh pawa (sweetened milk with flattened rice) – the traditional Prasad for Sharad Poonam celebrations around the world.