Intro to Satsang - Temples and Moortis

  • LORD SWAMINARAYAN'S TEMPLES
  • AKSHAR PURUSHOTTAM TEMPLES
  • GUNATIT SAMAJ TEMPLES

  • LORD SWAMINARAYAN'S TEMPLES

    "God personally enters [the eight types of] moortis and resides within them. Devotees of God who worship those moortis should maintain the same respect for them as they do for the manifest form of God. In the same way, God also resides in the heart of the saint." - Vachanamrut Gadhada First 68

    TEMPLES

    1. AHMEDABAD (Kalupur)
    - Nara-Narayan Dev on Fagun sud 3, 1878 VS (February 24, 1822).
    - Mahant Sarvagnanand Swami.
    - Temple by Brahmanand Swami and Anandanand Swami.
    - Collector John Andrews Dunlop donated the land to build the first temple.
    - His assistant, A.K. Heron, had first met Swaminarayan Bhagwan during the grand yagna in Dabhan. In 1817, the Peshwas handed Ahmedabad to the British. That year, when Mr. Heron was in the Badshah gardens of Ahmedabad, a wild tiger sprung on his elephant. At that time, Swaminarayan Bhagwan appeared in a divine form and rescued him (ref. Shri Harini Adbhut Vaartaao by Sadguru Adbhutanand Swami). Mr. Dunlop and Mr. Heron thus accorded a grand welcome for Swaminarayan Bhagwan to Ahmedabad. Prior to that, Swaminarayan Bhagwan had not entered Ahmedabad for 11 years because the Peshwa-appointed Suba was against Swaminarayan Bhagwan.
    - Acharya line of Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj administrates northern satsanga from here.

    2. MULI
    - Radha-Krishna Dev on Maha sud 5, 1879 VS.
    - Temple by Brahmanand Swami (who later stayed here).
    - Land donated by King Rambhai of Muli.

    3. BHUJ
    - Nara-Narayan Dev on Vaishakh sud 5, 1879 VS (May 15, 1823).
    - Temple by mahant Vaishnavanand Swami.
    - Requested by Sundarji Suthar, Gangaram Mal, and devotees.
    - Much of the original temple was destroyed by the earthquake on January 26, 2001, but the moortis remained intact. The moortis were installed in a grand new mandir on May 2010.

    4. VADTAL
    - Lakshmi-Narayan Dev on Kartik sud 12, 1881 VS (November 3, 1824).
    - The moortis of Lakshmi-Narayan were the ones that Amichand Sheth's father had buried underground in their home in Vadodara, as revealed by Neelkanth Varni.
    - The moorti of HariKrishna Maharaj was made to Lord Swaminarayan's person, and was enshrined by Lord Swaminarayan Himself.
    - Mahant Aksharanand Swami.
    - Temple by Brahmanand Swami.
    - Requested by Joban Pagi (on whose land the temple was built), Kuberbhai Patel, Vasan Suthar, Narayangiri Gosai, and devotees.
    - Acharya line of Raghuvirji Maharaj administrates southern satsanga from here.
    - Acharya Raghuvirji Maharaj installed the moorti of Ranchhodrai in 1886 VS.
    - Lord Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri from the Hari Mandap.

    5. JETALPUR
    - Revati-Baladevji Dev on Fagun vad 8, 1882 VS.
    - Temple by Anandanand Swami.

    6. DHOLERA
    - Madan-Mohanji Dev on Vaishakh sud 13, 1882 VS (May 19, 1826).
    - Temple by Nishkulanand Swami (who later stayed here), mahant Adbhutanand Swami, and saints.
    - Land donated by Poojajibhai Darbar.

    7. DHOLKA
    - Radhaji-Muralimanohar Dev on Vaishakh vad 5, 1883 VS.
    - Temple by Purnaanand Swami and Mahaanubhavanand Swami.
    - Land donated by Revashankar Vyas.

    8. JUNAGADH
    - Ranchhodrai Dev and Trikamrai Dev on Vaishakh vad 2, 1884 VS (May 1, 1828).
    - Mahant A.M.A.M. Gunatitanand Swami continuously served devotees for 40 years, 4 months, and 4 days from Junagadh.
    - Given in Purushottam Prakash, chapter 32, Lord Swaminarayan instructed everyone to visit the Junagadh temple for one month every year: "Valee santane aapee aagnyaa re, rahevu nahi ahee aavyaa vinaa re; varso varasa eka maasa re, karavo aa [Junagadh] mandiramaa nivaasa re".
    - Temple by Brahmanand Swami.
    - Requested by Jinabhai of Panchala. Land gifted by Jinabhai and his nephew, Surajsinh (known as Dadabhai).

    9. GADHADA (GADHPUR)
    - Radhaji-Gopinathji Dev on Aso sud 12, 1885 VS (October 20, 1828).
    - Moorti of Gopinathji Dev was originally made to Lord Swaminarayan's person (by Narayanji Mistry).
    - Temple by Lord Swaminarayan and mahant Viraktanand Swami.
    - Requested by Dada Khachar, Jivuba, and Laduba.
    - A poor devotee named Dubli Bhatt donated his small life savings for the temple.
    - Built in the darbar complex in place of the south facing orda.
    - Ebhal Khachar had gotten the neem tree under which Lord Swaminarayan sat from Lakha Patel of Umej. The original neem tree was however uprooted due to gale-force winds on June 19, 1996. Another neem tree was planted in its place.
    - Lakshmi-Vadi is the deri (memorial place) of Lord Swaminarayan.

    MandiraLeftCenterRight
    AhmedabadRadha-Krishna (east)Nara-NarayanHarikrishna Maharaj and Dharmadev and Bhaktimata (west)
    MuliRanchhodrai and TrikamraiHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-KrishnaDharmadev and Bhaktimata
    BhujHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-Krishna (east)Harikrishna Maharaj and Nara-NarayanGhanshyam Maharaj (west)
    VadtalHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-KrishnaRanchhodrai and Lakshmi-NarayanVasudevnarayan and Dharmadev and Bhaktimata
    JetalpurRadha-KrishnaHarikrishna Maharaj and Revati-BaladevjiSukhshayaa (west)
    DholeraGhanshyam Maharaj (east), Parvati-Shankar (further east)Harikrishna Maharaj and Radhikaji-MadanmohanjiSukhshayaa (west)
    DholkaGhanshyam Maharaj (east)Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha-MuralimanoharNeelkanth Mahadev and Umaji (west)
    JunagadhHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-Raman (east)Ranchhodrai and TrikamraiSiddhesvar Mahadev and Parvati (west)
    GadhadaSuryanarayan, Krishna, Baldev, and Revatiji (east)Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha-GopinathVasudevnarayan and Dharmadev and Bhaktimata (west)

    On the left and right sides of the temple hall of all Swaminarayan temples are moortis of Ganesh and Hanuman as well.

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    AKSHAR PURUSHOTTAM TEMPLES

    Shastriji Maharaj initiated the installation of the moorti of Purna-Purushottam Sahajanand Swami along with Anaadi Mool Akshar Moorti Gunatitanand Swami in the center of temples.

    1. BOCHASAN - June 5, 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj
    - Lord Swaminarayan visited this town 32 times, first as Neelkanth Varni in 1799 at the local Ramji temple.
    - A villager by the name of Kashidas Mota and his mother Naniba asked Neelkanth Varni to stay in Bochasan - Lord Swaminarayan promised He would, with His Devotee. Prior to the installation of Lakshmi-Narayan in Vadtal, Lord Swaminarayan asked saints to go to Vadodara to get the moortis. Due to rain, the cart got stuck near Bochasan, so Kashidas and devotees helped bring the moortis to his home. Kashidas and Naniba served the moortis for some time. When Lord Swaminarayan came to get the moortis, Kashidas asked for a local temple, and Lord Swaminarayan gave a similar promise.
    - The moortis of the two Acharyas are the moortis that Neelkanth Varni sanctified during His stay at the Ramji temple.
    - Hira Mukhi, a descendent of Kashidas, was a dacoit but transformed with Shastriji Maharaj's blessings during the temple's construction.

    2. SARANGPUR - May 8, 1916 by Shastriji Maharaj
    - Lord Swaminarayan wanted to build the temple in Gadhada on top of the hill on the bank of the Ghela River. Dada Khachar's uncle, Jiva Khachar, however did not give up his part of the land for the construction. Thus Lord Swaminarayan rode out to Sarangpur, where Jiva Khachar of Sarangpur (another devotee of the same name) requested Lord Swaminarayan to build a temple. But Dada Khachar and his sisters came there and beseeched Lord Swaminarayan that Gadhada is "Yours," and that a temple be built on the darbaar premises. Shastriji Maharaj fulfilled Lord Swaminarayan's promise to Jiva Khachar of Sarangpur. (Shastriji Maharaj later also fulfilled Lord Swaminarayan's wish of the temple location in Gadhada.)
    - Maharaja Dolatsinhji of Limbdi State donated the land. Jhaverbhai Diwan of Limbdi introduced the Maharaja to Shastriji Maharaj.
    - Shastriji Maharaj personally saw the temple's perfect construction. An example was with the stairs leading up to the main temple: while people were concerned of diminishing funds, Shastriji Maharaj repeatedly ordered the stairs reshaped to perfection. It is currently the largest Swaminarayan temple.
    - Shastriji Maharaj passed away here in 1951. Yogi Bapa and Kakaji made a memorial shrine in the location, consecrated on March 12, 1952.

    3. GONDAL - May 24, 1934 by Shastriji Maharaj
    - Lord Swaminarayan often visited the area, bathing in the Gondali River.
    - In 1867, King Abhaysinh Darbar of Ganod constructed a small shrine at the place where Gunatitanand Swami was cremated (Swami's asthi was placed in a copper urn and burried in the ground), called Akshar Deri. Balmukund Swami of Junagadh consecrated Swaminarayan Bhagwan's charnarvind in the shrine.
    - Gunatitanand Swami came in Narayanji Maharaj of Virsad's dream and asked to have a temple built there. Narayanji told his disciples, including Haribhai Amin of Virsad, who asked King Bhagvatsinhji of Gondal for the farm land to construct the temple.
    - The king gave three conditions under which he would allow a temple to be built: (1) the temple should be tall enough that it can be seen from the main road and strong enough that it would remain standing forever, (2) the three-spired temple must be ready in three years, and (3) there should be the willingness to spend one million rupees on the project. He also asked that Gunatitanand Swami's memorial shrine remain intact.
    - Narayanji Maharaj and Haribhai Amin, who had bought the land for 25 thousand rupees from the king, donated the land to Shastriji Maharaj and asked him to build the temple.
    - During the temple's construction in 1933, when Yogi Bapa was bitten by a poisonous cobra, Shastriji Maharaj declined the doctor's medical treatment and instead displayed the power of the Swaminarayan mahaamantra (as given in Swami Ni Vato 1/154).
    - Shastriji Maharaj appointed Yogi Bapa as the mahant of the temple.
    - On February 3, 1952, Kakaji was given a 3-day samaadhi by Yogi Bapa in front of Ghanshyam Maharaj (which was sculpted according to Swaminarayan Bhagwan's measurements, under the guidance of Shastriji Maharaj in Jaipur).
    - After passing away in Bombay in 1971, Yogi Bapa's body was transported to Gondal, and his memorial shrine made adjacent to the temple.

    4. ATLADRA - July 12, 1945 by Shastriji Maharaj
    - Lord Swaminarayan visited this town (today a part of Vadodara) many times.
    - Mathurbhai Makanddas bought the land that was sanctified by Lord Swaminarayan (belonging to Mulu Methar and Krishna Mali), and gave it to Shastriji Maharaj.
    - Shastriji Maharaj's Suvarna Tula Mahotsav (85th Birthday Celebration) was celebrated here on Vasantpanchmi on February 3, 1949.
    - Yogi Bapa toiled day and night, visiting villages despite frail health, to celebrate Shastriji Maharaj's Centenary here in 1965.

    5. GADHADA - May 16, 1951 by Yogi Bapa
    - In 1947, India gained independence, and Govindsinh Chudasama was appointed as the Collector of Bhavnagar State. Along with Dada Khachar's successors, Govindsinh helped get the land to Shastriji Maharaj where Lord Swaminarayan originally envisioned the temple (on top of the hill).
    - Kakaji donated 51 thousand rupees for the temple and Shastriji Maharaj embraced him with chandan (sandalwood-paste).
    - On May 8, Shastriji Maharaj bathed and worshiped the moortis, and returned to Sarangpur. He passed away on May 10. As planned, Yogi Bapa continued with the installation ceremony on May 16.
    - Yogi Bapa's wished to make educated youths into saints. Yogi Bapa asked Kakaji to help in this cause. In 1961, in celebration of Yogi Bapa's 70th Birthday and during the temple's Kalash Vidhi, 51 educated youths were initiated into sainthood.

    6. AHMEDABAD (Shahibaug) - May 11, 1962 by Yogi Bapa
    - Lord Swaminarayan first visited the area near Lake Kankaria in 1799, bathed in the Sabarmati River, and walked through the fruit orchard (Shahibaug), where Fuldol was often celebrated with saints.
    - A small home in Amli Vali Pol, Ahmedabad had served as the headquarters.
    - Lord Swaminarayan came in Ashabhai's dream to purchase the land for an AksharPurushottam temple.

    7. BHADRA - April 23, 1969 by Yogi Bapa
    - Bhadra is the birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami and was graced by Lord Swaminarayan 26 times. God stayed at Vashram Suthar's home; visited the homes of devotees like Bholanath Jani (revealing Mulji as His Abode); and bathed in the Und River.
    - The old Swaminarayan Mandir and Smruti Chowk were the homes of Vashram Suthar and his eldest sister, Harbai.
    - Shastriji Maharaj was received at Bhadra by Mandan Bhagat (who was graced with samaadhi), Nanjibhai (who pulled his cart himself for Shastriji Maharaj), and devotees in 1936.
    - Krishnaji Ada's disciples, Jhaverchand Juthabhai and Sheth Hirjibhai Ratanji, procured the homes where Gunatitanand Swami was born at a public auction in 1941-43. (Dosabhai Bhanderi was a kanbi devote from Atmanand Swami's time. He and Swami's grandfather Vallabhram shared a residence. Unable to pay state taxes, his descendant, Rajabhai Bhavanbhai Bhanderi parted with the home.)
    - Shastriji Maharaj consecrated a memorial shrine with the footprints of Lord Swaminarayan over the birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami on October 20, 1943. In 1948, an embossed marble moorti of AksharPurushottam (which Shastriji Maharaj had earlier done aaratee to in Gondal) was placed in a small temple next to the memorial shrine.
    - Yogi Bapa's birthday was celebrated in Bhadra on June 3, 1959.
    - On May 19, 2010, Pramukh Swamiji moved the same Dham-Dhami-Mukta moorti that Yogi Bapa installed in the one-shikhar mandir to a grand five-shikhar mandir. The embossed moorti is also at the new temple.

    MandiraLeftLeftCenterRightRight
    BochasanHarikrishna Maharaj and Lakshmi-NarayanSmall Icharamji Maharaj, Akshar-Purushottam, Small Raghuvirji MaharajSukhshayaa
    SarangpurMulji Brahmchaari, Harikrishna Maharaj, and Radha-GopinathSukhshayaa / GuruparamparaaMukta-Akshar-PurushottamGhanshyam MaharajDharmakul (Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj, Raghuvirji Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Dharamadev, and Bhaktimata)
    GondalMukta-Akshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaaAkshar-PurushottamSukhshayaaGhanshyam Maharaj
    AtladraHarikrishna Maharaj and Lakshmi-NarayanMukta-Akshar-PurushottamSukhshayaa / Guruparamparaa
    GadhadaHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-GopinathMukta-Akshar-PurushottamSukhshayaa / Guruparamparaa
    AhmedabadHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-KrishnaGuruparamparaaMukta-Akshar-PurushottamSukhshayaa / Laalji MaharajGhanshyam Maharaj
    BhadraMukta-Akshar-Purushottam
    BAPS todayHarikrishna Maharaj and Radha-KrishnaGuruparamparaaAkshar-PurushottamSukhshayaaGhanshyam Maharaj

    Today, under the leadership of Pramukh Swamiji (whom Shastriji Maharaj appointed as the president in 1950), Mahant Swamiji, Doctor Swamiji, and saints, there are many AksharPurushottam temples throughout the world. The temples in Gandhinagar, London, Nairobi, Houston, Chicago, and Delhi are monumental examples of the work of the BAPS Organization (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha).

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    GUNATIT SAMAJ TEMPLES

    Swaminarayan Bhagwan had supported equal treatment and opportunities for women. Yogi Bapa saw this as an important step for the Swaminarayan AksharPurushottam movement as well. He thus asked Kakaji and Papaji to help establish a separate center where women could lead dedicated lives.

    Today, under the guidance of many brahmasvaroopa saints, there are over one thousand saints in the Gunatit Samaj, over half of which are dedicated women.

    1. TARDEV, Mumbai (Yogi Divine Society) - Kakaji
    - Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa stayed at Tardev many times. It was Kakaji's principal place of stay.
    - In a letter, Yogi Bapa addressed, "Tardev saakshaat Sonawala Building Akshardham-roopi takhat Sonawala" or "the center of Akshardham."
    - Yogi Bapa sent saints and devotees to Tardev to listen to Kakaji's discourses and have his association.
    - Kakaji registered Yogi Divine Society as a nonprofit organization in 1977.

    2. VIDYANAGAR (Gunatit Jyot) - Papaji
    - Yogi Bapa asked Kakaji and Papaji to help create an aashram where women can lead dedicated lives. Instead of Gondal, Yogi Bapa asked to build the temple on their plots in Vidyanagar that had been procured from Bhaikaka during the planning of Sardar Patel University.
    - Sonaba, who was dearly attached to Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa, became a role model for dedicated women. Taraben and Jyotiben (Sonaba's daughters) first wished to live a dedicated life. Soon, Shantaben (Ben), Hansadidi, Deviben, Jasuben, and others joined the movement.
    - After Kakaji helped prepare 51 young, educated saints in 1961, Yogi Bapa asked him and Papaji to help establish a separte center for 51 dedicated women. Yogi Bapa inaugurated the center in June 1965.
    - Elder sisters lead the women's wing with the guidance of Papaji. Today there are 450+ dedicated sisters in Gunatit Jyot.

    3. SOKHADA (Yogi Divine Society) - Hariprasad Swamiji
    - Saints that voiced support for Kakaji and Papaji in 1966 had to come to Sokhada. The rest of his life, Kakaji made sure that proper care and provisions were given to these saints.
    - Kakaji and Hariprasad Swamiji continued to work for many years so that a larger temple could be established. While collecting funds, Kakaji also sung the glory of Hariprasad Swamiji to devotees.
    - Haridham, today's grand temple and campus, was inaugurated in 1980.
    - The women's wing in Sokhada has the guidance of Premben, Sarveshvarben, and other divine elder sisters.
    - A temple in NJ, USA was inaugurated in 1996.
    - Under the guidance of Hariprasad Swamiji, and saints such as Kothari Swamiji, Prem Swamiji, Das Swamiji, Shastri Swamiji, and others, Yogi Divine Society is involved in many large-scale social projects throughout the world, including disaster relief work, anti-addiction campaigns, medical research and care, environmental health, youth-oriented initiatives, and establishment of educational institutions.

    4. SANKARDA (AksharPurushottam Satsang Kendra) - Aksharvihari Swamiji
    - Kakaji helped establish a temple in 1968 where saints could flourish under the guidance of Aksharvihari Swamiji.

    5. MOGRI (Anoopam Mission) - Jashbhai Saheb
    - Yogi Bapa asked Kakaji to regularly visit student devotees in Vidyanagar College. Yogi Bapa put Jashbhai's hand in Kakaji's and asked him to guide a youth movement.
    - Yogi Bapa had asked Jashbhai, Ashwinbhai, Shantibhai, and others to become saints. After having to leave the old temple in 1966, they continued to lead dedicated lives.
    - Kakaji asked Saheb and the youth group to stay in Vidyanagar, where there would be the support of Papaji. The brothers maintained vows of saintliness while still working in society.
    - Anoopam Mission was registered in 1976. Under Saheb's guidance, today it is a large self-sustaining organization with over 100 dedicated brothers, including in the United Kingdom (from 1978) and Pennsylvania, USA (from 1992).
    - A beautiful new temple was inaugurated in Allentown, PA in July, 2003.
    - Today, there are also many social welfare and educational works that are administered by Anoopam Mission.
    - The Manavadar branch is led by Haribhai Saheb.

    6. DELHI (Yogi Divine Society) - Mukundjivan Swamiji (Guruji)
    - Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa wished for the satsanga to spread to the north, where Lord Swaminarayan had taken birth. Kakaji visited Delhi and asked Guruji to lead the Delhi branch to fulfill this wish.
    - With the support of Malkani Saheb and devotees, a large AksharPurushottam temple was established in 1994.
    - AksharJyot is the Delhi women's wing, under the guidance of Anandididi.
    - Due to the efforts of Guruji and the devotees in Delhi, a stamp commemorating Kakaji's Sakshatkardin was released by the Indian Postal Department in March 2003.

    7. SAMADHIALA (AksharPurushottam Mandir) - Nirmal Swamiji
    - In 1985, Kakaji established land for a temple in the nearby village of Samadhiala, blessing Nirmal Swamiji, Madhavcharan Swamiji, and Gnyanswaroop Swamiji to continue the divine work of Lord Swaminarayan and Yogi Bapa.
    - A beautiful temple was inaugurated in 1997, and today there is a growing school there also.

    8. CHICAGO, USA (Yogi Divine Society) - Dinkar Uncle and Mahendra Bapu
    - Kakaji began visiting America from 1973. Kakaji returned in 1977 and 1979. In 1981, he enshrined the image of Lord Swaminarayan at the home of Dinkar Uncle in Waukegan, Illinois. Kakaji returned in 1983, 1984, and finally in 1985, when he enshrined the image of Gunatitanand Swami.
    - Kakaji gave blessings at the Waukegan temple in 1981 that any prayer done here together for 15 minutes will be answered.
    - Under Kakaji's guidance, Dinkar Uncle registered Yogi Divine Society, USA in 1983.
    - During his last visit in 1985, Kakaji gave the same blessings to Dinkar Uncle that Jaga Swami gave to Shastriji Maharaj: "Sankalp naa karo e tamaari khot, ane puraa naa kariye, e hamaari khot (~we will fulfill all your prayers)."
    - Kakaji brought Saheb on his first visit to America in 1973, and Hariprasad Swamiji on his last trip in 1985. Since then, there are flourishing centers throughout the USA.
    - Kakaji had blessed Mahendra Bapu to spread the message of Lord Swaminarayan and Yogi Bapa in the USA and abroad. He began Friday Meetings for the youth in 1989. They continue today at the Des Plaines temple (from January 2001).

    9. POWAI, Mumbai (International Spiritual Research Center) - Late Rameshbhai, Mahendra Bapu, Bharatbhai, Vashibhai, Rajubhai Bhatt, Rajubhai Thakkar, Arunbhai, Ashwinbhai, and Harakchandbhai
    - In 1978, Sharmaji donated the land where Yogi Bapa conducted a yagna.
    - In 1986, Kantikaka's memorial place was made here.
    - On February 3, 2003, a center which echoes Kakaji's life of universal spirituality was inaugurated. It also serves as a museum for Kakaji who wholly realized Lord Swaminarayan, the AksharPurshottam movement Kakaji led with Shastriji Maharaj and Yogi Bapa, and Kakaji's founding of the Gunatit Samaj.
    - Dedicated women also support satsang activities in Powai today.

    MandiraLeftLeftCenterRightRight
    YDS (Sokhada)Mukta-Akshar-PurushottamRadha-KrishnaAkshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaaGhanshyam Maharaj
    Anoopam Mission (Mogri, London, Allentown)GuruparamparaaMukta-Akshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaa
    YDS (Delhi)GuruparamparaaAkshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaa
    YDS (NJ)Radha-KrishnaAkshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaa
    ISRC (Powai)GuruparamparaaMukta-Akshar-PurushottamGuruparamparaa

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