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Shastriji Maharaj's Birthday Celebration and Murti-pratishtha Mahotsav
Mahelav, Gujarat

21 Jan, 99

The day began with a Vedic Yagna in the morning, a colorful procession of the Murtis in the afternoon, a mini-assembly with the devotees of Tithal and a grand stage presentation on the life and work of Shastriji Maharaj - 'Yagnapurush Sukhkari'.
A Vedic Yagna
The morning commenced with a Yagna, a ritual that forms a part of the Murti-pratishtha ceremony, on the precincts adjacent to the new mandir. More than 350 couples participated in the Yagna. Swamishri worshipped the murtis of Akshar Purushottam, Harikrishna Maharaj, Laxmi Narayan, Shastriji Maharaj, the disciplic succession of Gurus, Hanumanji and Ganpatiji. He also offered prayers for world peace.
A Grand, Colorful Procession
A grand traditional procession of three beautifully decorated floats, camel carts, bullock carts and 300 sadhus, 1000 children, youths and devotees proceeded from the nearby village of Bandhni to Mahelav at 3.00 pm. The enthusiasm and colour was evident from the spirited singing of bhajans by sadhus and youths. A display of acrobatics by a team of expert youths attracted the attention of all. And several members of the Bal Mandal, dressed in colourful clothes, danced and chorused the Swaminarayan dhun. The women too donned in their finest saris filled the afternoon air with the auspicious singing of bhajans. It was a sight of devotion and spiritual enthusiasm. In its final part, the 1 km long procession entered and weaved through the lanes of Mahelav village before it concluded 2 hours later outside the newly built Swaminarayan Mandir.
Yagnapurush Sukhakari
Since 6.00 pm devotees and well wishers had started taking their seats in the 30,000 capacity mammoth assembly hall. The evening was to see a spectacular 3 hour dramatic and musical presentation on the life and work of Shastriji Maharaj. A month long energetic preparation by a cast of 150 children and youths from Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Kheda district and Amdavad had finally reached its culmination.
The programme began at 8.15 pm in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. More than 30,000 devotees had arrived for the programme. The blending of prominent incidents from Shastriji Maharaj's childhood, his initiation into sainthood and his subsequent journey of trials and hardships in establishing the BAPS was exquisite. An impressive combination of video and slide presentations, dialogues and swift musical performances riveted the audience. Swamishri was touched and extremely pleased by the performance and finally gave brief blessings by praising the performers.

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith