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80th Birthday Celebration of Pramukh Swami  Maharaj


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The 5-day festival climaxed with Pramukh Swami Maharaj's 80th Birthday Celebration. The morning puja of Swamishri was performed amidst a devotionally-charged assembly of devotees. The bhajans by sadhus and an array of birthday cards and decorations added to the celebratory mood of the festival.

The evening program depicted the theme, 'Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara ...' which eloborated upon the Guru as being the creator (of an ethico-spiritual society), the sustainer (of virtues) and the destroyer (of vices and addictions).

The tempo of the festival was set rolling with a colorful procession with Swamishri seated on a decorated float. Several skits, video projections and narrations of extraordinary devotees, folk-dances, devotional bhajans and discourses enlightened the mammoth assembly. The evening celebration was set ablaze by a sea of divas - arti performed by 300,000 devotees.


Finally Swamishri blessed the assembly, saying:
"I offer my humble Jai Swaminarayan to the sadhus and to all the devotees who have come from far and wide, bearing discomforts on your way here.
"Bhagwan Swaminarayan has said, 'Without my wish even a dry leaf cannot be plucked.' However out of arrogance we feel that 'I have done it.' But we are incapable of doing anything.
"Once Maharaj left alone for Visnagar to transform the Suba (ruler) who persecuted His devotees. When Mulji Brahmachari told the Lord to turn back Maharaj questioned him, 'What do you believe me as?'
'The supreme Lord,' replied the Brahmachari.
'Tell me, who moves the leaves and the trees?' Maharaj asked.
'The wind,' the Brahmachari answered naively.
'But who moves the wind?' Maharaj questioned.
"At this question the Brahmachari realised and said, 'You!'
'Then in whose hand lies the life of the Suba!' Maharaj asked and then added, 'What can the Suba do to me?'
"So it is due to God's wish and power that everything happens. Because of man's own arrogance he experiences conflict and unrest. This is why Bhagwan Swaminarayan has emphasised one to pray, 'O God. Protect me from the maya of 'I-ness' and 'Mine-ness.' The root of all conflicts and misery is 'I' and 'Mine.' But who is 'I' in this body? We have falsely accepted that I belong to this caste and this is my status... but this is ignorance.
"If one realises the true knowledge of one's form then one would be redeemed from ignorance. Because King Parikshit was not welcomed in a Rishi's ashram, he placed a dead snake around the Rishi's neck. The Rishi's son cursed the King with death in seven days. The king then went to Shukdevji, who imparted to him the knowledge of atma. And Parikshit was redeemed by listening to the discourses of Shukdevji....
"A Gunatit Guru blesses us with the true knowledge of atma and makes us eternally happy."



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