On Friday 11th
April 2003, the birthday anniversaries of Bhagwan Swaminarayan
and Bhagwan Ram was celebrated at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
in Auckland. The mandir was decorated with special attention
to the shrine's of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ram.
On this auspicious day from
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon devotional songs on Shri Ram were
sung by devotees and a speech on "Maryada Purushottam
Ram" was delivered by the pujari Shri Shatrughnabhai.
At 12:00 noon arti was performed, in which over 100 devotees
Throughout the day, devotees
had the opportunity of darshan. Some 500 people visited
the mandir throughout the day. In the evening, between 8:00
p.m. to 10:00 p.m. special assembly was organized to celebrate
the birthday of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. It included kirtan
bhakti and speeches about Bhagwan Swaminarayan's glorious
life. At 10:10 p.m., the birthday clebration arti of Bhagwan
Swaminarayan was performed. Every devotee personally had
the opportunity to rock the decorated cradle (parna) of
Thakorji. To mark this auspicious occasion, 15 devotees
had fasted without water (nirjala upvaas).
The climax of the utsav was the
grand play performed by the Kishore Mandal on how the British
Governor Sir John Malcolm was impressed by the social reforms
carried out by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Kishore Mandal and Bal
Mandal also delivered discourses on the life of Shri Ram,
sang devotional songs and carried out a Pothi Yatra of the
Shikshapatri in traditional dresses. Around 600 people had
attended the celebration. This was followed by arti and mahaprasad.
The following Sunday, on 13th April 2003, Shri Hari-jayanti,
Ramnavmi samaiyo was held in the weekly satsang assembly.
The stage was beautifully decorated with a large replica
of the Shikshapatri with shlok No.116 " Nijatmanam
.." The stage decoration also displayed
a beautiful dark sky full of stars and clouds with the murti
of Ghanshyam Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The whole
program was carried out by kishores (teenagers) and balaks
(kids) of BAPS NZ Inc. At the end, a speech on the "Living
model of Shikshapatri - Pramukh Swami Maharaj" was
delivered by Shri Shatrughnabhai.