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His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj's 83rd birthday celebration was festively held in Kolkata from 7.00 a.m. to 12 noon. The celebration commenced with Swamishri performing his daily puja at 7.00 a.m. The main stage had a beautiful backdrop of the Konark mandir made of jute and bamboo. The singing of bhajans by sadhus in praise of Swamishri during his puja set the devotional tempo of the celebration. Thereafter, the celebration assembly commenced. It was themed on the glory of a God-communion Sadhu sung by the Hindu scriptures, namely, Upanishads, Ramayan, Gita, Bhagvat and Vachanamrut.

Pujya Viveksagar Swami spoke about Swamishri's mammoth efforts in developing Satsang in India and abroad. Then, mantras from the Upanishads were presented, extolling the glory of the Gunatit Sadhu who lives in the atmic state, above all worldly joy and pain. Pujya Atmatrupt Swami narrated incidents from Swamishri's life that show his state of atma realization and communion with God.

A brief enactment from the Ramayan was accompanied by singing of chopais explaining that a true Sadhu endeavors for the good of others and that he is a celibate.
A drama followed, showing how Swamishri was engrossed in unravelling the students' reservation agitation in Amdavad to establish amity.

Thereafter, Pujya Vivekpriya Swami narrated incidents reflecting Swamishri's service for the good of others. Pujya Anandswarup Swami cited examples about Swamishri's celibacy.

The message of spiritual stability was imparted through the enactment of a dialogue from the Bhagvad Gita where Shri Krishna explains the qualities of one who is sthit pragna to Arjun. Swamishri's arrival was welcomed with a colorful traditional dance native to the states of Bengal, Orissa and Assam. Thereafter Pujya Aksharvatsal Swami spoke about Swamishri's sthit pragnata.

After a presentation of sloks on bhakti from the Shrimad Bhagvat, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami elaborated upon Swamishri's virtue of bhakti towards Thakorji. Thereafter, an interesting drama showed Swamishri's devotion to Thakorji prior to his bypass operation.

The glory of an ideal Sadhu as explained by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the Vachanamrut was presented. Pujya Dr Swami explained the glory of Swamishri through his qualities of humility, compassion and socio-spiritual works. Pujya Mahant Swami offered a profound prayer to Swamishri.

Finally, the celebration was crowned by Swamishri's blessings. Swamishri first offered his shastang dandvat pranam to everyone and spoke about the doership of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. He also appreciated the effort and cooperation of sadhus and devotees.

In conclusion, senior sadhus and devotees honored Swamishri with a variety of garlands. The assembly concluded at 12.00 noon. The five-hour celebration charged the devotees with spiritual joy and enthusiasm.

More than 8,000 devotees attended the celebration that was relayed live by Astha Channel in 150 countries.

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© 2003, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith