BAPS Centenary Celebrations'
spectacular grand finale is slated for 13, 14, 15 and 17 December
2007 in Amdavad's Chandkheda suburb on the Sabarmati-Gandhinagar
According to information provided
in the press meet today, the BAPS Centenary will be celebrated
with a series of grand cultural and devotional programmes
meant to inspire moral, cultural, and spiritual values.
Organized under the inspiration
of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the festival
celebrates a hundred years of service, sacrifice, and spirituality.
In consonance with the Vedic teachings of Akshar and Purushottam
(i.e. Bhakta-Bhagwan tradition) revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan
(1781-1830CE), Shastriji Maharaj installed the murtis of Akshar
(Gunatitanand Swami) alongside that of Purushottam (Bhagwan
Swaminarayan) in Bochasan Mandir on 6 June 1907. From that
beginning, the organization came to be known as the Bochasanwasi
Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).
Over the grand four-day BAPS
Centenary Celebration, one will be able to experience the
struggles, service, values, memorable moments and contributions
of BAPS’s hundred-year journey through a variety of
media including dances, dramas, audio-visual presentations,
interviews, speeches, and more.
Now, with only a few days left before the commencement of
the BAPS Centenary Celebrations grand finale, if you happen
to pass by the 300-acre site in Chandkheda on the Sabarmati-Gandhinagar
highway you can't fail to notice the massive final preparations
underway. With great enthusiasm, more than 10,000 volunteers
and sadhus can be seen offering a variety of services.
Entry to the site can be obtained
through nine artistic entrance archways of which the three
central ones are 35 feet tall and the six side archways are
25 feet tall.
Upon entry, one can see a grand
stage with the ‘Akshar Deri’ (BAPS’s logo),
Diva Pillars, Mandir Pinnacles, and other symbols intricately
carved in its backdrop. The stage is 350 feet wide and 52
feet tall and includes eight different dance stages. This
marvellous stage has been created through the voluntary efforts
of BAPS sadhus and skilled volunteers.
Four-Day Festival Highlights
The four-day cultural programmes will be held on this spectacular
350-foot long stage, with over 4,000 children and youth performers
and in the august presence of BAPS guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj,
many sadhus and dignitaries and hundreds of thousands of spectators.
13 December 2007 will
witness the kick-off of the four-day festivities with a dazzling
inauguration ceremony coupled with the celebration of BAPS
Youth Day based on the theme "Inspiring Values".
A 45-min. programme of lively dances and enlightening commentary
will symbolically highlight six of the values that have shaped
BAPS and inspired millions through the last century, namely:
Siddhant (Theology), Sadhuta (Saintliness), Seva (Service),
Samarpan (Sacrifice), Samp (Unity), and Satpurush (God-Realised
Guru). Following this, one will hear inspiring incidents of
the youth that BAPS has developed over the past four decades
to serve as ideal members of society. More than 2,000 youngsters
will perform in this vibrant cultural programme with more
than 500 youths presenting a series of unique folk dances
using an array of spectacular props and costumes.
14 December 2007 will
witness the celebration of BAPS Women's Day centred on the
theme of "Empowering Women". It will present inspiring
messages of the spiritual, social and educational service
performed in approximately 6,000 BAPS women's forums worldwide.
More than 1,000 women from the ages of 5 to 75 will perform
a variety of cultural programmes including a grand parade
with inspiring devotional and family values; traditional prayers
by 100 young girls; a series of colourful folk dances by 900
young women highlighting the values of devotion, faith and
unity; interviews and skits focusing on women's achievements;
and inspiring video presentations and speeches presenting
women's contributions to society.
15 December 2007 will
witness BAPS Children's Day celebrations focused on the theme
of "Transforming Tomorrow". This day commemorates
the more than half-century of BAPS Children’s Activities
that have inspired children to elevate themselves and others
to create a more promising tomorrow. In addition to the regular
audience, more than 20,000 children from the 5,500 BAPS children
forums worldwide are expected to attend this educational and
inspiring event. More than 1,500 children will perform on
stage with 600 children in a parade highlighting the values
of health, education, character, culture, and spirituality;
450 children in a vibrant costumed dance highlighting service,
culture and character; various dances and skits showing how
children have freed over a million people from destructive
addictions; and video shows, testimonials and skits showing
how BAPS children become ideal citizens who serve parents
and society. BAPS children who have achieved excellence in
the fields of sports, education, arts, character, culture,
and service will also be recognized on stage.
17th December 2007, Guru
Bhakti Day, the 87th birthday celebrations of BAPS leader
Pramukh Swami Maharaj will be the climax of the four-day festival.
A series of cultural presentations will pay tribute to the
spiritual leaders who have shaped BAPS to this day; elaborate
folk dances by more than 500 youths will pay homage to Pramukh
Swami Maharaj; and testimonials and speeches will explore
Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s contributions to society through
his spiritual ethos, “In the joy of others, in the progress
of others and in the good of others lies our own.”
The thousands of exuberant
children and enthusiastic youth participating in the cultural
programmes sacrificed their Diwali vacation for 35 days of
intensive training. Moreover, in the festival’s transport
department, 1,000 volunteers have organized parking and traffic
flow so that on the days of the celebration thousands of vehicles
can quickly and smoothly enter and exit the site. In the festival’s
kitchen department, 1,900 men and 1,700 women volunteers are
busy preparing complete meals for all the spectators who will
attend the four-day celebrations.
The exquisite artwork of the
main stage and archways was designed and crafted by the festival’s
decoration department, consisting of 33 sadhus and 237 volunteers
who spent two continuous months producing exquisite fibreglass
work, painting, and intricate polystyrene carvings.
BAPS accommodations and reception
departments are preparing to serve thousands who will attend
the festivities from Gujarat, other states in India and other
countries around the world. To receive devotees coming from
around the world, welcome centres have been set up at the
Amdavad airport and railway stations.
The centenary celebrations of
this United National affiliated social-spiritual organization
with 3,300 global centres, 700 mandirs, 780 sadhus, 55,000
volunteers and one million followers will be a memorable and
The BAPS Centenary Celebrations
will be telecast live every day from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on Aastha.
Reports of each day of the celebrations
will be posted in the Media Info section of the BAPS website