BAPS Centenary Celebration
13 December 2007, Amdavad

13 December 2007

13 December 2007 witnessed the kick-off of the four-day BAPS Centenary Celebrations with a dazzling inauguration ceremony coupled with the celebration of BAPS Youth Day based on the theme ‘Inspiring Values’. The celebration, on a 300-acre site in Amdavad's Chandkheda suburb on the Sabarmati-Gandhinagar highway, featured a spectacular cultural programme with 2,000 youngsters performing on a 350 ft. stage to the delight of tens of thousands of spectators. Inspired by His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj the festival will inspire moral, cultural, and spiritual values to commemorate a hundred years of service, sacrifice, and spirituality of BAPS (Bochasanswasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha).

The Inauguration Ceremony – ‘The Values of BAPS’
The programme commenced with a dance by BAPS youth waving various countries’ flags representing the 3,300 BAPS centres around the world welcoming the assembly. The Inauguration Ceremony, ‘The Values of BAPS’, emphasized that BAPS is founded on the values taught by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the succession of spiritual gurus. A 45-min. programme of lively dances and enlightening commentary symbolically highlighted six of the values that have shaped BAPS and inspired millions through the last century. Through a series of unique folk dances using an array of hundreds of spectacular props and costumes, over 500 youngsters presented the values of:

  • Siddhant (Philosophy) –BAPS is founded on the pillars of the Vedic principle of Akshar and Purushottam, depicted by a unique dance of sculpted pillars.
  • Sadhuta (Saintliness) - Refraining from harmful action, speech and thought and wishing well to those who harm us is the saintliness that is a foundational value of BAPS, depicted by a graceful dance of pure-white swans symbolizing pristine saintliness.
  • Seva (Service) - Selfless service, devoid of ego, is a foundational value of BAPS, depicted by a unique dance of youths offering service.
  • Samarpan (Sacrifice) - Self-sacrifice, another foundational value of BAPS, was depicted by a dance of life-like oxen symbolic of selfless sacrifice.
  • Samp (Unity) - The power of BAPS is its unity. Despite being so vast, BAPS is one family. This value was depicted by a vibrant dance of the unity of doves.
  • Satpurush (God-Realised Guru) - All the values of BAPS are founded on and embodied by the Satpurush (Guru) within whom God is ever-present. This value was celebrated with a dance of divas ending in Pramukh Swami Maharaj lighting a lamp to officially inaugurate the celebrations and kick-off a spectacular fireworks display.

BAPS Youth Day Celebrations
After the inauguration ceremony began BAPS Youth Day celebrations, focused on the theme “inspiring values”.
The Character of BAPS Youths
The first part of BAPS Youth Day asserted that over the last four decades, through its core values, its social and cultural activities, and the spiritual inspiration of its gurus, BAPS has developed a host of ethical youths to serve as ideal members of society. This was demonstrated through a series of real-life incidents of BAPS youth around the world.

  • Highlighting the value of honesty was Dhulabhai Patel of Amdavad who returned Rs. 50,000 that he found in the street, although he desperately required Rs.10,000 for his daughter’s imminent wedding.
  • A similar incident showed Kantibhai Darji of Mumbai returning Rs. 10,000 he found on the street while on his way to take a Rs. 2,000 loan for a cataract operation he urgently required.
    In addition to moral rectitude, some incidents showed BAPS youth maintaining spiritual traditions in extreme circumstances.
  • Sanjay Kara of London maintained his daily rituals of bathing, puja, arti and religious discourses even while climbing Mt.Everest.
  • Virendra Patel (Dallas, USA) maintained his promise to his guru, Yogiji Maharaj to remain vegetarian while defending his country for 8 years as a soldier in the Rhodesian Civil War, even if it meant not eating for 3-4 days at a stretch.

Successful BAPS Youth with Inspiring Values
The second part of the youth day programme showed that BAPS encourages youth to strive for overall excellence. A series of inspiring real-life incidents demonstrated that BAPS youth who attained social, educational, and professional excellence, used their abilities to selflessly serve family and society.

  • Dixit Patel of London, a promising graphic art student sacrificed his spot at a premier college to serve his ailing mother.
  • Amar Parekh, an Oxford engineer from London has volunteered 3000 hours to offer educational and career-skills assistance to 500 needy youth.
  • Ritesh Gadhia IIM-B Graduate of New Delhi forsook a flashy lifestyle to dedicate his life to honorary social services, perhaps the first such student in IIM’s history.
  • Sanjay Parikh, an IIT Post-Graduate of Amdavad dedicated his life to honorary social service and promotion of cultural heritage by building schools, hospitals, villages, mandirs & cultural centres worldwide.
  • Dr. Madhav Jodhani, an acclaimed eye surgeon of Amdavad, has performed thousands of free eye operations for needy patients in remote areas.
  • Dr. Raghavji Bhuva of Bhavnagar has inspired more than 7,000 to give up destructive addictions.

BAPS Youths – Torchbearers of Transformation
The third part of the Youth Day programme used dramas, videos, and personal testimony to show that through their purity of character, BAPS youth have inspired personal transformation in individuals, communities and society.

  • A drama, ‘Eke Hajara’, depicted how the village of Nava Samera, mired in addictions and violence, was transformed by a single BAPS youth, Purushotam Solanki, whose purity of heart inspired people towards better living.
  • A video showed that this tale of transformation was not confined to a single village. The inspiring lives of BAPS youth, Dr. Bathubhai Desai of Sunsar village, Sarpanch Dahyabhai Solanki of Petli, and Raychand Darbar of Kosumkuva had transformed the entire villages.
  • IPS officer Yeshwant Jethwa’s astounding real-life story, showed how in the face of the naxalite terrorist menace, BAPS youth have transformed not just villages but entire regions, uprooting hatred and sowing love in the hearts of thousands.
  • A video on BAPS Youth Activities – ‘The Spirit of Selfless Service’ showed that in addition to serving society by inspiring societal transformation through their character, BAPS youth also offer millions of hours of selfless service in countless humanitarian projects.
  • Through a dance called the ‘Power of Unity’, it was asserted that despite different socio-economic, educational, and national backgrounds, such modern-day miracles were possible because BAPS youth are united under one guru, one philosophy and one goal.
  • Finally, a video titled, ‘Swamishri & Youths’ showed that Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the force behind BAPS youth. By nurturing the youth with selfless love, he has held their hands to lift them to greater heights.
The 3-hour programme was capped with the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who said, “
The entire programme was concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.
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).
The Centenary Celebrations of this United Nations affiliated social-spiritual organization with 3,300 global centres, 700 mandirs, 780 sadhus, 55,000 volunteers and one million followers will continue on 14, 15 and 17 December 2007, with Women’s Day, Children’s Day and Guru Bhakti Day (87th Birthday Celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj), respectively. All programs 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 at