The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha’s (BAPS) Centenary
Celebrations culminated on 17 December 2007 with the 87th
birthday of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj celebrated
on a 300-acre site in Chandkheda, Amdavad. Hundreds of thousands
paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life-long inspirational
service, selfless love and profound spirituality in an inspirational
and spellbinding 3-hour cultural programme performed by thousands
of BAPS children and youth. The programme focused on Pramukh
Swami Maharaj’s living spirituality centred on his credo,
“In the Joy of others lies our own”.
BAPS: A Tribute to its Founders
The programme commenced with 50 sadhus reciting Vedic mantras
representing BAPS’s Akshar-Purushottam (i.e. Bhakta-Bhagwan)
philosophy; a drama of BAPS’s founding moments under
Shastriji Maharaj’s leadership in Bochasan, 1907; a
speech by senior sadhu Viveksagar Swami about how Yogiji Maharaj
nurtured this satsang community; and a historic video of these
two gurus of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
In the Joy of Others…
The next section highlighted how for the last 87 years, Pramukh
Swami Maharaj has given himself to others with the sentiment:
“In the joy of others, lies our own. In the good of
others, lies our own. In the progress of others, lies our
own”. How his spirituality has touched people's hearts
was presented by personal testimonies of the very people whose
lives had been transformed.
Reshma Pardhi wrote an illegible letter to Swamishri.
Swamishri made the effort to discover and solve his problem
by installing the requested hand pump in his village. Swamishri’s
care extends to the tiniest village and remotest tribal.
He treats their problems as his own
Patel of Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania expressed how Swamishri’s
love transformed him from decadence to devotion.
Bhatt of New York told of how after a crippling accident
Swamishri's love lifted him out of the depths of despair
and helped him become a doctor, a published author, a musician
and candidate for the 2008 Beijing Paraolympics.
of The Netherlands recounted how Swamishri’s divine
presence protected and pacified him in the face of a shark
Patel of Narayannagar, Kutch related how Swamishri’s
physical, financial and moral support after the Bhuj quake
elevated an entire village such that it received the National
Clean village Award.
Singh Sahni of Bahrain related how Swamishri reached
out to satisfy his spiritual hunger.
Sayeed Zeerah, Director of the International Hospital
in Bahrain described how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s spirituality
transcends religious boundaries.
Land Minister Joseph Muturia described how Swamishri’s
inspiration transcended race and religion, as it freed him,
his family and countless friends from alcohol.
A video concluded
this section showing how by giving his heart so completely,
Pramukh Swami Maharaj has earned a place in the hearts of millions.
Guinness World Records Presentation
London’s Michael Whitty, member of the main management
committee of the Guinness World Records Book paid tribute to
Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s epoch-making work by presenting
him with two World Record certificates for:
1) Consecrating the most number of Hindu temples in the World
2) Creating Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi as the largest
comprehensive Hindu Temple in the world.
The final section of the program described how the countless
lives transformed and the mandirs built was all due to Pramukh
Swami Maharaj’s profound spirituality. A new commentary
(bhashya) on the Vedic scriptures revealing the eternal spiritual
truths on which BAPS is based was dedicated. A video of
Swamishri’s spirituality was followed by a series of speeches
describing how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s spirituality is
striking not just in what he has done, but more so in what he
has not done. Anandswarup Swami described Pramukh Swami’s
peaceful response after the 2002 terrorist attack on Akshardham
as it showed how Swamishri has never allowed religion to become
aggressive. Bramavihari Swami related how Swamishri is an egoless
personality who has never felt pride due to his achievements.
In a specially recorded video interview, Former President APJ
Abdul Kalam told of how he had been touched by Pramukh Swami
Maharaj’s humility and spiritually where in the midst
of worldwide acclaim, Swamishri remains focused on serving God
and people. Senior BAPS sadhu, Doctor Swami, recounted his experiences
of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s unshakeable faith in God as
the all-doer whom he credits for all his achievements. Next,
senior BAPS sadhu, Mahant Swami described how the culmination
of Swamishri's spirituality was that he has become a vessel
for the presence of God. Then, a lively dance by children and
youth paid homage to the guru, followed by prayers by senior
sadhus on behalf of the entire BAPS community.
The 3-hour programme was capped with the blessings of Pramukh
Swami Maharaj, who said, “
After the blessings, the more than 275,000 assembled performed
arti offering their homage to God and guru. The programme concluded
a dance and fireworks display celebrating BAPS’s glorious
first century and inviting its promising second century.
The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha
(BAPS) is a United Nations affiliated social-spiritual organization
with 3,300 global centres, 700 mandirs, 780 sadhus, 55,000 volunteers
and over one million followers.
Reports of each day of the celebrations have been posted in
the Media Info section of the BAPS website at www.swaminarayan.org.