The festival of Vasant Panchmi,
which commemorates the birthdays of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj,
Brahmanand Swami and Nishkulanand Swami, and the day Bhagwan
Swaminarayan revealed the Shikshapatri, was celebrated at the
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Johannesburg on Sunday 10 February
2008. Over 800 devotees from BAPS centers in Lenasia, Pretoria,
Rustenburg and Johannesburg attended.
An inspiring and informative program
was presented by the youngsters of the bal, kishore and yuvak
mandals. Members of the Bal Mandal narrated a series of stories
to illustrate how Vasant Panchmi is a celebration of Ekantik
Dharma, i.e. how the Shikshapatri, Shastriji Maharaj, Nishkulanand
Swami and Brahmanand Swami represent the ideals of dharma, gnan,
vairagya and bhakti respectively.
Members of the Yuvak Mandal sang
melodious kirtans extolling the great life and work of Brahmaswarup
Shastriji Maharaj. A creative and entertaining group activity
session based on incidents from Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj’s
life tested the knowledge of all devotees present.
A kishore speaker shed light on
the glory of the Shikshapatri and narrated the historical account
of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s priceless gift of the Shikshapatri
to Sir John Malcolm during their meeting in Rajkot in 1830.
A video presentation introduced to the audience the digital
copy of this same Shikshapatri, now housed and preserved in
the Indian Institute Library of the Bodleian Library at Oxford
The celebration assembly concluded
with arti and guru pujan.