The birth anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj was celebrated with great devotion on the evenings of Saturday 21 November 2009, Wednesday 25 November 2009 and Saturday 28 November 2009 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The celebrations on Saturday 21 November 2009 were themed ‘Yugo Sudhi Aa Jagma…’, based around a collection of testimonies of the life-enhancing inspiration that Swamishri has provided to various devotees around the world.
Following a touching video presentation depicting the personal qualities and compassionate nature of Swamishri, Amrutnayan Swami and Yagnatilak Swami shared inspiring examples of devotees in Paris and Lisbon whose lives had been transformed for the better by Swamishri. Kishores, yuvaks and vadils later sang a special prarthna called ‘Janam divase karu prarthna’, before Yogvivek Swami narrated important episodes from the life of Swamishri. The finale to the evening programme was a lively dance by the yuvaks who conveyed the words of the theme-bhajan ‘Yugo sudhi aa jagma jena malata raheshe ajvala…’.
The celebrations also coincided with the visit of Archbishop of Westminster, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols (Head of the Roman Catholic Church for England and Wales), and the culmination of National Inter Faith Week. Representatives of the major faiths came together to light a lamp as a symbol of their commitment to peace, harmony and the common good. Yogvivek Swami welcomed the guests with Swamishri’s message of interfaith respect and understanding, and the Archbishop also addressed the assembly. (Click here for a full report.)
The actual birth day according to the Hindu calendar (Magshar sud 8) was celebrated on Wednesday 25 November 2009. Sadhus began the evening assembly with dhun and prarthna. Prabuddhmuni Swami, Munibhushan Swami and others narrated inspiring episodes from Swamishri’s life, which were all interspersed with short video presentations. A dance then followed where the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Swamishri were carried into the assembly hall on a decorated palanquin. Yogvivek Swami concluded the evening by touching on the service of Swamishri and encouraging everyone to adopt his virtues in their lives.
The Mahila Mandal celebrated the Janma Jayanti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj on Saturday 28 November 2009. The evening began with a colourful dance followed by an insightful presentation led by the Yuvati Mandal covering Swamishri’s entire life and his commitment to the wishes of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his guru Shastriji Maharaj, and his selfless dedication and service for the joy of others.
This message was elaborated upon and supported by a series of inspiring videos and speeches which described the manner in which Pramukh Swami Maharaj has positively transformed the lives of so many.
The Balika Mandal concluded the programme by offering prayers for all to be able to serve and please Swamishri through a noble, upright life.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s birth anniversary was also celebrated at other BAPS mandirs and centres around the UK, including Ashton-under-Lyne, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Preston, Wellingborough, and various boroughs of London, as well as at major centres in Europe.