20 April 2002, Saturday, Washington DC:
Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Washington, DC celebrated Lord Swaminarayan's
222nd birthday, (Hari Jayanti) and Ram Navami Samaiyo in the
presence of Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami & Pujya Haridarshan Swami.
In the morning, balaks and kishores enthusiastically cleaned
the mandir--both inside and outside by performing sevas such
as picking trash, collecting leaves, vacuuming, and mopping.
The evening program began at 4 p.m. The majority of it was performed by the bal and kishore mandals. The program began with jaynaad and stuti led by the shishu mandal, and followed by dhoon and prarthana sung by the bal mandal. The highlight of the evening was a superb one-hour program entitled "Maalaa naa Mankaa”, a series of dramas and dances depicting incidents from the lives of some of the most dedicated haribhaktas of Lord Swaminarayan's time, such as Dada Khachar, Galooji, and Kalyandas. Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami enlightened the audience about the transformation that Shreeji Maharaj brought about in society and in people's lives. A satsangi delivered a speech on Maryada Purushottam - Shree Ram’s life and explained the relevance of his birth with Shreeji Maharaj. The program concluded with a lively singing of "Oraa Aavo ne Dharma Kumaar" by the kishore and yuvak mandals. Six weekends of hard practice paid off as everyone expressed their appreciation for the quality of the program.
21 April 2002, Dallas, TX:
The BAPS Swaminarayan Temple at Dallas celebrated the Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi samaiyo with the complete planning and participation from bal & kishore mandal in the presence of pujya santos from the southwest region. The highlights of this auspicious day of samaiyo celebration, which coincidently happened to be the same as the actual birthdates of Lord Swaminarayan and Lord Ram, were the children conducted the master of ceremonies in gujarati, a keynote speech describing glory of Lord Ram, kirtans, drama, and raas by kishore and bal mandal. Pujya santos gave a multimedia presentation on Shreeji Maharaj’s Paramhanso and sang a bhajan portraying the glory of Pragat Bhagwan through Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Bal mandal did a lot of preparation by spending many nights at the mandir in the weekends and prepared a half an hour drama portraying divine episodes of Ghanshayam in Chapaiya. Kishore mandal and bal mandal jointly played raas
describing the glory of Swaminarayan Mahamantra even after doing nirjala fast. Santos explained the symbolic and religious significance of this celebration emphasizing how Shreeji Maharaj is among us by the virtue of Pramukh Swami, a gunatit saint.
Before aarti, Janmotsav was sang by kishores and Hari Krishna Maharaj was swung in small hindolo and Shreeji Maharaj Utsava Murti was swung in a big wooden hindolo on stage.
The mandir was crowded with the devotees from various areas
including some distant towns such as Texarkana, Gainesville,
and Little Rock. The utsav was concluded with aarti, thaal,
and delicious mahaprasad.
20 April 2002, Saturday, Cleveland, OH:
The BAPS Cleveland Mandir celebrated the Hari Jayanti and Ram
Navmi Samaiyo on April 20, 2002, with great jubilation. The
program started with the traditional dhooh and prathana by the
bal mandal followed by a speech by kishore mandal on Lord Ram
as Maryada Purushottam and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The
speech described in brief His work upon this earth and also
recounted the glory of His devotees such as Sitaji, Laxman and
Hanuman. There was also a speech by the yuvak mandal narrating
Neelkanth-Varni’s pilgrimage crisscrossing Bharat and His later
works as Sahajanand Swami in Gujarat emphasizing the transformation
He brought about in society and individuals.
What followed were a composite of stories related to Lord Swaminarayan narrated in the form of drama, dance and speeches by the bal, kishore and yuvak mandal. There was a combination dance-drama narrating the story “Mala Na Mankaa” in which Lord Swaminarayan reveals that he remembers and recites the names of His select haribhaktos as He goes through His rosary beads at which time there was the related episode of Ahalya Khachar. Then there was a drama of Ladhibai, the widow who was asked by Lord Swaminarayan to adorn the dress of a young bride signifying that she is committed to the Lord. This was followed by a speech narrating the episodes of devotees such as Sunderji Suthar becoming a sadhu and that of Kalyandas becoming Adhbhutanand Swami. There was another major drama revealing how Ladha Thakkar was misunderstood as not keeping proper accounts of Dada Khachar when in reality Dada Khachar had run out of money. Throughout the whole program, there were also appropriate kirtans relevant to the occasion done by the kishore mandal.
Toward the end, there was a pre-arranged talk on an important and very relevant health topic of “Heart Attacks: Risk Factors and Prevention” done by an internist in private practice, Dr. Niraj Mistry, M.D., in easily understandable Gujarati language, and this was very well-received.
Everyone felt a lot of peace in their mind on watching the video of the aashirvachan by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj for this specific occasion. This was followed by aarti and everyone enjoying the opportunity of swinging the cradle reflecting the actual Janmotsav of Lord Ram and Lord Swaminarayan. The celebration ended with all the attendees enjoying the mahaprasad.
21 April 2002, Sunday, Augusta, GA:
The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir of Augusta, Georgia, celebrated the Shree Hari Jayanti and Shree Ramnavami Samaiyo with a lot of excitement.
The samaiyo included dhoon, prathana, kirtans, and discourses.
A Paaranyo (swing) in which an Utsav Moorti of Shreeji Maharaj
was erected in the main sihansan for everyone’s darshan.
The samaiyo began with manglacharan, dhoon, and prathana. Several speeches, interspersed by many uplifting kirtans, were given. The kishore mandal gave three speeches on Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Lord Rama, and Das Bhakta Hanumanji, respectively. An inspiring speech was given on “The Great Vision of Shreeji Maharaj.” Also, there was a prasangic discourse on Hari Jayanti in which the great social reforms introduced by Shreeji Maharaj, such as the abolishment of such horrific traditions as sati and dudhpiti and the upliftment of the poor and ignorant masses, were discussed. Dr. Dharamvir Sinha, the guest of honor, then gave a speech on Lord Rama. The evening’s celebration concluded with a video of the Hari Jayanti celebration in 2000 in India that was held in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and included his blessing. The entire program was well received and enjoyed by the audience.
21 April 2002, Sunday, Chicago, IL:
Devotees came together to celebrate the birth of Lord Swaminarayan
and Lord Ram and the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Construction
Commencement Ceremony on Sunday April 21, 2002 in Bartlett,
Illinois. The festivals of Ram Navmi and Shree Hari Jayanti
were also celebrated on the same day. Devotees and well wishers
attended the all-day event from throughout the Midwest.
A special assembly and mahapuja ceremony conducted in the presence of numerous civic leaders, community leaders and devotees were the highlights of the morning celebration. Among those present for this momentous occasion were DuPage County Board Member Roger Jenisch; Bloomingdale Township Assessor Hank Gianvechhio; Indian Pharmacist Association President Naren Desai; Community Leader Sudhir Manek; Trustee of Niles Township Usha Kamaria; Mayor George Van Dusen of Skokie; Nand Kapoor, president of the Association of Indians in America; Niranjan Shah, CEO of GEC; Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice S. Louis Rathje; Leland Lewis, Executive Director of DuPage County Health Department; John Millner, president of the Illinois Police Chiefs Association and many more.
Consistent with BAPS tradition, an evening cultural program full of dramas, dances, speeches and bhajans depicting the lives of Lord Rama and Lord Swaminarayan was organized by the BAPS youths. The Chief Guest for the evening celebration of Shree Ram Navmi and Shree Hari Jayanti was Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan. During a special address to the assembly, Mr. Ryan expressed his congratulations and well wishes to the BAPS membership and Indian community at large for making a unique contribution to the architectural and cultural landscape of the state of Illinois. Upon learning about BAPS and HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s work and the dedication of BAPS volunteers, Mr. Ryan said “it has been an inspirational day.”
27 April 2002, Sunday, Edison, NJ:
The mahila mandals (ladies wings) of the Northeast region of
the United States celebrated the 221st birthday of Lord Swaminarayan
on Saturday, April 27, 2002, at the BAPS temple in Edison, NJ.
Inspired by H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the cultural program
was the collaborative effort of women and youth from eight BAPS
centers. Several skits depicting the devotion of eight women
devotees of Lord Swaminarayan demonstrated the central theme
of the evening: "Bhakti to Lord Purushottam has the power
to eradicate Maya." The evening concluded with mahaprasad
prepared by the Edison mahila mandal.
28 April 2002, Sunday, St. Louis, MO:
Devotees came together to celebrate the birth of both Lord Rama
and Lord Swaminarayan with devotion and joyousness. The theme
of the celebration was "Maala Na Manka." Shriji Maharaj's utsav
murti was placed in a specially decorated sinhasan that was
decorated with flowers and had Shree Ram's and Pramukh Swami
Maharaj's murtis placed on it as well. The cultural program
was magnificently organized. The evening began with performances
by the vadil and kishore mandals followed by a drama / dance
performed by the bal mandal. The excellence of the half-hour
drama / dance capped off a wonderful evening for all.
20 April 2002, Sunday, Charlotte, NC:
Charlotte Mandir celebrated the birth of Purna Purshottam Narayan
Sahajanand Swami and Maryada Purshottam Bhagwan Ramchandraji
on April 20, 2002. People attended the celebrations were performed
completely by the children and youths of the mandir. Words fail
to describe the feeling of awe of those who attended the samaiyo
as they were dumbfounded by the decorations prepared by the
kishore mandal. This memorable occasion was also graced by the
presence of the saints. It was a day of celebration as it marked
the day that Shriji Maharaj was born in the form of Bal Ghanshyam
to establish a fellowship based on the Akshar Purushottam philosophy,
thereby assuring a path leading to ultimate salvation. His divine
presence and actions allowed him to initiate 500 Paramhansas
at a single time and accomplish feats that were thought of as
impossible. The design, development and implementation of these
celebrations are a subtle reminder that Shreeji Maharaj's "miracles"
continue to this day. The Sabha Sanchalan (Master of Ceremony)
was succinct, flawless and done in Gujarati language with Tulsidas,
Sant Kabir's dohas.
auditorium reverberated with the calming stuthi verses followed
by the melodious and harmonious kirtans. During a speech, the
saints explained the significance of "Sant ae Swvayam Ha" and
used incidents to help define the importance of maryada (discipline
as they appeared in Lord Rama's life. This key, eye-opening
speech also placed an underlying emphasis on the path to attain
redemption and true happiness. This was followed by chief guest
and business entrepreneur, Mr. Tansukh Ganatra's speech on the
importance of seva (Service to others), satya (importance of
truth), santulan (need for balance), sahan-sheelta (tolerance)
and sahas (courage/confidence) in one's life. The dances performed
by bal and kishore mandals were outstanding. The celebrations
concluded with the exhilaration that it began with as the kishore
mandal performed a self-written and recorded drama entitled,
"Satsang Prevails." The drama, which was focused towards the
youths, sought out a way to teach how satsang leads to happiness
and how the worldly pleasures of society lead nowhere. The program
concluded with a mesmerizing 3D-multimedia presentation to show
the beauty of Maharaj. The kishore mandal portrayed the desire
to be "Swami's Youth" and to dedicate time and effort to accomplish
such a big task of handling the entire samaiyo celebrations.
The kishores personified Yogi Bapa famous adage, "Samp, Suhrudaybhav,
and Ekta" as they worked as unified group to please Shreeji
Maharaj and Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
21 April 2002, Sunday, Edison, NJ:
The auspicious birthdays of Lord Swaminarayan and Lord Ram were
celebrated by Edison, Jersey City, Clifton, and Philadelphia
satsang mandals by presenting various types of programs throughout
the day. In the morning, devotees presented the life of Lord
Swaminarayan from scriptures such as Vachanamrut, Bhaktachintamani,
Harililamrut, and Shreeji Charitra Vihar. Also, an audio recording
with the voice of Pramukh Swami Maharaj was played while the
devotees chanted the name of Lord Swaminarayan with rosary in
hand. Youths of BAPS were dressed in traditional Kathiyavadi
attire and presented kirtans that described Lord Swaminarayan's
extraordinary work. The audience was so stunned and amazed that
no one knew where the time had passed.
this day, an exhibition presenting the sacrifices made by the
staunchest devotees of Lord Swaminarayan was inaugurated by
Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami by lighting divo (small holy candle).
Also in the afternoon, there was a program for Mahapuja (vedic
evening congregation was extraordinary and became a highlight
of the full day celebration. After a speech on the discipline
and greatness of Lord Ram, devotional songs describing the glory
of both Lord Swaminarayan and Lord Ram were sung. A program
on which children and youth of BAPS were working on for weeks,
"Mala na Manaka", was presented.
this program balaks and kishores presented traditional dances
and skits representing the firm conviction and true devotion
of great devotees in Lord Swaminarayan's time. This program
was so well presented that the audience felt that they were
in fact two hundred years in the past with Lord Swaminarayan.
Each and every youth on stage had also performed nirjala (type
of penance that involves no eating or drinking even water the
whole day). Yet everyone performed with great energy and enthusiasm.
The temple hall was decorated with great pomp and valor due
to the efforts of the Balika and Kishori mandal and they also
created an marvelous exhibition illustrating the theme of the
celebration In this program, a few dignitaries such as the New
Jersey Union Township Assemblyman Joseph Cryan and New Jersey
Assemblyman Upendra Shivkula were also present. New York and
New Jersey State's 7-Eleven franchise owner Michael and Yashwant
Patel were present and gave monetary contribution for relief
work done by the BAPS organization. Also present in the assembly
were FIA president Albert Jasani, Indian Express' CEO Sunil
Holi and COO Nayan Pathari. Local radio station's, 1680 AM,
CEO Arvind Agrawal and Program Director Anand Kulraj pledged
60 minutes of radio time to BAPS every morning on 1680 AM.
the end of the program, the saints and devotees performed ritual
aarti of Lord Swaminarayan and Lord Ram and offered devotion.
After dinner in the final congregation, children and youth sang
festive devotional songs. The congregation ended at 10:10 pm,
the birth time of Lord Swaminarayan, and saints and devotees
performed a final birthday aarti.
weeks prior to Lord Swaminarayan's birthday, various activities
took place in Bal Mandal. Children read some stories from Ghanshyam
Charitra and Nilkanth Charitra (books describing Lord Swaminarayan's
childhood and youth) and made drawings from them. Little children
colored in pictures from a Lord Swaminarayan coloring book.
These activities lead the children to have increased devotion
towards Lord Swaminarayan and also encouraged them to understand
and adore their culture.
21 April 2002, Sunday, San Jose, CA:
The samaiyo was celebrated with
great enthusiasm and devotion by the devotees of all age groups.
The special program "Mala Na Manka" was enjoyed by many new
mumukshus as well. Traditional decorations set the aura of a
village while blending in with the theme of the samaiyo very
dhun, parthana and kirtan at the beginning of the sabha, the
children and the youths started the main cultural program. Between
each piece of the program 2 kids came on stage and presented
subtle snippets of dialogues in Gujarati, which served as the
emcee comments. Shishu mandal opened up the stage with "Ghanshyam,
Ghanshyam maari saathe ramva..." dance followed by the first
drama in which yuvaks participated. Then, balaks performed the
dance - "mala na manka." Afterwards, an example from "Yogiji
Maharaj ni Bodh Kathao - shape of a Haathi" - was performed
by small kids. The kishore mandal presented the dramas of "Galuji"
and "Kalyan Das" with high professionalism showing splendid
teamwork. Yuvak mandal presented the prasang of "Ladhi Bai"
showing her faith in Lord Swaminarayan's aagna against all the
odds of the world.
a small break in the cultural program, P. Kaivalyamurti Swami
explained the message from Ramayana towards a better life followed
by P. Uttamcharan Swami, who focused on Lord Swaminarayan's
work as to how he changed the lives of thousands of devotees.
peak of the celebration was in the last drama of "Dada Khachar"
and the message at the end depicting the true way of doing being
an ideal devotee of Maharaj. The program was concluded by the
dance "mala na manka" once again by the kids. From the expressions
of the majority of the haribhaktos, this was one of the best
Hari Jayanti Samaiyo we had in San Jose.
21 April 2002, Sunday, Toronto, Canada:
The Toronto BAPS celebrated Shri Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi
Samaiyo on April 21, 2002. People partook in the festivities
included celebrating the lives of Purna Purushottam Narayan
(Lord Swaminarayan) and Shri Maryada Purushottam (Lord Rama).
Maharaj's serene idol adorned the 'dholiyo' in Dada Khachar's
durbar. The intricately crafted and designed 'durbar'(palace)
brought the audience back 225 years whilst Shreeji Maharaj's
stay in Gadhada. The lighting and devotional music also added
to the ambience of 'bhakti'.
colorful medley of kirtans, dances and dramas, provided but
a rare glimpse of the magnanimous and charismatic personality
of Shreeji Maharaj and the exemplary devotion of His many devotees.
It provided much food for thought as to the 'sadhans' a seeker
must practice inorder to become Shreeji Maharaj's 'Mala na manka'.
an address to the assembly, santos reiterated the concept of
'Mala na manka'. He tactfully provided an abstract comparison
between the 'baans' (arrow in the bow & arrow) of Shreeji Maharaj
and Lord Rama. Just as Shree Rama left Bharatji with his 'chakdhi'
to aid in his reign over Ayodhya, Shreeji Maharaj has bestowed
upon us not only his 'chakdhi' but the 'chakdhi na pehernaar'
- Pragat Satpurush!!!! On this auspicious day, Pujya TilakRatna
Swami called on the audience to make a personal commitment to
lead a more pious and addiction free life.The Samaiyo concluded
with the kirtan ' Dharma Gher Anand bhayo' and the 'Poojan'
of Shreeji Maharaj and Shree Rama.
bake sale event organized by the Kishori/Balika/Shishu mandal
demonstrated first hand to the visitors the lofty ideals and
inspiration Swamishri provides His Youth.
28 April 2002, Sunday, Jersey City, NJ:
Hari Jayanti is the Samaiyo of Lord Swaminarayan’s Birthday. The Jersey City Mandal celebrated this samaiyo with great enthusiasm on April 28, 2002. The environment of the mandir was full of joy and happiness. From a small kid to older people, all joined the samaiyo with the pure heart.
The main celebration started at 4.30 sharp in the afternoon and lasted for almost three hours. The kishori mandal did a great job in decorating the mandir, especially the stage. A very beautiful 12 door hindolo was set up on the stage. The sabha started with dhoon and prathna. Kishores celebrated the moment of Ghanshyam Maharaj’s birth with the kirtan “Pragat thaya prabhu”. A very well presented speech was done by a yuvak on Vachnamrut. Once again, the kishores expressed their bhakti with two kirtans: “Shree Ghansyam Chhabi” and “Dharma Kuvar Harikrishna ni re.” A new yuvak explained “Shreeji Maharaj’s Work for Antyodhai.” Also, a very nice parayan was done by a yuvak on “Kushal Kuvarba’s Aakhyan.” After a kirtan, people enjoyed the unforgettable slide show of Shreeji Maharaj’s “Yashgatha.” In the end of the sabha, kishores and yuvaks presented a special kirtan made out of different kirtans in the style of “Kathyavadi Doohas.”
The samaiyo ended with dhoon, aarti and mahaprasad.