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Shri Harijayanti and Shri Ramnavami Celebration



6 April 2003, Sunday, Washington DC:

In the presence of Pujya santos and haribhaktos, Washington, DC BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir celebrated the festivals of Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi on April 6, 2003. The evening program themed "Sarva Jiva Hita Vaha” focused on the benefits of Bhagwan Swaminarayan's Shikshapatri on society. A series of kirtans, dramas, speeches and dances enlightened one and all. Pujya Amrutcharit Swami spoke on how Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a living example of the Shikshapatri today.

Sunday, 13 April 2003, Clifton, NJ:

In the presence of Pujya Amrutcharit Swami and Pujya Munitilak Swami Clifton BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir celebrated the festivals of Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi on April 13, 2003. The celebration commenced with the inauguration of an exhibition by the Kishori Mandal depicting the message and teachings of the Shikshapatri. The evening cultural program enlightened one and all through a series of kirtans, dramas, speeches and dances themed around the lives of Lord Rama and Lord Swaminarayan. Pujya Amrutcharit Swami spoke on how Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj is a living example of the Shikshapatri today.

Shri Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami




13 April 2003, Sunday, Toronto, Canada:

With a divine backdrop of Shreeji Maharaj in Ghadhada , Toronto BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir celebrated the festivals of Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi on April 13, 2003. The evening cultural program was interspersed with kirtans, speeches and musical dramas. Each item brought parallels between the lives of haribhaktos during Maharaj’s time and those living today.

Saturday, 19 April 2003, Boston, MA:

The celebration of Hari Jayanti took place at a school in Lowell, MA. The samaiyo themed “Shikshapatri” was kicked off with a procession of balaks with a palkhi having Maharaj and the Shikshapatri in front. Through a series of kirtans, dramas, dances and speeches attendees experienced how our living Shikshapatri is our beloved guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj and learned the message that the Shikshapatri is for our own good.


Festival Celebration

Murtis of Augusta Mandir

Singing Devotional Songs

20 April 2003, Sunday, Augusta, GA:

Augusta BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir celebrated the festivals of Hari Jayanti and Ram Navmi on April 20, 2003. The evening program enlightened one and all through a series of kirtans, dramas, dances and speeches themed around the lives of Lord Rama, Lord Swaminarayan and “Harti Farti Shikshapatri: Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”

11 & 12 April 2003, Charlotte, NC:

Charlotte Mandir enthusiastically celebrated the birthday anniversary of our beloved Shriji Maharaj on 11th and 12th of April. On Chaitra Sudh Nom, April 11th, about a hundred devotees gathered at the Mandir to sing kirtans and listen to Shriji Maharaj's life and accomplishments. This continued until exactly 10:10pm whereupon the actual birth of Bal Ghanshyam was time-honored by bringing out Thakorji from a hand constructed mini-jupadi in a hindolo with special lighting and musical effects. The atmosphere was filled with sheer divinity. The evening culminated with the performance of arti and a few kirtans accompanied by a traditional dance by the kishore mandal in front of Thakorji.

On the following day the Hari Jayanti and Ramnavmi Samaiyo, organized by the kishore mandal, was celebrated. The program was initiated with the lighting of the lamp and thereafter an excellent kirtan aradhna extolling the murti of Shriji Maharaj was presented in the presence of Pujya Shantmurti Swami and Pujya Amrutnandan Swami. The Kishore mandal performed a drama on Sir John Malcolm's experience in understanding who Shriji Maharaj was. They also performed a dance entitled "Aayore Anand Avsar Aayore." The bal mandal also performed a dance. The Charlotte Kishore mandal's victory in the Southeast region basketball tournament was also acknowledged. The program ended with arti and prasad.



Mahapuja Rituals at Mandir site

Balaks and Kishores performing dance

Festival Assembly

12 April 2003, Sunday, Chicago, IL:

Bartlett - Merely a few years ago, on March 28th, 1999, The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (B.A.P.S.) Chicago, enthusiastically performed a traditional Khat Murat or ground-breaking ceremony to commence construction of the now vibrantly standing Haveli Complex at Rt. 59 and Army Trail Rd. Celebrated with great joy and anticipation, this ceremony marked the inauguration of new beginnings - a time to look to the pious and prosperous future awaiting us. Only a year and a half later, thousands of devotees physically began to see that miraculous future open its gates to our lives as the initial and long-awaited phase of the Mandir Complex had finally been completed - the Shri Swaminarayan Haveli had opened its doors to all awaiting its commencement. In honor of this event, B.A.P.S. extolled what it called the Haveli Mahotsav for a period of 10 days, October 20th - 29th, 2000, illustrating and giving indication to the fact that more auspicious times do indeed lie ahead. In this timely manner, on November 9th, 2002, B.A.P.S. commenced construction of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in the presence of Pujya Mahant Swami, during the high-spirited and zestful occasion of Diwali. The first carved stone of America's upcoming first traditional Hindu Mandir was layed on its construction site. A traditional mahapuja, prayer ceremony, for this event had been carried out. The next step in the long awaited Mandir Complex project was underway. In this way, from one step to the next, devotees witnessed and partook in moment after moment, and year and year, of divine celebrations such as this.

Hence, now, in April of 2003, we enjoyed and celebrated another exciting and auspicious occasion in the construction of the mandir - a traditional mahapuja sanctifying the eleven Kumbhis to the five central shrines of the upcoming mandir. At 3:00 pm, on Saturday, April 12th, a ceremony was held to consecrate each shrine that had been placed above the foundation of the mandir. Each of the five shrines repesent the area exactly underneath where the murtis of God will be placed. Hence, these five areas were properly purified through a mahapuja before any of the murtis would be layed in these sections. Incidentally, Friday, April 11th, marked the grand and auspicious day of Ramnavmi, the 222nd birth anniversary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Thus, simultaneously with the performance of the mahapuja on Saturday for the mandir, B.A.P.S. also celebrated the auspicious day of Ram Navmi and Harijayanti on the 12th as well. Thousands of devotees and well-wishers alike came to partake in the celebrations as well as pay their respects to Shri Swaminarayan Bhagwan and Ram Bhagwan. A three-hour cultural program, held from 4 to 7 pm in the Haveli Prayer Hall, was completely organized, prepared, compered and performed by the B.A.P.S. youth. Program highlights consisted of numerous dances, skits, and bhajans extolling the greatness, glory, and the spiritual accomplishments of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The theme of this year's program was "Shikshapatri," a sacred book of ethics, consisting of 212 spiritually potent verses written in Sanskrit by Bhagwan Swaminarayan Himself on February 11th, 1826 CE. It consists of the essence of Hindu moral codes of conduct for everyday life. The very essence of this divine book was extolled and shared with devotees during Saturday's program. In addition, an exhibition, detailing the foundation, the essence, the background, and several verses of the book was prepared and displayed for devotees to physically walk through, personally experience, and learn from.The exhibition was prepared, set up and presented by the Girls' Youth wing (Yuvati Mandal). Saturday's evening program concluded with the spiritual blessings of H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj and arti. Thereafter Thakorji was honored by the women's wing. The monumental devotional fervour of the female devotees was experienced and felt by hundreds of well-wishers. Thereafter, a garba was also held for the ladies. Thus, the weekend celebrations took place on a grand scale in which devotees, guests, and visitors alike gathered together to share joy and enthusiasm in being part of such extraordinary beginnings and propitious events. Bhagwan Swaminarayan's birthday could not have been celebrated with more grandeur and joy than with the hand in hand ceremony of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir's central shrines carried out simultaneously.

12 April 2003, Sunday, Houston, TX:

Devotees with prayers, bhajans and plays celebrated the dual celebrations of Shri Ram Navmi and Shri Hari Jayanti. The evening program commenced with the traditional dhun and prarthana. The Bal Mandal presented devotional bhajans that captivated the audience. During Bhagwan Swaminarayan's lifetime, there were 500 Paramhansas (Great Saints) that spread his teachings and led exemplary lives according to the principles laid out by the Lord.

The evening cultural program, that was put together by the bal, kishore and yuvak mandals, included several one-act dramas depicting the lives of some of the greatest Paramhansas and other disciples alternated by kirtans composed by these Paramhansas. The bal mandal also presented an excellent four-part drama on the life of Abhay Sinh Darbar, an alcoholic, who gave it up after coming in contact with one of the paramhansas. This was followed by a beautiful dance and kirtan by the yuvak mandal. Pujya Anupam Swami gave a speech on the three items to examine in choosing a true Guru - the Guru's life, his Guru's life and his disciples. Pujya Jnanpurush Swami then gave an eloquent speech on the glory of God and His disciples. A video depicting the progress of this temple construction was then shown. Dr. Dave then announced the upcoming third annual BAPS Health Fair on Saturday, May 17. The fair will be an excellent occasion to receive medical information and free physical examinations. Blood tests, EKG, PSA, bone density and other tests will also be performed for a nominal fee. The program ended with arti, followed by maha-prasad.

Shri Harikrishna Maharaj

Drama on the life of Abhay Sinh Darbar

Shri Harikrishna Maharaj in Swing

Sonana Bore Zule Nand Kishore...

13 April 2003, Sunday, Orlando, FL:

The Birthday of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ram were celebrated at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir on April 13th, 2003. A Medical Camp was also held at the mandir from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to commemorate this occasion. Devotees took advantage of the free consultation provided by Dr. Prakashbhai Tailor, Dr. Vrajbhai Panara, Dr. Kantibhai Bhalani and Dr. Sumanbhai Pandya. Advocate Kashmiraben Bhavsar also provided free legal advice to devotees from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

The main program commenced at 4:30 pm with the singing of prarthana and kirtans by BAPS Youth. The pujari, Hasmukhbhai Jethwa, then gave a brief speech on the life of Shri Ram. The BAPS Youth presented a short talk show on the Shikshapatri, a scripture on the moral code of conduct written by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. A play was also performed depicting the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Finally, the children performed a dance to celebrate the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ram. The small murti of Thakorji was placed in a cradle and the cradle was rocked by all the devotees while the BAPS youth sang kirtans. The attendees departed after having maha-prasad.

6 April 2003, Sunday, Edison, NJ:

The auspicious birthdays of Purna Purshottam Narayan Sahajanand Swami and Shri Ram were celebrated by Edison, Jersey City, Clifton, Cherry Hill, and Atlantic City Satsang mandals on April 6, 2003 with great jubilation in the presence of Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami, Haridarshan Swami, and Pujya Bhaktiswarup Swami. The morning session included kirtan bhakti and speeches about Bhagwan Swaminarayan's glorious life and Lord Ram. A video was shown of Pujya Swamishri celebrating the Pushpadolotsav samaiyo where devotees from all over India and abroad had flocked to Sarangpur to experience the divine event. The morning session ended with a discourse by Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami illuminating the life and achievements of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

After the conclusion of morning assembly, the Hari Jayanti celebration commenced with the inauguration of an exhibition on the Shikshapatri by the Kishoris of Edison Mandir. The exhibition depicted the gems of Shikshapatri, the central rulebook for all devotees of the Swaminarayan Sampraday containing guidelines on how to lead a happy, peaceful, healthy and God-centered life for all walks of people. The visitors were impressed by this exhibition since it carries the essence of Hindu moral codes for everyday life.

The evening congregation was extraordinary and became a highlight of the full day celebration. The climax of the samaiyo was the skit performed by the Kishore Mandal on how the British Governor Sir John Malcolm was impressed by the social reforms carried out by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Kishore Mandal and Bal Mandal also delivered discourses on the life of Shree Ram, sang devotional songs and carried out a Pothi Yatra of the Shikshapatri in traditional dresses. Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami enlightened the audience about the transformation that Shreeji Maharaj brought about in society and in people's lives via Shikshapatri. The dignitaries and guests for the evening celebration of Shree Ram Navami and Shree Hari Jayanti included New Jersey State Assembly member Upendra Shivkula; the Vice President of Asian Chambers of Commerce and others. The celebration ended with all the attendees enjoying the mahaprasad.

Reviewing Exhibition

Singinig Devotional Songs

Performing Festival Arti

© 2003, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith