Over two thousand people gathered at the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Mandir, Edison, NJ, on Sunday 16th May to celebrate the birth anniversary of Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the Guru of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the present leader of the BAPS.
Chief Guest for the evening was Srichand Hinduja of the Hinduja business house. The celebrations included Hindi presentations and bhajans by children, as well as a beautifully choreographed dance asking God and Guru to bless all peoples of the world. The kishore mandal presented a video with live commentary portraying how BAPS has been successful in North America, and how Pramukh Swami Maharaj has been so effective here. A glimpse of Akshardham and the Chicago project were also shown. Pujya Manoharmurti Swami spoke on how Yogiji Maharaj's positive attitude had inspired those around him, whilst Pujya Shantipriya Swami in his address explained the life and mission of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Yogiji Maharaj was the founding father of BAPS youth activities. A visionary, he foresaw the coming of an age where youth problems would increase dramatically and with disastrous results. He realized that a continuous youth forum that instilled moral and spiritual values from a young age would be immensely helpful to society. Whilst he said that "prevention was always better than a cure", he also knew that for certain segments of society a cure would have to be provided. All over the world, beginning in East Africa and then spreading to Europe and North America, he established temples and centers of culture that would cater to the needs of society in a continually evolving manner.
The birth celebrations were a huge 'thank you' to Yogiji Maharaj for the activities he began and Pramukh Swami Maharaj has expanded.
In recognition of this achievement, Srichand Hinduja attended the celebrations to honor and laud the two gurus.
Srichand Hinduja was welcomed and honored in the massive assembly hall in traditional manner with kumkum chandlo, sacred nadachhadi and garland by Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami and BAPS President, Dr. K. C. Patel. More than 100 prominent Indian leaders from the New York and New Jersey area also attended the celebrations.
In his address, Srichand Hinduja spoke on the need for revitalizing the traditions and values of the non-resident Indian and Indo-American community, and of how BAPS had maintained an incredible record of success amongst the young community. He spoke on the need for a vegetarian diet and was delighted to find that all several thousands of BAPS youth are vegetarians.
At the end of the evening all attendees took part in the arti and were served a full dish of delicious Mahaprasad prepared by the Ladies Wing.