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November 30, 2003

BAPS Toronto, Canada achieved an important milestone on November 30, 2003 when devotees from all over the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Kitchner, Cambridge, Ottawa and USA gathered to celebrate the Praasaad Pravesh of the new Shri Swaminarayan Haveli. This day was of paramount significance as it celebrated both the Haveli - Praasaad Pravesh and also Swamishri’s Janmajayanti.The arrestingly blissful murtis of Shriji Maharaj and Gunatitanand Swami, along with the murtis of Guru Parampara adorned the stage. The backdrop of the stage was in the shape of a shikharbadh ‘Mandir’ This symbolic backdrop provided a focal point for all devotees in the audience of Swamishri’s vision and the haribhaktas imminent goal of building a stone ‘Mandir’ next to the new Haveli. Thakorji was beaming in luscious vaghas accepting the devotion of His haribhaktas. The spiritually charged ambiance provided refuge for all that entered the Haveli.

Sant Mandal from all over North America graced this auspicious occasion. The morning began with the Mahapuja performed by Pujya Priyavrat Swami, presided by Pujya Akshaymuni Swami and Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami. With the Vedic rites and chants, the Sabha hall was charged with soul stirring spirituality.Following the Mahapuja, the Murti Pratishta was performed in the HariMandir, which was televised in the Sabha Hall for all to see. The Murtis crowned a beautifully decorated Annakut of close to 100 delicacies. Distinguished community leaders and government representatives attended the Pratishta Sabha. His Worship David Miller, Mayor of Toronto, addressed the assembly and expressed his gratitude towards the sanstha. He commended BAPS on the magnificent Haveli and lauded the contribution of BAPS to Toronto and Canada at large. He pledged his continual support to BAPS in making the Haveli a landmark gracing the skyline of Toronto. Federal and Provincial Members of Parliament – Roy Cullen, MP; Hon. Harinder Takhar, Minister of Transportation, Province of Ontario; Dr. Shafiq Quadri, MPP; Suzanne Hall, Councilor, City of Toronto; brought with them the greetings and best wishes of their respective governments.

The afternoon assembly, with the judicious theme, ‘Eva Sant Ne Naamu Hun Shish,’ provided a glimpse in to the magnanimous persona of Swamishri. It was a delightful blend of katahamrut and kirtans.Echoing the sentiments of all dignitaries, Pujya Tyaagratna Swami provided a focal point for all about the delicate blend of faith, love and peace that was felt in the Haveli which invariably results from the presence of God.Pujya Chidanand Swami, a highly regarded Sant, also joined us in celebrating Swamishri’s Janmajayanti. In commending the efforts of BAPS, he said that to define words such as commitment and dedication, one would have to refer to the exemplary seva of BAPS volunteers. He deftly pointed out that these efforts would be meaningless without the grace of a Guru. He provided much food for thought of the indisputable reality that the source of all BAPS success is Pramukh Swami Maharaj, ‘Saint of the Century’. He further reminded us that in order to pay true tribute and celebrate Swamishri’s Janmajayanti; we must imbibe a ‘touch' of all his divine attributes.

What is it about Swamishri that a mere glimpse of His darshan ignites ecstasy and the mention of His name sets the hearts racing with joy? The emotionally charged pravachans by Pujya Santos of North America gave the audience a flavor of their deep-seated love, affection and gurubhakti towards Swamishri. Swamishri’s parabhakti, Swamishri’s ability to forgive, Swamishri’s ability to guide, His constant contentment gained from the bliss of Maharaj and countless other virtues emanated through various Sant pravachans. In closing, Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami reminded all the haribhaktos of the immense fortune Swamishri has bestowed upon the haribhaktos of Toronto by gifting us the Haveli. It would be only fitting that we put forth our best effort in making His Vision of the ‘Mandir’, Our Mission.

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