January 4, 2004
The Edison BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its worldwide children’s activities. The activities were started by Yogiji Maharaj – guru of Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the present guru of BAPS. All bal mandals celebrated the event throughout North America.
In Edison, twenty-five children raised in the United States between the ages of 8 and 14 spent a great portion of their winter holidays to create this unique and awe-inspiring event presented primarily in Gujarati. Beginning in November, practices began for a kirtan aaradhana – a night of devotional songs accompanied by music and speeches. The children, based on their different strengths, played all of the traditional Indian instruments, sang songs as well as organizing the program itself. Asked why they chose to dedicate themselves in this manner, the children all responded that it was through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The program underscores the emphasis on culture that BAPS promotes for younger generations. Weekly music, Gujarati and educational classes are staple at all BAPS centers. The dedication seen is not unique to Edison, as similar commitment by younger generations in BAPS can be seen the world.