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Sunday 12 November 2006, the final weekend before Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s departure to India saw the advance celebrations of Swamishri’s 86th Birth Anniversary. In the morning, when Swamishri went for his daily morning darshan in the Mandir, children lined up in the Mandir. During the morning puja, an array of birthday cards surrounded Swamishri whilst he was seated on a beautiful decorated stage with flowers. After the puja, Swamishri performed the pujan of the new murtis for the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandirs in Birmingham and Coventry.

The highlight of the day was the evening assembly in which sadhus including Kothari Swami and Viveksagar Swami narrated their most cherished memories of Swamishri that they had witnessed. Interspersing this was a moving video of memories of Swamishri’s vicharan in the UK and Europe. The conclusion to the evening was a wonderful dance by the kishores ending with an emotional prayer to Swamishri. Following the arti, Swamishri gave his blessings in which he talked of being ego-free in life and living one’s life in service of God.

Thousands of devotees from all over the globe had descended on London and were given the opportunity of sameep darshan for the third time. It was a truly a remarkable evening. Volunteers served with dedication in various departments making the programme a huge success.

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