The festival of Vasant Panchmi, which commemorates the birthdays of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj, Brahmanand Swami and Nishkulanand Swami, and the day Bhagwan Swaminarayan revealed the Shikshapatri, was celebrated at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Johannesburg on Sunday 10 February 2008. Over 800 devotees from BAPS centers in Lenasia, Pretoria, Rustenburg and Johannesburg attended.
An inspiring and informative program was presented by the youngsters of the bal, kishore and yuvak mandals. Members of the Bal Mandal narrated a series of stories to illustrate how Vasant Panchmi is a celebration of Ekantik Dharma, i.e. how the Shikshapatri, Shastriji Maharaj, Nishkulanand Swami and Brahmanand Swami represent the ideals of dharma, gnan, vairagya and bhakti respectively.
Members of the Yuvak Mandal sang melodious kirtans extolling the great life and work of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj. A creative and entertaining group activity session based on incidents from Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj’s life tested the knowledge of all devotees present.
A kishore speaker shed light on the glory of the Shikshapatri and narrated the historical account of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s priceless gift of the Shikshapatri to Sir John Malcolm during their meeting in Rajkot in 1830. A video presentation introduced to the audience the digital copy of this same Shikshapatri, now housed and preserved in the Indian Institute Library of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
The celebration assembly concluded with arti and guru pujan.