The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion on Friday 3 April 2009 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London. To mark this auspicious occasion, a grand variety of food was offered to the deities, and at 12 noon, the sadhus performed a special arti to commemorate the birth of Shri Ramchandraji.
Worshippers were able to rock the cradle of Shri Ramchandraji and were given the opportunity of offering abhishek to the sacred image of Nilkanth Varni (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) in the evening.
In the evening assembly, sadhus and youths performed a wonderful Kirtan Bhakti programme, extolling the life and virtues of Bhagwan Swaminarayan through devotional singing and discourses. The grand assembly culminated in the celebrations of the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan at precisely 10:10pm.
Swaminarayan Jayanti was also celebrated on the evening of Saturday 4 April 2009 with an enlightening programme entitled ‘Shri-Harina Parivartan’ which illustrated different episodes from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and how he had transformed the lives of various people.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s ‘Yash Gatha’ was performed by youths, interspersed with a dance by young children illustrating the childhood of Ghanshyam, a powerful speech and clips from Mystic India to portray his teenage years as Nilkanth Varni, and an entertaining drama recalling the life of Sagram Vaghri.
Yogvivek Swami concluded the festival by explaining the manner in which Bhagwan Swaminarayan changed the nature of so many people, and how his principles and values should be preserved today.
The Mahila Mandal celebrated the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan on Saturday 28 March 2009 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj. The theme was based on the thirteen extraordinary qualities (asadharan lakshans) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The event focussed on four of these qualities, which were analysed and explained in detail. These lakshans were then mapped with those of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. One of the highlights of the event was a presentation by shishus aged between three and six years who, for the first time, recited quotations from the Vachanamrut.
In addition to the celebrations at London Mandir, Shri Swaminarayan Jayanti and Ram Navmi were also celebrated at various mandirs and centres across the UK and Europe.