BAPS Mandirs across North America celebrated Janmashtami, Bhagwan Shri Krishna’s birth. The colorfully decorated mandirs and the melodious sounds of bhajans created a festive environment where devotees and well-wisherslovingly did darshan of Shri Krishna’s murti, a sacred image, which was placed on a beautifully decorated swing.
On this joyous occasion, children and adults participated in a cultural program, recalling the divine incidents of Bhagwan Shri Krishna and the eternal messages of the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. While Arjuna is in distress on the battlefield, Shri Krishna provides him solace by giving him atma-gnan, the knowledge of the eternal soul. Shri Krishna explains that the human body and all its attachments are perishable. Thus, Shri Krishna describes that to attain moksha, freedom from the cycle of birth and death, one should surrender one’s self to God and offer all actions in devotion to God. Bhagwan Swaminarayan often discussed the concept of selfless devotion throughout The Vachanamrut. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the epitome of selfless devotion and inspires devotees around the world to whole-heartedly serve Bhagwan Swaminarayan and His ideal devotee.
This year’s theme, Sa Me Priyaha, iterated the concept of true selfless love between Bhagwan and His ideal devotee. Through the mesmerizing program the children and youth provided visitors with a glimpse of Shri Krishna’s life. The children performed traditional Indian folk dances signaling the birth of Shri Krishna. The youth participated in various skits as a part of the Krishna Leela, bringing to life the divine incidents of Shri Krishna. The illuminating speeches discussed the relationship between Shri Krishna and his beloved devotees, including Sudama, Arjuna, Draupadi, Sukdevji, etc, through which attendees learned how to imbibe the qualities of these devotees in their own lives.