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Vasant Panchmi marks four significant events in the Swaminarayan Sampradaya: the advent of the Shikshapatri, the births of Brahmanand Swami and Nishkulanand Swami (two senior paramhansas from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan), and the birth anniversary of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj.

The festival of Vasant Panchmi was celebrated with great joy in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami through a programme entitled ‘Aje Yagnapurushne Dwar’ on the evening of Saturday 21 January 2012 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

The assembly began with kishores and yuvaks singing the dhun, after which Bhaktavatsal Swami narrated incidents from the life of Shastriji Maharaj portraying his sadhuta (saintliness) and compassion. Shastriji Maharaj’s compassion was further highlighted through an emphatic drama performed by the yuvaks. Kishores and yuvaks thereafter joined to eloquently sing the bhajan ‘Jhindagi Hai Aj’, which extols devotion to God and explains the spiritual purpose of a human birth.

A video presentation of Pramukh Swami Maharaj singing ‘Shastriji Maharaj-no Sang’ illustrated his devotion for his guru, after which Pujya Mahant Swami enlightened the assembly on the conviction, determination and hardships faced by Shastriji Maharaj in propagating the Akshar Purushottam upasana.

The festival concluded with a vibrant and colourful dance to the bhajan ‘Aje Yagnapurushne Dwar’ performed by kishores and yuvaks.

The mahilas organised a similar festival on Saturday 28 January 2012, the actual tithi of Vasant Panchmi. The inspiring assembly involved participants ranging from young children through to more senior members, and included a speech on the modern relevance of the Shikshapatri, a selection of bhajans composed by Brahmanand Swami and Nishkulanand Swami, and bhajans as well as speeches describing the divine characteristics of Shastriji Maharaj and a drama that touched upon the many challenges he endured in establishing the Sanstha.

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