The grand finale of the BAPS 60th Youth Anniversary Celebrations was held at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad. It celebrated the socio-spiritual youth activities established by Yogiji Maharaj and nourished worldwide by the present head, HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The guiding principle of BAPS youth activities is to develop character and to help inspire a morally sound society. More than 60,000 youths from all parts of India, USA, Canada, UK, East Africa, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other corners of the world had assembled for the grand cultural celebration.
The festival was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendrabhai Modi, in the presence of senior BAPS sadhus: Pujya Mahant Swami, Pujya Doctor Swami, Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Viveksagar Swami. On this occasion the Chief Minister said: “The knowledge of India’s glorious culture unifies, but does not create differences. This legacy has been propagated by our saints and sages. Today the BAPS Youth Forum has grown into a giant banyan tree from a small seed sown by Yogiji Maharaj and nourished by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It is his spiritual energy that I see in this mammoth youth assembly. My spirit has been fortified in seeing all of you youths. The future of India is bright. I wish you all success and strength to serve God and mother India.”
The 3½ hr. celebration was themed on six values: 1. Unity, 2. Self-control (sanyam), 3. Service (seva), 4. Character (sanskar), 5. Satsang and 6. Guru Bhakti. The theme was portrayed through colorful dances, dramas, parades, videos and speeches. In all, more than 1600 children and youths from Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Mumbai performed on the stage.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj in his video blessings said, “Pujya Yogiji Maharaj established the BAPS Yuvak Mandal and Satsang Mandal and blessed us with a priceless gift to elevate our lives. He often urged the youths to imbibe ‘Unity, Brotherhood and Harmony’ for peace, prosperity and success. My congratulations to you all for upholding satsang, service to parents and country. Let us remember that in the joy of others lies our own…”
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FUNCTION
- A grand international parade of 1,000 youths on the stadium grounds. It comprised of: ras group, bhajan group, music band, youths on motorbikes, giant tableaux, marching youths with flags and a tribal dance.
- Dramas portraying the sterling values of tolerance, allegiance to moral principles and faith in God.
- Video shows on the history of BAPS Youth activities and the efforts of gurus Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj in instilling faith and values in youths.
- Cultural African dance by youths from East Africa, and regional cultural dances of India, namely Rajasthan, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and other states.
- Musical presentation on vices and the solutions to prevent such addictions.
- Portrayal of the spirit of service through a dramatic presentation of youths cleaning huge pots and pans.
- A thrilling boat dance by children portraying the ocean of life and its storms, and how to weather them.
- Torch-dance in which youth danced with lighted torches. At this time, 140 youths on 70 motorbikes circled the grounds with lighted torches in hand.
- During the year-long Youth Celebration, thousands of BAPS youths performed 816,942,742 malas, 639,780,596 prostrations, 869,359,106 pradakshinas of God in mandirs.
- Two lighted torches, one from Dhari (the birthplace of Yogiji Maharaj) and the other from Mumbai (where the first BAPS Yuvak Mandal was established in 1952) were brought by youths running a total distance of 1,113 km.
- The impressive high point of the function was its ending with a grand arti, performed by 60,000 youths.