The festival of Holi and the birth of Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj were celebrated in unison on Saturday 30 March 2013 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London. Holi is the ‘festival of colours’, and marks the arrival of spring. On this day, the Swaminarayan Sampradaya also celebrates the birth of Bhagatji Maharaj, the second spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
The celebrations began with devotional songs sung by youths. Paramtattva Swami highlighted the guru-centric nature of Bhagatji Maharaj’s endeavours and explained how this serves as an ideal for all of us. The ideals by which Bhagatji Maharaj lived were then beautifully exhibited through a collection of short speeches delivered by children.
Anandpriya Swami also addressed the audience, elaborating upon the values of service, faith and loyalty to the guru – virtues that were prominent in the life of Bhagatji Maharaj.
A video of Pramukh Swami Maharaj celebrating the festival of Holi was then shared before sadhus presented a garland that was made for Swamishri, bringing the evening’s festivities to an end.
Bhagatji Maharaj’s birthday was also celebrated at the Mandir on Tuesday 26 March 2013 (the actual birth date according to the Hindu calendar). The sacred images in the Mandir were adorned with beautiful coloured clothing. Devotees braved the chilly weather to enthusiastically offer their prayers on this auspicious day
A devotional programme was also held in the evening when sadhus narrated inspiring incidents from the life of Bhagatji Maharaj which were further supported with devotional songs.
The festival of Holi was also celebrated by the mahilas on Saturday 23 March 2013. A spiritually uplifting programme focussing on the divine virtues of Bhagatji Maharaj was delivered through the singing of prayers and devotional songs as well as inspiring speeches and an enlightening drama. A colourful and vibrant dance concluded the festivities.
Bhagatji Maharaj’s Jayanti was similarly celebrated with great devotion at other BAPS mandirs and centres around the UK and in parts of Europe.