The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were joyously celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 20 April 2013 (this year coinciding with Chaitra sud 9, the actual birthdate according to the Hindu calendar).
The festivities began from the morning with the traditional annakut (a ceremonial offering of food) artistically arranged in the shrines before the murtis.
At 12 noon, sadhus performed a special arti to commemorate the birth of Shri Rama Bhagwan.
A programme of devotional songs was organised from 5pm as part of the festival. Sadhus and youths eloquently sang a collection of bhajans extolling the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramachandraji.
The assembly hall in the evening was transformed into a scene from 1800s Gujarat. Youths donned the robes of sadhus and devotees in an enactment of various scenes from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The expertly choreographed and thought-provoking production was entitled “Jivano Satsang”. It focused on how a devotee can imbibe the morals and values that were taught by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, depicted though the rise and fall of Alaiya Khachar and the life of Anandji Sanghediya of Mangrol.
Interspersed between the sketches were devotional songs and discourses from sadhus elaborating upon the values and principles of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Rama. Prabuddhmuni Swami and Satyavrat Swami called upon the assembly to draw inspiration from the latter’s exemplary life as an ideal father, son, leader and citizen. They went on to elaborate upon Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s mission on earth to purify countless souls and uplift society with applicable spiritual wisdom.
Children, youths and senior devotees all contributed to an enlightening set of performances, including a vibrant and colourful dancing procession welcoming the murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan into the assembly hall as the festivities neared their climax.
The assembly culminated with devotional singing and the janmotsav arti sung joyously at precisely 10.10pm to mark the auspicious birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
The festival was also celebrated by the Women’s Forum in London on Saturday 13 April 2013. A series of sketches illustrated the positive transformation of people’s lives through the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The inspiring celebrations also included dances which were enjoyed by young and old.
Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were also celebrated at all BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs and centres around the UK as well as in Europe.