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The birth celebrations of Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, the first spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, were devoutly held in the presence of sadgurus Pujya Keshavjivan Swami (Mahant Swami) and Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami) as well as other visiting sadhus from India on Saturday 4 October 2014 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

The evening assembly presented the spiritual greatness of Gunatitanand Swami and highlighted the tireless efforts of Shastriji Maharaj to propagate the eternal truth of Akshar Purushottam upasana.

Sadhus and youths began the programme with the singing of devotional songs, extolling the divine virtues of Gunatitanand Swami.

Narayanmuni Swami referred to notable occasions where Bhagwan Swaminarayan reiterated Akshar Purushottam upasana and, in particular, lucidly identified Gunatitanand Swami as Aksharbrahma. His discourse also revealed the hardships faced by Shastriji Maharaj throughout his travels to reinforce this spiritual wisdom.

Devotees then enacted a short sketch depicting the life of Malji Soni – an elderly devotee from the time of Shastriji Maharaj with firm conviction in this spiritual truth developed through his association with Sadguru Gopalanand Swami.

Kothari Swami explained the characteristics of Aksharbrahma and illustrated how these values were demonstrated through the life and works of Gunatitanand Swami. Mahant Swami enlightened the gathering further on the practical application of Akshar Purushottam upasana by drawing references to Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s teachings on the Gunatit Satpurush; Bhagwan Swaminarayan remains ever-present on earth through the unbroken succession of gurus, continuing today in guruhari Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

The festival concluded with the ritual offering of a garland to the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj by Mahant Swami, Kothari Swami and sadhus.

Gunatitanand Swami’s birthday was celebrated again on Tuesday 7 October 2014 – Sharad Purnima, the actual birthdate according to the Hindu calendar. The evening assembly consisted of bhajans as well as discourses from sadhus explaining the need for and the form of Aksharbrahma today. In keeping with tradition, devotees also performed five artis during the assembly.

The mahilas also celebrated Gunatitanand Swami’s birthday on Saturday 11 October 2014 with an enlightening programme of bhajans, dramas and speeches underlining the greatness of the Gunatit Guru.

They presented the spiritual bond between Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swami through an insightful sankirtan as the festival concluded with excerpts from Likhitan Shastri Yagnapurushdas focusing on the endeavours of Shastriji Maharaj in embedding this profound spiritual wisdom.

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