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The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were joyously celebrated with a variety of devotional activities at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 28 March 2015.
The festivities began from the morning on Chaitra sud 9 – the actual birthdate of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Rama according to the Hindu calendar. An annakut (traditional ceremonial offering of food) was artistically arranged in the shrines before the murtis.
Sadhus performed a special arti at noon to commemorate the birth of Shri Ramachandraji. Youths also sang bhajans to the accompaniment of musical instruments extolling the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Rama.
Later in the evening, devotees gathered in the assembly hall to celebrate Swaminarayan Jayanti with a special programme. Titled ‘Mala-na Manaka’, it focused on the high spiritual calibre of devotees Bhagwan Swaminarayan had nurtured during his life.
The celebrations began with devotional singing followed by an enthralling production which took the audience back in time as the hall transformed into a scene from the era of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Performers expertly enacted inspiring accounts of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s devotees who had shown remarkable courage in remaining steadfast to their faith and religious observances.
The drama was supported by enlightening discourses from sadhus and lively bhajans that further elaborated upon the theme of the programme. The historical journey was brought to a conclusion with reference to modern-day devotees who have demonstrated the same values with the guidance and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
As the finale drew near, youths performed a vibrant and colourful dance welcoming the murti of Harikrishna Maharaj inside the assembly hall amid a grand procession.
The janmotsav arti was joyously sung at precisely 10.10pm to mark the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Everyone joined in devotional singing to celebrate the auspicious moment, thereby concluding the day’s festivities.
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