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2 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 3) Wednesday, Atlanta: Karyakar Din

In the evening assembly, on behalf of the Mayor and citizens of Atlanta, Mr. Greg Pridgeon - Deputy Chief of Staff, honored Swamishri with the 'Dream Realized Award'. The award is presented to unique personalities in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.
As part of the Karyakar Din program, a drama presentation showed that an ideal karyakar (volunteer) should have an organized and spotless life; and should sacrifice his mind, body and wealth in the service of Satsang.
In his blessings Swamishri emphasized the importance of God's infinite strength: "One who sets out to serve faces obstacles and difficulties. But if one is grounded in Dharma (morality) and God's strength then one will achieve success. The Pandavas had nothing, whereas the Kauravas had a massive army of mighty warriors. But the Pandavas had the strength of Bhagwan Krishna and that is why they won. Similarly, if we rely on God's strength then we will attain success in our works."
 

3 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 4) Thursday, Atlanta
In the evening assembly, Swamishri was honored from the Governor of Atlanta's office and also offered the 'Key to the City of Clarkstown' by Mayor George Baldesare of Clarkstown.
 

4 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 5) Friday, Atlanta: Kishore Din
The special Kishore Day program in the evening saw a dramatic presentation on world problems by the kishores. A representative of WHO talked about the global problems of health and disease. A kishore representing UNICEF talked on the negligence of parents in rearing their children as the root cause of world problems. And the Green Peace Movement expressed its frustration with the environmental crisis. A scientist voiced his plans to set up a space colony to escape our problem-filled world. Finally, as the panacea of all ills, a representative of the BAPS explained the power of Satsang as the answer to all problems...
Mr. Terrell Slayton, Assistant Secretary of Georgia State, presented Swamishri with a citation of Georgia's Goodwill Ambassador and Honorary Citizen.
The kishores and kishoris honored Lord Harikrishna Maharaj.
 

5 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 6) Saturday, Atlanta
At 6.25pm Swamishri addressed an assembly of doctors offering honorary services in the mandir, "Our shastras say that one who has self-control suffers less diseases. Because when man does not exercise any discipline in eating, drinking, looking, hearing, etc. he invites disease. And the unseen elements (of anger, jealousy, greed, lust) within are more responsible for his sufferings. They cannot be detected by a stethoscope. The shastras prescribe refuge in God as the only cure. The more self-control one has the more peace and happiness one will have in life. And along with self-control one should also associate with a holy sadhu (sant samagam). Prayers too have cured chronic diseases ..."
 

6 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 7) Sunday, Atlanta
At 11.05 am Swamishri performed the maha-puja as part of the 'Bhumi-Pujan' ceremony for the new mandir site. More than 300 devotees participated in the maha-puja.
Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was honored by the devotees during the evening assembly.

8 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 9, Tuesday, Jackson (Mississippi)
Swamishri performed the murti-pratistha of the marble murtis of Shri Akshar Purushottam, Shri Radha Krishna Dev, Shri Hari Krishna Maharaj, Shri Ganapatiji & Guru Parampara (canvas).
In the evening assembly the Mayor of Jackson city, Mr.Harvey Johnson Jr., presented Swamishri with the 'Key to the City'. After Swamishri's blessings, the devotees honored Lord Harikrishna Maharaj.

  

9 August 2000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 10) Wednesday, Perry ( Georgia) : Shibir
At 12.25pm Swamishri arrived for the 4-day Shibir in Perry, At 6.00 p.m. Swamishri lighted the lamp and inaugurated the Shibir with a registration of 1800 Bal-Balika and Kishore-Kishori participants. A welcome dance was performed and an ID Card was placed around Thakorji and Swamishri. A drama on, 'Haridas' showed the tolerance of the paramhansas in the face of physical torture and persecution. Swamishri talked about the glory and supremity of Shriji Maharaj.
 

10 August 20000: (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 11) Thursday, Perry: Shibir

After puja, Swamishri inaugurated an exhibition on the subject of 'Mandir' prepared by kishoris of Houston and Chicago and another on 'Swaminarayan Mahamantra' by kishoris of New Jersey and Los Angeles.
Swamishri wrote the Swaminarayan Mahamantra five times on a display board. The kishores played an exciting Generation Game with Swamishri as the judge, followed by a question-answer session with Swamishri.
At 11.15 a.m. Swamishri went to the Bal Shibir and participated in Ruchi Quiz. Swamishri blessed the session through a question-answer session.
In the evening assembly of the Shibir the Fuldol festival was celebrated to enlighten and offer an experience to the participating children and teenagers. The backdrop and stage arrangements were setup to create an ambience of the Festival of Colors. The entire day's theme focused on the significance and spirit of the Fuldol Festival. The festival's theme prayer of 'Maha Balvant Maya Tamari...' was reflected in the speeches and blessings of Swamishri.
Finally, Swamishri worshipped and sprayed colored water on Thakorji and then sprayed the holy colored water on the kishores and balaks.
 

11 August (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud 12) Friday, Perry: Shibir

At 11.10 a.m. Swamishri encouraged the welcoming dance by balaks by clapping amidst them. Swamishri then conducted the game 'Shriji Says' and entertained and enlightened the balaks. In his blessings Swamishri narrated the story of 'Lindiyo' - the lion who had turned meek in a sheep's flock.
The evening celebration of 'Shakotsav' was focussed on 'Aharshuddhi' - purity of diet, ie on vegetarianism. The agenda of speeches and blessings by Swamishri enlightened and consolidated this important theme. The Festival was crowned with servings of 'khichadi' that was blessed by Swamishri while it was being prepared in the afternoon. All the Shibir participants dined with Swamishri.

 

12 August 2000 (V.S. 2056, Shravan Sud ) Perry: Shibir, Charlotte
In Swamishri's morning puja, kishores of Charlotte stayed up all night to prepare an exquisite stage backdrop. The murti of Lord Swaminarayan was placed on a huge decorated paper elephant beneath a beautiful archway.
During the morning session in the Bal Shibir, Swamishri watched the balaks play 'Hot Potato' - passing the beach-ball till the music stopped. The balak left with the ball would go before Swamishri and take a vow on the chit that Swamishri picked out from a bowl. Then a question-answer session was held with Swamishri.
At 11.10 a.m. Swamishri went to the Kishore Shibir. A programme of kirtan bhakti was arranged. As Swamishri chose the bhajans on a computer screen the sadhus sang them. The kirtan bhakti's tempo rose. The kishores broke out dancing and at one point Swamishri stood amidst them clapping and engaging in a few light steps. The kishores were elated and everyone experienced joy during these divine moments. Thereafter a question-answer session was arranged with Swamishri. During his blessings, Swamishri spoke, ' Aapane to
thea ...a...a...ath, Akshardham ma javu chhe mate kantalo lavavo nahi' (we have to go a...a...all the way to Akshardham ...) in a unique long style that left a memorable impression among the Kishores and Kishoris.
In the evening Swamishri sanctified a piece of land donated for the building of a mandir by Maheshbhai Desai. Swamishri performed the Bhumi-pujan and arti of the new land.
The main focus of the evening assembly was the Raksha Bandhan festival - to imbibe and foster family values. In his blessings, Swamishri said," It is God who ultimately protects us. In this world, someone may protect our money or whatever, but God protects us in such a way that we never have to go through the cycles of birth and death...". Then Swamishri spoke a couple of sentences in English, " All of you are God's children. All of you stay happy."
Swamishri tied a Rakhadi on Thakorji and kishores tied the holy thread (nada chhadi) on each others wrists and then tied the two-feet pieces of thin colourful rope with each others. The two ends were then tied to a long string of nada chhadi that was given to Swamishri. During this blessings, Swamishri explained the importance of Raksha Bandhan and stressed on family values.
After the evening supper a special session to celebrate Diwali - the Festival of Lights was held. Swamishri and all the shibirites performed arti and then watched a spectacular fireworks display.

 

13 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 13) Sunday, Perry, Charlotte

After the morning puja Swamishri celebrated the Makar Sankranti Joli Utsav. Swamishri explained the significance of the festival as a day on which householders, to earn merits, reverently offer charity to the sadhus and sanyasis. Swamishri then spoke out the call for charity uttered by sadhus, - 'Narayan Hare Sacchidanand Prabho' The kishores clapped in appreciation of Swamishri's crisp, sweet voice. At 10.30 a.m. Swamishri depated from Perry and lauded at Charlotte at 11.30 a.m.
In the evening assembly at Charlotte, Swamishri was welcomed by the Mayor of Matthews town, Mr.Lee Myers. He presented the 'Key to the City' to Swamishri and requested him to visit the city again and again.

 

14 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 14) Monday, Charlotte
In the evening assembly Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was honored by the devotees.

15 August 2000 (V.S. 2056 Shravan Sud 15) Tuesday, Charlotte: Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day
Thakorji and the throne were decorated with the tricolors of the Indian Flag and Rakhadis. After puja Swamishri hoisted the Indian flag and Police Commissioner Mr.Hunter hoisted the American flag. In the evening assembly children performed a 'Kucch Geet' (march). Swamishri explained the importance of Raksha Bandhan in his blessings. Thereafter the sadhus tied Rakhadis on the devotees.

Living with Swamishri

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