1 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Jeth Vad 30) Saturday, London
The Indian Ambassador for South Africa, H.E. Niranjan Desai, came for Swamishri's darshan. In his address he described Swamishri as the global ambassador of Hindu tradition and culture.
2 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Ashadh Sud 1) Sunday, London: Children's Day
As part of Children's Day program, a drama 'Sowing the seeds of Satsang' showed how the 'Bal Basics Contest in Satsang' (BBC-S) program was set up. The BBC-S project, with the aid of a CD ROM and booklet was an effort to educate children with an in-depth knowledge of Satsang, its rituals and traditions.
Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly emphasizing the need to expose children to our culture and character. "If we fail to instil character in our children then it will be a blot and a source of misery for us. The belief that if children who will not roam or be exposed to outside things will be left behind and outdated is wrong. People feel that if children get involved in religious things then they will become passive - but this is not true! So it is important to inspire values and spirituality in them ..."
Swamishri then presented prizes to groups of a total of 856 children who had successfully participated in the Bal Basics Contest Program.
Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister of Maharashtra state, India, was highly impressed by his visit to the mandir and received the blessings of Swamishri. In his opinion about the mandir, he wrote, "I am fortunate to visit this temple - a monument of Hinduism and its concepts. This is one of the wonders of the recent history. Only dedicated people could have done this and Swamiji's blessings could bring this dream true. This is a pilgrimage outside India. I am glad to visit this and in getting the blessings of Swamiji. This will help unite humanity."
6 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Ashadh Sud 5) Thursday, Wellingborough
Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was honored by devotees in the evening assembly.
7 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Ashadh Sud 6) Friday, Wellingborough, London Swamishri departed from Wellingborough at 10.40 am and arrived at Dollis Hill, London at 12.55pm. On entering Arvindbhai Guru's home, Swamishri fondly recalled the memories of Yogiji Maharaj's stay here in 1970.
8 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Ashadh Sud 7) Saturday, London: Honor by Guinness World Records
At 11.35 am Swamishri blessed the one-day Vadil Shibir (senior devotees' camp) assembly in the mandir.
The evening assembly had two programs - the first was the presentation of activities and information about the Swaminarayan Independent School. And the second program was the honor accorded by the Guinness Book of World Records to Swamishri for his record consecration of 355 mandirs in 11 countries and for creating the largest, traditional Hindu mandir outside India. Mr. Tim Footman, the Managing Editor of Guinness World Records presented the certificates of honor first to Lord Harikrishna Maharaj and then to Swamishri. The ceremony of honor inspired thunderous clappings and a standing ovation from 4000 devotees. In his speech to the assembly, Tim Footman said: "Thank you very much for such a warm welcome. I am quite humbled, and if I have stumbled a bit, it is for loss of words. You are so kind. I have always said that the Guinness World Records is something like life. It's a combination of all things, it includes for duration. Records for standing on one leg, for 76 hours and things like the biggest collection of earrings or eating the most baked beans in half an hour, or we have got a record for a chap who pogo-sticked up to CN Tower in Toronto, 2000 steps. This is part of what makes the Guinness Book of World Records so successful, and indeed so much upon to work on. I have got the best job of publishing, but there are also some serious records and fundamental records. We also like to acknowledge to show that your life is at full. We have records about lives saved and lost, and we have records of people like Bill Gate's Microsoft fortunes rise and fall, and then of course, we have got records such as those held by His Holiness which we are here to honour. I was very glad last year to be able to honour His Holiness, for, well, what you see around you in material form and also not only himself, but all the people contributed to it. The 1526 craftsmen in India who went towards it, is truly a mass record and we are also very pleased to put the picture of this Temple and His Holiness. And we are doubly glad this year to receive a record which was just in time to include in the STOP Press. For the record, for the person who has consecrated the most temples of any religious building of any religion around the world, 355 -it is certainly an impressive statistic, and it is one which we hope to include in the main body of the book next year. I had little time to digest it and have full details. What impressed me most about it is that it isn't simply an Indian Record. His Holiness has traveled all around the World and has disciples all around the world. I am prepared to put faith into these temples and it is in the best of things, truly a world record !"
Tim Footman was then presented with a memento. This was followed by a brief video of mandirs consecrated by Swamishri. Finally, the function was crowned by Swamishri's blessings. "We congratulate (Tim Footman) for recognizing our work in the Guinness World Records. As he mentioned there are many different records and with that they have noted a spiritual record - this a matter of peace for the world. Because peace lies in religion and spirituality. Where there is a spirituality, refuge in God, inclination towards dharma and the association of bonafide spiritual people in this world, then the society, country and everyone will benefit immensely.
"Whatever we have achieved is through the grace and power of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the blessings of Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. It was their vision and dream and through the efforts of sadhus and devotees this has become possible. The honor accorded today is therefore a felicitation to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and a dedication to Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj."
The ceremony of honor by the Guinness World Records was covered worldwide by the TV networks and print media.
This afternoon, 700 women devotees participated in the Women's Shibir held in the mandir hall. Discourses on different topics were delivered by learned women devotees. A grand procession and ceremony of honor for Lord Harikrishna Maharaj was carried out during the shibir.
9 July 2000: (V.S. 2056, Ashadh Sud 8) Sunday, London: Sponsored Walk
At 9.10 am, Swamishri performed the puja of Harikrishna Maharaj and addressed the devotees gathered for the annual sponsored walk. Swamishri flagged off the sponsored walk organized by the Swaminarayan Mandir to give momentum to its ongoing services to society. The participants enthusiastically filed passed Swamishri to embark upon the 10km route. This unique annual event attracts five year old children, youths and even seniors in their eighties.
This year the walk had devotees from Portugal, USA, Norway, South Africa, Kenya and India. The event had a total of 1979 participants. At 11.12 am, to the surprise and delight of the devotees, Swamishri arrived for the sponsored walk. Walking with a large group of devotees, Swamishri and the sadhus chanted the Swaminarayan dhun. For a full twenty-minutes Swamishri walked towards the mandir.