7 June Pramukh Swami Maharaj Arrives in Atlanta
7 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Jeth vad 5) Monday, Edison, Atlanta
o At 12.40 pm Swamishri arrived at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Clarkston, Atlanta.
o In the evening welcome assembly senior devotees honored Swamishri. The Mayor of Clarkston, Lee Swaney honored Swamishri with a Key to the City. After the Mayor’s address, children of Atlanta Satsang performed a traditional welcome dance. Finally Swamishri blessed the assembly, emphasizing the need to consolidate our cultural and religious values in children.
District Attorney Jeffrey H. Brickman presents a proclamation that praises Swamishri's strong adherence to non-violence
8 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Jeth vad 6) Tuesday, Atlanta
o Senior Citizens’ Day Jeffrey H Brickman, District Attorney of Dekalb County, honored Swamishri with a proclamation for his outstanding contribution to nonviolence.
o The evening assembly was celebrated as Senior Citizens’ Day. The youths performed a drama ‘Dollar is my God and I am its Servant’ which illustrated the difficult and miserable situations of senior citizens who labored for only money. In conclusion Swamishri blessed the assembly, “If there is Satsang then the family can be happy. The reason for building mandirs here is to maintain your character and culture, to enhance love with family members and to preserve a vegetarian diet in your lives… So you must visit the mandir and read our scriptures.
Swamishri and saints sing 'Ekade Ek, Shreeji Ni Rakho Tek…'
9 June 2004 (V.S. 2060 Jeth vad 7) Wednesday, Atlanta; Cildren’s Day
During Swamishri’s puja, children recited Shri Vasudevvimalamrut verses and chapter 42 of Bhakta Chintamani. The balikas had prepared various food items for annakut for Shri Harikrishna Maharaj.
In the morning special assembly for children various programs were presented before Swamishri. Finally in his blessings Swamishri stressed the need to be an ideal child by studying well, doing satsang and serving parents.
On behalf of Terry Coleman, Speaker of Georgia, Charles Topenses, his chief assistant, presented Swamishri a proclamation for his social services and declared 9 June 2004 as ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Spirit of Humanity Day’.
Chuck Topenses, Chief of Staff for the speaker for the GA House of Representatives, spoke to the assembly, “First of all, I want to thank His Divine Holiness for spending the time here in Atlanta. To come and be with you, to continue his work in providing the kind of spiritual leadership that all too often we don’t see in this world. So we thank him for coming here. And the second thing I want to say is that I want to thank you and this community. The Indian community brings to Atlanta and the Atlanta area and to the United States for that matter certain values that unfortunately we sometimes miss in the American culture, a love of family and a respect that goes both ways from the head of that family to the rest of the members of that family. You also bring with you a shared work ethic of how important it is to work hard to benefit your family and to benefit this community. And third and lastly, I want to commend you on the value that you bring on education. Too often our American culture views education through that TV screen and while there is a definite value to what we can learn in some instances, there is greater value in study, in contemplation, and in understanding what the word knowledge really means or education means when it comes from within. So I want to commend all of you. We value you; we value the presence of His Divine Holiness and bless every one of you.”
The Children’s Day program included a speech, dance, drama and finally Swamishri’s blessings. Swamishri said, “One has to look after a garden. The fruit trees have to be nurtured with care so that we may benefit of them. Similarly, children are like a garden. If we look after them then they will be of benefit to us… By instilling character in children they will progress properly and be of benefit to the family, society and country…”
10 June 2004 (V.S. 2060 Jeth vad 8) Thursday, Atlanta; Kishore Day
o The kishoris had prepared 1000 food items for annakut offered to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. The kishores were singing thal while Swamishri came for darshan. Swamishri too joined in the singing of thals.
o The Kishore Day program in the evening included a skit on Swamishri’s work, a dance and drama showing the adverse effects of alcohol drinking and dating. Finally, Swamishri addressed the kishores on the same theme.
Therburt Baker, Attorney General of Georgia State, sent a proclamation honoring Swamishri for his moral, cultural and social contribution to society.
11 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Jeth vad 9) Friday, Atlanta; Youth Day
o Yuvak - Yuvati Din (evening) In the morning assembly BAPS youths presented a drama showing how through western influences a satsangi youth’s satsang fades. In conclusion the youths prayed to Swamishri to guide them to remain unflinching in Satsang. Swamishri talked about Hanumanji’s steadfast devotion and allegiance to Shri Ram, Prahlad’s conviction in God and the transformation of Sagram Vaghri.
o The Dpy Consul General of Israel in Atlanta, Mr Aviv Ezra, presented a proclamation to Swamishri.
o In the evening assembly the Charlotte Yuvak Mandal presented three skits about serving through mind, body and speech. Thereafter Dr Swami explained how one should serve in that manner.
The youths then presented incidents and recitations regarding the need for associating with the Satpurush for fostering seva and bhakti. Thereafter Viveksagar Swami further elaborated on the subject. Prior to Swamishri’s blessings an inspiring interview of youths dedicated to Satsang was held.
12 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Jeth vad 10) Saturday, Atlanta; Guru Bhakti Din
Cultural Program "Avasar Anandno"
The evening Guru Bhakti Din assembly included a drama, a dance, inspiring incidents of volunteers, speeches by Viveksagar Swami and Dr Swami and finally capped by Swamishri’s blessings.
The Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, had sent a proclamation to honor Swamishri.
13 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Jeth vad 11) Sunday, Lilbum (Atlanta); Silanyas of BAPS Shikharbaddh Mandir
Despite a fever Swamishri presided over the shilanyas rituals of a shikharbaddh BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in the suburb of Lilbum in Atlanta. The rituals were also performed by 100 devotees in the foundation pit. Swamishri performed pujan of the 27 main shilas by showering flower petals. Soil from 42 countries and water from 72 rivers of the world were used during the shilanyas rituals. At 10.36 am Swamishri placed the nidhi-kumbh into the foundation pit and added cement. The participating devotees also added cement into the foundation pit. Dr K.C. Patel and Shankarbhai Patel split the auspicious coconut during as part of the rituals. Thereafter Swamishri addressed the devotees, “May the mandir that will be built here stand for thousands of years. May countless take its advantage. We pray that they be redeemed. The pujan we have done today was not an ordinary pujan. We have worshipped the master of Akshardham – Harikrishna Maharaj, His devotee Gunatitanand Swami and Yogiji Maharaj. Their blessings are always upon us. We pray that may our devotion remain robust, may we serve well and our minds be happy…”
Thereafter Swamishri met and blessed about sixteen dignitaries present. The Mayor of Lilburn, Jack Bolton, presented a Key to the City to Swamishri.
Swamishri, despite his illness, also attended the shilanyas assembly. Various dignitaries expressed their honor, gratitude and assistance to Swamishri for the mandir project.
Jack Bolton, Mayor of Lilburn, said, “It is indeed an honor to join with you today and this historic foundation stone-laying ceremony for the new BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Temple in Lilburn. As the mayor I welcome you to this community and as community we look forward with anticipation and excitement to this new spiritual and social center that will arise from the foundation that we set today. We are delighted that you have selected Lilbum as your new home… As community leaders we recognize the BAPS for unity in the community and work with the community for the welfare of the local and national government. We recognize the many accomplishments of the leadership and we are excited and thrilled to have and welcome His Divine Holiness. So join us today. We are honored to welcome His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj to our city. As a symbol of our respect and admiration, we are pleased to present to His Divine Holiness a Key to the City. The Key to the City is a symbol of our respect and recognition for the many accomplishments of His Divine Holiness and we look forward to you coming into our community. We extend to his Divine Holiness our utmost hospitality and courtesy during his visit to our city and wish him to return often.”
Wayne Hill, Chairman of Gwinnett Commission, expressed, “I have a proclamation that I’d like to read. And I’ll apologize… This is a proclamation from Gwinnet County commending Pramukh Swami Maharaj… Whereas every religion has it’s own tradition to build houses of worship it is the mandir that builds faith in God, strengthens society and teaches people to trust one another and to become trustworthy. And whereas a mandir is a center for learning about man, nature and God. It is where ethics and values are reinforced; it is where people celebrate festivals and seek shelter in sad times. It is for talent in various arts such as sculpture, music and literature offered in the service of God. And whereas the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha under the leadership of His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj has built more than 500 mandirs. The BAPS mandirs serve as an ideal example of spiritualism coupled with art and architecture. For they inherit peace and purity, they represent the spirit of love and harmony for the devotees.”