3 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 5) Friday, London
As an appreciation for the dedicated efforts of the Bal Mandal co-ordinators throughout the numerous Suvarna Jayanti programmes, a special programme titled 'Suvarna Samagam' was held.
Senior sadhus addressed the assembly on the importance of Bal Mandal activities. The audience was inspired through captivating presentations and an animatronic murti of Yogiji Maharaj.
Addressing the bal co-ordinators, Swamishri emphasised the need to live a pure and morally correct life.
4 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 6) Saturday, London
Suvarna Arpan Satsang Sabha
The Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Children's Forum in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj was celebrated by the UK Bal Mandal in glorious and traditional fashion.
For the last year and a half, planning, preparation and training had commenced with great enthusiasm nationwide. Boys and girls aged between 6 to 14 were nurtured in speech making, story telling, parayan, nirupan, singing and playing musical instruments.
Additionally, the girls were taught the skills of traditional Indian cooking.
The project ended in a grand and spectacular assembly in the presence of Swamishri. Some 80 balaks participated in presenting their newly learnt skills and talents.
In his blessings, Swamishri assured the audience that Shriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj were very happy with the efforts and skills displayed by the balaks and blessed the children with strength to continue their all-round development.
4 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 6) Saturday, London
A specially trained group of 25 balaks conducted a mahapuja in the London Mandir, as part of the Nilkanth Varni murti-pratishtha celebrations.
Participants of the mahapuja also prayed for world peace.
Inspired by Swamishri, the prayers conducted in accordance with Vedic Hindu rituals by children as young as six years old, spread a message of peace and reconciliation to all members of society. The children learnt the mahapuja as part of the Bal Pravrutti Suvarna Jayanti through a series of ten training sessions.
Swamishri came to the haveli hall and performed the mahapuja, looking at all the children in turn as they proficiently recited the Sanskrit shloks. He was very pleased to see young children conducting the entire mahapuja and was also happy with the quality of their singing.
Some 2000 devotees participated in the prayers in the haveli hall and were expertly guided through the various rituals by the children. A special memento was given to all participants.
5 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 7) Sunday, London
UK Satsang Suvarna Jayanti
Sunday 5 September 2004 saw the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UK. A spectacular show was put on by kishores and yuvaks in the presence of Swamishri. The kishores and yuvaks had spent some nine months researching the history of how satsang was established in the UK.
The show contained spectacular laser, musical fountains and lighting effects, combined with specially choreographed colourful dances, dramas and sketches that traced the history of BAPS UK not just back to Yogiji Maharaj but back to the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and how He had looked to the West when he climbed a pipal tree when young. The stunning event was enjoyed by all and Swamishri in his blessings spoke of the efforts of the devotees in not only constructing a beautiful Mandir but also in imbibing satsang in their lives.
Kishores had also prepared a stunning limited edition photographic memories book - Sahaj Anand - of 340 pages documenting the history of BAPS UK. The book was available with a DVD of rare footage of Yogiji Maharaj from 1970 and Pramukh Swami Maharaj over the past 34 years.
6 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 8) Monday, London
Nilkanth Varni Pratishtha
For the first time in Europe, Swamishri installed the murti of Bhagwan Shri Nilkanth Varni at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden. Doctor Swami performed the initial rituals after which Swamishri completed the murti-pratishtha just after 10.15 am. Swamishri then performed the very first abhishek (ritual bathing) of the murti. In his blessings Swamishri praised the devotees for their devotion and love. He also prayed for the fulfilment of the wishes of those who come to perform abhishek of Nilkanth Varni.
As a mark of devotion and gratitude to Nilkanth Varni's sacrifice and compassion for humanity, devotees will daily offer abhishek to the murti of Nilkanth Varni by bathing the sacred image with sanctified water from holy rivers the world over.
7 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 8) Tuesday, London
Janmasthami and London Mandir Patotsav
Today, the ninth patotsav - the ninth anniversary of the mandir inauguration - was celebrated in the presence of Swamishri.
In the early morning, the deities were ritually bathed and a beautiful annakut was offered, after which Swamishri performed the arti. Throughout the day, hundreds of visitors from all over the UK came to the mandir for darshan of the deities.
In the evening a special assembly was held and Swamishri mentioned that the work of God continues in this world against all adverse forces. Swamishri then performed the arti and with full devotion sat down to rock the murti of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj in a golden hindolo. In conclusion, as a sweet farewell and thanks to Swamishri for giving so much bliss to all, senior sadhus and devotees presented Swamishri with a variety of garlands and shawls lovingly prepared by the Mahila Mandal.
8 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 9) Wednesday, London
Pramukh Swami Maharaj departs from London
After 21 memorable days in London, Swamishri left for Johannesburg. Countless devotees crowded the mandir complex for Swamishri's darshan, Swamishri briefly addressed the devotees in the haveli. After arriving at London's Heathrow Airport, he boarded flight SA235 destined for Johannesburg, South Africa.
9 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 10) Thursday, Lenasia, South Africa
Swamishri arrived from London and was given a grand welcome in the evening assembly.
10 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 11) Friday, Lenasia
Vishwashanti Mahayagna and Nagar Yatra
Swamishri performed the yagna rituals and consecrated the murtis for the new traditional style mandir. About 350 people participated in the yagna as part of the murti-pratishtha ceremony.
In the afternoon a grand procession paraded through the streets of Lenasia, from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm, displaying ornately decorated floats carrying the murtis to be consecrated in the mandir. The murtis of Shri Akshar Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Radha-Krishna Dev, Shri Sita-Ram with Hanumanji, Shri Shiv-Parvati with Ganapatiji, and the Guru Parampara were displayed on the floats. BAPS sadhus sang kirtans as devotees in traditional dress danced with joy and devotion. The parade route passed by all the main mandirs in Lenasia.
Thousands of people, representing Hindu organisations from around the country participated in this parade with traditional dances and singing.
11 September 2004 (V.S. 2060, Shravan vad 12) Saturday, Lenasia
Swamishri performed the murti-pratishtha of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the first traditional style Hindu mandir in Lenasia, Johannesburg. Swamishri arrived after his morning puja and officially opened the mandir. He then made his way into the inner sanctum to perform the murti-prathistha ceremony in accordance with Vedic rituals. Swamishri invoked the presence of God into the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, Shri Radha-Krishna Dev, the Guru Parampara, Shri Sita-Ram and Hanumanji and Shri Shiv-Parvati and Ganapatiji. He then performed the arti and after darshan he blessed the participants.
After the ceremony Swamishri presided over the murti-pratishtha assembly. Members of the community who have made great contributions to social service and advancement of South African society were honoured.
The Guest of Honour was Mr. Pravin Gordon, Commissioner of South African Revenue Services. In his speech he appealed to the Indian community to unite in building a better South Africa for all and that the Mandir be the centre for uniting people and uplifting society.
Other guests, namely, Laloo “Isu” Chiba, Reggie Vandeyar, Mickey Padiachee, Ismail Vadi, Prema Naidoo and Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim were honoured for their contributions to social upliftment of society, each in their unique ways.