The 220th birthday anniversary of Lord Swaminarayan was celebrated with devotion and jubilation in the presence of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Bhavnagar. From early morning thousands of devotees arrived from neighboring towns and villages to celebrate Shri Hari Jayanti. Members from twelve villages pilgrimaged on foot (padyatra) to Bhavnagar. A fifty-five-year old devotee prostrated his way from Mahuva to Bhavnagar - 11,000 prostrations.
The morning puja of Swamishri was charged with devotional bhajans describing the divine form and acts of Lord Swaminarayan.
The main evening assembly was held at 'Akshar Vadi'. The festival program comprised of speeches, bhajans and a powerpoint presentation on the life and work of Lord Swaminarayan interspersed with live drama presentations on Abhaysinh's steadfastness, transformation of Joban Pagi, honesty of Govind Bhagat and the faith of Devji Bhagat.
A colorful dance was performed by children and teenage members celebrating the birth of Lord Swaminarayan on the lyric, "Chaitra sud navmi avi…"
Swamishri then blessed the 15,000 devotees and wellwishers, saying, "Today, for us and the entire people of India, it is the greatest day because God came in human form on earth to redeem countless people and to show us the right path. Through our willful or imaginative means we cannot achieve peace and happiness in life. The highest path to attain inner peace is one given to us by God and His holy sadhus and sages. Lord Swaminarayan gave the Shikshapatri for the good of all souls. One cannot achieve happiness or moksha without the knowledge of atma and Paramatma. Only when one attains the state of akshar-roop and offers devotion to Purushottam, does one experience absolute peace. And then despite living in this world, one remains detached from all mundane desires…"
The assembly climaxed with the arti performed by Swamishri and the devotees. Victory cries of "Sahajanand Swami Maharaj ni jay…", "Dharma gher anand bhayo…" Swamishri gently rocked the murti of Lord Harikrishna Maharaj in a decorated traditional cot. The assembly dispersed in a joyous and spiritual mood.


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