August 31, 2002, was a special day for the BAPS devotees of North and South Carolina. Six years ago, Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj had answered the humble prayers of the area devotees by performing the murthi pratistha (idol installation) of the Charlotte Mandir. Today, each part of this magnificent temple seemed to echo a story; a saga of devotees'dedicated intentions, placing service above self. About 150 people participated in mahapuja ceremony in the presence of the southeastern regional saints.

The evening's program was rich in content and well received by about 850 attendees. As always, melodious kirtans created a divine environment for the celebrations. A speech on the importance of and need for a mandir was presented by one of our regional sants. This noted that the mandir was instrumental in installing faith in God, nurturing and developing human beings, recapitulate our rich heritage and culture, and teach moral values to our young and old alike.

Also, the day marked an important Hindu festival, Janmasthmi, which was also celebrated with great pomp. A speech was given explaining Janmasthmi. It was articulated that Janmasthmi was to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna who had come to this Earth to protect good from evil. The true spirit of Janmashtami is for devotees to implicitly surrender to the Lord', while staunchly observing Dharma. One who becomes 'Brahmarup' (ideal devotee like Arjuna) and offers devotion to Parabrahma (God) will forever remain blissful and attain the highest glory of God. The climax of the evening's program was a entertaining skit titled 'Dharma Sansthapaanarathaaya' that provided the story of Lord Krishna and his victory over Kansa and other evil demons. The evening concluded with an arti and dinner.

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