The Centenary Celebrations of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha were celebrated with great fanfare on Tuesday 5 June at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden. The festival commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first mandir opened by Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj in the village of Bochasan on 5 June 1907, where he had consecrated the murtis of Akshar-Purushottam in the central shrine of the Mandir.
Devotees from all over the UK flocked to the gates of the Neasden Mandir from early morning to behold the beautifully adorned deities in the sanctum sanctorum, replete with sumptuous offerings of vegetarian food. The Annakut offering included hundreds of items of food, snacks, sweets, fruits and juices devotionally prepared by volunteers.
On this auspicious occasion, devotees and visitors were provided with an opportunity to ceremoniously bathe the murti of Nilkanth Varni. The evening arti was followed by a shobha-yatra where devotees participated in a festive procession around the complex of the mandir as the fervour continued with colour and sounds.
Following prasadam, the evening programme opened at 8.30pm with special blessings by Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, broadcast live from Mombasa. He spoke of the untiring efforts of Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj in propagating the Vedic philosophy of Akshar-Purushottam. His inspiring words set the tone for a majestic evening’s celebrations with reflection of the humble roots of the Sanstha in 1907 and remembrance of the great figures that had developed the organisation amidst immense hardship and challenges.
The event was interspersed with short sketches and video presentations before the grand finale with the united chanting of the Shaurya Geet. The auditorium echoed with the passionate voices of sadhus and devotees offering their personal contributions to the celebrations.