There are times within the Hindu calendar in which the devotion and atmosphere of bhakti is so charged and energized that the joy can be readily identified on the faces of devotees worldwide. One such occasion is the festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Ram Navmi celebrated this year on April 3-5, 2009. Also known as Ram Navmi, Chaitra Sud 9 is celebrated with tremendous pomp and fanfare and is highly anticipated throughout the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The year was no different as spiritual dedication and affection, was highlighted through various bhajans, folk dances, discourses, and dramatizations.

With incredible enthusiasm, children, youth and adults at all centers across North America prepared for this joyous event. On the day of the celebration, murtis of Akshar and Purushottam were elegantly dressed, Thakorji presided on an ornate swing, and the festive décor of the Sabha Mandap beckoned all. Following the introduction of the theme as Harijan Sacha Re Je Ur Ma Himat Rakhe, the program commenced with shlokas officially inviting Bhagwan into the assembly.

Various skits and speeches then highlighted the lessons imparted by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram, specifically how their devotees had to overcome their share of trials and tribulations as did their devotees. However, their firm faith and devotion stands today as a lesson for future generations to imbibe. Discourses by sadhus also talked about Atmagnan, as a means to remain steadfast in such hard times and that Bhagwan, always steadies His devotees during uneasy circumstances.

The assembly, attended by community leaders and local dignitaries, also included folk dances and Swamishri’s video blessings. The festive atmosphere continued as everyone joined in the Janamasutsav singing “Dharma gher anand bhayo, jay bolo Ganshyam ki.”

This event provided an opportunity to take a deeper look at the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Bhagwan Ram and imbibe the virtues within one’s life.

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