Sixty three years ago on the Hindu calendrical day of Jeth sud 4 (Tuesday 21 May 1950), in a modest home just inside the old city walls of Ahmedabad, Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj appointed the 28-year-old Shastri Narayanswarupdas – soon to be affectionately called ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj’ – as the president (or ‘pramukh’) of the organisation he had founded in 1907, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. This day became known as ‘Pramukh Varni Din’.
This joyous occasion was commemorated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 22 June 2013 in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami. The utsav was entitled “Jivano Satsang: Gurunu Vachan”, continuing this year’s overarching theme of festivals, with a particular focus this time on obedience to the guru.
The celebrations began with devotional songs sung by Akhanddarshan Swami and youths extolling the virtues of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and describing the occasion where Shastriji Maharaj formally entrusted the responsibilities of the organisation to Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Anandswarup Swami (Head Sadhu of Swaminarayan Akshardham, Gandhinagar, visiting from India) elaborated upon Yogiji Maharaj’s revelation, “Pramukh Swami maru sarvasva chhe (Pramukh Swami is my all),” and explained how Pramukh Swami Maharaj had unwaveringly lived and worked according to Yogiji Maharaj’s wishes. He further described the greatness of Pramukh Swami Maharaj through the testimonies of Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj.
Videos were then shown of Pramukh Swami Maharaj visiting the actual place in Ahmedabad where the appointment took place, and the celebration of Pramukh Varni Din in Sarangpur in his presence a few days earlier.
A sketch reliving the historic meeting that took place in Ahmedabad 63 years ago was also performed, where the humble and touching pledge made by Pramukh Swami Maharaj was replayed.
Pujya Mahant Swami explained the importance of understanding and fulfilling the innermost wishes of the guru. He underlined Yogiji Maharaj’s statement that Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the embodiment of Shastriji Maharaj and that his wishes must be followed for real spiritual advancement.
The assembly culminated in the offering of a shawl and garlands to the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj as a tribute to the 63 years of unparalleled service that he has given as the administrative head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.