The birth celebrations of Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, were celebrated with piety and devotion on Wednesday 5 June 2013 (the actual birthdate according to the Hindu calendar, Vaishakh vad 12) and again on the evening of Saturday 8 June 2013 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The programme on 8 June began with youths eloquently singing devotional songs depicting the spiritual characteristics and virtues of Yogiji Maharaj. “Man maan kahyu tu maru, te kaam bagadyu taru” –audio clips of Yogiji Maharaj singing this bhajan were then interspersed with enlightening discourses from the sadhus, who drew upon episodes from the life of Yogiji Maharaj to throw further light upon the verses’ practical relevance for devotees today.
Yogiji Maharaj’s birthday was also celebrated on the evening of Saturday 8 June 2013. The theme of the evening was entitled, ‘Tame keva Satsangi thaya? – Shraddha, Khap & Samagam (faith, desire for spiritual progress, and the association of a sadhu).
The celebrations began with youths singing a verse from the bhajan ‘Bhagwan saunu bhalu karo’, which introduced the theme. Youths then recapped through a humorous sketch the messages of Hath, Maan & Irsha (stubbornness, ego and jealousy) portrayed during the Swaminarayan Jayanti celebrations held in April.
Manoharmurti Swami spoke about the faith of devotees from the time of Yogiji Maharaj and how one should develop this virtue in one’s spiritual life. Children then sang the bhajan ‘Me to grahi lidhu sharan tamaru re Yogi’ to the accompaniment of an array of musical instruments.
Senior devotees enacted a sketch illustrating the importance of having a spiritual desire, discussed further by Paramtattva Swami by drawing on historic and contemporary examples.
The audience then enjoyed a video presentation of Pramukh Swami Maharaj singing ‘Yogi avo te rang mune shid lagadyo’ in London in 1988 which rekindled treasured memories for many who were present and linked it to the final topic of association with the Satpurush. Satyavrat Swami shared incidents from devotees who were fortunate to have the association of Yogiji Maharaj and underlined the importance of having the association of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The festivities concluded with sadhus garlanding the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the audience taking part in the arti.
The mahilas also celebrated Yogiji Maharaj’s birth anniversary with a special programme of devotional songs and speeches on the evening of Saturday 1 June 2013.
Yogiji Jayanti was also celebrated at various mandirs and centres across the UK and in Europe.