The birth celebrations of Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj were devoutly celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on the evening of Sunday 25 May 2014, which coincided with the actual tithi of Yogiji Maharaj’s birth according to the Hindu calendar.
The celebrations began with children and youths eloquently singing kirtans praising the virtues of Yogiji Maharaj and introducing the theme of the programme, ‘Jogidana Jadu’.
Tyagratnadas Swami spoke about the lasting positive effect that Yogiji Maharaj imprinted on the hearts of those he had met personally, emphasising how they were all deeply touched by his spirituality and saintliness.
Senior devotees enacted a sketch underlining the importance of living a pure, addiction-free life, and highlighting the efforts of Yogiji Maharaj to inspire hardened addicts to relinquish their vices and transform their lives.
Satyavratdas Swami shared incidents and experiences of devotees who were fortunate to have met Yogiji Maharaj and underlined the importance for all to have the association of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Special guest on this occasion was Mr Ranjan Mathai, the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom. After a traditional welcome, His Excellency addressed the assembly and spoke of his pleasure and honour at being in such a place of beauty, peace and warmth. He paid tribute to the vision of Yogiji Maharaj in foreseeing the Mandir in London, and to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for translating that vision into reality, adding that the Mandir has served as a role model for devotion, piety and learning around the world. He especially applauded the spirit of volunteerism of BAPS, saying: “I have been truly amazed by the scale of its work and by the dedication of its members, who are motivated by purity of thought and virtue in action.” Mr Mathai also fondly recalled his meeting with Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Israel in 1999.
Also present for the celebration was Lord Popat of Harrow, who, too, also warmly welcomed to the assembly by Satyavratdas Swami.
The festivities culminated with a colourful and vibrant dance to the popular bhajan, ‘Yogi avo te rang mane shid lagadyo’.
The Mahila Wing celebrated Yogi Jayanti with their own devotional festivities on Saturday 31 May 2014. Members from the Balika, Kishori, Yuvati and Sanyukta Mahila Mandals performed a series of delightful bhajans in praise of Yogiji Maharaj. The singing was accompanied by musical instruments and interspersed with inspiring incidents from the life of Yogiji Maharaj. The programme concluded with a video recording of blessings from Swamishri in London in 2004.