The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Ram Navmi were celebrated with a host of devotional festivities on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April 2016 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Chaitra sud 9 – the actual birthdate of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram according to the Hindu calendar – fell on 15 April this year. Devotional activities commenced from morning at the Mandir where devotees and visitors offered their prayers and respects at the shrines.
Sadhus performed the annakut thal and a special arti at noon to commemorate the birth of Shri Ramchandraji. Youths also sang bhajans to the accompaniment of musical instruments extolling the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram.
The evening assembly presented the divine life and inspiring messages of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as seen through the eyes of his paramhansas. Their love and faith, expressed through a selection of bhajans, were brought to life by sadhus and youths through a vibrant musical journey.
A grand procession welcomed the murti of Harikrishna Maharaj inside the assembly hall before the janmotsav arti was joyously sung at precisely 10.10pm to mark the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The congregation joined in with devotional singing to celebrate the auspicious moment and conclude the programme.
The celebrations continued on Saturday 16 April with an enlightening production charting the purpose of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s manifestation on earth and the spiritual revolution that he inspired.
A vivid combination of multimedia effects, devotional songs, discourses and sketches brought to life a joyous enactment of his birth and the context and impact of his subsequent work.
Sadhus elaborated upon Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s love for his devotees, the piety and righteousness he inspired in them, and the harmony he fostered among them. They also explained how Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s work of moulding individuals and society has continued today through the tireless efforts of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The audience learned about the ultimate spiritual liberation that Bhagwan Swaminarayan granted his devotees. This understanding was further enhanced by a montage of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s blessings from previous festivals.
The celebrations were brought to a colourful close with a vibrant dance performance by youths that tied together the major themes of the evening’s programme.