During the holy month of Shravan, parayans were held in 2,000 BAPS bal mandals, which 50,000 balaks attended, and in 1,500 balika mandals, which 35,000 balikas attended. This year’s parayans by balaks and balikas was based on the theme ‘Jay Jay Gunatitanand’ to commemorate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Aksahr Deri.
The young children participated in separate three-day parayans for balaks and balikas using the schedule provided by the Bal Pravrutti Central Office in Ahmedabad.
The first day covered Gunatitanand Swami’s life from childhood till he was initiated as a sadhu.
The second day focused on Gunatitanand Swami’s period as mahant of Junagadh mandir and the staunch devotees who he inspired.
The third day featured Gunatitanand Swami’s tireless work in establishing ekantik dharma, inspiring countless aspirants and other outstanding achievements, and his departure to Akshardham. The place he was cremated has since become renowned as ‘Akshar Deri’.
The topics of the three-day parayans were presented by the children through speeches, bhajans, skits, mimes, dances and videos.
On the first day, the children also participated in a celebratory Pothi Yatra singing dhun and bhajans. Many would dress as famous child-devotees of the past. And, on the final day, the children offered an annakut to Thakorji.
As part of the three-day programs, the children competed in various talent competitions, such as, designing artis, making hindolas and drawing.
Shishu parayans for very young children were also held in 300 centers, which 8,000 shishus attended.