Ashadhi Punam is celebrated by millions of Hindus around the world as Guru Purnima. It is the auspicious occasion when aspirants can honour and thank their guru for his indispensable role as a life coach, spiritual guide and, ultimately, a bridge to God.
This auspicious festival was joyously celebrated in the UK and around Europe by thousands of devotees from their respective homes on the weekend of 4-5 July 2020 via online programmes from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, and also in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj from Nenpur in India.
The festivities began on the evening of Saturday 4 July with a grand musical tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj. Swamis at the mandir in London sang kirtans extolling the divine virtues of the gurus, while children offered a melodious recorded composition
. The devotional singing was interspersed with narrations from swamis and memorable video clips of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Families continued the Guru Purnima celebrations on Sunday 5 July with darshan of Mahant Swami Maharaj via a live webcast from India. The afternoon programme consisted of enlightening discourses from senior and sadguru swamis revealing the deeper spiritual significance of the guru. In his blessings, Mahant Swami Maharaj spoke about the spiritual importance of attaining an Aksharbrahma Guru, and drew upon the tireless sacrifices of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in providing happiness and meaning to millions.
As part of the celebrations, families across the UK and Europe participated with a variety of devotional offerings in their homes, including decorating their ghar mandirs as well as performing the guru-pujan to the murtis of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Mahilas across the UK and Europe also held a special webcast celebration titled ‘Tasmai Shri-Gurave Namah’ that paid tribute to the unconditional love, sacrifice and guidance of the guru. The enlightening programme included bhajans to the accompaniment of a variety of traditional instruments, and discourses that explored the profound role of a guru on the spiritual path.
Mahilas of all ages shared personal testimonies of faith and courage in adverse circumstances, revealing the strength of connection that mahilas share with their guru. In conclusion, the thousands of mahilas who had connected to this celebration from home reverently offered flowers to the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Mahant Swami Maharaj.