The final day of celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, began at 1.30am BST, when the swamis of London performed a medley of kirtans during Mahant Swami Maharaj’s puja.
The live performance in London, relayed to Nenpur, India, via video conference facilities, journeyed through the inspiring history of the Mandir. Swamis eloquently sang a selection of kirtans – some written and composed especially for this occasion – describing the story behind the historic inauguration of the first traditional Hindu mandir in the western hemisphere.
The kirtan narrative was interspersed with audio recordings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. These included notable conversations with senior devotees, such as CM Patel (former Chairman of UK Satsang Mandal), as well as excerpts of his blessings, enthusing everyone with renewed vigour amid the challenging periods of the Mandir’s construction.
The medley began with a Sanskrit laudation to the Mandir and Yogiji Maharaj, its initial visionary.
Compositions including ‘Samarpan Jivan Arpanam’ illustrated the sacrifices and dedication of devotees to build the Mandir, while ‘Hālo Hālo ne Mandir Banāviye’ described their enthusiasm to construct the Mandir.
Excerpts from Shri Swaminarayan Charit Manas, ‘Arvāchin Yuga me Badā Mandir Ehi Kahāi’, narrated the Mandir Mahotsav inauguration festivities, including the grand nagar yatra in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj through the famous streets of Central London.
Swamis shared the sentiment of welcoming devotees and well-wishers to the newly inaugurated Mandir by singing ‘Āvo Bhakto Bhale Padhāryā, Mandire Sadā Swāgatam’. The beauty of the murtis was then described in ‘Aniyāli re Tāri Ānkhaladi’, noting Mahant Swami Maharaj’s guidance in the sculpting of the murtis, particularly their eyes.
Over the last 25 years, the Mandir’s beauty, tranquillity and spirituality have attracted many distinguished personalities from around the world. Some of these were mentioned in ‘Āvyā Englandnā Rājvi Jevā’, another passage of chopais from Shri Swaminarayan Charit Manas.
The musical tribute also captured the profound impact that the Mandir has made in the lives of countless people and rekindled precious memories with Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj since its opening. Nishkulanand Swami’s popular kirtan, ‘Āj Ānand Mārā Uramā’, gave perfect voice to these emotions and interactions.
The musical tribute concluded with the Mandir’s 25th anniversary celebratory kirtan, ‘London Mandir Rajat Mahotsav’, sung to the waving of flags.
After the kirtans concluded, Swamishri gave his blessings, expressing his delight on the occasion and lauding the efforts of the devotees and swamis of UK & Europe. The swamis then made a number of offerings on behalf of all of the devotees, including an album and kalash of prayers, which Swamishri blessed.