More than 8,800 visitors, including 1,500 students, from all over Zambia and Malawi, visited the seven-day Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary Celebrations organized by BAPS at the six-acre Pramukh Swami Nagar set up on the CPS Ground in the Kamwala area of Lusaka.
Around 100 men and women volunteers helped for one month to set up and manage the festival site.
On the first day, a grand nagar yatra from the Radha Krishna Mandir to the festival site took place. Thereafter, the Pramukh Swami Nagar was ritually inaugurated by Honorable Mr. Garry Nkombo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development; Mr. Murugesan Ramaswami, Second Secretary at the High Commission of India in Zambia; and other guests.
A magnificent gate, Mayur Dwar, welcomed everyone to the Pramukh Swami Nagar. Along the main pathway, murtis of fourteen great rishis and devotees greeted everyone. The heartbeat of Pramukh Swami Nagar, the grand murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, was enshrined at the center of the festival grounds.
Three inspiring video exhibitions were also shown at regular intervals during the day throughout the seven days of the festival. The ‘Muktanand’ video show was based on living an addiction-free life. The ‘Nityanand’ video show inspired a harmonious family life and the video themed ‘Paramanand’ imparted life lessons on how to attain ultimate happiness.
‘In the joy of others lies our own’ was Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life motto and he had continuously worked for the betterment of society. Highlighting this, a special exhibition showcased the social services undertaken by BAPS Charities in Lusaka. Inspired by the exhibition, visitors donated 101 pints of blood in the blood donation drive.
Daily, the evening maha-arti was performed at 8.00 p.m. in front of the grand murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Also, every evening, entertaining and enlightening stage programs were organized in which kirtan-bhakti, traditional dances, thematic dramas and other cultural programs were presented by social and religious organizations from Lusaka and Malawi.
The Nilkanth Abhishek Kutir, Prarthana Kutir, Charity Kutir and Vyasan Mukti Kutir – in which 450 visitors pledged to quit their addictions – exemplified India’s devotional rituals and culture.
This festival was widely covered by ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. Many dignitaries and well-wishers also visited and found inspiration from the festival.
Hon. Chipoka Mulenga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry: I feel blessed to be part of this life-changing experience of celebrating the life of a guru who was selfless, simple, yet so influential to the world.
Mr. Christopher Mundia, Special Assistant (legal affairs) to the President of Republic of Zambia: A truly inspirational life that has inspired us all. We would all be much better, more religious and more helpful, by drawing inspiration from such a humble, selfless and yet simple life lived. I have personally been inspired to follow the many teachings to improve my life at a personal level.
Hon. Mr. Gary Nkombo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development:
I have learnt a new tune to my life through this visit. Today, I have learnt of the values that come from Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It is very clear to see that he touches millions of lives. He was truly a saint and we can learn so much from his life.