On Saturday, September 17, 2022, over 2,800 community members and well-wishers gathered in South Bay at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts, and on Saturday, September 24, 2022, over 3000 community members and well-wishers gathered in East Bay at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA for the grand celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual guru and leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
The program titled Param Shanti (Eternal Bliss) dived deep into the life and work of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and his transcendental love for all. The program shed light on Pramukh Swami Maharaj's unconditional love for individuals and all life, his firm faith in God and his adherence to His teachings. To start the celebrations, several state, county and city officials and leaders of over 35 Hindu organizations across Northern California lit diyas to perform the traditional 'Deep Pragatya,' offering prayers on behalf of the assembly. Then, through dramatic skits, emotional personal testimonials, energetic dances, and informative speeches by learned Swamis, the audience learned of Pramukh Swami Maharaj's life and the guiding light it was for millions worldwide.
Having witnessed the event at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, the Mayor of the city of Pleasanton Ms. Karla Brown said, "Congratulations to BAPS! I am a big supporter of BAPS and am very impressed with the followers of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who continue to spread his message. I had a wonderful evening with thousands of people celebrating Pramukh Swami Maharaj's centennial celebration at the Alameda County Fairgrounds."
Ms. Carmen Montano, Vice Mayor for Milpitas, joined the assembly at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts and shared warm wishes for the occasion. She said, "One of the things I cherish about BAPS events is that I always feel welcome, and the entire community is so inviting. The event was inspiring and beautiful, and I appreciated the philosophy of having compassion for everyone. The teachings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj are so universal, and everyone in the world would benefit by learning from them."
After watching the San Jose Center for Performing Arts program, Mr. Raj Chahal, a Councilmember for the City of Santa Clara, said, "I have read about Pramukh Swamiji and have been inspired by his vision. I wish more religious leaders could be like him and strive to unite all humanity. He did not discriminate against anyone and served selflessly throughout his life. He was such a great human being and inspired millions of people around the world."
David Haubert, Supervisor of Alameda County and former Mayor of City of Dublin attended the assembly at the Alameda County Fairgrounds and shared warm wishes for the occasion stating, "Thank you! It was my honor to meet the BAPS community and help to celebrate the teachings of Humility, Faith and Love."
The participants enjoyed the program with family, friends and the community at large. The program included a drone show developed by BAPS volunteers. The show displayed the contributions and impact of guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj's life.
Finally, the programs concluded with a devotion-filled dance by over 50 youth offering tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Similar celebrations have been planned across North America and the world. The grand finale of the year-long celebrations will take place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, between December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023.