Over 10,000 community members and well-wishers gathered at the historic KIA Forum in Inglewood, 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 and the 10th anniversary of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, CA on Sunday, September 4, 2022.
The program titled, Paratpar: The Guiding Light, dived deep into the life and work of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and his transcendental love for all. Divided into three key components, the program shed light on Pramukh Swami Maharaj's unconditional love for individuals, love for humankind as a whole, and love for God. To start off the celebration, leaders of over 25 Hindu organizations across Southern California lit diyas to perform the traditional 'Deep Pragatya,' offering prayers on behalf of the assembly. Then, through various dramatic skits, emotional monologues, energetic dances, and informative speeches by learned Swamis, the audience learned how Pramukh Swami Maharaj's love became a guiding light for millions worldwide.
Indian Actor and BAPS devotee Dilipbhai Joshi participated in the program by delivering a powerful monologue about the impact of Pramukh Swami Maharaj on his life. Youth volunteers also performed a musical skit depicting the story of Prahalad from the Hindu scriptures. The skit showed the parallels of Prahlad's faith in God with the faith that Pramukh Swami Maharaj had no matter the situation. In addition, interpretive artists performed a creative dance showing a story about a flock of bluebirds at a fountain and what happens when a new bird of a different color joins them. A story exemplifying Pramukh Swami Maharaj's emphasis on equality and inclusion of all. Pujya Yogananddas Swami, a learned Swami from BAPS, spoke about how Pramukh Swami Maharaj revived the tradition of Mandirs as the center of the community and how that gift has transformed generations of families.
Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-39) also joined the assembly and shared warm wishes for the occasion. "Congratulations to the BAPS Mandir in Chino Hills on celebrating ten years and 100 years of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Pramukh Swami Maharaj's message of love and joy has inspired BAPS volunteers to partner with my office to serve those in need in our community. I have always been honored to partner with BAPS and proudly represent the mandir in Congress."
Finally, the program concluded with a devotion-filled dance by over 100 youth offering tribute to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
One audience member commented, "To see so many well-wishers under one roof celebrating is a testament to the life and legacy of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. You could feel the love that Pramukh Swami Maharaj shared with the world and his impact on millions of people. The over 500 BAPS volunteers that came together to put on this celebration also exemplified the life and message of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, greeting us with smiles and folded hands, despite it being one of the hottest days of the year. I humbly thank Pramukh Swami Maharaj and BAPS for preserving our rich Indian culture and Hindu faith in America."
This celebration was one of the first of many celebrations across North America. The grand finale would take place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, between December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023.