The Inaugural Assembly for the Festival of Inspirations at the event grounds of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey, was filled with joy and anticipation. For this occasion, devotees journeyed from various locations to witness the commencement of a festival by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj that celebrates values that are embodied by the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham.
The evening opened with devotional songs by Swamis and youth of BAPS. The devotion energized the audience while the foundation behind the Festival of Inspirations came to life through speeches and skits. The program highlighted not only the inspirer Pramukh Swami Maharaj's vision for Akshardham but also the inherent significance of hosting festivals throughout the history of BAPS.
In the evening's first speech, Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami provided insights on leading a life grounded in values. He expounded on the concept of dharma (moral values), emphasizing its importance as a distinguishing characteristic of humanity. When someone incorporates moral principles into their life, it doesn't only generate happiness and peace for themselves, but this positive experience also extends to the people they interact with. However, he candidly admitted that adopting and practicing spiritual and moral values is not an easy task. It requires inspiration, which is precisely the purpose of this festival.
Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami, a senior Swami of BAPS, recalled the value-based messages brought out by various major festivals celebrated since the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He underscored that involvement in these festivals nurtures virtues such as patience, tolerance, and discipline, contributing to personal growth. He also shared Bhagwan Swaminarayan's wisdom, stating that if one remembers these festivals even at their final moments, they will also remember God's form, thereby attaining an elevated spiritual status and benefits tremendously.
More than 160 dancers performed on stage, welcoming Mahant Swami Maharaj to the assembly. Mahant Swami Maharaj formally commenced the three-month Festival of Inspirations with Deep Pragatya, a traditional lighting of a divo. In his blessings, Mahant Swami Maharaj said: "This Akshardham is not just a place of art and architecture; rather it is a place to develop life-long values. It has been coined 'The Festival of Inspirations' because not only will it inspire those who attend, but also those who will visit for generations to come."