Guruhari Darshan, 4 June 2023, London, UK | Bal-Balika Din & Europe Din
Bal-Balika Din | Swami’s Chocolate Wonderland
A mesmerising theatrical production for children (school Years 2 to 8) filled with singing, dancing and lifelong memories – and contributions from Mahant Swami Maharaj – was held on Sunday 4 June 2023 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The day began with interactive classroom sessions focussed on devotion that children can offer to God through daily practices and satsang activities. These sessions also explained the importance to children of observing spiritual disciplines to progress in one’s studies as well as satsang.
The evening production included a cast and crew of more than 150 volunteers and began with an invitation from Mahant Swami Maharaj to explore ‘The Great Chocolate Wonderland’. Five lucky children availed of the opportunity of an exclusive tour of this magical chocolate factory by finding golden tickets from chocolate bars that had been delivered especially at the request of Swamishri for his ‘little friends’ – a theme depicting his special bond with children that was further revealed later in the programme.
A musical performance portrayed the adventure of five children travelling through the chocolate factory and introduced the key characters along the way, including the factory workers called ‘Mumus’, an abbreviation of mumukshus (a spiritual aspirant seeking liberation), and Mr Yama, the manager of the factory, who was later revealed to be a personification of maya.  
The early scenes also alluded to the ‘Big Boss’ (later confirmed as Mahant Swami Maharaj), who urged Mr Yama to give the quarrelling children another chance after their disputes had led to damage in the factory. The children were tasked with producing a unique chocolate that included ingredients from ‘value vials’ – representing noble characteristics that were exhibited by the children.
Their journey of personal transformation was demonstrated by acquiring the five value vials: Hard Work, Ahnik (daily devotional practices), Niyamit Sabha (regular sabhas), Dharma-Niyam (moral and spiritual disciplines), and Samp (unity). Swamishri spelled out these values through a drawing around his hand.
The five values were brought to life through enlightening dance and drama performances as well as guidance from Mahant Swami Maharaj shared via a walkie-talkie. Sadguru Pujya Tyagvallabhdas Swami also interacted with the five children to reinforce these lessons by sharing his personal perspectives.
Practical exercises engaged the wider audience to further reinforce the key messages, which including a light-hearted tug-of-war challenge representing various distractions that children face on their path to spiritual progression.
During his visit to Nenpur in 2000, Mahant Swami Maharaj answered various questions posed by children by drawing beautiful sketches. These drawings were published in a book, titled ‘To My Little Friend’, during the centennial birth anniversary celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in December 2022. Swamishri formally inaugurated the English version of this book during the evening assembly, reiterating children as his ‘little friends’.
The evening concluded with a heartfelt prayer and message of gratitude expressed through an emotive finale song that was beautifully sung by children.
Before departing the assembly, the children were presented with a memento that served as a reminder of the values they had learned from Swamishri throughout the day.

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