The Festival of Inspirations on July 27, 2023, explored living a value-based life through the "Power of Forgiveness," highlighting forgiveness as the epitome of strength, humility, and divinity. Spirituality bestows the motivation and the space to work on one's values, while attending events such as the Festival of Inspirations fills those gaps. Through inspiring stories, wisdom shared by esteemed swamis, and speeches by distinguished guests, attendees could understand the true meaning of forgiveness as the guiding light on a spiritual path.
Speeches by senior swamis expounded upon the motivations and intentions behind forgiveness. Pujya Anandswarupdas Swami detailed how practicing forgiveness, a divine virtue, can provide practical health benefits such as reduced stress, improved sleep quality, and increased empathy and compassion. Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami spoke on forgiveness as a deeply-rooted value written in the ancient Hindu scriptures. By embodying the three virtues of forgive, forget, and tolerate immense peace and happiness can be experienced in life.
The Festival of Inspirations is a three-month-long event celebrating universal values that serve as the foundation of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Several distinguished guests were in attendance, whose work and personal mottos mirrored the festival's theme. The dignitaries included Council General of Turkey Mr. Reyhan Ozgur; Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh, physician, philanthropist and media personnel; Mr. Sunil Hali, Publisher & Promoter, The Indian Eye Worldwide Media & Entertainment Group; Mr. Srinivas Maddali, Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry India and his wife, Mrs. Annapura Maddali; and Mrs. Asiye K. Underhill.
In the stage setting of ghar sabha, or home assembly, participants actively explored powerful stories to uncover their valuable lessons in forgiveness. Next, an illustrative incident dating back 23 years was recounted. At the time, Mahant Swami Maharaj had assembled a presentation for the children using transparencies. However, overcome by fatigue, the children drifted to sleep. Now, as adults, they approached Swamishri with an apology, requesting a reiteration of that content. The highlight was the revelation of a letter penned by Mahant Swami Maharaj to the children back then, in which he asked for their forgiveness for the extended presentation. This served as a tangible demonstration of his commitment to practicing forgiveness throughout his life.
In his blessings, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj explained the simple formula to imbibe the virtue of forgiveness in our lives. "Everything that has happened is happening and will happen is because of God. Understand this, and you will never feel that anyone has wronged you. Forgive, forget, and pray for those who have hurt you." Where many in today's world see forgiveness as a sign of weakness, Mahant Swami Maharaj gave credence to the Power of Forgiveness.