Vicharan Reports

28 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh sud 10) Monday, Orlando, FL
Pramukh Swami Maharaj Arrives in Orlando
In the welcome assembly, senior devotees formally welcomed Swamishri and senior sadhus with various garlands.
In his blessings, Swamishri explained the importance of mandirs and asked everyone to take full advantage of them. He also described the rarity of attaining God, His holy Sadhu and the human body, and explained its proper use by worshipping God and attaining liberation.


29 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh sud 11) Tuesday, Orlando, FL
Kirtan Bhakti Din
On this auspicious day of Dev Shayani Ekadashi, the onset of Chaturmas, sadhus sang many kirtans, keeping the assembly engrossed in God for over two hours at the Bob Carr Center for Performing Arts.
The Attorney General of the State of Florida, Hon. Charlie Crist, was present and felicitated Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
In his blessings, Swamishri explained, “With this human birth, we must attain the bliss and abode of God and liberate our souls. This can be done by taking refuge in God, developing faith in God, and abiding by His wishes.”


30 June 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh sud 12) Wednesday, Orlando, FL
Evening Programs
Devotees from all over the Southeast region gathered in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando to offer their respects and devotion to Guruhari Pramukh Swami Maharaj on the celebration of Guru Purnima.
In this special assembly, sadhus sang the glory of Guruhari Pramukh Swami Maharaj through the verse, “Shobho sãdhu gune sadã saral ne…” Sadhus took turns explaining different parts of the verse, describing different virtues Swamishri possesses, including his detachment from the world, simplicity, and vast knowledge.
Kishores also presented Swamishri’s qualities through dramas and lively dances. They gave Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Swamishri a grand welcome on a dharmarath into the assembly.
Following this, Swamishri was greeted by the Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, as well as a Commissioner of Orange County, Homer Hartate. Swamishri blessed the assembly, describing the qualities of a true guru as explained in the Hindu scriptures. At the conclusion of the assembly, all devotees were given a divo to perform arti of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Swamishri.


1 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh sud 14) Thursday, Orlando, FL
Yuvak - Yuvati National Convention
Yuvaks and yuvatis arrived from all over North America to take part in the National Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
In the welcome assembly, yuvaks heartily welcomed Shri Harikrishna Maharaj on a palanquin and Swamishri on a chariot, dancing all around them. The theme of the convention, ‘Vicharan’, was explained by senior sadhus, who recounted incidents from over the years of the physical and mental hardships Swamishri has endured on his divine travels.


2 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh sud 15) Friday, Orlando, FL
Yuvak - Yuvati National Convention
Delegates of the Yuvak-Yuvati National Convention started off their day by having darshan of Pramukh Swami Maharaj as he performed his morning puja in front of a beautiful replica of Sarangpur's Yagnapurush Smruti Mandir.
Following this, sadhus spoke in great detail about both Swamishri's life message of doing good for others, as well as Bhagwan Swaminarayan's eternal message of attaining peace in this world and the next by following basic rules of conduct.
Swamishri also blessed the morning assembly with his presence, playing a ‘Mukhpath’ game with the yuvaks.
Swamishri also visited the exhibition at the National Convention site, which included a replica of Gondal's Akshar Deri, a section with large-scale pictures of Swamishri's vicharan, and a section about important Hindu scriptures.
In the evening session, the Guru Purnima festival was celebrated. Sadhus described how the true guru is the closest to God on earth, as God resides in every pore of his body. They also explained how true guru pujan is not merely physical reverence for the guru, but by abiding by his every desire.


3 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 1) Saturday, Orlando, FL
Yuvak - Yuvati National Convention
Swamishri entered the morning assembly on the third day of the convention in a special way. The entire sabha was set up as if Swamishri was going on a padhramani to a devotee's home.
As Swamishri entered, sadhus sang the traditional kirtan that is sung when sadhus go on a padhramani, “Ãj mãre orde re…” Following this, arti and thal were offered.
Then the devotees asked Swamishri questions about how to lead a good life. Swamishri spoke about this at great length, explaining that living an ideal life leads to a better family, which ultimately leads to a better society.
After three days of gaining insight into Swamishri's continuous vicharan for the benefit of others, all yuvak and yuvati delegates were inspired to improve their personal lives and society overall. The theme of the day was ‘Our Journey,’ a quest now for yuvaks and yuvatis to do something for Swamishri.
Throughout the day, sadhus described incidents of yuvaks who had sacrificed monetarily, physically and mentally for Swamishri.
During his blessings to the evening assembly, Swamishri talked about the glory of his gurus’ efforts. Despite his ceaseless travels around the world for the good of others, he emphasised that his vicharan is nothing compared to the vicharan of his gurus.


4 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 2) Sunday, Orlando, FL
Yuvak - Yuvati National Convention (Morning)
After three days in Swamishri's divine presence, all yuvak and yuvatis who had attended the National Convention bid a sad farewell to Swamishri. They all had darshan of Swamishri's morning puja, after which all yuvaks met Doctor Swami, who gave them convention mementos. These mementos included a small murti of Nilkanth Varni that Swamishri had sanctified after his puja.
Later on in the morning, Swamishri performed pujan of murtis to be installed at two new hari mandirs in Tampa and Savannah.


4 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 2) Sunday, Orlando, FL
Kishore - Kishori National Convention (Evening)
Kishores and Kishoris from all over North America, Australia and New Zealand arrived in Orlando for the beginning of a National Kishore-Kishori Convention in the presence of Swamishri and senior sadhus.
Swamishri entered the evening welcome assembly in a traditional way with the beating of drums and the blowing of a conch shell. As Swamishri made his way down a red carpet through the middle of the convention hall, several kishores danced with joy while all other delegates proudly waved BAPS flags.
During the welcome assembly, kishores and kishoris viewed several multimedia presentations and listened to speeches by sadhus describing the theme of the convention, ‘Vicharan’.
In his blessings to the kishores and kishoris, Swamishri spoke about the necessity of pleasing God. “If we please God,” he explained, “all worthwhile endeavours are accomplished. We should not desire anything else but to please God.”


5 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 3) Monday, Orlando, FL
Kishore - Kishori National Convention
In this morning session, kishores and kishoris were inspired to lead a Swaminarayan way of life. The ultimate aim of this way of life is to be liberated from maya and attain salvation.
Sadhus eloquently described the norms, rules, and incidents related to the theme. Satsang knowledge games helped delegates enhance their knowledge about Swaminarayan history and facts, as well as take more challenging niyams. Swamishri took great interest in the games and asked a few questions himself.
In his blessings to the assembly, Swamishri explained the importance of having faith in God and His holy Sadhu. He also provided guidance for living a pure life.
In the evening assembly the Jal-Jhilani festival was celebrated with Shri Harikrishna Maharaj being taken on a boat ride. This symbolises the need for God and His holy Sadhu to help our souls cross the ocean of maya for ultimate redemption.
Throughout the programme, delegates learned about the history and international growth of BAPS through speeches by senior sadhus and multimedia presentations.
In his blessings to the assembly, Swamishri described the reasons for the growth of Satsang, and explained how this growth can be sustained in the future. At the conclusion of the assembly, Swamishri lovingly bathed Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, and all delegates received sanctified water.


6 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 5) Tuesday, Orlando, FL
Kishore - Kishori National Convention
The entire morning session was centred around helping kishores and kishoris deal with peer pressure. Skits and real-life incidents demonstrated the harmful effects of succumbing to this type of pressure. Following this, sadhus offered valuable guidance on how to remain firm in one's convictions in the face of peer pressure.
After Swamishri heard about the pressures youths deal with, he emphasised the importance of maintaining strong faith in God and His holy Sadhu. Their commandments lead to purity of the mind and body, and although people may not realise it, they are for our best.
Kishores and kishoris observed the shraddh of Shastriji Maharaj during the evening programme, commemorating the life and work of Shastriji Maharaj.
Kishores learned about the hardships he faced, the struggles he overcame, and his persistence and zeal for spreading the Akshar Purushottam Upasana through skits, speeches, and videos. Kishores also asked Swamishri to recount several personal accounts of his experiences with Shastriji Maharaj and his efforts.
At the conclusion of the programme, according to tradition, Swamishri served dudhpak to the sadhus, and senior sadhus served all delegates present.


7 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 6) Wednesday, Orlando, FL
Kishore - Kishori National Convention
During the morning session, kishores and kishoris explored one of the most important aspects of society – education. Panel discussions, featuring successful college students and graduates, along with lively skits and enlightening speeches from sadhus highlighted the importance and necessity of hard work in education. Doctor Swami also offered valuable guidance on how to create a balance between education and satsang.
After listening to a debate about the pros and cons of going away from home to attend college, Swamishri offered his blessings, saying that no matter where one studies, one should be able to keep God and His holy Sadhu with him by abiding by their every wish.
In a special Guru Purnima evening programme, sadhus recounted personal incidents of Swamishri's love expressed towards them. The entire programme was organised around the kirtan, ‘Sant vinã re sãchi kon kahe...’ which describes the guru as being the only person capable of offering true bliss.
Swamishri was asked to explain how one can please one's guru, and he explained in his blessings that one must keep the company of the guru with no expectations, and readily accept any seva given by him.
Finally, Swamishri sprayed coloured water on his beloved Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. Thereafter, kishores joyously danced to kirtans as they were sprayed with the sanctified water.


8 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 7) Thursday, Orlando, FL
Kishore - Kishori National Convention (Morning)
Four days of speeches, dramas, and presentations provided merely a glimpse into the decades of Swamishri's tireless vicharan. Kishores and kishoris present for this emotional and educational convention better appreciated Swamishri's efforts to enhance society and please his devotees, and felt inspired too.
On the last day of this convention, all delegates had darshan of Swamishri's morning puja. After having sameep darshan of Swamishri, everyone received mementos from the senior sadhus that would help them remember both this convention, as well as Swamishri's selfless sacrifices.


8 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 7) Thursday, Orlando, FL
Bal - Balika National Convention (Evening)
In the evening the Bal-Balika National Convention began. Hundreds of balaks and balikas from all over North America, Australia, and New Zealand arrived in Orlando to participate.
In the welcome assembly, Swamishri entered the convention hall to a loving and enthusiastic reception from balaks and balikas. Some balaks danced on stage while others energetically waved streamers in the air as Swamishri made his way towards the stage.
In his blessings, Swamishri explained to all the children in great deal what their typical day should be like, remembering God from the minute they wake up until they fall asleep.


9 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 8) Friday, Orlando, FL
Bal - Balika National Convention
During the first full day of the Bal-Balika National Convention, delegates explored the theme, ‘Vicharan Around the World’. Before Swamishri arrived in the morning session, sadhus described the uniqueness of Swamishri's worldwide and continuous vicharan, and discussed in detail Swamishri's busy daily routine within that vicharan.
Then balaks and sadhus played a game of musical chairs in Swamishri's presence in which all those who lost the game were required to take extra niyams.
Swamishri also took a ‘Walk Down Memory Lane’ in which he was shown several pictures of himself, sadhus and devotees, and was asked to describe the incidents related to each picture.
In the evening, Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Swamishri entered the Rath Yatra assembly in a rath. The evening programme was about how Swamishri is the ideal charioteer because of his love and compassion. Balaks showed that Swamishri is always willing to make time for them, and sadhus relayed incidents of how Swamishri touched their hearts when they were children.
Swamishri personally expressed his affection for the children by playing a game with them called ‘Swami's Ruchi’, and by saying, “I love you all,” during his evening blessings to the assembly. Swamishri also celebrated the Rath Yatra festival by giving Shri Harikrishna Maharaj a ride on a remote-controlled rath, and guiding a blimp (small airship) that would symbolically take the balaks and balikas to Akshardham.

10 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 9) Saturday, Orlando, FL
Bal - Balika National Convention
Balaks and balikas had a chance to learn about Swamishri's travels for them, as the theme for the day was ‘Vicharan to My Heart’.
Swamishri demonstrated his efforts to make children happy when he arrived in the morning session by playing a game of pictionary with sadhus and balaks. Swamishri first served as judge, but then he himself drew pictures to give memories to the balaks and balikas.
At the conclusion of the morning session, a question and answer session was held, during which Swamishri explained the importance of learning to speak, understand, read, and write Gujarati. He also described how children can serve their parents, primarily by behaving according to their parents’ wishes and by respecting them.
Balaks presented a very creative evening programme, in which they entered a ‘time machine’. They went back in time to see first-hand what the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his spiritual succession of God-realised Sadhus was like. They chose five different locations in time, starting with Bhagwan Swaminarayan's time, and moving all the way through to Yogiji Maharaj's time.
At each place in time, they learned about incidents related to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the guru parampara through speeches, dramas, and dances. Sadhus also sang kirtans about Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj and Brahmswarup Yogiji Maharaj, which put Swamishri, sadhus, and the delegates in a very joyous and festive mood.
Swamishri also narrated his favourite incidents of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shastriji Maharaj, and explained the importance of following agna through an incident involving Bhagatji Maharaj.
Before Swamishri left the assembly, he personally served dudhpak to the sadhus, as Shastriji Maharaj's shraddh was symbolically celebrated. Then, senior sadhus served dudhpak to all the balaks.


11 July 2004 (V.S. 2060, Ashadh vad 10) Sunday, Orlando, FL
Bal - Balika National Convention
On the final full day of the National Bal-Balika Convention, balaks played two games with Swamishri – one nonverbal and the other verbal.
In the nonverbal game, ‘Vartan Vãto Karshe,’ Swamishri served as a judge for a game of charades played by sadhus and balaks. In the interactive verbal game, balaks took turns asking Swamishri various questions.
Swamishri patiently answered all questions in detail, describing to balaks what they should learn by heart, narrating a parable of Yogiji Maharaj and describing how he became a sadhu.
In the evening assembly, balaks and balikas observed Guru Purnima, in which they offered their thanks to Swamishri for being the ideal guru.
Balaks and balikas got a glimpse at some ideal disciples, such as Aruni, Eklavya, and Satyakam Jabali through dramas. Then, Swamishri demonstrated the extent of his guru bhakti towards Shastriji Maharaj by narrating an incident about this, as well as by singing ‘Shastriji Maharajno sang...’ Finally, several balaks were recognised for their commitment to niyam-dharma.
Swamishri also played a game in which he guided a blindfolded balak through an obstacle course, demonstrating the necessity to put total faith in the words of the guru.
Finally, after arti and mantra pushpanjali, Swamishri sprayed coloured water on Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. Thereafter, the balaks, one by one, were sprayed with the sanctified water.

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