BAPS Devotees Celebrate Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Birth
STAFFORD: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, celebrated the auspicious day of April 5, Chaitra Sud Nom. According to the Hindu calendar, this day marks the 236th birthday of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as well as the birthday of Bhagwan Ram. This year’s program encompassed the theme: Bhaktavatsal Hari Birud Tiharo, meaning, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s resolve to care for his devotees.
Local volunteers of BAPS organized this joyous occasion. Weeks of the volunteers’ time were spent practicing dances, skits, speeches and song performances to execute a professional stage production. The program highlighted many examples of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram’s compassion for their devotees and how, in turn, it inspired devotees to develop firm faith in God and cultivate a dharma-based lifestyle. The audience was educated on how they too could nurture a modern dharma-based lifestyle by adhering to a vegetarian diet, maintaining sobriety and abstaining from other types of addictions.
The local youth coordinator, Pankaj Patel pointed out that this year’s program was entirely performed by youths from the age of 4 to 21. The life of Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Swaminarayan was depicted by the youngsters performing dances, dramas, and kirtans. One of the singers Akash Patel said, “by practicing for this program I learned that lessons that were taught years ago, can be still be used in my life today.”
Swaminarayan Jayanti carries much greater significance in the lives of the devotees who had fasted for the whole day in honor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram. Many had chanted dhun or read His spiritual teaching for hours at length to offer their devotion.
The Swaminarayan Jayanti program connected with the members of the audience to bring them together to commemorate the births and legacies of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram. The program not only encouraged those who attended to imbibe the positive values presented within their own lives, but also provided yet another way for the local youth to celebrate their culture and proudly display their heritage. Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s legacy was carried forward by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and today, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj continues to inspire individuals to a lead a wholesome life of spirituality.