By Suresh Bodiwala
CHICAGO: The re-enactment of the Yash Gatha, which is a musical narration of the journey of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and a depiction of his countless spiritual endeavors, was the main feature of the 232nd birth anniversary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at Bartlett in Illinois.
The devotees celebrate the day also as Ram Navmi.
The young members of BAPS Chicago brought to life the story through the singing of the Yash Gatha. With each stanza, a part of the journey was depicted, accompanied by dances, speeches, and dramas interspersed throughout the performance.
The story began with portrayals from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s birth to his childhood, a time when he was known by the name of Ghanshyam. The audience watched silently as the first notes began, the world disappearing behind them as the music narrated the life of a young boy, whose journey touched the hearts of thousands.
The intensity of the scenes re-enacted by the youth mesmerized the audience. The subtle crescendo hidden in the music of the Yash Gatha grew in intensity as the story developed to describe the sacrifices made by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Following the codes and standards shared through ancient Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas and Upanishads, Bhagwan Swaminarayan taught others to live by virtues such as compassion and integrity and to share these values with others. These teachings were further shared through the stories narrated about Shri Ram Bhagwan, who sacrificed everything to be the ideal son while maintaining his dharma, or codes of behavior.
From recounting the movement to uplift women to the practice of ahimsa (principle of non-violence) to helping enlighten a generation of people, stage enactments showed how Bhagwan Swaminarayan helped increase the moral standard of living for many in an age where adharma once prevailed.
Many inspiring incidents from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as well as his devotees were illustrated by Pujya Vivekmurti Swami, who described several examples of individuals whose lives were ethically transformed by the teachings of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Earlier, a special ladies program was held to extol the virtues of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and explore his relationship with devotees. The theme was centered around three crucial ways a devotee interacts with God as a way of offering devotion: understanding the true nature of God, seeking his refuge, and molding our lives according to his wishes. These have proven to be the surest way to progress spiritually as instructed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Today, the continuation of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s journey is seen through His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who continues to inspire devotees to follow the same moral teachings.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a worldwide socio-spiritual organization. Enjoying Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, BAPS is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony. Motivated by Hindu principles, BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. Through a number of social and spiritual activities, BAPS endeavors to produce better citizens of tomorrow who have a high esteem for their roots – their rich Hindu culture. I has 3,300 international centers that support these activities of character-building. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is morally, ethically and spiritually pure, and free of addictions. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, has inspired millions of people across the world to lead a God-centered, morally pure life. As the present leader of BAPS. He travels from village to village, continent to continent, emphasizing the importance of family harmony, community service and spiritual progress and embodies the essence of Hindu life. His compassion for humanity, universal wisdom and striking simplicity have touched many world religious and national leaders.
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