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Shri Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu and a popular deity for Hindus around the world. He manifested on earth thousands of years ago on the Hindu calendarical day of Shravan vad 8. The festival marking his birth this year fell on Saturday 5 September and was celebrated with a host of devotional festivities at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Worshippers and visitors arrived from the morning to offer their prayers and respects and gently swing the murti of Shri Krishna in a ‘paranu’ (birth cradle). As per tradition, this auspicious day was marked with the ceremonial offering of food (the ‘annakut’), that was artistically arranged inside the mandir.
The evening assembly, to celebrate the life and messages of Shri Krishna, was held in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami, Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, Pujya Atmaswarup Swami, and visiting sadhus.
The teachings of Shri Krishna, specifically his message of loyalty and faith, were presented through an enlightening programme that included devotional hymns sung eloquently by youths, a captivating drama, and discourses by sadhus.
Atmaswarup Swami revealed the historical significance and importance of the festival. Ishwarcharan Swami shared further examples of the faith depicted through the earlier drama, and Mahant Swami encouraged the gathering to apply these ideals in their personal lives by drawing further from the teachings of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
A video collage of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s previous messages about Shri Krishna tied together and consolidated the spiritual learnings from the celebrations.
The finale of the evening – marking the divine birth of Shri Krishna – was celebrated with the arti followed by the joyous swinging of the paranu accompanied with vibrant devotional singing.