On April 15th, 2017, Devotees and Members from the local community celebrated Shree Hari Jayanti & Ramnavmi at Parsippany Hills High School. The event was blessed by the presence of saints from India, including P. Prabodhjivan Swami, P. Suhradjivan Swami, P. Bhaktipriya Swami, and P. Santcharan Swami. The event celebrated the birth of Lord Ram and the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan with an exceptional cultural program. The event commenced with a re-enactment of divine incidents from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s time.

In a town called Umreth, local citizens were outraged. They believed that Lord Swaminarayan was a hoax and there was no chance that he was God. They devised a plan to expose Lord Swaminarayan as an imposter. During a discourse, the local bhramins interrupted Lord Swaminarayan’s assembly, demanding Lord Swaminaryan to prove that he is God. They said that Shankaracharya had made a buffalo speak Vedic sholks, so he should do the same. Lord Swaminarayan smiled and said it is impious to make a buffalo speak such holy shloks, but to bring a person is incompetent like a buffalo. They brought with them a mute man by the name of Hari Shankar. Lord Swaminarayan addressed Hari Shankar and requested him to begin reciting the verses. Hari Shankar began skillfully reciting the vedic verses. In that moment, the townspeople apologized and requested Lord Swaminarayan to initiate them into devotees. Lord Swaminarayan fulfilled their request. He initiated the entire town of Umreth into devotees by sprinkling sanctified water on the them.

The assembly was overjoyed by the way Lord Swaminarayan handled the situation. They were extremely impressed that Lord Swaminarayan made Hari Shankar speak and that He initiated the townspeople into devotees. Lord Swaminarayan then belittles the whole incident. He explains that it is easy to make a mute speak and initiate many town’s people into devotees; that does not define one has being God. However, freeing an individual from the bounds of maya and eradicating his base natures is the true glory of God.

Lord Swaminarayan then recounts a story to better portray this concept. A flashback of when Lord Swaminarayan was in the Himalayas as Nilkanth Varni begins. Nilkanth Varni comes across a Yogi who has offered penance for over 50 years. Sadhuram meets Nilkanth and recognizes that Nilkanth has the one who had given him darshan during his penance. He becomes overjoyed and explains his faults to Nilkanth Varni. Although he has offered penance for over 50 years, he explains that he is deeply suffering from vicious natures like lust, anger, greed and worldly attachment. Nilkanth Varni summons his lust, anger, greed, and world attachment and he obliterates all of them. The flashback then ends.

The assembly is filled with joy and commends the incident. Muktanand Swami then asks Lord Swaminarayan how the assembly can attain the happiness and blessings that Nilkanth Varni graced to the Yogi. Lord Swaminarayan gives three rules to attain such bliss. All devotees need to form a strong relationship with a Gunatit Saint. The Gunatit Saint should be allowed to point out your flaws. Lastly, always stay in this satsang.

The event continued with a ghosti by Guruhari Param Pujiya Hariprasad Swamiji from 1997. Swamiji emphasized the need for a visionary Saint in our lives. We are blind without such a Saint in our lives. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, what we will dream tomorrow, or what we will think tomorrow. The world is surrounded by impurity and we need a divine Saint in our lives to overcome that impurity. A saint with vision can teach even the blind to see.

Finally, the evening ended with inspiring speeches from P. Suhradjivan Swami and P. Bhaktipriya Swami, as well as a mini-annakoot and aarti commemorating the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ram.