After an all-embracing Sadbhav Yatra Vichran of North America, on the evening of Saturday, August 5, 2017, the highly-anticipated Sadbhav Amrut Parva North America celebrations commenced at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. After over a year of intricate planning, over a thousand disciples from all across the globe gathered in New Jersey to celebrate the 75th Manifestation Day of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj. Historically on several occasions, Secaucus High School has served as a venue for Acharya Swamishree’s Manifestation Day celebrations; many disciples recalled and cherished these memories during the festivities. In addition, the entire event was broadcasted live by TV Asia International on Facebook and YouTube.
After concluding the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Granth parayan at Shree Swaminarayan Temple, disciples gathered for an uplifting paani puri lunch to commence the Sadbhav Amrut Parva celebrations. The Hudson County Sheriff’s Department and Secaucus Police Department provided police escorts to Acharya Swamishree and sants to the start point of the shobha yatra. Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band USA, accompanied by cadets, led the grand procession, as disciples danced and rejoiced to kirtans, welcoming Acharya Swamishree to His 75th Manifestation Day celebrations.
Acharya Swamishree entered the Performing Arts Center with a grand welcome from disciples with a sea of waving Sadbhav Amrut Parva flags. Acharya Swamishree and disciples were amazed by the intricate, “made A to Z in America” stage, carefully crafted by sants and disciples. Acharya Swamishree described the stage as “Akshardham no mahel” (the palace of Akshardham). The celebrations started with Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band USA performing a salute and birthday melody performance, followed by North America main committee members honoring Acharya Swamishree with a memento.
The ladies of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan – North America, presented Acharya Swamishree with a hand-made ribbon haar and vagha. Each ribbon, 750 in total, had the prathna “Maha-balvant maya tamaari” from the Bhaktchintamani scripture thoughtfully etched on it by girls and ladies from all across North America. The entire audience recited the prathna, while Sants adorned Acharya Swamishree with the beautiful vagha.
Following, Sant Shiromani Shree Sarvatmapriyadasji Swami delivered a speech, in full English, about the glory of Acharya Swamishree; the speech was inspirational to many of the youth. Next, Acharya Swamishree, Sants, and disciples launched the newly-made Swaminarayan Gadi North America website, providing a better resource to local disciples of our eleven chapters in North America.
Speeches were given by disciples from all across North America; topics featured a summary of Acharya Swamishree’s accomplishments in North America, an explanation of all of Acharya Swamishree’s honorable titles, a recap and presentation on the 750+ hours of community service completed this summer, a recap and presentation on 7.5 day North America continuous dhoon, and much more.
The evening continued with various cultural dances, including a qawwali and young children’s dance. All attendees also signed a 7.5-footlong birthday card for Acharya Swamishree that was presented during a special birthday dance.
Acharya Swamishree was then presented with meticulously-decorated real crystal vagha, featuring a cape. To surprise everyone, disciples worked very hard to create a 7.5-foot tall birthday cake with live projection for Acharya Swamishree’s 75th Manifestation Day celebrations. Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples were all amazed at the cake, as it featured beautiful photos and videos of Acharya Swamishree. In addition, Rajbhog Sweets also made a special 75-pound cake, made exclusively from delicious Indian sweets.
On behalf of the Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandals of North America, the North America Advisory Committee presented a memento to Acharya Swamishree. In addition, letters from New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell were presented to Acharya Swamishree Swamishree. Following, event sponsors were presented with exclusive silver and wooden charan-vind of Lord Shree Swaminarayan. Many disciples from across the globe presented many unique types of haar, vagha, and gifts to Acharya Swamishree in celebration of His 75th Manifestation Day. Sants, Sadbhav Amrut Parva grand sponsors, supporting sponsors, and disciples also performed aarti.
Overjoyed by the overwhelming display of love and unity, Acharya Swamishree surprised His disciples by spontaneously showering His divine blessings. Swamishree spoke about the importance of bhakti and unity, and the joy Lord Shree Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree, and Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa feel when His disciples all work together for jubilant, religious events such as this.
The event concluded with Acharya Swamishree, sants, and disciples all blissfully dancing together to the timli kirtans. The event concluded with dinner, ice cream, and a photo booth for disciples to have long-lasting memories of this event.