Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Centenary London Celebrations
Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Centenary London celebrations were a phenomenal success, as over 20,000 people experienced the festivities at Trafalgar Square.
Events began at 5pm on Friday 24th August 2007, with preliminary acts to attract the crowds. Performances from students of Shree Muktajeevan Arts and Culture Academies London and Bolton, as well their respective Pipe Bands, drew in passers by to ensure that the Square was completely saturated by the start of the main event.
Despite the unseasonably poor weather in the preceding days and weeks, the clouds cleared to reveal bright sunshine at 1845, precisely as His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree arrived on the Square. The festivities commenced with Acharya Swamishree being led on a red carpet through the centre of the Square to the stage, escorted by Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band, and then by a welcoming dance by disciples of London. Accompanying Acharya Swamishree were eminent guests: Numerous faith leaders including Bishop John Arnold (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster); several Ministers, including Tony McNulty (Home Office Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing); and the Deputy High Commissioner of India - Ashok Mukherjee.
The celebrations officially opened with Acharya Swamishree and the guests performing the auspicious ceremony of lighting the flame of peace. Whilst the symbolic flame was lit, an ancient incantation was recited by all, praying for universal peace.
Each guest then honoured Acharya Swamishree by offering flower garlands, before taking the opportunity to say a few words:
“On behalf of the Roman Catholic Community in London, we applaud your work and the wonderful show you have put on” – Bishop John Arnold
“You have brought true spiritually to London. This event is great work from the Golders Green temple and its expanding community” – Tony McNulty
“I am so glad to have taken part in the celebrations that you have brought to London; you have brought culture and compassion to the community” – Ashok Mukherjee
The main stage played host to an array of acts performed by the Students of Shree Muktajeevan Arts and Culture Academies of India, London and Bolton, Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band London, and Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band Bolton. Stage performances included a unique fusion of the Scottish bagpipes of Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band and the Indian beats of Shree Muktajeevan Dhol Academy, and a classical dance during which the performer painted a giant elephant using only the movement of his feet; acts never seen before in London. Both of these acts drew rapturous applauses form the audience.
The finale performance was a dance to the kirtan “Jay Jay Swamibapa” – especially composed in celebration of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa’s achievements, during which the entire crowed clapped and danced along. Acharya Swamishree Himself took to the stage to join His disciples in celebration of Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s centenary.