BAPS Cleveland Bal Parayan
Through the medium of parayans, we are able to understand the messages found our Shastras and apply them to our own personal lives. Every year, during the holy months of Chaturmaas parayans are held all throughout BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs in India and abroad. Continuing with this tradition, the BAPS Cleveland Bal/Balika Mandal held a special parayan on the Harileelamrut on September 28, 2008. This ‘Bal Parayan’ was unique because it was conducted from start to finish by just the balaks. The theme of this year’s Bal Parayan was based around the 'Swaminarayan Mahamantra', highlighting its history, glory, and power.
Two weeks before the parayan program, balaks were assigned various roles and responsibilities. To please Maharaj and Swami, the balaks worked extremely hard, sacrificing sleeping in late and playing with friends to come to the Mandir for practices. With the help of parents and Karyakars, the balaks were able to learn the entire 2-hour program in just two weeks.
On the day of the Bal Parayan, a beautiful Annakut of 25-30 items was offered to Thakorji. This Annakut was prepared by the balaks and balikas with the help of their parents, especially for the Bal Parayan. The parayan itself began with a video presentation that introduced the theme of ‘Swaminarayan Mahamantra’ to the audience. Thereafter, the balaks started the program by singing the Stuti, Dhoon (Preme Prem thi…), and Prarthana (Jay Karuna Kar…). This was followed by the various yajmans coming onto the stage for the pujan vidhi, which was also performed by the balaks.
The vaktaas then began to narrate and explain the history of the Swaminarayan Mahamantra from incidents noted in the Harileelamrut. The explanations on the glory and power of the Swaminarayan Mantra were then further accentuated by two different dramas (Swarupanand Swami and Magniraam), which displayed real-life events involving the Swaminarayan Mahamantra that had occurred in the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
The highlight of the entire program was a Prarthana by the balaks in the form of a dance (He Parameshwar, tuj rachna ka…). The parayan ended with a video and announcement of Bal/Balika Mandal Activities and Swamishri’s Ashirwad, which encouraged parents to take a more active and positive role in their child’s lives.
The Bal Parayan, overall, was an overwhelming success. Parents were quite amazed with the display of talent that the young balaks presented through their speaking, acting, and dancing abilities. Parents were further happy that their children gained a great deal of knowledge regarding the Swaminarayan Mahamantra and were able to share it with all via the Bal Parayan.