A Touching Tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj at the Festival of Inspirations


Our Bureau

New York, NY

On August 25, 2023, devotees from across North America paid tribute to the life, work, and values of their beloved, late spiritual leader, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The emotionally stirring assembly was part of the ongoing Festival of Inspirations, a three-month-long celebration of the inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The program was held in the presence of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current spiritual head of BAPS, who personally recalled memorable moments from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s divine qualities of humility, selflessness, and unconditional love came to light as the inspiring recollections illustrated his virtues rooted in a deep connection with God.

Throughout the evening, swamis affectionately reminisced on their personal experiences and memories with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. They shared heartfelt incidents with their late spiritual leader that touched them deeply and transformed their lives. Warmly recalling his calmness, presence of mind, and noble sentiments, the swamis exemplified how, no matter who he was with, Pramukh Swami Maharaj loved everyone with equal warmth and care. Pujya Aksharvatsaldas Swami, a renowned orator from BAPS, shared the following metaphor: “If one holds a flower and later sets the flower aside, the fragrance of the flower may still linger on the hand. In a similar manner, the essence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s divine qualities spread to anyone who was near to him.”

Having served and worshiped in close proximity with Pramukh Swami over decades, Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami, a senior swami of the organization, further elaborated on the spiritual head’s humility by saying, “Despite his many great accomplishments throughout his lifetime, Pramukh Swami Maharaj attributed all of his achievements entirely to God’s will.”

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj candidly shared his experiences with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who remained ever humble. He emphasized Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s unwavering commitment, in every moment of his life, to the vow of service he took decades earlier. “We are all witnesses to how he lived and what he did for devotees and swamis. He was a true swami, remaining ordinary despite his extraordinary nature. Every action Pramukh Swami Maharaj took benefited future generations. Whether day or night, he overlooked his physical needs and stayed amongst his devotees.”

The program welcomed honored guests, who fondly recalled personal incidents from their time with Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the impact he had on their lives. Subhash Sam Patel, CEO of the Natson Hotel Group, shared a turning point in his life when he was questioning his engineering career path, and Swami guided him to pursue business. “Our success has come from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s advice. I tell my son, if you want to learn discipline, then learn it from Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life.” Thereafter, Digvijay Danny Gaekwad, founder of Danny Gaekwad Developments and Investments, relayed his experience as part of the American delegation accompanying former President Bill Clinton to Gandhinagar Akshardham to meet Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Detailing a moment in which both spoke in their native languages without translators, Mr. Gaekwad was awestruck. “They spoke different languages, but they were still connected. This can only happen if you are God or close to God.”

The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, which is nearing the end of its construction and slated to be inaugurated in October 2023, was Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s last wish. It was inspired by his singular vision and guidance. Each volunteer who has offered his or her time in its construction has done so, in part, as a tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, to ensure his vision to build a place of lasting peace and inspiration, becomes a reality. The program served as a testament to the fact that while Pramukh Swami Maharaj may no longer be present physically, his legacy will live on for generations to come.

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