UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has paid profound tributes to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, to mark the birth centenary celebrations of the world-renowned spiritual leader this month in India and across the world.
The British Indian leader reflected upon the legacy of His Holiness in the UK, in the form of the iconic Neasden Temple in London.
Sunak said: “Pramukh Swami Maharaj lived by the maxim that in the joy of others, lies our own. In the UK, he was the inspiration behind our magnificent Neasden Temple – a familiar sight on our London skyline known as much for its service to the local community as it is for its beauty.”
During the month-long centenary celebrations in India, thousands gathered at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar in Ahmedabad to celebrate “Para-Bhakti Day”, marking Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s pure and singular devotion to God.
The evening assembly began with an address by Pujya Adarshjivandas Swami, a learned swami of BAPS, and the author of the extensive biography of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He reflected on the centrality of devotion in Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life and his constant communion with God.
He shared: “Pramukh Swami built over 1,100 Mandirs, wrote over 760,000 letters, visited over 17,000 cities, towns and villages, personally counselled over 810,000 people, and organised thousands of social activities, philanthropic works and festivals. However, his devotion to God always came first.”
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Thereafter, Pujya Prabhucharandas Swami, a learned swami of BAPS, said: “In times of honour or insult, difficulty or ease, joy or sorrows victory or defeat, Pramukh Swami Maharaj had never forgotten God. He remained absorbed in God 24 hours a day.”
In the inauguration session, Pujya Gyanvatsaldas Swami delivered a motivational talk on ‘Positivity in Adversity’: “Positivity in adversity is not just a duty but a human endeavour. Even if you lose everything in life, what remains with you is positive thinking – and that has the power to change your life.”
Thereafter, Dr Mahadev T. Desai spoke on vegetarianism as a healthy and holistic way of living.
He said: “I am vegetarian only due to Pramukh Swami Maharaj. 40 years ago when I met Pramukh Swami Maharaj, he asked me to write an article on vegetarianism. I used to eat eggs, but not meat. I thought I should turn vegetarian, only then I will be able to write about this.”
*Info: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha